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President Obama, Mitt Romney to square off on debate stage in New York

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NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney square off on the debate stage Tuesday night, October 16th for the second of three presidential debates. Tuesday night's debate is a town hall style debate, where the candidates will field questions from audience members at Hofstra University. Some say this looser, less-structured style is a better opportunity for the candidates to show their human side.

With the exception of Ronald Reagan's "there you go again" line to President Carter and a few monumental moments, historians will often say presidential debates don't usually matter much in the grand scheme of a presidential campaign. However, the first face off between President Obama and Romney certainly made a difference -- at least in the polls.

Romney rallied in Ohio prior to Tuesday's debate -- a battleground state still leaning toward President Obama. No Republican has won the presidency without first winning Ohio.

Other states, like Virginia, where President Obama has been spending time in advance of the debate are too close to call following the first debate earlier in October.

Craig Robinson is first lady Michelle Obama's brother. He and the Obama campaign's "Heartland Tour" made a few stops in Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Robinson's explanation for the first debate, after which many said President Obama struggled, was that Obama had been so focused on doing his job -- such as fighting to get the unemployment rate down to 7.8%, that he was perhaps just out of practice.

"The President is good at this stuff, and I thought he was just rusty the first time. He's working and practicing at debating. Whereas if all you're doing is campaigning, you're debating all the time," Robinson said.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says the debates are a chance for voters to see the candidates without the filter of the media, and he thinks Wisconsin could go red.

"If I were to give (Mitt Romney) advice, I'd say 'be yourself -- do what you did in the first debate.' I've been cautiously optimistic about Wisconsin turning it's 10 electoral votes over to Governor Romney because we're fiscally conservative in Wisconsin," Sen. Johnson said.

UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee says he hopes voters are able to turn off the political spin from both sides and truly listen to what these candidates have to say.

"The power of democracy comes from ideas. That why I hope tonight, people focus on what the candidates are saying. Do they agree with them or disagree with them?" Lee said.

With Tuesday night's debate style being more informal, it is likely there will be less of a chance for the candidates to be adversaries, and instead, more personal stories featured from the candidates.

Tuesday night's debate begins at 8:00 p.m. FOX6 News will carry the debate LIVE, and the debate will stream live via FOX6Now.com.

CLICK HERE for additional presidential debate coverage via FOX6Now.com.

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