David Axelrod, after being asked on Morning Joe whether Barack Obama deliberately eschewed any mention of Mitt Romney's "47%" tape.
"No, it wasn't a calculated decision. I think the president's belief is that that's something that's been very much part of the fabric of the discussion.... I understand that our strong supporters feel very, very strongly that we should have plowed in on the 47%, on his tax returns, on Bain, and so on.
I think most people tuning in were more interested in their lives and their future, and that's what the president was discussion."
Here's the challenge for Obama. He's got to be more artful than ever about how he works the 47% attacks, the Bain bashing, and the slams on Romney's personal tax returns into the next debate.
He can't go all negative, because that will look a little desperate. He's got to tie each of those attacks to some tangible policy that affects the country, and wrap it up with a sentence that's uplifting and something about his vision; not about Romney's. Otherwise, it'll just seem like he's trying to play debate catchup.
Make no mistake, Obama will benefit from severely lowered expectations next time, but he'll also be hampered by a potential perception -- that he's trying to even things up simply by attacking. Attacks are crucial, yes, but they're no substitute for a vision.