Judy Woodruff: Did you get a sense of what a second obama term would look like?
Brooks: “Obama’s core vulnerability is he doesn’t have much of a vision for a second term.”
Shields: “I hate to say that I agree with David, but I do. The president has yet to tell us what his vision is for his second term.”
Shields: “Strangely, he (Obama) did not connect well with the people in the room - there was no Clintonian moment.”
Brooks: “It got hot; they argued with Candy Crowley a little too much about the rules. Never do that - it looks bad. … When you just try to look like Mr. Alpha, it looks boyish.”
NewsHour political editor Christina Bellantoni: ‘Binders full of women’ … instant meme.
Shields: “On the taxes, he is not convincing, he is not persuasive, Mitt Romney. The president was very aggressive to point out he can’t abolish the estate tax, the Bush tax cuts....and somehow not reduce revenue. And that just isn’t plausible; it isn’t believable. And I thought from that point forward, I thought the president had an upper hand.”
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss: In the 1984 Ronald Reagan debate with Walter Mondale, it was famously bad for him (Reagan). Turned in a performance that caused many to think that President Reagan was finished, says Beschloss. In Reagan’s 2nd debate, he “reversed the damage, swept it away.”
Beschloss: “This was the iciest town meeting debate of all six. I used to think that 2000, between George Bush and Al Gore, was an uncomfortable conversation. Compared to this one, that was Valentine’s Day.”
Beschloss: Almost always harder for an incumbent to defend a record vs. respond with hypotheticals.
Beschloss: Incumbents are often good at rebutting opponents -- but typically “very light in terms of what they would do in their second term.”
Politico's Jonathan Martin: President Obama’s advisors were out a good five minutes before the debate was finished in the spin room... on the heels of a poor performance in Denver, President Obama was in high command tonight.”
Ari Shapiro of NPR: Romney kept returning to a single mantra: “You need a better job, you need a better economy.”
Jonathan Martin: “President Obama was just so relentless in his attacks against Gov. Romney. He was just entirely focused on taking down Romney’s record.”
David Brooks: Risk is the iciness on Obama’s aggressiveness, he says, “its clearly the people on their side that are going to love that." “The two of them are not particularly likeable in this context.”
Shields: “Even where Mitt Romney had an advantage … (ex. immigration) … in both cases, I thought that Mitt Romney was not a very effective messager because of his own problems, his own primary record … He isn’t in the position to make the case, even if the president is vulnerable.”
Shields: “I do think there wasn’t a flash of humor, or even vulnerability. There wasn’t even a sense of humility,” he said of both candidates.
Shields: “The president knows that he got his head handed to him in Denver.”
Brooks: “I think Obama will get a little something out of this. That would be my guess.”