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Obama to be more aggressive in 2nd debate: Team

October 15, 2012 11:36 IST

United States President Barack Obama would be more aggressive during his second debate on Tuesday against his Republican challenger Mitt Romney after a lackluster performance in the first showdown, his top campaign adviser said on Monday.

"I think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country," David Axelrod, the Obama Campaign Senior Strategist, told the Fox News.

Obama had termed his lackluster performance during the first debate in Denver on October 3 as a bad night. Tuesday's presidential debate will be held at Hempstead in New York. Florida will host the third and final debate on October 22.

Romney has picked up the campaign after the first debate and is leading the national race by a slight margin of over a one point heading into the November 6 election.

"We're going to give Governor Romney another chance on Tuesday to try and square this impossible circle," Axelrod said referring to the Republican's $5 trillion tax plan, to

which the Obama campaign has raised several questions and says that the Romney campaign has not been able to give an answer to it.

Real Clear Politics says Romney is leading by 1.4 percentage point in an average of all the major national polls. Before the first presidential debate, Obama was leading all the polls.

"I think he (Romney) made a little bit of progress after the first debate. I think he picked up some of these Republican-leaning independents who lost heart watching his convention, watching that 47 per cent tape. He got some of those people back. I think he made all that progress in the first couple of days," he said.

"On Monday morning, there's a poll that shows the president leading in Ohio by 5 per cent, leading in Arizona by 2 per cent. The data I see suggests that whatever progress Governor Romney made, he made in the first couple days after the debate and the race has been stable, and we are even or ahead in every one of these battleground states," he said.

"The most tangible marker is, early voting, all over the country. There is a poll out this morning that suggests the president was winning 59 per cent of those early voters. We have reason to believe we are doing well with the early voters," Axelrod said.

"So there's a lot of hype and as I've said, throughout, even when the polls were wildly positive for us, that these public polls are all over the place. And, the reality of the race on the ground is that we're ahead.

It's a little bit narrower than before the last debate. But we feel good about where we are and we have a great ground game going and we're going to have a great debate on  Tuesday and the following the week," he said.

"We expect Governor Romney will have a great debate, too. He's a great salesman. That's what he did as a professional and he's very, very good at it. But at the end of the day, people are going to judge on our plans, on our records and our vision for the future. And we are looking forward to discussing that on Tuesday," Axelrod said.

The performance of Romney during the first debate was 'magical and theatrical', said Robert Gibbs, the former White House spokesman and currently a senior advisor with the Obama Campaign.

The debate helped Romney wipe out the lead that Obama had before the debate. It's now Romney who is leading the latest series of national polls.

"I think Mitt Romney's performance was, indeed, magical and theatrical. Magical and theatrical largely because for 90 minutes he walked away from a campaign he had been running for more than six years previous to that," he said.

"The president was disappointed in his own performance.He didn't meet his expectations," he said.

"He knew when he walked off that stage and he also knew as he watched the tape of that debate that he has to be more energetic. I think you'll see somebody who is very passionate about the choice that our country faces, and putting that choice in front of voters.

Are we going to build this economy from the middle out? Are we going to give people opportunity and make the needed investments to give them that opportunity, or are we going to do this from the top down, the perspective that the Romney campaign brings?" Gibbs asked.

In the upcoming debate on Tuesday, Gibbs said Obama would be very forward looking.

"I think the president will be very forward- looking, will be very conscious of making sure people understand the choice in this election," he told the CNN. There's a very clear choice in this election, he observed.

"There's a big difference in the way in which each of these candidates sees this economy going forward, whether, again, we're going to invest in the middle class or cut taxes on the wealthy and hope it all trickles down.

We've seen that movie before, and it didn't work out so well. But I think, look, in terms of polling, sure, a couple of states in some places have gotten tighter, naturally I think so," he said.

"Look at places like poll in Ohio on Sunday night that had the president up five, which was better than he was two weeks ago in that state. I think it's because people in Ohio and people in these battleground states understand that Mitt Romney can walk away from his positions in a 90-minute debate, but they can't walk away from the campaign and the record that he has established over the past many years," he said.

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