If his­tory is a guide, Demo­crat Barack Obama will have a tough time in the first pres­i­den­tial debate on Wednesday, Repub­lican Mitt Romney will be par­tic­u­larly aggres­sive, and both will risk com­mit­ting a dam­aging gaffe if they wander off their talking points.

They are pretty evenly matched as debaters,” said Alan Schroeder of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, who has written a his­tory of pres­i­den­tial debates. “They both tend to be more intel­lec­tual than emo­tional, and they are both artic­u­late and com­fort­able on camera. But they would both prefer to be in a more con­trolled setting.”

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