Expert Expects Obama to Regain Footing in Second Debate

After a shaky debate performance from President Obama earlier this week, one local political observer says we should expect an improvement for the second round. Next week's Vice Presidential debate could have more riding on it now too.

Most observers agreed this week that President Obama wasn't at his best in his debate with Mitt Romney on Wednesday. But University of Houston Political Scientist Richard Murray says there's a good chance Obama will correct things for the second debate, set for October 16th.

"Reagan had a bad debate in '84, worse than Obama's by far. He got badly off-script and floundered against Walter Mondale, but came back strong in the second debate. There is some history that presidents don't do well the first time they debate. It's a unique experience for them. They have been president for four years and now they're being challenged on their record. But most of them improve. Reagan certainly did and Obama needs some improvement."

Murray says the second debate's town hall format should allow the President to regain some of the command that was missing in the first go-around with Romney. He says the stakes have been raised for Tuesday's Vice-Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

"You don't want both ends of the ticket to sort of stumble coming out of the gate here and if that were to happen it would draw a great deal of notice. Maybe this the gang that maybe can't shoot straight on debate night. But, at the end of the day it's not likely the VP debate is going to make a lot of difference to voters."

Murray says Paul Ryan has less debate experience than Joe Biden, but is still a gifted speaker and has acquitted himself well so far on the campaign trail.

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Pat Hernandez

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Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...