The consensus is that Barack Obama turned in lackluster performance during last night debate with Mitt Romney. But the president was back on stride today on the campaign trail with some zingers of his own.
First, Obama jumped on Romney's flip-flopping sales pitches on taxes, regulations, health care, education and Medicare, painting debate Romney an imposter.
"When I got on to the stage I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama told supporters in Denver this morning. "But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year, promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that."
Then, Obama came up with the perfect word to describe Romney's "same top-down economic policies that got us into this mess."
"It's not change, it is a relapse," the president told supporters this afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin. "And we're not going to do it!"
Obama also made fun of Romney's threat to cut PBS to make a serious point.
"He'll get rid of regulations on Wall Street but he's going to crack down on Sesame Street! Thank goodness somebody's finally cracking down on Big Bird! Who knew he was responsible for all these deficits. Elmo's gotta watch out!"
All good lines, but will Obama change his strategy for the debate?
The campaign says yes.
The president "made a choice last night to answer the questions that were asked … and not get into serial fact-checking with Governor Romney," said senior strategist David Axelrod. "We’re going to take a hard look at this and we’re going to have to make some judgments about where to draw the lines."