Campaigns play debate expectations game
(CNN) -- The Obama and Romney campaigns are seeking to manage -- and in some cases lower -- expectations for their candidate's performance in the first presidential debate.
CNN obtained a memo on Thursday circulated by Beth Myers, an adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, that outlines several reasons why President Barack Obama may win the first of three scheduled encounters next Wednesday in Denver.
Obama, Myers wrote, "is a universally acclaimed public speaker and has substantial debate experience under his belt," referencing the Democrat's 2008 campaign against John McCain.
Myers also points to polls that showed Obama won those debates by "double-digit" margins and recent polls that show 25% of voters expect him to do better than Romney in their head-to-head meetings.
Obama advisers threw out the first pitch in the expectations game on Sunday, with Robert Gibbs saying that Romney is primed for success following a string of debates during the rigorous campaign for the Republican nomination.
"Mitt Romney I think has an advantage, because he's been through 20 of these debates in the primaries over the last year," Gibbs said on Fox News. "He even bragged that he was declared the winner in 16 of those debates. So I think, in that sense, having been through this much more recently than President Obama, I think he starts with an advantage."
Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday on Air Force One that Romney has had more debate preparation "than any candidate in modern history."
"They've made clear that his performing well is a make-or-break piece for their campaign," Psaki said in an attempt to raise the stakes for Romney.
Both campaigns say they have the issues on their side.
"Based on the campaign he's run so far, it's clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney," Myers wrote. "Since he won't -- and can't -- talk about his record, he'll talk about Mitt Romney."
CNN Starting Point Host Soledad O'Brien asked Deleware Gov. Jack Markell on Friday whether polls showing high voter expectations for Obama in the debates could hurt the president
"Well, my guess is what people are really saying, they believe President Obama really understands their issues, their concerns. He's got a better plan for the future," said Markell, who also chairs the National Governor's Association.
On the trail on Friday
After campaigning in the battlegrounds of Ohio and Virginia over the past two days, the campaigns diverged on Friday.
Romney was to speak at a rally at the Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Pennsylvania, while Obama was in Washington for several fundraisers.
Vice President Joe Biden began two days of campaigning in the battleground state of Florida on Friday while Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan had no public events scheduled.
Obama, Romney will talk to Netanyahu
Both the president and Romney will speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in phone calls on Friday, a Romney campaign aide and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed.
Netanyahu has ramped up his criticism in recent weeks of the international community's response to Iran's nuclear program, saying current targeted sanctions and diplomatic efforts are not enough.
Calls for specific "red lines" that Israel and its allies would set on Iran have thus far been rebuffed by the Obama administration, though Obama has said it would be unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.
On Thursday, Netanyahu stood before the United Nations General Assembly with a simple graph shaped like a bomb and drew a red line to demonstrate the point of no return if Iran develops a nuclear weapon.
Obama has been criticized by Republicans for not meeting with Netanyahu at the U.N. General Assembly this week and earlier in the month. In both cases, Obama spoke with him on the phone.
The Romney campaign has said Obama has disregarded Israeli security with his response to Iran's nuclear program.
Romney 'harvested' companies he built
The left-leaning publication that posted the secretly recorded video of Romney making his controversial "47%" comments about Obama supporters released a new, older clip in which the GOP candidate describes a mission to "harvest" small businesses while at the private equity firm he founded, Boston's Bain Capital.
Mother Jones posted video on its website on Thursday of Romney from 1985 describing the goals of the company.
"Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and on-going companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit," the video showed Romney as saying.
Romney has touted jobs created as a result of his time as founder and chief executive of Bain, buying and managing various companies.
The Romney campaign responded to the video, asserting that his long tenure with the company helped save jobs.
"In addition to starting new businesses, Mitt Romney helped build Bain Capital by turning around broken companies, creating and saving thousands of jobs. The problem today is that President Obama hasn't been able to turn around our economy in the same way," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.
The Obama campaign portrays Romney as an out-of-touch executive whose company's investments wound up cutting jobs at home and sending others overseas.
Romney and Obama seek veterans' support in Virginia
Romney and Obama courted veterans on Thursday in Virginia, appearing in communities that illustrate the state's heavy military presence and its reliance on defense spending for jobs. Obama spoke near Virginia Beach while Romney rallied supporters in Springfield.
Obama and Romney both appealed to veterans and those connected with the defense industry as crucial voter groups in the state with 13 electoral votes. Virginia usually trends Republican but went for Obama last time and currently gives him a narrow lead in polls.
Neither Romney nor Obama served in the military.
Obama-supporting super PAC gets big boost
Separately, Democratic fundraisers got a boost with news that billionaire financier George Soros would commit $1 million to a super PAC backing Obama's reelection bid, Priorities USA Action. In May, Soros donated $1 million to the left-leaning super PAC American Bridge.
Priorities fundraising has lagged independent Republican groups like American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, Restore Our Future, and Americans for Prosperity, which support Romney's campaign.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff announced after the Democratic National Convention that he was moving to Priorities USA to help with fundraising.
CNN's Peter Hamby, Ashley Killough, Kevin Liptak, Mike Mount, Paul Steinhauser and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.