As part of his preparation, Romney has spent time watching video of Obama debating Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, including his cool retort to his opponent: "You're likable enough, Hillary." Romney advisers say the exchange shows Obama's occasional tendency to come across as imperious or removed from everyday concerns when he's questioned or criticized.
Romney's danger zone: getting hot when challenged.
That happened during a primary debate in Las Vegas, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of hiring illegal immigrants.
"Rick," Romney interjected, before Perry began talking over him again, and Romney repeatedly interrupted.
"I'm speaking. I'm speaking. I'm speaking. I'm speaking," Romney said, visibly agitated, at one point reaching over to put his hand on Perry's shoulder and trying to get CNN moderator Anderson Cooper to help. "You get 30 seconds. This is the way — the way the rules work here is that I get 60 seconds, and then you get 30 seconds to respond, right? Anderson?"
Added Romney: "Would you please — would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking? Or are you going to let me finish with my — what I had to say?"
Perry got to him again in another later debate where he challenged Romney on health care, with Romney playing into stereotypes of being wealthy and out of touch.
"Rick, I'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks?" Romney said. "$10,000 bet?"
It was a mistake, a rarity for a candidate who otherwise turned in solid performances and who is looking to do so again Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples contributed to this report.
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