The Straits Times
Published on Oct 14, 2012

Tight race, big debate ahead with 3 weeks to go before US election


WASHINGTON (AP) - Mr Barack Obama and Mr Mitt Romney were closeted with advisers on Sunday preparing for the second presidential debate, a confrontation in which the president hopes to rebound from a lacklustre performance in their first face-to-face session and the Republican challenger will be looking to ride the momentum that shows him pulling even in the hard fought campaign for the White House.

The Tuesday debate falls just three weeks before the Nov 6 election, voting that finds Americans separated by a deep partisan rift as the US economy struggles to bounce back from the Great Recession and near financial collapse that was bequeathed to Mr Obama when he took office in January 2009. Polls show the laggard economy and still-high unemployment remain the top issue in voters' minds.

Mr Obama was huddling with advisers at a sprawling riverfront resort in Williamsburg, Virginia. Mr Romney retreated to his Boston-area home, where the Republican nominee worked to further hone his commanding performance in the first debate nearly two weeks ago.

Millions of Americans are already casting their ballots through early voting, leaving little margin for error and even less time to recover from any debate blunders.