The Ticket

Obama camp: No ‘zingers’ at debate with Romney

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
The Ticket

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President Barack Obama greets supporters upon his arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

LAS VEGAS - President Barack Obama won't be using 'zingers' against Mitt Romney when they clash Wednesday in their first face-to-face debate, a campaign spokeswoman said Sunday. And while beer has featured prominently in recent campaign swings, Obama will be sure to reach out to soda-drinkers, too.

"This will be a very large audience," Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force Once. "He wants to speak directly to the families -- the people who are on their couches at home, having snacks, drinking a beer, drinking soda, whatever it is, and tuning in for the first time -- and that's who he's speaking directly to."

"We also saw in reports that Mitt Romney and his team have been working on zingers and special lines for months," Psaki said. "That's not what the President's focus is on. So if you're expecting that, that's probably not what he's going to deliver on."

The spokeswoman was plainly referring to a New York Times report that said, in part, that:

Romney's team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August. His strategy includes luring the president into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy.

"Mitt Romney and his team have been clear that what they need and what they expect from the debates is a game-changing performance," Psaki said.

She pointed to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's comments on "Meet The Press" that the debate would be "the restart of this campaign." "Come Thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change."

Obama has been working on cutting short his frequently verbose answers to questions, Psaki said. Americans want "not just a professorial list of facts or accomplishments or even goals. We know they're looking for your vision, and that's what the President has been focused on."

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