By Tim Skubick

DETROIT (WWJ) The dress rehearsals are almost over and the main event is just hours away — as the first presidential debate happens Wednesday night in Denver.

President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney will be looking to score enough points with voters to give their campaigns a boost. Who will win? It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

“Plenty is riding on this first presidential debate, especially for Mitt Romney, down in the polls in battleground states and coming off an ugly September, he needs to turn things around,” said WWJ’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

Both will be working to make sure they don’t go into annals of history alongside Dan Quayle, Mike Dukakis and Gerald Ford — who all made presidential debate blunders that were mocked for decades.

About 50 million viewers are expected to watch the first 90-minute debate, but viewership is expected to drop dramatically for ensuing debates, which is why this one is all-important.

“This is his best opportunity to try to turn things around,” said pollster Bernie Porn about Mitt Romney. “He needs to try to have a narrative on the economy that is compelling, but he also needs to get specific about how he’s going to pay for some of these programs.”

Most agree the stakes are higher for the challenger than the incumbent. Pundits say Romney has been practicing zingers for months.

But Porn said that tactic can be dangerous.

“That poses a real danger if they try to do that instead of focusing on policy,” Porn said.

Hear the debate live on WWJ Newsradio 950 or on a livestream HERE on CBS Detroit starting at 9 p.m.


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