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 executive order signed this summer by Obama.
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.
"Jobs is job one under my administration. We're going to get America working again by helping small business," Romney said, debuting a new line midway through his standard campaign speech.
He was introduced — briefly — by former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, who took the stage as an AC/DC rock song played and the crowd erupted with cheers. It was Romney's first event with voters since Friday, as he spent the weekend at home in Massachusetts raising money and preparing for the debate.
Romney, whose campaign slogan is "Believe in America," declared his love of country and said the voters who showed up to hear him were demonstrating their own care for the nation.
"I love America. I love the beauty of its rocks and rills and templed hills but a lot more than that I love the beauty of the American soul," Romney said. "The fact that you're here tonight, the fact that you care about an election shows how much we care in America."
Romney spent yet another morning Monday with Portman and top aides at a Boston-area hotel, getting ready for Wednesday night. He boarded his logo-plastered campaign plane in the afternoon, joined by nearly all of his top advisers: strategist Ed Gillespie, longtime aides Beth Myers and Peter Flaherty, confidante and former colleague Bob White, and top strategist and admaker Stuart Stevens.
The only adviser to speak formally with reporters on the Monday flight was spokesman Kevin Madden, who downplayed expectations for the first matchup with Obama.
"We do see it, again, as not one event but these next 35-plus days as a larger conversation that we're going to be having with voters that includes debates," Madden said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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