(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested Friday that the audience pay closer attention to what he says, rather than what he wears when he takes to the debate stage next week.
"I know that in debates there's always interest in the theatrics if you will and the one-liners, the jokes, and who wore what color tie and so forth," he said.
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But blue or red, striped or solid, Romney said he is "looking forward to the debates" and hopes the audience will tune in with a critical ear.
"I think that despite all of the interest in those types of matters that the American people will listen carefully to the conversation that's held over three debates and the forth, with the vice presidential debate, and they'll decide who can help their family, who will be able to get our economy going in the way it could be going," he said, expressing his hope that "they'll make their decision based on what they believe is in the best interest of the country and their own family"
"I expect to be able to describe that in a way people will understand," Romney continued, "and if they do, I'll get elected."
Asked about the importance of the first debate - to be held next Wednesday - the GOP candidate said he "can't tell you how important it'll be" but predicted it would help voters "make a more informed choice."
Longtime Romney adviser Beth Myers sought to set expectations for the candidate's debate performance in a campaign memo obtained by CNN on Thursday, writing that the opponent - President Barack Obama - is "widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history."
Obama will "use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney," Myers wrote. "We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent."
Romney also spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after attending a fundraiser and campaign rally in Pennsylvania. Romney told reporters aboard his plane that the two spoke about his assessment of where the red line ought to be drawn and my own views with regards to Iran."
Initially, Romney ignored questions about the debates and his call with Netanyahu, instead passing out beef jerky to the reporters aboard his charter flight.
"Guys. It's just - all we've got here is beef jerky," he joked after a reporter asked him a question about his earlier phone call with the Israeli prime minister. "That's all we've got."
Before turning more serious, a reporter suggested that the GOP candidate might bring some of the beef jerky onstage with him at the first debate in Denver.
Romney laughed. "That's a good idea," he said.
– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Peter Hamby contributed to this report
This isn't all about Obama Mitt, it's all about you and Obama.
He is quite right , Americans have become so fickle and empty headed.
You have no longer journalism that gives you the truthful facts and treats you with respect and integrity.
No , they are exercising gutter reporting and omit or add whatever they like to the advantage of their political preference.
If Obama would have ever had the same scrutiny as Clinton and now Romney , he would have never been elected nor would have a chance at being re-elected now.
The lack of free press is the first step of a declining Democracy.
Mitt the Whimp, maybe his wife should hold his hand during the debate.
He's so worried about Obama. Mitt just make sure your I's are dotted and your t's are cross!
It's always a 90 minute attack ad when your not dishing it out!
Remember "You Didn't Build That"
What a bunch of whiners!
I can almost guarantee Romney that no one will care what he is wearing, but his conversation with Netanyahu
regarding "where he thinks the red line should be" and "his own views with regards to Iran" makes me angry.
Romney needs to be telling the American people where his "red line" is, not a foreign leader.
Where do your loyalites lie Mitt?
Jeckers. The "case" is why we should vote for him. He has not only not made the case, he has done the opposite. He has not been presidential, has not been inclusive and has acted like a rich kid not getting his way. Saying that he expects Obama to lie during the debates? What he needed was to have someone who really understands politics and campaigning running his campaign. Like Bush had Rove. I for one am glad he doesn't though.
Since when has anyone cared what the candidates wear for the debate.....as long as it isn't their pajamas.!! This is the FIRST time i have ever heard wardrobe for debaters discussed!!! What in the world is happening to these politicians???
Your comment was quite difficult to follow. You might consider the Obama challenge of operating a government with half of the leaders openly working to obstruct progress. How would a football coach do if half of the players wanted to lose? The President pulled us out of the Bush pile of crap he inherited – in spite of Republican obstructionism.
President Obama. The only President in all of history to make campaign promises he didn't keep. Ain't that right Jeckers?
Mitt Robme ain't gonna lie to you. He just won't tell you his plan until after you elect him. Kinda like a car dealer telling you to give him your money, then he'll show you the car you just bought.
We Always pay attention to what Romney says. We have to, because we usually have to 1) try to figure out why he's saying the exact opposite of what he said one month, week, day ago, depending on what group he's kissing up to, and 2) try to make sense of what he's saying in his awkward ramblings..... If the fate of the US weren't involved, he'd be hilarious to listen to.
Does he really think that we won't be listening with a critical ear and that we usually only care about silly stuff like what they're wearing?
Given the fact that his big mouth has put Obama way in the lead, Romney would be better off if voters looked at his outfit instead of listening to what he says. How he maintained his daddy's fortune is inconceivable. He comes across as very unintelligent and does not lie well at all for a Repub, who mastered the art of lying under Newt's tutelage.
Really? I mean, REALLY? You have already basically said, "The President will lie during the debates", "It really doesn't mean much, expect less from me". Now, "It's not about what I wear"? Can you give me ANY concrete reason to vote for you?
Romney/Ryan reminds me of Russian President,Kruschev's remark;of politicians promising to build a bridge even where there is no river.
Alexithymic Mitt, always being JERKY.
Believe me mittens, after watching your head nearly explode debating other like-minded thugs I wouldn't miss Wednesday's debates for anything! I give you five minutes before you melt down and have another foot in mouth moment, and from what we've seen in the past, that's being generous.
Border less, I totally understood the context of President Obama's statement. You don't go all in the last year because in the event the other guy wins, he may not wish to see things the same way and a whole lot of time ends up being wasted. A perfect real-time example is Israel's nuttyyahoo posturing to get America to start $#!+ with Iran. It's a danged if you do/danged if you don't situation.
In an effort to solidify his base, Romney will be wearing an ascot during the debates.