How Obama Team Is Preparing for First Debate

President heads into first debate with narrow lead over Mitt Romney.
3:00 | 10/01/12

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Transcript for How Obama Team Is Preparing for First Debate
The countdown on. Barack obama and mitt romney getting ready to face off for the first time in this week's debate. And we have a new poll, asking americans how they would vote if the election were held right now. The abc news/"washington post" poll shows the two contenders separated just two points among likely voters. 36 days to go now before your voice, your vote. And abc's jake tapper and abc's david muir are traveling with the candidates to tell us how you train for a debate night that could change everything. Jake leads us off. Jake? Reporter: Diane, top obama campaign officials have been pouring over republican debate tapes, studying mitt romney. And according to one person familiar with the president's debate preparations, it has been exhausting work and the president is definitely out of practice, though, of course, the campaign has been trying to lower expectations. President obama has been practicing for the debates at the westin lake, las vegas, resort and spa. 17 miles from the las vegas strip. Presidential debate veteran john kerry is participating in the mock debates, pretending to be a different patrician wealthy massachusetts politician mitt romney. Yesterday, in las vegas, the president tried to lower expectations. I know folks in the media are speculating already on who's going to have the best zingers. You are! Governor romney, he's a good debater. I'm just okay. Reporter: A new poll shows the president enjoys advantages going into this debate. 66% say his policies have favored the middle class, while 57% think romney's, instead, would favor the wealthy. But the campaign sees some liabilities, as well. The president can get peevish when challenged. You're likable enough, hillary. Reporter: His debate prep team is studying bedates from the last 20 or so years, focusing on unforced, stylistic errors, such as al gores sighs. The president is also quite verbose. When I asked him a two-part question in august, his answer was -- on afghanistan. Reporter: Longer than 5 1/2 minutes. He's working to make answers crisper and more concise. Obama aides say they see one of romney's key weaknesses, his reluctance to go into detail about his policies, for instance, he has not indicated what tax loopholes he would close to pay for his tax cuts. They hope he will be pressed for this. We go now to david muir

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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