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Obama's game day: Debate prep, relaxing with old pals

October 16, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama, with debate advisor Anita Dunn, right, and senior White House advisor David Plouffe, leaves a resort in Virginia on his way to New York for the debate.
President Obama, with debate advisor Anita Dunn, right, and senior White… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

MELVILLE, N.Y. -- His performance tonight could determine whether he’s a one-term president or a political escape artist. So how does President Obama spend his final hours before the big debate?

Getting some last-minute debate prep in, before hanging in a hotel room with old friends, a campaign aide said.

Obama arrived in New York about eight hours before his second showdown with GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Ater a brief walk around the debate venue at Hofstra University, he headed to a local hotel to count down the hours.

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The campaign aide said the president had plans to spend another hour in debate preparation before the town-hall-style forum. That’s on top of a 45-minute review session he had this morning while still in Williamsburg, Va., site of his “debate camp,” the aide said.

Obama’s team is eager to show the president hard at work brushing up his skills. After Obama’s dismal performance in the first debate blew his campaign’s momentum, Democrats openly wondered whether the president still had the fire in the belly necessary to pull off a win. 

Obama spent three days hunkered down in Virginia, where aides described him as hitting the books and conducting mock debate sessions. He went on only one public outing – a visit to one of his local campaign offices. He was back at his debate camp in less than an hour.

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On Tuesday, when the campaign arranged for photographers and reporters to get a glimpse of the president on the big day, the president tried to appear loose. He strolled down a street at the Kingsmill resort, flanked by two advisors. Obama declared he felt “fabulous” and marveled at the nice weather.

Like an athlete wanting to stick to his routine on game day, Obama worked out Tuesday morning, as he always does. A disciplined eater, he had pasta with chicken for lunch, the aide said. He plans to eat dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama before the debate. Apparently they already know the menu: steak and potatoes, the aide said.

In the meantime, Obama will spend some time relaxing with two old friends – Marty Nesbitt, a close friend from Chicago, and Mike Ramos, a childhood buddy.

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kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

Twitter: @khennessey

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