Obama downplays expectations, says he’s ‘just OK’ at debating

President Obama sought to downplay expectations ahead of Wednesday’s first debate, telling voters at a rally Sunday that he was “just OK” at debating.

"You may have heard that in a few days, my opponent in this election and I are going to have a debate," Obama said Sunday night at a campaign stop in Las Vegas. "I'm looking forward to it. I know folks in the media are speculating already on who's going to have the best zingers ... and who's going to put the most points on the board.

"Gov. Romney, he's a good debater," Obama continued. "I'm just OK."

Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will face off on Wednesday in Denver in the first of three presidential debates.

The president spoke to about 11,000 supporters gathered at a Las Vegas high school at his Sunday rally, according to reports. 

In his speech, Obama said that he hoped the debate would further discussion about how Washington can best bolster the economy and aid the middle class. 

"What I'm most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country growing and restore security of hard-working Americans," said Obama. "That's what people are going to be listening for; that's the debate that you deserve."

Reports say the president will stay in Nevada to prepare for the debates before heading to Denver on Wednesday morning.

Both campaigns have sought to shift pressure to their rival ahead of the key debate.

Senior Obama campaign adviser David Plouffe said Sunday that Romney was “prepared more than any candidate, I think maybe in history, certainly in recent memory.” 

“He’s been a good debater in the past. He’s very prepared. He’s got all these clever zingers and lines in his pocket, so we understand he’ll probably have a good night on Wednesday night,” Plouffe said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a different tack and promised a strong performance from the GOP nominee, saying he expected the debate to be a game-changer.

“He's gonna come in Wednesday night, he's gonna lay out his vision for America and he's gonna contrast what his view is to what the president's record is," Christie said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” "And this whole race is gonna be turned upside down come Thursday morning."