DENVER (AP) — After dozens of hours of practice, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney arrived in Colorado on Monday for his first debate with President Barack Obama, telling thousands of voters he thinks the debates will be about "something bigger" than just who appears to emerge the winner.

"In my view it's not so much winning and losing or even the people themselves, the president and myself — it's about something bigger than that," Romney told a cheering crowd of thousands.

The Republican's campaign has been counting on the debates with President Barack Obama to set Romney on a path to winning the presidency. Romney spent more than eight days in September holding mock debates, poring over policy briefing books and sparring with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who stood in for Obama.

Romney planned another day of preparation Tuesday at his hotel on the outskirts of Denver, where most of his top advisers and at least a dozen more junior aides milled about in the lobby on Monday night.

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