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Instead, aides said the GOP nominee's main goal was to simply communicate a "steadiness" on the issues and prove to voters he is capable of being "Commander in Chief." And as they flooded into the spin room minutes before the debate had officially concluded, Romney aides argued their boss did just that.
"One person seemed very presidential, knowledgeable, and the other seemed to be confusing political points and what really matters on big issues," Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said.
Romney's goal was to "talk to people about what he would do as president in a straightforward clear way, and from the very beginning he did," Stevens said. "He addressed the people, and I think you could imagine Gov. Romney as President Romney tonight."
Stevens and other Romney aides argued again and again that voters saw in the GOP nominee someone they could "trust," who was "knowledgeable," and had "good judgment."
"He didn't claim to have the answers for every problem in the world, but acknowledged their problems and their gravity," Stevens said.
Still, Team Romney acknowledged the debate likely didn't change much in terms of how voters viewed the candidates or the main arguments heading into the final two weeks of the campaign.
As Romney heads to Nevada and Colorado Tuesday as part of a swing through the battleground states this week, the GOP nominee is expected to stick with his theme of slamming Obama for not offering a "vision" for what he would do with a second term in office.
"Attacking me is not talking about an agenda," Romney repeatedly argued Monday night—a line that is likely to come up again in the final two weeks of the campaign.
- Politics & Government
- Mitt Romney
- Romney campaign
- President Barack Obama