With the RNC and DNC out of the way, it's nearly time for President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to participate in one-on-one debates. The first face-off is slated for Oct. 3 in Denver, and Obama has already begun his preparation, practicing with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who has been the stand-in for Romney. Elsewhere, Romney is tucked away on a Vermont estate, sparring with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, his stand-in for Obama, reports the Associated Press.
The second debate, a town hall-style session, is Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y. The final debate, on foreign policy, is Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla. GOP running mate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden have one debate, Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
Incumbents usually are at a disadvantage, defending a record against a challenger critiquing four years of work. Obama will be trying to avoid the fate of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who turned in flat debate performances in their first encounters with rivals. In the end, though, it didn't hurt either one as they both won re-election.
"Debating is a muscle that doesn't get used very often," said Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University and the author of "Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV." ''Mitt Romney is better toned because he came off 20-plus primary debates. President Obama has not been on a debate stage in four years."
Read more at the Associated Press.