The day after a presidential debate is always a time when candidates and their aides fan out to tell people what they wanted them to hear the night before.
The campaigns of both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney were out in force Thursday.
They were putting competing spins on the 90-minute policy-laden, sometimes wonky, first debate showdown — a meeting that brought wide bipartisan agreement that Romney had put in a strong performance.
"We had our first debate last night," Obama told a rally in Denver, site of the debate. "I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney."
But Obama suggested "the man on stage last night" was voicing positions at odds with what Romney has been saying on the campaign trail.
Obama strategist David Axelrod told reporters the president would make "adjustments" as a result of the debate
"I do think there was a dynamic shift in the campaign," said top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said earlier on MSNBC. "Gov. Romney was clearly very much in command of the facts last night and had solutions."
Romney told conservative activists in Colorado Thursday the Nov. 6 election will be a "close-fought battle."
Later, he was teaming with running mate Paul Ryan for an evening rally in Fishersville, Va.
It's now one debate down and three to go. The vice presidential debate is next Thursday in Danville, Ky. The next presidential debate is a town-hall format in Hempstead, N.Y. on Oct. 16, and then a final one Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.
The next big event: release of the September jobs report on Friday. The jobless rate has been above 8 percent since Obama took office, weighing down his re-election prospects. It was 8.1 percent for August.
Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum. For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow https://twitter.com/APcampaign and AP journalists covering the campaign: https://twitter.com/AP/ap-campaign-2012