Final preparations are underway in Colorado for the first head-to-head TV debate of the US presidential election campaign.
Analysts believe the 90-minute exchange at the University of Denver will prove crucial for both President Obama and Mitt Romney, with the latest opinion polls showing very little to choose between the pair.
It will be the first of three televised duels with a little over a month to go before the vote.
But it will be down to Romney to deal a knock-out blow before an expected 60-million people, because although the poll-results are close, Obama is still ahead.
Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, Michael Tanner said: “These are not the two best debaters that we’ve ever had run for president. The president is very cool. He tends to be very factual oriented. He throws out a lot of numbers, but he can also get irritated and can come across sometimes as a little testy and he doesn’t like to be challenged, and if people go after him on specifics he sometimes gets his back up a little bit. That’s going to be one of his challenges, to avoid that.”
The TV debate meant little to hundreds of thousands of voters in the key swing state of Ohio. They claimed their right to cast their ballot early as the polling stations opened early.
Obama did well out of the early vote last time, and no Republican has won the White House, without first winning Ohio.