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The first presidential debate comes after months of back-and-forth polls, constant media and millions of dollars in campaign ads. After both camps made attempts to downplay expectations, on Wednesday President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney go head to hear in their first debate at the University of Denver.
Dozens of media outlets have been touting a near unbeatable lead by Obama, but Romney is charging into the debate with some much needed momentum from three key sources:
A Rassmussen telephone survey shows the Romney trouncing Obama by seven points on the economy.
A look at the increasingly-popular UnskewedPolls.com shows Romney with a comfortable lead, once more current voter trends, and the over-sampling of democrats is undone.
A recent Third Way study shows an amazing decline in Democratic voter registration coupled with an upswing in Republican and Independent voters when compared to four years ago, a statistic that might make one even more willing to question the recent polls.
It's all tied up as the candidates go head to head in a presidential debate that will be focusing almost exclusively focusing on domestic policy.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates bookmark and refresh this page!
UPDATE: 9:00 am! Twelve hours until the first debate kicks off!!
UPDATE: 4:00 pm - T-minus five hours until the debate begins!!
UPDATE: 8:05 pm - Under an hour...All hands, brace for impact!
UPDATE: 8:21 pm - Brietbart.com shows a Politico poll that Romney is leading by 4 in battleground states among independent swing voters. He leads overall by 2, 49-46 in those battleground states. He leads by 11 points with on the economy, 51-40, and by 15 with middle class families, 56-41.
UPDATE: 8:50 pm - Ten minutes to go, strap in everybody!
UPDATE: 9:00 pm - And we have liftoff! Place your bets at to how 'moderate' the moderator Jim Lehrer will be!
UPDATE: 9:03 pm - An they're on state. You know that they just hate shaking each others hand...No applause or cheers? How boring!
UPDATE: 9:05 pm - Obama trying to employ his class warfare early, attempting to claim victory for an economy recovery that almost no one can feel.
9:06 pm - Blamed Bush. That didn't take long. Ah! Romney's turn.
9:07 pm - Romney kicks right off with the 5 point plan. Good. Get it out there now so people remember it. He'll be able to get more specific on it soon. Hit Refresh!!
9:10 pm - Obama is trying to make it about a difference, talking about extention of the Bush tax cuts, military spending, etc etc etc...Romney looking at him like "Oh please..."
9:11 pm - Mitt Romeny: "Middle Income American's have been crushed over the last four years," - Hat tip to Joe Biden? Also hitting some specifics, rebuking Obama point by point. Great point about oil being mostly from private land nowadays. Attack attack! (But with a smile!)
9:14 pm - As a middle income American, I can safely say I didn't get a tax cut, sir.
9:16 pm - Romney looking right at him as he rebukes him. Obama keeps looking away.
9:17 pm - Romney: "You think that if you keep saying it, I'll believe it." Great line. Got a laugh.
9:20 pm - Lame Donald Trump Joke, Mr. President
9:22 pm - Romney hits Obama back with a great statistic about the top 3 percent of businesses and how many people they employ. Nice. Hits all of the taxes businesses have to pay.
9:23 pm - Obama is talking as if Romney will keep the spending the same amount of money. The money he'd cut from entitlements, waste and cutting a few cabinet posts would pale in comparison to military spending!
9:27 pm - Obama looks nervous. Romney looks confident. New segment. Romney gets worky with three ways to reduce deficit - Raise taxes, Reduce spending, Grow economy. Cut Obamacare, Cut PBS, Good. Cut spending and grow economy. Nice. Hits Obama on trillion dollar budgets each year.
9:29 pm - Obama plugs his website. Ode to John Kerry time!
9:31 pm - "You've been president four years!" Romney is engaging. Obama won't engage.
9:34 pm - That's the smile Obama flashes when he is not a happy camper.
9:37 pm - Obama keeps talking about Romney wanting to cut taxes. - Oh! There we go! Bring up the children who will suffer and die because of Republicans! Right at the 37 minute mark!
9:39 pm - Romney brings up Obama's hypocracy for picking green energy. Solyndra. "You don't pick winners and losers. You pick losers."
9:40 pm - Romney: I was in business for 25 years. I don't know what you're talking about!" Ouch. Obama didn't like that.
9:41 pm - Obama is playing it really safe. He doesn't want to lose an exchange. Sticking only to the memorized points.
9:43 pm - Romney hits Obama on cutting $716 billion from Medicare. Hello Obama. Boom. Talks about Doctors not wanting to take more medicare patients because of Obama. 4 Million people will lose medicare advantage. Nice.
9:47 pm - Obama goes for the scare tactic. It's not going to work, but at least he has a heartbeat now. Romney looks ready to respond.
9:49 pm - Obama looks like he's choking every time he says the word 'profit.'
9:51 pm - Romney looks to be right on point admitting the need for some regulations, but not too much. Great point bringing up Dodd-Frank.
9:52 pm - Romney is cocking his right hand like Ivan Drago fighting Apollo Creed in Rocky 4, waiting for it.
9:57 pm - Onto Obamacare! Romney quotes his experience. This gives him the chance to talk about why it works for the states, but not for the federal gov't!
10:00 pm - Obama looks tired, looks edgey. Media will probably try and spin it that he was 'over-prepared,' covering for him once again.
10:01 pm - Obama tries to make people think that the two plans are identical, trying to hurt Romney with conservatives. Romney hammers Obama on pushing through Obama on a partisan basis. No GOP votes. No tax raises. No cutes to medicare. Nice job talking about the fines and the 20 million people that will lose insurance says the CBO.
10:07 pm - Takes Obama's example and wings it back at him. Private marketplace.
10:11 pm - Smart for Romney to say he'll put plans through congress - shows how Obama did not. He rammed it through over the heads of every Republican in Congress.
10:13 pm - Jim Lehrer just gave Obama a golden gift to make it a 'choice' again. Now Romney should definitely cut funding for PBS.
10:16 pm - Romney alludes to religious freedom, a knock at Obamacare and the regulations that force Catholic institutions to provide birth control, despite the fact that it is against their beliefs.
10:20 pm - Obama is visibly irritated. He know's it's not going as well as he'd like. Tries to hit Romney for not enough specifics. It won't be enough.
10:22 pm - Unless something major happens in the next few minutes, it's goin to be very difficult for the media to spin this so it looks well for Obama.
10:30 pm - Not a perfect president? No kidding. Jimmy Carter loves you for making him look better.
10:32 pm - very classy closing by Romney. Set the stage perfectly for the next debates, and drew a contrast. Great job by Mitt.
10:37 pm - Listening to the post debate coverage now. Romney displayed extraordinary knowledgeability. The bad news for him? Even Bill Maher thinks he didn't do too well.
@billmaher: Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney.