Team Obama: Don't expect debate 'zingers' from president
September 30th, 2012
05:05 PM ET
2 years ago

Team Obama: Don't expect debate 'zingers' from president

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's re-election campaign said Sunday the president likely won't be flinging barbs during this week's presidential debate.

"If you're expecting that, that's probably not what he's going to deliver," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One. "He's speaking directly to the American people, and what they want to hear is what his plan is for moving the country forward."

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Psaki was referring to reports that the president's opponent, Mitt Romney, was "working on zingers" and memorizing short attack lines to fire off at the president during Wednesday's debate in Denver, the first presidential showdown this cycle.

Her comments came as the president flew to Nevada, where he holds a rally in Las Vegas Sunday night before staying off the trail and in debate preparation for the final few days leading up to the event in Denver.

Psaki added the president's focus will be more trained on the audience at home than his competitor on stage.

"This will be a very large audience. He wants to speak directly to the families, the people on their couches at home, having snacks, drinking a beer, drinking a soda, whatever it is, and tuning in for the first time. And that's who he's speaking directly to," she said.

Continuing to lower expectations - a game both campaigns have played for well over a week - Psaki added Obama's White House duties have limited his debate preparation, saying it's "difficult to schedule significant blocks of time when you're the president."

As part of his practice, however, Psaki said the debate team has been watching debates that date back years, including Romney's face-offs with Republicans and Democrats. They note Romney's experience, especially in the Republican primary this year, has trained the candidate to perform well.

"(Romney) has been disciplined and been able to give short answers, so we know that's a strength," Psaki said, adding that Obama on the other hand has a "tendency to give longer substantive answers."

She continued to set the bar high for Romney, saying the Republican nominee and "his team have been clear, what they need, what they expect from the debates is a game-changing performance."

Asked why Obama was holding his debate prep in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Psaki said Nevada was a "key state for us" and pointed to the early voting start date of October 20.


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. norma jean

    Mr. "PAIN".......... our "BOY" ????....Do I note a touch of descention here????

    October 1, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. WhereIsPalin

    RYAN / romney............It's PALIN / mccain all over again.

    Vote RYAN / romney..........Anybody but Obama?? You get what you ask for.

    October 1, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "I have not seen Romneyhood in one urban area or a poor neighborhood in the south. They can't say that there are not any in the south, because that would be a lie. "

    Mittens has been a liar since he fell out of his mother, silver spoon and all. You can take that to the bank. Just make sure it's an American bank.

    October 1, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Jim

    Romney reminds me of Frank Burns from the old MASH series. He needs script writers because he can't think on his feet. Seems like he can't think for himself sitting down either. McCain saw his tax returns and picked Palin. That's all I need to know.

    October 1, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -norma jean

    Mr. "PAIN".......... our "BOY" ????....Do I note a touch of descention here????
    *****************************
    No, its disdain...disdain for the man who cheerfully wrote off almost half of the population of this country because he assumes he knows their work ethic. Romney is nothing more than the tool for the plutocrats who want to buy an election and put , to paraphrase Gover Norquist, a man who is nothing more than a well-trained hand to write tax cuts into law that will only serve to move more wealth into the hands of the people who have no interest (vested, moral, or otherwise) in investing it in the United States or its people. How can you respect anyone who shamelessly contorts himself into an ideological pretzel for donors, insults hard-working people, and expect him to lead the WHOLE country? The short answer is no, you can't.

    October 1, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. lolo

    @ Mike, he does't need to practice to go against Romneyhood. Heck my 6 year old grandaughter would tear Romney a new one in a debate. If you don't know you better ask somebody, because your boy Romneyhood is nothing but a wimp. He walks like a girl and is tooooo soft to be a man. You better warn him not too throw out those zingers, because he is so out of touch, he can't think fast on his feet. He wouldn't even know what the comebacks that President Obama throws back at him mean. Romney is too prissy to be a man that is the real truth. He thinks he is a man because he sired 5 boys and has a wife who does exactly what he says. This is not the mormon world where he is use to getting his way and being pampered, this is the real world. Romneyhood had better shape up real fast.

    October 1, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. ghostriter

    Four years ago, republicans were screaming that if Obama was elected, this country would not last another four years. Four years later, republicans are screaming the same thing.

    I dunno guys. Weathermen don't get it wrong this much and we yell at them. Yet we seem to keep these losers around for some reason that I can't fathom.

    October 1, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. lolo

    It is funny that the GOP'ers on here who accuse President Obama of doing things wrong are actually describing Romneyhood to a tee, but they can't see the forrest for the trees. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 1, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. truth hurts

    lolo
    @ Tom Paine. You are correct and I agree with you. I have not seen Romneyhood in one urban area or a poor neighborhood in the south.
    ============================================================================================
    hahahahaha.... haven't seen any pictures of Obama and Biden there either! All of their appearances aqre in front of their union masters or the useful college idiots that they are conning into voting for them while dumping trillions in debt on their backs.

    October 1, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. MR

    Here is the problem with Gov. Romney getting the top job. Obama own in 2008 appealing to the middle. Republicans are becoming so conservative that Mr. Romney had to leave his prior center values to appeal to far right conservative base.

    On top of that, I am not sure if I want a businessman as a president. I have seen corporations where CEO has a plan to create cash flow and profit in the short term to maximize the compensation package for himself. I have seen too many corporations go bankrupt for short sightedness of their leadership and scary thing is - it is deliberate.There are very few and far between Corporate leaders who wants to make a very sound and stable business for long term. Can we afford to have a businessman as a head of our country?

    If you compare China to US, they have a surplus and one of the fastest growing economy. But, what cost? Wage inequality is worse in a socialist society(!?). Do you want a society where few benefits from suffering from mass majority?

    I think President Obama is their for long term success of the people in this country. If you look at President's track record, he is genuinely working for regular citizens to realize American dream. American dream was never about becoming a billionaire - becoming rich. To me it is about majority people being able to live at least a middle class life. If that is not the case, what is the difference between a third world country and United States?

    October 1, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. blake

    "Longer substantative answers" from Obama? Are you kidding me. The master divider, blamer, deceiver, liar.

    October 1, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. ghostriter

    truthhurts, Obama holds rallies at the local community college here in Ohio. In the middle of downtown Cleveland. It doesn't get more urban than that.

    October 1, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. REGinAZ

    It is not only the contestents and their parties that seek to manipulate expectations, the media is also aggressively trying to stir emotions and expectations with their constant slanted reporting; the media wants more hype and controversy to reap the benefit of increased interest. It would be nice if everyone would just seek and accept the truth, even if that would be a landslide in one sides favor; twisting reality to create hype and confusion might help the media sell their articles and it might help one contestent or the other by keeping voters confused but it really lacks any real benefit for the people.

    October 1, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. just sayin

    ghostriter
    truthhurts, Obama holds rallies at the local community college here in Ohio. In the middle of downtown Cleveland. It doesn't get more urban than that
    ===========================================================================================
    Like I said, the useful idiot pool of Obama voters... Where has he been in the deep south? NOWHERE!

    October 1, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. MR

    Blake,

    master divider - Mr. President tried representing everyone. Do you think Rich and powerful need any help from the president? Government should try to make the playing field fair for everyone to succeed. I don't think there is anything wrong with it unless you like the unfair advantage.

    blamer - How can we correct something if we bring the truth to light by blaming who is to be blamed. George W. Bush's policy contributed to the economic hole we are in from Iraq war to tax cut for very rich - as you know top 5% has a much lower tax bracket than middle class because of less than 15% tax on capital gain ( see unfair advantage ).

    deceiver - please explain ( zingers - anyone? ).

    liar - again explain. ( You should really stop watching "fair and balanced" shows(not new) - please do the research for yourself ).

