First Read: Obama's Debate Offensive Pays Off

An energized President Barack Obama bounced back from a dismal debate performance two weeks ago to dictate the direction of Tuesday's showdown in no uncertain terms, NBC's First Read writes. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney presented a strong front, but for the most part he played defense while the president was on offense. The candidates' body language and reactions after the debate were testament to that, according to First Read. The pair's alpha male posturing and interruptions indicated an apparent dislike between them, and neither really connected with the undecided voters asking them questions, First Read writes. Romney never quite recovered after he was thrown off during a question on Libya toward the end of the debate. "Liberals can breathe a sigh of relief," NBC's David Gregory said, although he and Savannah Guthrie questioned how voters, particularly women, might respond to the debate's hostile tone. Chuck Todd and former President George W. Bush's budget director agreed that each rival probably appealed to his base.

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