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State of the race: Debate drumming

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There are nine days between now and the first presidential debate. Here's a blink at what's being said from the people who matter...

Mitt Romney in Politico: “I can’t…tell you winning and losing,” Romney said of the outcome of the Oct. 3 debate, speaking with reporters en route to a campaign rally in Denver. “He’s president of the United States. He’s a very effective speaker. I hope I’ll be able to describe my positions in a way that is accurate and that people will make a choice as to which path they want to choose.” ... “I don’t expect this to be a contest of who can say the cutest phrase,” Romney said. “I think it’s a set of contests of very different directions for the country.” Romney ignored a question about whether the first debate is a must-win for his candidacy. “My job is to describe what I believe in a way that the American people will understand and make the choice that they feel is right for America,” Romney said. [Politico]

Paul Ryan in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Asked about his debate with Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 11, [Paul] Ryan said he spends a lot of time reading and preparing. Then in a bit of ritual expectation-setting, he called Biden "arguably the most experienced debater in politics today. He's run for president twice. He's vice president, so, he's very experienced." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Obama campaign to the Boston Globe: A campaign aide said the president’s prep work, including mock debates where Kerry is playing Romney, has not been as exhaustive as Romney’s. “President Obama has spent time reviewing Governor Romney’s record and proposals, primarily during campaign travel. As the first debate approaches, he will spend additional time preparing, said the aide, who asked not to be identified. [Boston Globe]

Obama campaign to Fox News: "Gov. Romney is a very skilled debater," said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. His boss, by contrast, is long and windy, "so clearly the governor has the advantage." [Fox News]

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