Obama Campaign: This Time “He’s Energized”

Worries about the moderator. posted on

delivers pizza to volunteers at his campaign office in Williamsburg, Virginia, October 14, 2012. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — President Barack Obama is “energized” for tomorrow’s town hall debate with Mitt Romney, aides told reporters on Monday.

Obama has been drilling for his rematch with Mitt Romney since Saturday at a private river-side compound here, meeting with senior advisers and Sen. John Kerry for rehearsals.

Obama campaign traveling press secretary Jen Psaki said Obama has been spending most of his time “studying and practicing,” for tomorrow night, adding. “He’s looking forward to it, he’s excited for it. He’s calm and energized.”

Psaki would not comment on a report that the Obama and Romney campaigns jointly approached the Commission on Presidential Debates to address moderator Candy Crowley’s statements that she would play a larger role than previously agreed to by the campaigns.

“The president is looking forward to the debate tomorrow night, looking forward to answering questions from the American people who will be in the audience,” Psaki said. “But he’s prepared for and is ready to take questions from wherever they come.”

Asked specifically if the campaign was opposed to Crowley asking follow-up questions, Psaki replied “I’m not going to get into the specifics of the negotiations.”

She added that Obama is also preparing to take questions from Crowley or Romney if the situation arises.

“If the questions come from other sources, he’s happy to address those questions as well,” she said.

Psaki also pushed back on accounts of the first debate camp in Henderson, Nev. being relaxed.

“He took every moment of the debate prep seriously the first time around,” she asserted. “He’s taking it seriously this time around.”

Obama has taken time to “enjoy the grounds” of the Kingsmill Resort, Psaki added. “Walking around, and taking in the beautiful atmosphere we have here.”

But Psaki said that — in contrast to the first debate — Obama is going to challenge Romney.

“You should expect that he’s going to be firm, but respectful, in correcting the record,” she said.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded to Psaki, saying, “President Obama can change his debate prep, but he cannot change his failed record.”

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