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Romney: Debates will set record straight

Mitt Romney is set to kick off the most important stretch of his presidential campaign, a time when he said he will use his three debates with President Obama to set the record straight on his vision for the country and to stump more vigorously in swing states.

The Republican nominee spent the weekend huddled with advisers and with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has been playing Obama in mock debate sessions.

Romney said the debates, the first of which is Oct. 3, will give him a chance to push back against what he said were distortions by the Obama campaign on the auto bailout, his record on abortion and tax rates for the middle class.

“I think what we can do is have a chance for people to see our respective positions and our pathways forward. I think the president will not be able to continue to mischaracterize my pathway and so I’ll be able to describe mine, he will describe his and people will make a choice,” he said on his campaign plane, with Portman by his side. “That’s the great thing about democracy. I’m not going to try and fool people into thinking he believes things he doesn’t. He’s trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don’t. And that ends, I think, during the debates.”

Romney has faced criticism from fellow Republicans who have said his campaign needs an overhaul and a clearer message.

He is set to tour Ohio this week with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.). Polls in key swing states show Romney trailing Obama — in Colorado, where Romney held a rally Sunday evening, he trails Obama among likely voters 50 percent to 45 percent.

“I know in the coming six weeks they’re very unlikely to remain where they are today,” he said. “I’ll either go up or I’ll go down. It’s unlikely that we’ll just stay the same.”

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
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Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

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