Denver (CNN) - Zingers? Maybe. Knock out punches? No.
Aides to Mitt Romney told CNN the GOP contender will not be looking for a "knock out" punch at tonight's first presidential debate.
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Instead, campaign officials say Romney will try to draw a contrast with President Obama on the economy. "A clear choice," is how Romney aides have repeatedly described it in recent days.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that's the right approach. "This is not an athletic competition," Rubio said. "This is a debate between two men – one who wants to be president and one who wants to stay there, and one who wants to offer us a new direction," he added.
One of the campaign's other priorities, officials say, is to maintain what they see as a "trajectory" in recent polls showing the race tightening.
Aides to the GOP nominee also expect him to be challenged by the president to offer more specifics about the Romney plan to lower income tax rates by 20 percent.
After months of declining to specify exactly how he would pay those tax cuts, Romney offered a few new details to Denver TV station, KDVR. During the interview he suggested he may seek to limit a whole slew of popular taxpayer deductions to $17,000.
"You could do something for instance, you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction," Romney explained. "You can use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction or others – health care deduction – you can fill that bucket – the $17 thousand bucket. Higher income people may have a lower number."
As for all of the recent talk about zingers, Romney officials did not say whether the Republican contender has a few one-liners ready to go. However, the aides said it "would not be difficult" to challenge the president on the economy. Translation: wait and see.