(HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.) - Although this is the last presidential debate, and arguably the most important, it's expected that Barack Obama will not perform any differently than he has at previous debates. According to chief strategist David Axelrod, what you've already seen is exactly what you will get tonight.
"I think you should look for the same guy tonight that you've seen in the last two debates - that you've seen over the last 20 months," Axelrod said on the flight from Toledo to New York.
While he didn't dispute the significance of the debate, Axelrod argued that it is unlikely that to be a game changer.
"It's important but not determinative," he said, "What we do over the next two weeks will tell the tale."
Obama has seen a boost in poll numbers after the previous two debates. The campaign believes that what they've done thus far has worked, and they don't have a reason to tinker with Obama's performance.
Obama has been preparing for the debate in Toledo, Ohio for the last two and a half days. Aides said he has been focusing on the format of the debate, which will be both candidates sitting side by side at a table, as opposed to specific issues. When asked how preparations went, Obama simply said, "It was good. We did fine."
Obama is said to be prepared to answer any question that comes up tonight, including those about his association with William Ayers.
"Our policy has been when we are attacked, not to let things lie dormant," Axelrod said. However, he added that he hopes the debate will focus on issues such as the economy rather than attacks. "If people want to raise those issues, they'll raise them. We want to talk about the things that matter in the lives of the American people."
Earlier today, a campaign memo from the Pennsylvania press office was posted on the popular website, "The Drudge Report." The memo included a list of talking points ahead of the debate. Pennsylvania, communications director, Sean Smith, admitted to sending the email "unintentionally."