Barack Obama is cruising into the presidential debates with momentum on his side, yet he's still struggling to revive the passion and excitement that propelled him to the White House.
Mitt Romney is grasping for his last, best chance to reboot his campaign after a disastrous September.
The fierce and determined competitors in the tight race have a specific mission for the three debates. The first is Wednesday night in Denver.
Obama must convince skeptical Americans that he can accomplish in a second term what he couldn't in his first — restoring the economy to full health.
Romney needs to instill confidence that he is a credible and trusted alternative to the president, with a better plan for strengthening the economy.