Presidential candidates prepare for town hall debate - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Presidential candidates prepare for town hall debate

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The presidential candidates are only hours away from their second crucial debate, exactly three weeks from Election Day.

Mitt Romney is looking to keep his edge and President Obama is hoping to get back on top. This time they take on a town hall format—answering questions from voters who have not yet committed to either candidate.

Tuesday night's debate will be a town hall - which means audience members will be asking the questions. They are undecided voters pre-selected by the moderator.

The format presents inherent challenges for both President Obama and Mitt Romney.

"Both candidates have to tread lightly because if they are going on the offense too aggressively with each other, that can spill over to the audience and make them look too combative," Communications Expert Brett O'Donnell said.

The President was widely criticized after the first debate. His campaign says he's made adjustments.

"I think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country," David Axelrod, Obama Campaign Senior Strategist, said on Fox News Sunday.

Mitt Romney's debate prep partner Ohio Senator Rob Portman is optimistic about Romney's chances.

Town hall debates provide a new atmosphere, and in the past they have provided memorable moments.

There was the 2008 debate where Senator McCain wandered aimlessly around the stage. Also, remember in 2000 when Al Gore walked right up to George W Bush in a particularly awkward moment?

And then the classic 1992 move from the first President Bush, where he checked his watch.

"It's a totally different experience, obviously, when you have citizens who are asking you questions, rather than professional journalists," Janet Brown, Executive Director Commission on Presidential Debates, said.

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll found a huge spike in strong enthusiasm among Romney supporters. But it also found the president holding a slight edge nationwide among likely voters.

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