Obama under pressure in second debate
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President Barack Obama's camp is promising that the American public will see a more energized and visionary incumbent on Tuesday night as Obama tries to keep Republican challenger Mitt Romney at bay.
Romney's campaign got a much-needed shot in the arm two weeks ago when the Republican came out swinging in the first matchup between the two candidates, while Obama appeared passive and tongue-tied at times.
The strong debate performance helped Romney reverse his slide in the polls. Recent surveys put the race for the White House at a virtual dead heat with just three weeks left before the November 6 election.
"I think you'll see somebody who will be strong, who will be passionate, who will be energetic, who will talk about ... not just the last four years but what the agenda is for the future and how we continue to move ... our economy forward," Obama's senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC.
The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University in New York begins at 9 pm local time.
Both men will have to deal with the more intimate town hall format of Tuesday's debate, which often inhibits political attacks as the candidates focus on connecting with the voters asking the questions.
It also offers an element of uncertainty as the candidates cannot predict what the audience of undecided voters might ask, which could range from tax policy to job creation to foreign policy.
"It enables them to talk directly to people and look them in the eye and try to connect, which has not been a strength for either of them," Taylor said of the town hall format. "But you can still make strong points with a velvet glove."
During the first debate, Obama was widely criticized for not challenging Romney on exactly how he plans to give Americans a big tax cut without adding to the deficit, and for not calling attention to the more moderate views Romney appeared to present during the matchup.
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