Obama at a rally in Denver after the debate. (Photo: Doug Mills/NYT)
After a midweek hammering that may or may not have been totally deserved, the Obama campaign has ended the week well: the new jobs report was unexpectedly good, taking unemployment down below the symbolically important 8% level, back to where it was when he took office in January 2009.
Having said that I'm still not convinced that the furore from left and right about his supposedly disastrous night was justified. We'll get some clues to this over the next few days as reliable post-debate polls start coming in.
I found myself on the minority side of responses to two political events this week, one in the UK and one in the US. In both cases, although I'm far from sure I was right, I still think the immediate consensus view was, as they say on Wall Street, "overbought".
Ed Miliband's Manchester triumph was overbought because left-leaning commentators generally quite like him and want him to do well, and kind of exploded with joy when he exceeded generally low expectations. Meanwhile, right wing journalists and pundits are looking for a stick with which to beat Cameron, and found one. It was a great performance, as a speech, in the hall. But it didn't look great on TV, and more importantly, it was substance-free. Still, it got the press to start thinking of Miliband as a potential PM and on that count, it was a win. I just don't think it will change voters' perceptions of him, and fundamentally it didn't move the game on.
Obama's Denver disaster was also overbought. His performance wasn't great, but I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as people said. The motives of the exaggerators, conscious and otherwise, are discernible here too: the race had got boring. The media desperately needed a dramatic narrative pivot, and thus what might be described as a narrow win for Romney was transformed into an historic thrashing. I'm not complaining, by the way. It would be pretty boring if everyone behaved soberly and sceptically all the time.