Obama vs. Romney: Who will win the post-debate spin?

Dems and GOPers follow up the first on-stage clash with ads hammering home the messages they hope voters will take away from the event. Whose version will prevail?

Mitt Romney and President Obama
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The videos: That didn't take long. Within 12 hours of the first 2012 presidential debate, Republicans and Democrats on Thursday released ads seeking to capitalize on the big night (see both videos below). The Republican National Committee posted an online clip called Smirk, intended to show that President Obama was visibly uncomfortable as he "struggled to give Americans answers on how he'll turn our country around with another four years." The Obama campaign responded with Mostly Fiction, an ad mining assessments by fact-checkers to prove that Romney scored most of his points by "playing fast and loose with the facts," including his insistence that he'll cut taxes without raising the deficit (a claim that doesn't compute for many economists). Most politics-watchers agree that Romney got the better of Obama on the debate stage. But who'll win the post-game spin war?

The reaction: Romney should savor his moment of glory, says Leo Kapakos at Examiner.com. "Anyone can win a debate if he lies right through and isn't challenged effectively." Obama, for some mysterious reason, let Romney freely claim that he could lavish a 20 percent tax cut on the super rich and avoid shifting more tax burden onto the middle class by eliminating a few deductions, but the fact-checkers won't let Mitt get away with such flagrant dishonesty. Team Obama is dreaming, says John Hayward at Human Events, if it thinks spin will change "last night's curb stomp" into a victory for Obama. But even crowing Romney aides concede, says Devin Dwyer at ABC News, that we'll have to "wait a week and the proof will be in the polling."

Take a look at the dueling post-debate videos for yourself. First the GOP ad:

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And now the Obama team's video:

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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