(CNN) – Shortly after the candidates stepped off of the debate stage, their surrogates, spokespeople, and supporters began to spin.
Mitt Romney had a good night, and their representatives arrived first.
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The Obama campaign a few minutes later arrived and acknowledged Romney's good performance, but they said it was not good enough. The Romney campaign said their candidate offered a contrast between his platform and that of the incumbent.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, said in the spin room, it "wouldn't shock me if he'd (Romney) have some kind of a bounce" coming out of the debate.
But he was quick to say that Obama is doing well in battleground states, a message echoed by other Obama supporters around the spin room.
"I think the only one more frustrated than Barack Obama tonight is David Axelrod," Sen. Marco Rubio, a Romney surrogate, said after Axelrod was interviewed on CNN. "I think it's pretty clear that Barack Obama was incredibly uncomfortable tonight talking about things like taxes, the budget, jobs - happen to be the most important things in America.
"And there's a reason he's uncomfortable," Rubio continued. "For one, he doesn't understand the American free enterprise system."
Sen. Rob Portman, who played the role of Obama in debate rehearsals for Romney, said the GOP candidate had a "terrific night."
"He did exactly what he had to do for the undecided voter in Ohio or around the country," Portman, of Ohio, said. "They were looking for two things: One, a discussion of the last four years and why we can't afford it for the next four, I thought he explained that well. Most importantly, he talked about his own policies and he was able to set the record straight on some of the misleading ads the Obama campaign has put out there about his tax plan about his budget plan, about his health care ideas and so on."
Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Romney "scores points on style."
"Mitt Romney needed to come in here tonight, not just to win this debate, which challengers normally do, let's face it," she said. "He needed to change the entire dynamic of this race. He didn't. He didn't do that because he doubled down on the same policies that have dogged him for the last 18 months."
As far as why Obama did not raise Romney's 47% comment - made at a fundraiser in May and revealed recently when secretly-recorded video was posted online - Obama campaign senior adviser David Plouffe said the "mission tonight was not for zingers."
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters that the president's Medicare argument was one of the highlights of the debate. Romney did not successfully defend his plan to "voucherize" the program, Messina said, which is a liability for Romney in swing states such as Ohio and Florida. He said it will be difficult for Romney to "defend that across the battleground."
In a paper statement he issued later, he said: "The President spoke directly to voters tonight about his vision for an economy that grows from the middle out, while Mitt Romney spent the night on the defensive, doubled down on the same bad ideas that crashed the economy, and got testy when he was pushed on specifics. Romney confirmed that he opposes a single dollar in new revenue from the wealthiest to reduce the deficit and continued to hide the details about how he'd accomplish his plans because he knows they don't add up and are bad for the middle-class. He was unable and unwilling to explain the math behind his $5 trillion tax cut favoring the wealthy, refused to say what rules he'd put in place to protect consumers after repealing Wall Street reform, and didn't offer a single idea to protect families from insurance company abuses after repealing Obamacare. Tonight the American people saw the clear contrast between where the two candidates will take the country in the next four years."
GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also released a statement after the debate, saying, "Americans deserve a clear choice about what kind of future we're going to have, and Governor Romney provided that contrast tonight. Mitt won this debate by effectively articulating his positive vision for a better America and the specific solutions needed to achieve it. The President, meanwhile, offered only more of the same failed ideas that have left those in the middle class – as Joe Biden put it – 'buried.' As we continue to sharpen the focus on the big choice in this election, Americans will see that we cannot afford four more years like the last. We need a real recovery, and Mitt Romney can get the job done."