Washington: All eyes are on Tuesday night`s second presidential debate. Would US President Barack Obama get back into the game with a "stronger, more assertive performance" or would another "bad night" seal his fate in a dead-heat White House race?
Most media reports on Tuesday`s debate at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, portray the race as either a virtual tie or Obama to lose even as they note of the polling boost Republican challenger Mitt Romney has enjoyed since the first debate Oct 3.
"Even Obama`s widely panned first debate outing only moved the polls a bit - though, given the closeness of the race, that was enough to alter the contest`s momentum," wrote the Los Angeles Times Tuesday while the CBS Evening News reported Monday, "It`s a tie."
"There has been no huge defection of Democrats to Romney, whose uptick in polls has resulted largely from a firming up of Republican support and gains among some independents," the Times said.
The town hall format of the debate, where members of the audience ask questions, is said to favour the president, who is described repeatedly as possessing superior interpersonal skills, according to the Political Bulletin, an influential aggregator of political news.
"Consequently, despite the president`s own acknowledgment that he underperformed in Denver, Romney is once again cast as the underdog," it said.
But the Romney campaign "fret(s) that no matter how well Romney does... the media will inevitably award victory" to the president because "everyone loves a comeback", according to Politico, an influential news site focusing on presidential politics.
"It`s going to be very hard to find observers to say (Obama) was just as bad as he was in the first debate... the last debate sort of lowered a lot of expectations in the minds of many observers," a "senior Romney adviser" was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign reported that it had raised $170 million in September, the Republican party`s "biggest haul of the campaign cycle", but it falls "short of the staggering $181 million monthly total reported by President Obama`s re-election campaign", according to the Washington Post.