In Post-Debate rallies, President describes an "imaginary" Mitt Romney...
Speaking on Thursday about media response to President Obama's underwhelming performance at the first Presidential Debate in Denver, White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe credited members of the media for cooking up Mitt Romney's victory. He said the press was seeking a "comeback" narrative for the GOP candidate that was already "baked into the cake" ahead of Wednesday night's event.
Plouffe's comments came aboard Air Force One as the President traveled to a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin. Obama for America on Thursday released a new ad called "Trust," which--unlike the President at the Debate--took on Romney's factual inaccuracies at the podium.
"Listen, I do think some of this was baked into the cake--and you guys may disagree with this, and I say it respectfully," Plouffe said. "I said it over the weekend--people are itching to write the Romney comeback story, so it was already leaning in that direction."
Interestingly, President Obama has made presenting members of the media with actual cakes a signature gesture.
"Voters expected Romney to lose this debate," Plouffe said, and added "we thought he did a very theatrically aggressive performance."
An imaginary Romney....
Earlier in the day on Thursday, the President spoke at a
rally in Denver and described the Mitt Romney he met on the Debate stage as one he'd never
encountered before. He repeated the remarks at the Madison rally. (Above: Shaking hands at the Debate)
"When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," President Obama said. "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."
Ahead of the Debate, Campaign aides spent a lot of time lowering expectations for the President's performance, saying he was busy governing the country and didn't have much time for preparation.
The President spent three days in Henderson, Nevada, ahead of the Debate, prepping at a resort.
Plouffe added that Romney's Debate victory will only be a true comeback if his poll numbers rise in key battleground states.
"We thought he did a very theatrically aggressive performance," Plouffe said. "Is that going to change minds in places like Ohio, Nevada and Virginia? We’ll have to see, but that’s the measure. Is he going to take the lead in Ohio? If he doesn’t, he’s not going to be president.”
Later Plouffe answered his own question about Romney's debate performance.
"We don’t think it fundamentally alters the race," he said.
After President Obama concluded his remarks to about 30,000 people in Madison, Plouffe and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett were both taken up in a hydraulic lift to overlook the crowd, pool reported.
"Jarrett was taking pictures. Chief of Staff Jack Lew watched from the sidelines, beaming," noted pool. "At one point, Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin approached Lew and offered him some free advice on debate preparation."
The President returned to the White House on Thursday night for the first time since last Sunday. On Friday, he will campaign in Ohio and Virginia.
*The Debate transcript.
*AP photo is Romney on his campaign plane presenting an LA Times reporter with a birthday cake in January of this year.