Romney Has Mile-High Expectations For Colo. Debate

President Obama and Mitt Romney are busy rehearsing for their first televised debate Wednesday night. In between practice sessions, Romney hosted a rally in Denver, where he scored the endorsement of ex-Bronco's quarterback John Elway.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

Both the presidential candidates are preparing for debates while staying in swing states. For a few days, each becomes a kind of candidate-in-residence.

INSKEEP: And so it was that President Obama abruptly appeared at a campaign office in Henderson, Nevada yesterday and delivered pizzas to the staff. Who knows? Maybe these candidates will be delivering pizzas to swing voters before we're all done.

In Denver, where the first debate will be held, Mitt Romney hosted a rally and received the endorsement of one of the biggest names in town. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Mitt Romney's campaign could use a fourth-quarter comeback. At his Denver rally last night, Romney turned to a man with some experience in that department.


MITT ROMNEY: What an honor to be introduced by none other than John Elway. What an extraordinary man.

HORSLEY: Romney praised the two-time Super Bowl champion as someone who knows what it takes to turn things around. Romney's best chance to turn around his sagging poll numbers could come tomorrow night in Denver, when he squares off against President Obama in the first of three debates. Romney told the crowd of more than 5,000: Expectations are a mile high.


ROMNEY: People want to know who's going to win, who's going to score the punches, and who's going to make the biggest difference in the arguments they make?

HORSLEY: The first debate is expected to draw a bigger audience than either party's political convention. Colorado Romney supporters Galen and Mary Lou Middleton say they'll be watching for sure.

GALEN MIDDLETON: Oh, yeah. You better believe it.


MIDDLETON: I'll be glued.


MARY LOU MIDDLETON: I heard Chris Christie say that Mitt is really prepared for this. And, you know, Obama can't talk unless he's got a teleprompter. And I hope he stumps Obama good.

HORSLEY: Romney says the debate is not just about winning or losing, but about spelling out a path forward for the country. That's one point President Obama - busy with his own debate preparations in Nevada - would agree with.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Denver.

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