Top Obama aide says performing in debates is 'not the President's strong suit' and asks for media's help against Mitt Romney
By Toby Harnden In Denver
PUBLISHED: 11:54 EST, 4 October 2012 | UPDATED: 12:05 EST, 4 October 2012
David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's top strategist, has said that the campaign will take a 'hard look' at how to approach future debates and admitted that 'I'm sure that we will make adjustments'.
All but stating that Mitt Romney had won the Denver debate, Axelrod conceded that the performance aspect was 'not the President's strong suit in these events' but insisted that 'I don't see us adding huge amounts of additional prep time'.
Axelrod, speaking on a campaign conference call, made an appeal to reporters to make the points that Obama himself had failed to make in the debate
'All of you who travel on the road with Governor Romney know that he just few weeks ago stood up and said we didn't need any more teachers,' he said. 'Last night he couldn't be more enthusiastic about teachers and more teachers.'
Romney had delivered 'a very vigorous performance but one that was devoid of honesty', Axelrod said.
'And so today, as the day after, I think the question for you [the media], for the American people is really one of character and whether or not a candidacy that's so fundamentally rooted in hiding the truth and the facts from the American people and deception is the basis of trust on which you assign the presidency to a person.
'So that is what we are going to focus on moving forward. We're going to hold Governor Romney accountable for the things that he said last night and we're going to make him justify those claims - as I hope you will make him justify those claims.
'Because we need an an honest and a genuine and realistic plan to move forward and not a bunch of lines designed to get you through a debate.'
Axelrod said that Romney was 'completely untethered from the truth' and 'knowingly and willfully tried to deceive senior citizens'
Referring to post-debate polls, he added: 'People are willing to give Governor Romney credit for his performance but that didn't necessarily translate into support for him for president. He may win the Oscar for his performance last night but he’s not going to win the presidency for his performance last night.'
He signalled that there would be changes to Obama's approach to the second debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on October 16th.
'He made a choice last night to answer the questions that were asked and to talk to the American people about what we need to do to move forward and to not get into serial fact checking with Governor Romney, which can be an exhausting never ending pursuit.
'But obviously moving forward we're going to take a hard look at this and we're going to have to make some judgements as to where to draw the line in these debates and how to use our time.
'In terms of changes...it's like a play-offs in sports you evaluate after every contest and you make adjustments and I'm sure that we will make adjustments. I think there will be some strategic judgements that will have to be made and we'll make them.'