Gibbs: Obama's focus 'not his opponent' in debate

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"Talk about the economy, where we've been, but most importantly what we have to do to continue strengthening it for middle class families, moving forward, creating more jobs, putting people back to work. And I think if he can do that he'll have a pretty good night," Gibbs said.

The former White House press secretary also looked to deflect recent criticism of comment made by Vice President Joe Biden and the administration's handling of violent protests in Libya, both which the Romney campaign has seized on in recent days.

Of Biden's remark Tuesday that middle class families were “buried over the past four years," Gibbs said families had been "buried for many, many years."

"Working harder and making less," Gibbs said. "They've been buried by a series of bad economic decisions that led to the economic calamity that we inherited four years ago. We've been trying to dig out from that avalanche of bad decisions every day for the last four years. I think this debate will be about whether or not we continue forward on a path to creating more jobs or do we do what Gov. Romney wants to do which is go back to a lot of the policies that quite honestly got us into that mess.”

He also called Republican insinuations that the White House had been hiding information on the Libyan terror attack unfair, and pledged Obama would "tell people rightly what we have when we know it."

"We want to find out what happened, what led up to this incident, what intelligence we can uncover about it," Gibbs said. "Ensure that the security situation is right. And nobody at the State Department or the Executive Branch will rest until we have that.”

Asked about polls that show the public increasingly sour on the administration's response, Gibbs said the president would argue his case at the foreign policy debate on Oct. 22.

“I think and we're gonna have that debate later in this month that's gonna be exclusively on foreign policy and I think the President's anxious to talk about how our country's safer than we've been in a long time," Gibbs said.