Romney watching the VP debate (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
How confident was Team Romney heading into Thursday's vice presidential debate?
In an unusual move, the Romney campaign allowed a small pool of reporters into the Republican nominee's hotel room in Asheville, N.C., to witness Romney and his top aides watching the first few minutes of the debate between his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, and Vice President Joe Biden.
During Biden's response to the question about the Obama administration's handling of the attack on the United States consulate in Libya, Romney turned to his advisers and said, "Will Paul attack on this?"
Asked by a reporter for his response to Biden's answer, Romney laughed.
"I'm looking forward to the next answer," Romney said, adding "I think Paul will do great."
Indeed, the Romney campaign quickly declared victory in the aftermath of the VP debate, with one senior adviser pouncing on Biden's body language as "off balance," "out of kilter" and "strange."
"He found a way to be worse than Obama. He laughed his way through the debate, lectured the American people, lectured everybody," the Romney aide, who declined to be named, said. "He even lectured his home town that they should feel good that they have 10 percent unemployment."
Another Romney adviser looked forward to next week's debate between Romney and Obama.
"We expect that President Obama will try and avoid talking about his lack of a record to run on," the adviser, who declined to be named, said. "And, consistent with Biden's performance, we expect they won't talk about a second term agenda since they don't really have one other than raising taxes."
According to a spokesman, Romney phoned Ryan after the debate and congratulated him on a "fantastic" showing.