10/02/2012 06:47 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2012

Robert Gibbs Jokes Obama Will Mention '47 Percent' 47 Times In Debate

DENVER -- How many times will President Barack Obama say the words "47 percent" at the presidential debate on Wednesday? Forty-seven, Obama senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs joked to reporters at a Tuesday press conference.

The Obama administration has gone after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in ads and statements for his comments at a secretly taped fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans are "dependent on government" and do not want to take responsibility for their lives.

Gibbs said in seriousness that he doesn't expect Obama to need to bring up those comments much in the debate.

"I have no doubt that the moderator is going to ask Romney maybe to spend a little bit more time telling us more elegantly, in his words, what he meant by what he said," he told The Huffington Post.

He added that the president could bring up the number 47 in other ways, noting that Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation when Romney was governor of the state.

Gibbs said earlier on Tuesday that Obama won't rely on "some snappy zinger or snappy sound bite" to beat Romney in the debate, responding to reports that the Republican nominee is practicing jabs to use on his opponent.



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