WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The Obama campaign today declined to comment on reports that they are concerned about the role moderator Candy Crowley intends to play at Tuesday night’s debate, but said the president is “prepared for and ready to take questions from wherever they come.”
“I’m not going to get into the specifics of the [debate] negotiations, but obviously this is a town hall, which means the questions will be coming from the American people in the audience. But if questions come from other sources, he’s happy to address those questions as well,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
The Romney and Obama campaigns are reportedly upset about the active role Crowley intends to play at the debate, after the campaigns agreed with the Commission on Presidential Debates that the CNN anchor’s participation would be limited.
“There are discussions around every debate. I’m not going to get into the specifics of those,” Psaki said. “I will say that the president is looking forward to the debate tomorrow night. Looking forward to answering questions from the American people who will be in the audience. But he is prepared for and ready to take questions from wherever they come. And I’ll leave it at that.”
After his lackluster performance at the first debate, the president is expected to be more aggressive in his second face-off with Mitt Romney. “He’s going to be firm and respectful in correcting the record,” Psaki said. “He’s energized and I expect he will be making a passionate case.”
The president has spent the past two days hunkered down with his advisers, practicing and studying at a luxury resort in this historic town. The campaign will not say how the president has tweaked his prep to ready for the town hall format, but has admitted he is making some adjustments. “It was good to get one debate under his belt,” Psaki said. “He watched that back and looked at what he did well and what he feels he could have done better… That informs his prep.”
The president is taking some study breaks. “He’s spent a little time enjoying the grounds, walking around and taking in the beautiful atmosphere we have here,” Psaki said. “But his focus has been on preparing for tomorrow and He’s looking forward to it. He’s excited for it… He’s calm and energized.”