From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Some highlights from the spin room:
Jill Hazelbaker (McCain communications director):
-- Obama has a "lack of understanding" and "lack of clarity." His "answers aren't tied to his record" on taxes. "Doesn't have much credibility."
-- She questioned why Obama would want to continue a debate on spending and taxes.
-- "One candidate looked presidential, another looked like he was playing politics."
-- She lauded McCain's experience over Obama. But on the VP debate, she said the focus would be on how Palin "connects." She said there was "something electric about her," citing her drawing 60,000 in Florida.
-- She denied that McCain is at all annoyed with being on the same stage as Obama. She said McCain has a "deep respect" for Obama and his ability. But "there's no question he thinks his experience is better than Obama's." She added that McCain is "passionate" and that he is "going to fight for what he believes is right."
David Axelrod (Obama chief strategist):
-- Stressed that Obama "believes passionately in change" and "McCain represent more of the same." He added that there is no "personal animus to McCain," but a "passionate feeling" on the issues, like Iraq and the economy.
-- He said he thought a good moment for his candidate came on Iraq, saying McCain "has a selective memory." He added that McCain showed "bad judgment" in going into Iraq and that he "misjudged Afghanistan."
-- "John McCain did a good job of reciting history but didn't do a good job in talking about the future."
-- He said the way the McCain campaign has acted in the last 10 days was "strangely erratic."
-- On why they didn't bring up McCain questioning whether he'd debate, he said, they "didn't want a debate about debates. This was about the future."
Greg Craig (Obama foreign policy adviser, was the stand in for McCain in debate prep):
-- Also cited that McCain was "wrong" on a "litany of things."
-- But he said, "Never underestimate Sen. McCain's ability to come up with personal anecdotes."
-- He said Obama "did what he needed to do." He cited specifically his ability to speak to the complexity of the issues, particularly with regard to Ukraine and Georgia. He lauded his candidate's ability to speak of the history of U.S. foreign policy, which he called "right on."
-- "Sen. Obama is much more in touch with 21st Century foreign policy than McCain."
Alex Conant (RNC):
-- Cited how many times Obama said, "John is Right." (Republicans, in fact, during the debate created a Web ad by that name. Now, that's a quick turnaround.)
-- He noted that the phrase was evidence "he's [Obama] playing on our turf." He likened to the fact that Obama wouldn't speak that way on health care or education - that he wouldn't start with "John's Right" on those issues.
-- He also cited the "bracelet" moment as a good one for McCain, since Obama cited one of his own.