President will be ‘more energetic’ in second debate, but Romney campaign says Obama ‘can’t change his record’

Two days ahead of the second presidential debate of the general election, the Obama campaign promised a more animated president, but the Romney campaign said it won’t matter because the Republican nominee has seized the momentum.

The president “knew as he’s watched the tape of that [first] debate that he’s got to be more energetic,” Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think you’ll see somebody who’s very passionate about the choice that our country faces and putting that choice in front of voters.”

“Well, the president can change his style,” Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said on the same program. “He can change his tactics. He can’t change his record. And he can’t change his policies. And that’s what this election is about.”

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Obama was disappointed by his own performance in the first presidential debate two weeks ago, according to campaign aides, while Romney has enjoyed a bounce in polls since his strong showing.

The Romney campaign has argued that the former Massachusetts governor’s resurgence is not the fleeting product of one good night.

“I think the wind is at Governor Romney’s back, and there’s clearly momentum,” Gillespie said in a separate appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “You can see it on the trail; you can see it in the data.”

But the Obama campaign, while conceding Romney’s effectiveness in Denver, has contended that the GOP standard bearer fared well in part because he misrepresented his positions.

Since the first debate, the president and his surrogates have accused Romney of “walking away” from his tax plan, which includes tax cuts that Romney plans to offset with loophole closures and deduction eliminations — making the entire proposal revenue neutral.

During the debate, Romney did not materially change his proposal but emphasized promises to protect the middle class from a net tax increase and not to add to the federal deficit. In other settings, he has stressed the tax cuts.

David Axelrod, an Obama campaign adviser, said the president will hit harder on Romney’s policy adjustments in Tuesday’s debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The forum will run from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

“We saw Governor Romney sort of serially walk away from his own proposals — certainly the president is going to be willing to challenge him on it, as we saw the vice president challenge Paul Ryan,” during the vice presidential debate last week, Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.”