Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Presidential Election

October 2, 2012

Romney says debate isn't about winning and losing

BLUEFIELD —

DENVER (AP) — After dozens of hours of practice, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney arrived in Colorado on Monday for his first debate with President Barack Obama, telling thousands of voters he thinks the debates will be about "something bigger" than just who appears to emerge the winner.

"In my view it's not so much winning and losing or even the people themselves, the president and myself — it's about something bigger than that," Romney told a cheering crowd of thousands.

The Republican's campaign has been counting on the debates with President Barack Obama to set Romney on a path to winning the presidency. Romney spent more than eight days in September holding mock debates, poring over policy briefing books and sparring with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who stood in for Obama.

Romney planned another day of preparation Tuesday at his hotel on the outskirts of Denver, where most of his top advisers and at least a dozen more junior aides milled about in the lobby on Monday night.

They'd just come from the rally, held at a cavernous hangar at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, where Romney tried to enunciate a clearer message than the varying pitches he's made to voters in recent weeks. Though his campaign once talked about nothing but the economy, all the time, he's recently diverged into subjects including wealth distribution, Medicare and foreign policy as he has looked to seize any opportunity to gain ground on the incumbent president.

Romney also brought up immigration in an interview published Tuesday by The Denver Post, saying he would honor temporary work permits for young illegal immigrants who were allowed to stay in the U.S. because of an Obama administration decision.

The message wasn't as muddled by Monday night's rally. J, O, B, S — jobs — was spelled out giant banners posted behind the stage where Romney stood, with supporters perched on stacked risers so they appeared next to the giant letters.

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Presidential Election