President Obama will head to Williamsburg, Va., on Saturday to prepare for Tuesday's debate.
(Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
by David Jackson, USA TODAY
Cue the Rocky theme music.
President Obama is headed for training camp this weekend - debate training, that is - and promising his supporters a more aggressive performance in Tuesday's rematch with Republican rival Mitt Romney.
"I think it's fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one," Obama told radio host Tom Joyner.
Obama will work on his rhetorical punches, policy jabs and other forms of political pugilism at "debate camp" in Williamsburg, Va. He is scheduled to arrive in Williamsburg on Saturday and leave Tuesday, when he heads north for the debate at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island.
Romney was widely seen as the winner of the first round on Oct. 3 in Denver, according to CNN, CBS and other polls. Even fellow Democrats called Obama's performance listless and uninspired, and Obama told ABC News he had "a bad night."
Even worse for him, the president saw his lead over Romney shrink in a string of polls, both nationally and in key swing states.
In interviews, Obama said he let Romney shift positions during the debate, especially over the size of his proposed tax cut and how it threatens major program cuts and tax hikes for the middle class.
This time, Obama said in his radio interview, he will present the differences in "crystal clear fashion." He also told Joyner that, next week, "a lot of the hand-wringing will be complete, because we're going to go ahead and win this thing."
The two candidates have a third and final debate scheduled Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Pounding Romney in public wouldn't exactly be a change of pace for Obama; he's been doing it on the stump for months.
In an appearance Thursday at the University of Miami in Florida, Obama said Romney is only telling people what he thinks they want to hear. The Republican candidate is trying to "go through an Extreme Makeover," Obama said.
"After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said.
Romney, also will be practicing for the debate, from his home base in Boston. The Republican nominee and his supporters also have a different interpretation of the first debate.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said Obama's problem wasn't a lack of aggressiveness, but the facts of a bad economy - the same issue that will shadow him Tuesday night.
"His problem was he's done a lousy job as president," Priebus said.
Obama also held debate camp prior to the first bout with Romney, spending three days in the Las Vegas area before heading to Denver.
During that trip, he visited a local campaign office - where he said debate practice was "a drag" - and took a side trip to the Hoover Dam.
It's not known whether Obama will appear in public during his trip to the home of Colonial Williamsburg.
Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Obama "knows he had a bad night" in Denver and is looking forward to next week's rematch.
"We know it's a big opportunity," she said, "and we feel good about how prepared he'll be."