Oct 09, 2012 11:40 PM GMT
Obama believes he'd got the better of Romney as he walked off stage to the dismay of his aides, according to a Democrat close to the campaign
The President failed to prepare properly, opting instead to visit the Hoover Dam the day before the showdown
Democrat claims he was so disdainful of Romney that he didn't think he needed to even engage with him
Had one-liners on 47% prepared but chose not to use them
When President Barack Obama stepped off the stage in Denver last week the 60 million Americans watching the debate against Mitt Romney already knew it had been a disaster for him.
But what nobody knew, until now, was that Obama believed he had actually won.
In an extraordinary insight into the events leading up to the 90 minute showdown which changed the face of the election, a Democrat close to the Obama campaign today reveals that the President also did not take his debate preparation seriously, ignored the advice of senior aides and ignored one-liners that had been prepared to wound Romney.
The Democrat said that Obama's inner circle was dismayed at the 'disaster' and that he believed the central problem was that the President was so disdainful of Romney that he didn't believe he needed to engage with him.
'President Obama made it clear he wanted to be doing anything else - anything - but debate prep,' the Democrat said. 'He kept breaking off whenever he got the opportunity and never really focused on the event.
'He went into the debate armed with a number of one-liners to throw at Romney, including at least two about Romney not caring about 47 per cent of the country. But he decided not to use them.'
The Democrat, who is aligned with the Obama campaign and has been an unofficial adviser on occasions, said that David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, was stunned that the President left the stage feeling that he had won the debate.
'To his credit, the President believes that debates are about substance rather than performance. He felt that his argument about the direction this country should take was much stronger than Romney's. Unfortunately, that's not the way modern debates work.'
During his debate preparation in Henderson, Nevada, Obama broke off to visit a campaign field office. There, he joked with a volunteer about how his advisers were 'keeping me indoors all the time' to practice. 'It's a drag. They're making me do my homework.'