Still, for all the enthusiasm for Romney's performance, Republicans characterized it as a good day but not necessarily a game-changer. They are mindful that a month is a long time in politics and said that Romney needs to work hard to capitalize on any boost he may have gotten out of it. They also were keenly aware that Romney and Obama will meet twice more on the debate stage before Nov. 6.
"I did not think we'd have a home run debate in the first debate," said Nick Ryan, another former Santorum adviser. "If we didn't get a home run, we certainly got a triple."
The question now likely on the minds of many: Can Romney do it two more times — and really change the trajectory of a race polls show is close?