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Obama, Romney Prepare for Town Hall Debate
HEMPSTEAD, NY (WENY) -- There's a third person taking part in tonight's presidential debate - the undecided voter.
Eighty of them will surround President Obama and Mitt Romney for a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University. Everywhere you go around campus, there's evidence something big is happening. Banners, signs, even a red, white, and blue bake sale.
Hofstra University is ready for debate 2012.
"We figured that it would be a good opportunity to show we're out supporting the debate, and plus, everyone's hungry, everyone's busy, so why not?" said Brianne Richards, a Hofstra University senior, running the bake sale ahead of the debate.
She's is exactly the type of voter the candidates will be reaching out to during tonight's town hall debate.
"I'm undecided," Richards said.
She's hoping the matchup will help make up her mind, but she wants answers.
"Whoever can help bring the gas prices down. Four dollars a gallon is too much," she laughs.
It's all up to moderator Candy Crowley. She's the only one who knows all the questions the undecided voters sitting in the audience prepared. And there are a lot of questions that have not been asked yet.
"Poverty…bringing the troops home from Afghanistan, we haven't talked much about a nuclear Iran….the environment hasn't come up at all, global warming,
said Hofstra Education Professor, Andrea Libresco, who says it's not just about tonight, or even election night.
"It's what you do after the election as well, and how you hold candidates' feet to the fire," she said.
Political analysts tell us the candidates have to focus on the voters in this debate instead of attacking each other.
"They both have some big challenges here. President Obama obviously had a performance that wasn't well received on the first debate. So he has to come back. Gov. Romney had a very strong performance, and now need to maintain that edge that appears to have made a difference in swing state polls," said Meena Bose, Presidential Studies Professor.
Right now, it's not clear who is better suited for the Town Hall format. They both have strengths and certain challenges they'll have to overcome in this setting.