The Romney campaign has spent the last few weeks hyping the event, but while doing so, they've made the curious decision to preview almost every single second of the candidate's debate performance in the press. The pundit consensus is that Mitt Romney needs to do something big to move polls in his direction, and the campaign consensus is that the debate will be what does it. Here's a look at the extremely detailed account of what Romney will do, according to what his campaign has told the media:
9:00p.m. ET: Debate starts
Seconds later: "As soon as he gets on stage ... he takes off his watch and puts it on the podium," Ann Romney tells CNN's Gloria Borger.
Seconds after that: Romney "writes 'Dad' on the piece of paper," Ann says, to remind him that he "Doesn't want to do anything that would not make his father proud."
Seconds after that: "And then he looks in the audience and he finds me. He has to find where I am. And– he just– he needs just that connection," Ann says.
Questions begin: Obama gets the first question, as decided by coin toss.
Then: Romney will try to seem warm. Romney aides "want their candidate to balance his finely tuned arguments with personal warmth," the National Review's Robert Costa reports. "Since Romney is a reserved man, his advisers acknowledge that it will be difficult for him to endear himself to the country, especially under the hot studio lights. But they consider it critical."