Mitt Romney took the stage at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver last night with a lot to prove -- and he delivered.
The Republican challenger found his footing against the incumbent president in a way that forced even some of his harshest critics to acknowledge that he had a good debate.
"Governor Romney attacked pretty well; we understand that's what he had to do tonight," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in the spin room after last night's first-ever face-off between the two candidates, but, he added, Romney "didn't lay out where he wants to take this country."
Republicans were elated by Romney's performance.
"This was about as big a knock-out punch in a presidential debate as we've ever seen," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His spin room counterpart, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said President Obama looked "incredibly uncomfortable."
"He was not comfortable talking about taxes and the economy," Rubio said. "He had a few sound...