Romney tempers debate expectations

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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DENVER, Colo. — Republican nominee Mitt Romney further tempered expectations for his debate Wednesday night with President Barack Obama — the first of three such debates that will take place before the election.

“There’s a lot of interest surrounding the debate,” Romney told the crowd of about 5,500 people gathered at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. “People want to know who’s going to win.”

“It’s not so much winning or losing,” Romney said. “It’s about something bigger than that.”

Romney said that he would use the debate to “describe the pathway forward for the American people,” giving people the opportunity to choose whether they want to move forward according to his vision or according to the president’s.

He described the three debates as “a conversation with the American people that will span” the time between now and election day.

Romney’s comments come on the heels of similar comments by his advisers and surrogates, downplaying the importance of Romney’s performance Wednesday night. In a memo, Romney adviser Beth Myers highlighted Obama’s “ample rhetorical gifts,” calling him a “uniquely gifted speaker.”

The press, meanwhile, has been hyping it up. The debate is seen as “critical,” making this “the most important week of the campaign,” and “the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Coming off of a week where polls have shown him lagging behind Obama, that is more pressure than Romney likely wants. Thus, the debate is “not so much about winning.”

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