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STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
ROMNEY: We've got to win in Virginia.
OBAMA: We will win Ohio.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hours away for that crucial first debate, both sides work the refs and gave expectations.
ROMNEY: He's trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don't. And that ends, I think, during the debate.
(UNKNOWN): Romney is a very good debater. He's practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced.
GINGRICH: Both the moderator and Obama are going to come after him.
(UNKNOWN): Romney's actually pretty good on his feet in debates.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The big questions, can Romney reset his campaign with a strong debate? Or with early voting underway...
(UNKNOWN): President Obama.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... is it too late for a turnaround?
Four years from his last debate...
OBAMA: You're wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... will be President Obama be rusty? Or can he break the race wide open? We'll ask our headliners, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the president's top political adviser, David Plouffe. And insight and analysis on our powerhouse roundtable. Squaring off, former party chairs Haley Barbour and Howard Dean, plus, Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, and Maggie Haberman of Politico.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from ABC News election headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. We are heading into the home stretch of this campaign, just 37 days before the final votes, with all eyes on this week's first debate. The candidacy are hunkering down at debate camp, but all our guests ready to weigh in on where the race stands, what to expect Wednesday, and what it all means for the final weeks of this race.
White House adviser David Plouffe standing by for the president, but let's begin with the Romney camp and the man who kicked off the Republican convention last month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Good morning, Governor Christie.
CHRISTIE: Thanks. Good morning, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So since the convention, Governor Romney has fallen behind in the national polls, behind in the battlegrounds. New polls out this morning, Ohio and Iowa, behind in both. I know that we just were laughing about the expectation setting on both sides, but Governor Romney has to shake things up Wednesday night, doesn't he?
CHRISTIE: He's going to. I mean, every time Mitt Romney has been confronted in this campaign with one of these moments, he has come through in the debate and performing extraordinarily well, laying out his vision very clearly, and also contrasting himself and his vision with whoever his opponent was at that time. So I have absolute confidence that, when we get to Thursday morning, George, all you're going to be shaking your head, saying it's a brand-new race with 33 days to go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how does he do it, though? Because you've said several months ago, the more we see of Governor Romney, more voters are going to like him. That hasn't happened yet. On the one hand, he has to be assertive with the president, but likable to voters. How does he manage that balance?