Mitt Romney has made preparation a priority, taking days off the campaign trail in recent weeks to prepare. Obama, meanwhile, has only engaged in several preparation sessions, although he plans a three-day crash course in Nevada before the first debate Oct. 3.
As ABC News' political director Amy Walter pointed out today, debates can mean the difference in a presidential campaign.
It rarely happens, but she pointed to Gallup data showing that George W. Bush might have benefited enough from the debates to squeak into Election Day. And the rest is Supreme Court history.
"He did get some help from the Supreme Court. But, the fact remains that Bush came into the debates down 8 points to Al Gore, but came out of the debate period ahead by 4 points," Walter wrote today.
In advance, both campaigns this week sought to lower expectations for their debate performances.
Devin Dwyer and Sunlen Miller reported from Ohio. Z. Byron Wolf contributed from Washington, D.C.