It's a standard campaign technique to downplay a politician's debating strengths shortly before a candidate face-off. That way, if the candidate performs poorly in the debate, it can be shrugged off as "old news." If he does well, it will be played as a surprising show of strength.
This year is no different as both Romney and Obama camps are doing this. One thing Romney cannot count on is a compliant "state-run" media to spin the public after the fact. It does not always work, however, as in the 2000 elections where the media spun them as a win for Democrat Al Gore but most Americans did not see it that way. Do you think that the media spin will be effective this year for President Obama? Let us know in the comments.