Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 | 5 p.m.
Typically, presidential debate viewership grows with each subsequent event.
Yet, candidates don't want to get off to a bad start. In 1996, viewership fell from the first to second presidential debate between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole after Clinton was viewed as the clear frontrunner.
While the 2012 election may not be won tonight, it certainly can be lost with one slip of the tongue, not-so-subtle glance at a watch or subconscious sigh.
Not surprisingly both parties were busy Wednesday framing the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney before the 90-minute showdown even started.
Wednesday morning, Rep. Mark Amodei and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki staged a conference call with media members to attack Obama's record on job creation and remarks Tuesday by Vice President Joe Biden.
Amodei criticized the president for not approving the Keystone Pipeline project, and for limiting oil and gas exploration in the United States, all of which, the representative said, would create jobs.
On Tuesday, at an event in Charlotte, N.C., Biden criticized the Romney economic plan.
"How they can justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?" Biden asked the crowd.
The Romney campaign immediately jumped on the comments as an admission that Obama’s policies have hurt the middle class, while Biden clarified that he was referring to proposals that would lower the taxes for wealthy Americans while placing a greater burden on the middle class.
Krolicki said it's "unconscionable" that mining projects in Nevada have been delayed or squashed by Bureau of Land Management regulations.
"Perhaps the vice president yesterday stumbled upon the truth and made mention of it," Krolicki said. "That's how I would look at. Perhaps in his debate prep he learned what the admin has done (to the middle class)."
Meanwhile, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and two Democratic Massachusetts state representatives, Ronald Marciano and Steven Walsh, were in Las Vegas on Wednesday to offer their predebate spin.
"When you take the second half of somebody's sentence you can make it sound any way you want," Walsh said of Biden’s comments. "The bottom line is that the whole country is coming out of a recession, it wasn’t a depression because of this president and what he's done, and we're coming out faster certainly than we did in Massachusetts when we had Gov. Romney as our leader. So the vice president was trying to suggest that the middle class will do even worse under Gov. Romney, who doesn't care about jobs. When he was governor he outsourced our government call center jobs to India."
Mariano, who worked on the Massachusetts health care act, said Romney rarely forged bipartisan compromise and the "rainy-day fund" the former governor often touts as a legacy of his leadership in the northeastern state was more the result of hard work by the state House of Representatives.
Touching on energy policy, Becerra offered his outlook for the debate and the final few weeks of the campaigns.
"I think people are still wondering 'Who is the real Mitt Romney?'" Becerra said. "(Obama) needs to continue this conversation with the American people, about how he’s going to continue moving forward creating jobs, how he's going to in source jobs, not outsource jobs, how he’s finally going to make sure that we are home growing our energy versus having to import it. It's about time America talked about exporting something other than jobs and importing something other than oil. … Actually we are exporting oil for the first time in quite some time."