Party Leaders Predict Next Presidential Debate More Spirited

Obama to Press Romney at Next Debate, Democratic Chairwoman Says
Obama is planning to actively challenge Romney in the second debate, as per the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Romney (L) and Obama are shown here after the first debate on October 3, 2012. Photographer: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

The Democrats’ national chairwoman expects a more aggressive Barack Obama in the next presidential debate. Her Republican counterpart is counting on the same Mitt Romney to show up.

The president will “come out strong, and we’ll see a spirited discussion,” U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, head of the Democratic National Committee, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. She said that in the first debate, held Oct. 3 in Denver, the Republican nominee lied about his plans.

“You can give Mitt Romney points for style, but, really, I think you have to take a lot of points off for how untruthful he was during the entire debate,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I mean, from beginning to end, he lied about his own proposals.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in a separate interview for “Political Capital,” said Romney won in Denver, though “it’s not good enough to just have one great night, and it was a great night.”

In their next debate on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, New York, “you’re going to see the same Mitt Romney,” Priebus said. “He’s passionate. He’s got a command of issues.”

In a CBS News poll taken immediately after the Denver debate, 46 percent of 523 undecided voters said Romney won the confrontation and 22 percent said Obama did. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

Biden, Ryan

Before the presidential candidates face off again, Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney’s running mate, will debate Oct. 11 in Danville, Kentucky. “It’s going to be a very interesting evening,” Priebus said.

“I expect them both to come in prepared,” Wasserman Schultz said. “They’ll both be effective.”

She also said a federal government report yesterday that put last month’s unemployment rate at 7.8 percent, the lowest since Obama took office in January 2009, shows “we’re moving in the right direction.”

“We need to make more progress, but it’s important to have policies in place like the ones President Obama has,” the Florida congresswoman said.

Competitive States

Priebus said voters in competitive states aren’t “jumping up for joy” because of the lower rate. “Life under Barack Obama just hasn’t been as he promised it would be,” he said. “And that’s really the issue.”

The Democrats in August poured four times more money into state party committees than the Republicans did, Federal Election Commission records show.

The Republican National Committee went into September with close to $77 million in the bank, compared with just over $7 million for its Democratic counterpart.

The Democrats spent their money on the “largest, most dynamic, most significant grassroots presidential campaign in history,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It was important to get that money into the field and get people neighbor-to-neighbor and door-to-door to talk to their friends and neighbors about why they support the president.”

Ground Operation

Priebus said Republicans are also investing their money in the grassroots. “We’re funding the biggest ground operation in the history of the RNC,” he said. “We’ve already made more phone calls and more doors than all of 2008.”

Wasserman Schultz said she expected Obama to carry her home state, which the president led by one point in a Sept. 30-Oct. 1 NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey, down from five points earlier last month. The survey had an error margin of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

The NBC/Journal poll gave Obama a 50 percent to 45 percent edge in Wisconsin, though Priebus said Romney would be competitive in the chairman’s home state. “Wisconsin is going to be tight,” Priebus said. The Wisconsin survey had a 3.2 percentage-point error margin.

Asked about potential surprises on Election Day Nov. 6, Wasserman Schultz said she expected Democrat Betty Sutton to defeat Republican Jim Renacci in a battle of House incumbents in Ohio, while Priebus predicted victories for Republican Senate nominees Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Linda Lingle in Hawaii.

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