First debate sets up moment of high-risk theater

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FILE - In these Sept. 26, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both campaign in the battleground state of Ohio. Fierce and determined competitors, Obama and Romney each have a specific mission for the string of three debates that starts Wednesday night, Oct. 3, 2012. Obama, no longer the fresh face of 2008, must convince skeptical Americans that he can accomplish in a second term what he couldn't in his first: restore the U.S. economy to full health. Romney, anxious to keep the race from slipping away, needs to instill confidence that he is a credible and trusted alternative to the president, with a better plan for strengthening the fragile economy. Photo by
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