(CNN) – The presidential campaigns are doing their best to play down expectations ahead of Wednesday’s debate. Team Obamasays that Mitt Romney has had the most time to practice and that its guy is no good at “sound bites.”
Team Romney says that President Barack Obama enters the contest with the advantage of being a “uniquely gifted speaker.” Both sides are in danger of selling themselves short, of promising a debate so mediocre that Wednesday night’s edition of “Family Feud” might get its best ratings ever.
But the expectations battle reflects the psychology of the campaigns. On Obama’s side, it’s part of a general effort to convince people that debates don’t even matter – that he has this thing wrapped up already and voters might as well abstain from politics until Election Day. For Romney’s side, it’s about preparing Americans for what they hope will be a surprisingly brilliant performance by their man. The Republicans are praying for a game changer.