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First debate jitters? Obama, Romney camps maneuver for advantage (+video)

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"That's where he shines," Gov. Christie said, also speaking on CBS. "He's going to lay out his vision for America, and for the first time a majority of the people who are going to vote in this race will have an opportunity to make that direct comparison."

"This whole race is going to turn upside down come Thursday morning," he said – implying, as Gingrich did, that Romney’s pre-debate position does not portend victory in November.

“We've had some missteps, but at the end of the day, the choice is really clear and we're giving people a very clear choice,” Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Still, Rep. Ryan sought to downplay the importance of the debate.

“I don’t think one event is going to make or break this campaign,” he said. “Look, President Obama is a very gifted speaker. The man’s been on the national stage for many years, he’s an experienced debater, he’s done these kinds of debates before. This is Mitt’s first time on this kind of a stage.”

Still, as Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out, Romney did endure 23 debates during the primary campaign, and he’s been running for president non-stop since before the 2008 election.

Not surprisingly, White House senior adviser David Plouffe plays up Romney’s debating skills.

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