(CNN) – David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama's campaign, brought a new bird into the election vernacular, saying Mitt Romney's debate performance reminded him of a certain winged animal.
"Governor Romney in so many instances said that now he agrees with the president's policies," Axelrod said on Tuesday. "If Big Bird was the symbol of the first debate I think the parrot would be the symbol of this one."
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Axelrod's comments came on a conference call with reporters, where he confidently declared Obama the winner of the final presidential showdown Monday night in Florida. A CNN/ORC International Poll of debate watchers conducted after the event indicated that 48% said the president fared better, compared to 40% who said the same about Romney.
Romney made headlines for agreeing with the president on a number of issues, including the 2014 drawdown deadline for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, despite previously standing against Obama for announcing a timeline. The Republican nominee also found harmony with Obama on drone strikes, Egypt, Libya, and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Axelrod argued Romney was playing too political with national security issues.
"It isn't a campaign, it isn't politics, there are lives at stake and the security of the United States of America is at stake," he said. "So that kind of parsing and shifting is not just offensive, but dangerous."
Romney's campaign, however, argues the candidate laid out clear distinctions in the debate. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan pointed to their disagreements on the likelihood of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and on the scheduled defense cuts.
"This trillion-dollar cut in defense will devastate our defense, make us weak, project weakness abroad, and I think Mitt Romney did a great job of contrasting that," Ryan said Tuesday on CBS' "This Morning."
Despite recent polls showing the race in a dead heat, Axelrod sounded assured Tuesday about the president's standing as the campaign heads into the final stretch.
"We have the ball, we have the lead, we have a great push-off as a result of these last two very strong debate performances," Axelrod said. "I'm confident that we're going to win this race, and we'll know who's bluffing and who isn't in two weeks."
Romney's campaign responded to the comments made on the conference call, saying Obama's team was once again using "desparate" attacks.
“Three weeks ago (Obama Campaign Manager) Jim Messina was insisting they were ahead in the battleground states and today he is insisting they aren’t pulling out of any states. That doesn’t sound like ‘Forward’ to me," Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, said in a statement. "And while the Obama campaign continues to engage in desperate attacks, Governor Romney will continue talking about his plan for a real recovery for the middle class, which has suffered under the failed Obama policies of the last four years.”