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Axelrod: Obama is 'never satisfied'

Obama adviser David Axelrod put a positive spin his candidate’s debate performance, acknowledging Thursday that Mitt Romney had a great night, but dismissing it only as “a performance.”

“I expected a strong performance. I got a strong performance, but that’s what it was a performance,” he said on TODAY. “The underlying facts remain the underlying facts.”

Axelrod said Romney refused to offer any details about how he would pay for key campaign promises, including broad tax cuts, increased defense spending and repeals in the national health care reform.

But Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said the former Massachusetts governor did provide details, all while offering “a very fact-based critique” of the president’s policies.

Romney adviser Ed Gillespie discusses the Republican reaction to the first presidential debate.

“What they saw was someone who had command of the facts and understands what we need to do to get this country moving again,” Gillespie told TODAY.

“We didn’t hear much, frankly, from President Obama about any second term agenda, and we didn’t hear very credible defense of his first term agenda, and I think the American people saw that last night,” he said.

During the 90-minute debate Wednesday in Denver, Obama failed to raise several issues that have become staples in his campaign attack ads, specifically Romney’s controversial comment that “47 percent” of Americans see themselves as victims.

Axelrod said that’s because the public wants to hear more about the fundamental issues facing the country, rather than more attacks.

“He treated the American people like adults and he told them the truth, which was a fundamental distinction between him and Gov. Romney last night,” he said.

Asked if Obama was pleased with his performance, Axelrod said the president is “never satisfied. He’s always challenging himself.”

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