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Obama heads to Virginia to train for Round 2

Published October 11, 2012 9:41 pm

Politics • The president promises to be more aggressive in Tuesday's debate.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cue the Rocky theme music.

President Barack Obama is headed for training camp this weekend — debate training, that is — and promised his supporters a more aggressive performance in Tuesday's rematch with Republican rival Mitt Romney.

"I think it's fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one," Obama told radio host Tom Joyner.

Obama will work on his rhetorical punches, policy jabs and other forms of political pugilism at "debate camp" in Williamsburg, Va. He is scheduled to arrive in Williamsburg on Saturday and leave Tuesday, when he heads north for the debate at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island.

Most observers awarded Romney the decision after the first round on Oct. 3 in Denver. Even fellow Democrats called Obama's performance listless and uninspired, and Obama told ABC News he had "a bad night."

Even worse for him, the president saw his lead over Romney shrink in a string of polls, both nationally and in key swing states.

In interviews, Obama said he let Romney shift positions during the debate, especially over the size of his proposed tax cut and how it threatens major program cuts and tax hikes for the middle class.

This time, Obama said in his radio interview, he will present the differences in "crystal clear fashion." He also told Joyner that, next week, "a lot of the hand-wringing will be complete, because we're going to go ahead and win this thing."

Pounding Romney in public wouldn't exactly be a change of pace for Obama; he's been doing it on the stump for months.

In an appearance Thursday at the University of Miami in Florida, Obama said Romney is only telling people what he thinks they want to hear.

"After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said.

Romney also will be practicing for the debate, from his home base in Boston. The Republican nominee and his supporters have a different interpretation of the first debate.

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said Obama's problem wasn't a lack of aggressiveness, but a bad economy — the same issue that will shadow him Tuesday.

"His problem was he's done a lousy job as president," Priebus said. —

Romney meets with Billy Graham

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney met Thursday with the Rev. Billy Graham, and the aging evangelist pledged to do "all I can" to help the GOP nominee win the presidency. Romney went to see Graham at the evangelist's mountaintop home in Montreat, N.C. "Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me," Romney told Graham, 93. The meeting came days after Romney said he would not pursue abortion-related legislation as president. Romney later insisted he would be a "pro-life president." —

Remaining debates

P President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have two debates left:

Tuesday • A town-meeting-style debate at 7 p.m. MDT in Hempstead, N.Y.

Oct. 22 • A foreign-policy debate at 7 p.m. MDT in Boca Raton, Fla.






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