Mitt Romney would love another debate like the last one. President Barack Obama most certainly would not.
Twenty-one days before Election Day, Debate Two comes as both candidates seek to break out of a neck-and-neck national race with the type of debate performance and vision that could help sway a narrow band of undecided voters in a handful of crucial states.
Romney needs to reinforce his case that he's an agent of change and raise further doubts about Obama's economic tenure in the face of some positive signs of recovery. Obama must reverse the corrosive story line ignited by his lame performance in the first debate and make a convincing case for four more years of his presidency.
The president has promised not to be the disengaged Obama of Debate One. Yet he won't be the caffeinated, grinning, eyes-to-the-sky Joe Biden of last Thursday's vice presidential faceoff, either. Obama's approach is more likely to resemble the methodical, persistent and affable debating style of Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate.
Still, Obama says he was too polite in the first debate. His aides promise a more aggressive president this time.
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