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First lady: Obama 'going to do well' in second debate

The first lady offered a strong defense of the president's performance in the Oct. 3 debate, saying her husband is confronted on a daily basis with numerous challenges.  

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"He's not just a candidate; he's still the leader of the free world," Michelle Obama said of her husband. "Knowing what is coming on and off his plate over the course of a day would astound you."

The first lady's comment echo some of the reasons the Obama campaign gave ahead of the first presidential debate in explaining why the president could not take the same amount of time to prepare for the debate as Romney. 

There has since been bipartisan agreement that Romney turned in the better performance in the Denver debate. 

The first lady said she was impressed by the president's "consistency" and willingness to "lay out details" during the first debate — making a jab at Romney that's in keeping with the Obama campaign's strategy to criticize the Republican nominee for lacking policy specifics.

"I think my husband has done a phenomenal job, not just in the debate but in the last three and a half years as president," she said. "I am always so proud of what he's done because what you see in Barack is you see consistency."

As she regularly does on the campaign trail, the first lady touted Obama's policy achievements and said the country is moving toward a recovery due to the president's leadership.

The first lady will attend Tuesday night's debate at Hofstra University, on Long Island. But she said she doesn't know the president's strategy, saying she would see Obama's approach just like anyone else watching.

"I don't really get into debates ... the strategy," she said. "We're man and wife; we deal with our kids. I try not to get in his head. He's got a lot of advisers and they're talking through what they're going to do. It's just better for me to be his rock. I'll see how they approach the next debate."

Obama campaign advisers have said the president will be more aggressive in his approach for the second debate, compared to the first, where he garnered criticism for seeming disengaged and waiting for cues from the moderator. 

Tuesday night's debate is a town-hall format, meaning preselected questions will be taken from the audience.

"The thing that I know that my husband believes is that he wants to do well for the American people, not just in a debate but as president," the first lady said.