Obama Now Realizes How Badly He Lost the Debate

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President Obama admitted, in joke format, that he choked at the presidential debate, telling a Los Angeles fundraiser Sunday night that celebrities like George Clooney, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Jon Bon Jovi, and Katy Perry, "are just incredible professionals" and "just perform flawlessly night after night." As for himself, he added, "I can't always say the same."

That is the first time, four days later, that the president has acknowledged that he fumbled his first debate against Mitt Romney. His staff, however, was not so slow. They realized their boss was losing the debate immediately -- and held their first conference call to figure out what to do about with 10 minutes left in the debate, The New York Times' Peter Baker and Trip Gabriel report. Obama, however, had no idea how badly the debate was going over. When he said, at the very end, "This was a terrific debate," it turns out he meant it! The president "walked off the stage thinking he at least had gotten in some of his points," The Times reports. "It’s hard when you’re up there to judge it completely," David Axelrod said. Meanwhile, his campaign was scrambling to fix it. The ad team worked overnight to make a new attack ad. The campaign decided to start calling Romney a flip-flopper again. They noticed people on Twitter were making jokes about Romney's pledge to cut funding for Big Bird, so they put a line about that in Obama's stump speech.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.