“Romney floods spin room with surrogates. Obama less so.” – Dave Weigel via Twitter

“On Social Security, I suspect we have a similar position.” – Barack Obama

THERE IS no debating who commanded the stage in th debate. Mitt Romney was ready, prepared and coiled and didn’t miss a moment. President Obama, if he prepared at all, decided that he could afford to ignore the challenger. As president, while Mitt Romney zeroed in and kept directing his answers to him, Obama looked down as if to diss the man talking to him. It didn’t work.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney smiled, showed real empathy and concern for voters in his answers, while Obama disengaged from the start. It gave Romney the opening to stand toe to toe with the sitting president and prove himself his equal.

Mitt Romney, trailing in the polls, needed to prove tonight that he could stand on stage with President Barack Obama as an equal and a plausible president of the United States. He did that in the crucial first 40 minutes of Wednesday night’s debate… – How Mitt Romney Won the First debate, by Ben Smith

Stunningly, Mitt Romney also did the one thing I suggested on Wednesday: he walked away from his right-wing base and his own policies as if both didn’t exist. The Etch-a-Sketch was revved up and running on full tilt. Tax cuts for the rich? Not Mitt. Will it cost $5 trillion? No, says Mitt.

But on Social Security, Mitt Romney didn’t have to do a thing. President Obama did the work himself, serving up a quote that will be in an ad faster than you can say “phoned it in.”

At the end of the debate Ed Schultz was openly upset about Obama’s performance, but furious at the Social Security giveaway line.

Matthews simply exploded:

“What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed. …I think I can get through this thing and I don’t even have to look at the guy. Whereas Romney –I loved the split screen– staring at Obama, addressing him like the prey. He did it just– You gotta beat the champ and I’m gonna beat him. What was Romney doing? He was winning.” – Chris Matthews

Staff greets Gov and @anndromney backstage after debate. – Mitt’s body man via Twitter

Steve Schmidt said plainly that “Romney was on the ropes.” He followed by saying it was a “stunning” performance.

Barack Obama didn’t mention the 47%, he didn’t call Romney out on his policies on women, he gave Romney the Social Security line of his dreams.

Later on MSNBC when David Plouffe was asked why Obama didn’t use the 47% line, Plouffe said “100%” of the people know about that, which reveals just how unprepared the Team Obama was for what played out in the debate.

The only conclusion is Obama and his team didn’t think Mitt Romney was up to the performance he delivered tonight. They underestimated the one-quarter of a billion dollar man.

The hubris is as staggering as is the political malpractice.

Looking down most of the debate, it was a clear brush off of Romney, who couldn’t have cared less and just kept coming. It hurt President Obama, because he fell into the trap he has before by showing a side of himself that reveals arrogance.

There will be people who will blame Jim Lehrer. Twitter exploded with criticisms of Lehrer, a “silent Jim Lehrer” handle cropping up at the end. But this was a format Lehrer proposed that was crafted around the moderator not being in the debate. This was lost on just about everyone. Lehrer would serve up topics or questions and the candidates would manage the time.

President Obama actually had around 4 minutes more time than Romney. However, it seemed just the opposite because Romney commanded the entire 90 minutes.

Romney came off as an equal to President Obama, but also was the exact opposite of the character the negative attack ads have been portraying him to be for months.

President Obama simply didn’t present his policies coherently, but worse, didn’t call Mitt Romney on completely removing himself from Paul Ryan, the right and everything he’s adopted since he started to try to get the nomination.

It was the only strategy assured to reboot Romney’s candidacy, but the chutzpah it takes to lie so boldly is epic. Only a politician of tremendous talent can pull it off. If Romney had been this candidate since he won the nomination Obama would be down by 10.

Mitt Romney embraced his inner Governor of Massachusetts, exactly as I suggested he do, though he did it without President Obama being aware, because he wasn’t paying attention.

Team Obama just got their wake up call and you can bet Barack Obama will suit up, warm up and come prepared for the second debate.

Team Romney couldn’t have asked for a better debate performance out of their candidate. The money is going to roll in.

Mitt Romney has his reset, because he worked for it in the debate and brought the champ down.