Via The Hill:

Adjustments will have to be made in President Obama’s debate strategy, his advisers said Thursday, the morning after the president stumbled in his first showdown with Mitt Romney.

David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign strategist, said they are going to take “a hard look” at Obama’s debate performance and that they’ll “have to make some judgments about where to draw the lines in these debates and how to use our time.”

“It’s like a playoff in sports,” Axelrod said to reporters on a conference call, adding that there are strategic judgments “that have to be made and we’ll make them.”

Axelrod’s comments reflected an overall sentiment from Obama world — from his staunchest loyalists to donors and even some aides — who tried to make sense of the thrashing they had witnessed Wednesday night.

They conceded the president was listless and seemingly tired and did nothing to combat a fiery Romney, who was on the attack and dominated much of the debate. And they called Wednesday’s debate a missed opportunity for Obama in terms of putting the race away, after a strong month coming off of the Democratic National Convention.

“I’ve put down my paper bag and I am breathing again,” said one former administration official, who readily acknowledged that Obama endured a serious thumping in the debate.  Another former Obama aide said, “it was obvious for everybody that his energy level was low — especially for the president.”

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