With the first presidential debate slated for Wednesday, October 3rd, President Barack Obama and his opponent, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, have been preparing extensively.
Many political analysts and Democratic party members insist that for President Obama, these debates are his best opportunity to reintroduce the passion, vigor and idealistic visions that earned him his seat in the White House in 2008.
As a result, Obama has reportedly been working on channeling some of his inner passion.
“He’s been really trying to tap into that side of himself – doing a little cooking, some singing. He’s using Latin American culture as a real inspiration for that. He’s even taken up flamenco and salsa. And between you and me – he’s been spending a lot of alone time with Michelle in the Oval Office – if you know what I mean,” said one of the president’s campaign advisors.
Obama has also been working with Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), who has agreed to play the role of Mitt Romney in a series of mock debates to help him prepare.
“Kerry’s been great – really robotic, socially awkward, pretty wishy-washy. He’s a perfect fit,” said Obama of their rapport.
For the Romney camp, preparation has mainly been focused on the Republican candidate’s determination to show America a more human side, particular after his recent controversial comments about the 47 percent of Americans who are “dependent on government.”
In order to do so, Romney has been reportedly rubbing chili peppers in his eyes and watching the movie Simon Birch on repeat for the past 72 hours, and will continue to do so until Wednesday. “If that cute little midget kid dying doesn’t make this guy shed a tear, I honestly don’t know what will. Oops – spoiler alert,” said one of Romney’s staffers.
To practice in person against an opponent, the Romney campaign has brought on Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to play Obama.
Portman reportedly takes his role very seriously; not only emulating Obama’s mannerisms and speech flow, but even insisting on performing in blackface for the mock debates.
“He was not just [playing] the positions of Barack Obama—he became Barack Obama,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief economic policy director for John McCain’s 2008 campaign said in an interview earlier this summer.
But beyond modifying their images, both candidates also recognize that there is more to getting elected than a good personality.
“Let’s face it – looks are about 70 percent here,” one of Romney’s personal stylists told The Gabbler in his powder room. “They’re both solid eights on the hottie poli scale, so they’re really going to need to bring it to make a real difference.”
Both candidates have cut out carbs for the past two weeks, signed up for Paul Ryan’s fitness class, and bought Spanx to look a bit more svelt for their debate debuts.
“The camera does add ten pounds,” said Romney.
As for the content and subject matter of the debate itself, neither camp appears too concerned.
“It’s not as if they actually let me discuss anything of substance,” said the debate’s moderator and host of Newshour, Jim Lehr. “But the lighting on the stage – now that’s something they’re worried about.”