Obama pauses campaign schedule, crams for debate test

Neil Munro | White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s public schedule shows no campaign events for Oct 15, leaving him all day to continue cramming for the second presidential debate Tuesday night.

The stepped-up prep time follows his disastrous performance at the Oct. 3 Denver debate.

Obama did briefly venture out Oct. 14 to visit a local campaign office in Williamsburg, Va., walking in with a stack of pizzas.

Preparation “is going great!” he told a pool reporter who shouted a question about his debate-prep sessions.

Reporters were segregated from the president during the visit, leaving them little to report as they waited in Williamsburg prior to the Oct. 16 town hall-style meeting at Hofstra University in New York.

Instead of talking to the press, Obama conducted an Oct. 13 radio interview with the DJ of a MIami pop music station. The first question was about an argument between two pop stars.

“There’s an elephant in the room. … a lot of people are upset,” began DJ Michael Yo. “But can you repair the relationship between Mariah Carey and Nicky Minaj on American Idol?” (RELATED VIDEO: Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey’s “American Idol” feud gets “nasty”)

“You know what? I think they are going to be able to sort it out. … Both outstanding artists are going to be able to make sure, you know, that they’re moving forward and not backwards,” the president replied before segueing into an attack on his challenger, Mitt Romney, and urging his supporters to vote.

Romney will raise taxes on the middle class, cut taxes for the wealthy, and reverse the Obamacare “reform,” Obama said.

Yo did ask Obama about his performance in the first debate.

Obama insisted he performed better than Romney. “The truth is, when you read the transcript, everything I said was true and a lot of what he said was not,” the president said.

He blamed his good manners for the media’s award of a clear victory to Romney.

“I was too restrained when Mr Romney was telling his tall tales. … Sometimes I err on the side of being a little too polite,” he claimed to Yo.

The second debate is expected to be be critical, partly because Romney scored a stunning victory in the first one.

Romney’s poll numbers have spiked since then, carrying him past Obama in national polls, but still leaving him behind in the critical swing state of Ohio.

The sudden reversal in the race has spurred complaints from Obama’s supporters, and will increase the pressure on Obama to score in the upcoming Hofstra town hall.

“I feel very good for our prospects going forwards, as long as people turn out to vote,” said Obama, who has been studying at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., for the event.

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