Running behind in the polls, Mitt Romney is more in need of a victory than Obama tonight in the first of three debates scheduled over the next four weeks.
"I think he's got to have a pretty convincing win," said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. "He's had a bad few weeks and he needs to change the narrative of the campaign."
"He's got to reassure people who like him that it's OK to vote for him again," said Yepsen. "I think Americans like the man; they're a little bit concerned about the job he's done. And he's got to bring them back home."
The debate, which will focus on domestic issues will take place at the University of Denver will see Obama also striving for a good start.
"Americans who are thinking about voting for Romney need to hear from him about how he would change the country for the better," said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.
"They're leaning toward the devil they know, which is President Obama. Romney has to knock it out of the park by showing the contrast between himself and Obama."
The US unemployment rate has edged down to 8.1% nationally but any failure to continue that momentum will be seized upon by Republicans.
The lackluster debate performance from Obama, who has been called the greatest communicator since Reagan, gave us our October surprise.
The dust is settling on a successful night for Mitt Romney but the show must go on.