At Tuesday's Better Government Association luncheon, Democrats and Republicans agreed that the pressure is on Mitt Romney in Wednesday night's debate.
"I think the onus is probably on Mitt Romney to step up and really introduce himself," Cheryle Jackson, democrat, former senate candidate, said.
"He hasn't been able to succinctly tell us what the plan is," Thom Serafin, public relations executive, said.
"He has to articulate how his policy and how his vision for the country is gonna help middle class Americans and I think he needs to lay it out with some degree of specificity," Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady said.
Expectations are high for the president in his hometown.
"Every body talks about trying to like lower the expectations for each of the individual candidates in terms of their debating skills. But the President is the president because of his debating skills and I expect nothing less tomorrow as well," Chicago Clerk Susanna Mendoza, democrat, said.
Since the Democratic Convention, the president's poll numbers nationally and in swing states generally have ticked upward. Romney's campaign has struggled as democrats continue to make an issue of his unreleased tax returns and the secretly made video of the republican candidate addressing wealthy donors last spring:
"He's basically thrown away 47% of the electorate and said he doesn't care for them and he's gotta dig out of that hole," Ald. Ricky Munoz, IL democratic committeeman, said.
But Brady still expects the election to turn on economic issues And warns against over-emphasizing the debate.
"It's important like the convention was important, like any speech might be important. It's not do or die. The fundamentals of the economy haven't really changed," Brady said.
The other critical campaign day this week will be Thursday. Expect multiple media polls as well as those conducted by the candidates to set the course for the final weeks of the 2012 presidential race.
ABC7's Charles Thomas will be in Colorado for Wednesday's debate.