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Challenges differ for candidates page 2
Political folks weigh in on debate.

 Workers prepare the set for the presidential debate tonight on the campus of the University of Denver.
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Date published: 10/3/2012


"He needs to develop that rather than letting Mitt Romney put him on the defensive," Kidd said. "Obama's in trouble if the focus isn't on comparison between Romney and Obama, and if Obama's not developing that narrative."

Of course, both candidates have things they want to avoid. Obama, Sabato said, must "avoid signs of dismissal and arrogance," while Romney must find the balance of attacking without being overly negative.

Debates rarely sway large number of voters--mostly, Sabato said, "partisans tune in to cheer for their side"--but they do offer both candidates the opportunity to mess up.

Kidd recalled John McCain's calling Obama "that one" during a debate.

"It really hurt him, it became what people talked about," Kidd said. "That's the kind of stuff that could really hurt either one of them."

To that end, he said, Obama needs to avoid showing irritation, Romney to avoid acting robotic.

"I don't think either one will have an easy time putting the other one in a spot offensively," Kidd said. "It's going to be hard for them to score on the other guy, but it's going to be easy for them to let the other guy score on them."

The first debate will be held at the University of Denver and moderated by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer.

The second is Oct. 16 at Hofstra University and will be moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley; the third is Oct. 22 at Lynn University, moderated by CBS' Bob Schieffer.

All three run from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and will be carried by all the major networks, the cable news channels and C-SPAN.

A debate between vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will be held Oct. 11 at Centre College in Kentucky, moderated by ABC's Martha Raddatz. It, too, will air from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028
Email: cdavis@freelancestar.com

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TOPIC: Domestic policy

WHEN: Wednesday, 9-10:30 p.m. Eastern time

WHERE: University of Denver

MODERATOR: Jim Lehrer, Host of "NewsHour" on PBS

BROADCAST: C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC; cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC