(CNN) – A senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney's campaign on Monday disagreed with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's sunny prediction for the GOP nominee's performance in this week's presidential debate.
"I don't think any one event is going to dramatically alter the race," Kevin Madden told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta on the campaign plane heading to Colorado.
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While both campaigns have been playing the game of lowering expectations for the upcoming debates, Christie appeared somewhat out of the loop Sunday when he said he anticipates Romney to turn the race "upside down" and do "extraordinarily well" during Wednesday night's showdown in Denver.
"When we get to Thursday morning, you'll be saying it's a brand new race with 33 days to go," Christie said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, was setting the bar high for President Barack Obama - not Romney.
"(Obama) has been on the national stage for many years, he's an experienced debater, he's done these kinds of debates before," Ryan said in an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News. "This is Mitt's first time on this kind of a stage."
And Sen. John McCain - who has debated both Obama and Romney - said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he can't recall "breakthrough" moments in debates of recent memory.
"I can't remember the last time there was one of these comments that grabbed everybody's attention," McCain said.
While Christie's remarks Sunday seemed to fall out of line with Team Romney's pre-debate strategy, Madden said he nonetheless appreciated the Republican governor's enthusiasm.
However, he emphasized debates aren't the end-all, be-all.
"Look, I like his optimism. I think everybody in the campaign feeds off of that optimism," Madden said, but added: "I think that the debates are … one of four conversations that we're going to be having, including the vice presidential debate, and part of a much larger conversation that we're going to be having over the next 35-plus days with voters."
– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.