    October 1, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -truth hurts

    lolo
    @ Tom Paine. You are correct and I agree with you. I have not seen Romneyhood in one urban area or a poor neighborhood in the south.
    ============================================================================================
    hahahahaha.... haven't seen any pictures of Obama and Biden there either! All of their appearances aqre in front of their union masters or the useful college idiots that they are conning into voting for them while dumping trillions in debt on their backs.
    ****************************
    As opposed to the Kochs, Adelmans and their ilk, holding Romney on their leash while he feverishly agrees with them? Anyone who has bothered to score what few details Romney has bothered to release on his budgeting and job creation " ideas" agrees that gutting programs to pay for more tax cuts won't solve the problem of the debt, and it will not generate a single job. Romney is the one who has the credibility problem with anyone who is not white and rich, not Obama. Obama's base of support has been secure, while Romney the lap dog has been yammering like a terrier in an effort to keep his base of Red State yokels focused. Plain and simple, its a waste of time. The independents are moving towards Obama in virtually all the swing states, more than enough to send the Mormon aristocrat packing to the home state of his choice.

    October 1, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Wake up people!

    Willard Robmey who claims to be from Michigan would rather walk through he!! wearing his magical undies doused in gasoline before he would ever step foot in Detroit. Everytime he comes to town his rallies are held in Pro Republican, white bread, high income areas. You know where the CEO's of the major companies are.

    As for President Obama going near the south, I would prefer that he didn't. I will NEVER forget what happened to President Kennedy or Dr. King.

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 1, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. MR

    Blake, apologies for my comment for assuming something about you on my last comment.

    Obviously, you are blogging in this website - so you are a obviously a person who is willing to discuss opinions and ideas. And intelligent enough to research for yourself.

    By the way, thank you for sharing your views.

    October 1, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. ghostriter

    just saying, that was in response to truthless hurts statement that Obama is never in the hood. Obama has also been in the south. Does it get any deeper than Florida? Why is Romney in Westlake and other suburban areas and not the inner city?

    October 1, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    It appears as thought the rightie apologists are hard at work again on here, insulting the intelligence of the people who have been impacted the most by 3 decades of flawed policies by the Right. Its amazing the amnesia they demonstrate, referring to college students as "idiots", or "union masters", or by simply labelling anyone who does not agree with them as a lazy drug-adict. This is how the Right operates: nothing positive, nothing uplifting, no solutions, only blame. They have abviously jettisoned the cornerstone of conservative ideas, personal responsibility, in favor of ad ominem attacks because they feel that its just simply a case of not being understood. We understand you all too well: come back when you've got an idea that does not involve hysterical accusations or conspiracy theories, and are prepared to work: the rest of the country will be waiting.

    October 1, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    just sayin

    ghostriter
    truthhurts, Obama holds rallies at the local community college here in Ohio. In the middle of downtown Cleveland. It doesn't get more urban than that
    ===========================================================================================
    Like I said, the useful idiot pool of Obama voters... Where has he been in the deep south? NOWHERE!
    ****************************************
    FL, NC, VA...last time I checked, they are in the Deep South. Its about battlegorund states, or have you not bothered to watch the news? You might want to ask Romney why he is bothering in PA when he is down by 10 points? He should have been doing that months ago....now its too late for Mittens.

    October 1, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Obama not the "Zinger"

    Team Obama voted that Pres Obama will not be the "zinger" in the debates.....>>>>>>>This way to the White House Romney....45th President of the United States of America......!

    October 1, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Obama not the "Zinger"

    Team Obama voted that Pres Obama will not be the "zinger" in the debates.....>>>>>>>This way to the White House Romney....45th President of the United States of America......!
    ***************************
    A "zinger" from the over-eager Mormon aristocrat is not going to budge things. Part of being the president means thinking and weighing your answer carefully, something notably missing from Romney's makeup. Obama will filet him at a place and time of his choosing. Obama is not Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann: this is the person who beat Hillary in debates, and went on to dominate McCain.

    October 1, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Looks like truth is posting under multiple personalities again today ... he's allowing himself to get bent out of shape enough that he must be terribly worried Romney will lose.

    October 1, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. just sayin

    >ghostriter
    >just saying, that was in response to truthless hurts statement that Obama is never in the hood. Obama has also been in the >south. Does it get any deeper than Florida?

    florida is not the deep south. florida is considered a northern state when it comes to elections. alabama, mississippi, lousiana, that is the deep south.

    October 1, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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