With just less than a week before the first presidential debate, it looks like Mitt Romney is trying to tamp down expectations—big time.
Romney's senior adviser Beth Myers sent a memo to surrogates on Thursday, writing, "It's clear that President Obama will use his ample rhetorical gifts and debating experience to one end: attacking Mitt Romney. Since he won't, and can't talk about his record, he'll talk about Mitt Romney. We fully expect a 90-minute attack ad aimed at tearing down his opponent. "
She continued, “This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first."
msnbc's Lawrence O'Donnell said Republicans are "desperately trying to lower expectations for Mitt Romney in the debate to the point where if he can just stay standing for the 90 minutes it will be considered a victory."
msnbc political commentator Krystal Ball agreed, arguing the real challenge for Romney is for him to "not look scared, not look defensive."
O'Donnell added that in presidential debates the pressure is usually on the incumbent to defend the last four years of their term, whereas in this year's face-off, 100 percent of the pressure is on Romney and how he handles the 47 percent question.