Campaign Surrogates Spin Debate to Their Own Advantage

Romney supporters call performance 'terrific;' Obama advocates act like it was 'mission accomplished.'

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And while "instant" polls showed the vast majority of voters felt Romney was the debate victor, history has shown debate performances aren't particularly effective at altering race trajectories unless a severe gaffe is committed. That didn't happen Wednesday; the most talked about line was when Romney made the point that he loves Big Bird but doesn't think the federal government should be subsidizing public television.

But Romney, who has been trailing Obama slightly in national and swing-state polling, needed to prove he was still in the hunt and he was able to accomplish that goal with aplomb.

There will be two more presidential debates and one vice presidential debate before Election Day.