TODAY | October 01, 2012
>>> the candidates are making their final push for swing states ahead of the first presidential debate on wednesday. nbc's peter alexander is in boston with more. peter, good morning.
>> reporter: natalie, good morning to you from a windy day here in boston . the president has already held four mock debates. mitt romney had a full-fledged dress rehearsal with aides in boston late yesterday. romney heads out to denver today. the president is already out west. both of them hunkering down ahead of wednesday's debate showdown. making his eighth trip this year, the western battleground of nevada, president obama rallied supporters in las vegas sunday night.
>> i believe in you. and i ask you to keep on believing in me. i'm asking for your vote. i'm asking you to stand with me.
>> reporter: the president is gripping on to a small lead in the swing states , including iowa, where a new poll shows mitt romney trailing by four points. analysts say romney needs to change the trajectory of the race. but his running mate, paul ryan insists, he's not concerned, even while acknowledging campaign mistakes.
>> we've had some miss steps, but at the end of the day , the choice is really clear and we're giving people a clear choice.
>> governor romney , he's a good debater. i'm just okay.
>> reporter: for days, both sides have been tamping down debate expectations.
>> we expected all along that governor romney will have a good night. he's prepared more than any candidate in history. and he's shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years.
>> sometimes we expect a major break through. you know, the comment that doesn't happen very often.
>> reporter: new jersey governor chris christie predicted romney would do extremely well and turn the race upside down.
>> thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change.
>> reporter: and if the president is trying to avoid the campaign over the next several days, natalie, it will be tough to do. if he turns on the local news at his lakeside resort in henderson, nevada tonight, he'll see none other than his opponent's wife, ann romney , who is hosting a rally there tonight.
>> all right. peter alexander in boston . thank you, peter.