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The Hamilton Spectator
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Wednesday October 3, 2012
When it comes to pre-game talk, the U.S. presidential candidates are involved in an unusual display of talking down their own skills.

“Governor Romney, he’s a good debater. I’m just okay,” President Barack Obama told a Las Vegas rally Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s much-anticipated first televised debate.

Over in the Mitt Romney camp, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was also setting expectations low, telling Fox News Sunday that he doesn’t believe “one event is going to make or break the campaign.”

But, in fact, debates matter – and the TV audience for the first of three presidential debates could exceed 60 million viewers.

The Globe invited two strategists – a Republican, who worked with Mitt Romney, and a Democrat, who has worked in the Clinton White House and in presidential campaigns – to share their expectations for what each campaign needs to do this week in order to win the White House on November 6th .

This week in American politics represents a key pivot point in the campaign, and the debate really matters. In our primaries, debates were ultimately the arbiters of the outcome, as voters judged with their own eyes and made determinations about who should be our standard bearer.

For the Romney campaign, the stakes of the week should be viewed through the prism of three key elements that dictate the success, or lack thereof, of any campaign.

They are what I call the 3 M’s of politics: message, momentum, and money. You need all of them in healthy portions at key times to win. This race is no exception. Continued

In the first U.S. presidential debate, will Romney deliver under pressure?
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