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Decision 2012: Romney, Obama Prepare To Make Good Impression In First Presidential Debate

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It's being called the most important week in Mitt Romney's political career, as a home-run appearance when he debates President Barack Obama Wednesday may be the only way to fire up his campaign. Needless to say, both he and the president are practicing hard. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama headed to Las Vegas to ask for votes, while his challenger Mitt Romney went to church to ask for guidance.

In fact, nearly a month before election day, both Obama and Romney probably need help, divine or otherwise. Polls notwithstanding, anyone could win this race.

"Excuse me, but as Bill Fitch said, 'It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings,' and the fat lady ain't singing until November 6," says Doug Muzzio of Baruch College.

Romney is the clear underdog. In the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, Obama is currently leading by single digits, according to Marist College, NBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Most worrisome for Romney is Ohio. No Republican has won the nation without also taking the Buckeye State.

"September was not a good month for him," says Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff.

Supporters counter the numbers will shift the other way.

"That is Wednesday night, when Governor Romney for the first time gets on the same stage as the president of the United States," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday.

For the most part until Wednesday, Americans will not see either candidate. They are prepping for the big night -- Obama at a Nevada resort, Romney in Colorado, where the debate will be held.

In the meantime, Americans are hearing both sides set the expectations for their candidate.

"Governor Romney is a good debater, I'm just OK," Obama joked.

Notably, Team Romney had mixed messages.

"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," Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said on "Fox News Sunday."

"This whole race is going to be turned upside down Thursday morning," Christie said on CBS.

Wednesday's head-to-head event will focus on the economy.

Romney is also using unrest overseas to strip Obama of his advantage. The Republican says the White House gave mixed messages about last month's attack in Libya. He also reportedly is planning a foreign policy speech after the first debate. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP