President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will come under intense scrutiny during their first debate
Wednesday. AP's Connie Cass says there are five things to watch for during their debate. (Oct. 2)
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SHOTLIST SOUNDBITE: CONNIE CASS ASSOCIATED PRESSCovered with various pool of Obama and Romneyi think the first point in this first debate between mitt romney and barack obama is really that romney is going to feel that a lot of the burden is on him because he's been slipping a little bit in the polls especially in the polls in the all important battleground states so if the president feels he can just sort of hold his ground. For romney maybe he needs to come in and be a little more aggressive and try to score some points, but obama on the defensive, especially about the economy and try to make this debate about the economy.Sticking with this idea of barack obama and the economy i think voters are really going to be watching to see whether or not the president can defend what he's done so far and his failrure to bring about a swifter recovery. Unemployment is 8.1%. A lot of people are still really hurting and he's going to be on the defensive on that. He's got to find a way to pursuade people that he can actually do something even though he hasn't doesn't as much as they would have liked to have seen in four years so far.For mitt romney, the big question that he has to answer is this 47% remark that's been hanging over his campaign now. When he said that 47% of americans don't pay taxes and don't seem to want to take responsibility for their own lives. That did not go over very well and he needs to find a way to explain what he was trying to say there and he'll probably do this by talking about how he cares about 100% of americans, but he has to find a way to neutralize that issues.Another point that people need to watch for in the debate is not what the candidates are actually saying but how they say it. A lot of times the things that people end up remembering are more a visual image, a tone of voice. We think of the first president bush looking at his watch during the debate or al gore audibly sighing george w. Bush was answering during debates. Sometimes people come away with an idea about the character of the candidate. It's really based more on body language or some intangible perception.The final thing is just look for a surprise because that's what makes the debates fun really is that even though there's a lot of rehearsal that goes into this, they're unscripted and you can be almost guaranteed that there will be either a question from the moderator or an attack from the other opponent that's going to take the candidates by surprise. The'yre caught off guard, they have to think on their feet and do they do a good job of that or not?