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Report: Romney has begun debate prep

July 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, July 7 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney began preparing for his first debate with U.S. President Barack Obama last month, campaign sources told the New York Daily News.

The Daily News reported Saturday "Romney sources" say two prep sessions were shoehorned into Romney's schedule during a three-day retreat for Republican leaders and big donors at the Chateaux at Silver Lake in Park City, Utah. The sources said Romney and several aides got together to discuss what questions are likely to come up and the best answers for them.

Romney and Obama are scheduled to square off in three debates, the first one Oct. 3 in Denver.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has already been identified as Obama's sparring partner in practice sessions. But a campaign source told the News Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, does not especially like "podium practices" and will not spend a lot of time in that kind of preparation.

"There will be some role-playing but not as much as other presidential candidates," the adviser said. "The traditional model doesn't fit his style."

Those around him say Romney understands the debates will be critical and that Obama is a tougher opponent than the Republican candidates he took on during the primaries.

"He needs to stay totally focused on the economy and not take the bait on red herrings," one source told the News. "He has to be the most knowledgeable guy on the podium and avoid dumb comments that get him off message."

The other debates are scheduled to be at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Oct. 16 and in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22.

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