How Obama's Debate Strategy Gave Romney a Boost

Jake Tapper on how the president's strategy made him appear too passive to some viewers.
3:00 | 10/04/12

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Transcript for How Obama's Debate Strategy Gave Romney a Boost
-- -- -- question we heard -- across the country today what was going on with President Obama at the big debate with governor Mitt Romney last night. We have learned that 67. Point two million Americans were watching last night and governor Romney came out swinging. The president seemed to be dodging a fight with only 33 days to go until your voice your vote why -- the president off his game. Has the whole race changed today -- start with ABC's Jake Tapper. He is in Wisconsin traveling with the president tonight Jake. Good evening -- and yes that performance by the president that one former Democratic Party chairman referred to as lethargic disinterested. And passive was the talk. Of the campaign today. Campaign aides say. They don't have any explanation as to why the president was the -- was other than the general inclination to play it safe but however cold his performance may have left even some supporters last night. Today the president came out with some fire. Before a crowd of 121000 in Denver the president tried to turn his opponents polished debate performance into proof of this -- news. When I got onto the stage. I met this very spirited fellow who claim to be Mitt Romney. But the real -- running have been running around the country for the last year. Promising. But trillion dollars in tax cuts that favor the welfare. The audience many of the president's supporters expressed bewilderment at his passive performance last night I felt like he should have been more aggressive business. Didn't understand. The -- -- I wonder what is. Going on sources tell ABC news the president's strategy was a calculated decision not to risk appearing on presidential by attacking -- Romney on say that video insulting 47% of the country as irresponsible victims. His -- advised him to focus on policies such as Romney's effort to distance himself from his own tax proposal. Afraid to -- we have been running on this tax plan and now five weeks before the election. Is saying that as big bold idea is never mind. But now top Democrats and liberal pundits bemoan a missed opportunity I don't know what he was doing out there -- -- head daddy was -- dissipate -- fighting it. It looks like Romney wanted to be that in Brenda -- -- want to get. Some even blame Denver's high elevation for the president's performance when you go to 5000 -- exactly. And you only have a few hours to adjust that's -- I don't know last night the president spent much time looking down at his voting you know and he squandered easy opportunities to -- -- -- such as I missed all the things I like PBS a lot of big bird actually like you to. But I'm not gonna I'm not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for a wide opening the president took more than fourteen hours to come up with a comeback. If somebody is finally getting tough on big -- At the opening. Many top Democrats suggest that one of the problems may be one common to incumbents the president has lived in a bubble for four years surrounded by. Adulation. Rarely challenged the campaign today acknowledge that they were going to conduct a reassessment before the next debate.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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