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What a difference a day makes.
Will Mitt Romney‘s stronger-than-expected performance in the first of three Presidential debates become the 90 minutes that transformed Campaign 2012 or merely a blip on what was previously seen as President Barack Obama’s inevitable march to a second term?
The mood in Camp Mitt is upbeat and optimism is running high.
Over at 1600 Pennsylvania, the mood is down, finger-pointing is at an all-time high and panic is lurking at the door of the Oval Office.
White House sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that even Obama’s incredible ego and arrogance was “shaken to the core” by his poor performance in Wednesday night’s debate.
“The President’s mood is as dour as I have ever seen,” one White House aide admits privately. “His confidence is shaken.”
Sources say Obama went into the debate convinced of his own invulnerability and confident that he could handle Romney.
But the Mitt Romney who showed up on stage in Denver was not the one expected by the Obama campaign, the media or the American public. A suddenly-assured Romney rocked Obama and took him off his game from the debate opening.
“Romney was clearly in control of the debate, the message and the evening,” says one Democratic strategist.
While one debate does not a campaign make, the aftermath of Obama’s Denver debacle has left the White House reeling. Attempts by Obama spin doctors to portray Romney as “a bully” or over-aggressive have failed as poll after poll shows the American public believes Romney won the debate going away.
The bruised and battered Obama who left he stage in Denver was a far cry from the confident agent of change that charmed voters four years ago. Obama the incumbent President came across as tired, confused and dazed — hardly traits the American voter wants to see.
How bad was it?
Bad. Senior Obama David Axelrod rod admitted as much in a Thursday conference call with the media, saying the White House will “reassess” its approach to the two remaining debates.
“Plainly, he didn’t come as focused and intense as Gov. Romney,” Axelrod admitted.
Yeah. That’s one way characterize a disaster.