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3:00 AM ET, October 4, 2012

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 Top Items: 
BuzzFeed:
How Mitt Romney Won The First Debate  —  By standing on the stage with the president as an equal.  —  Image by Rick Wilking / Reuters  —  Mitt Romney, trailing in the polls, needed to prove tonight that he could stand on stage with President Barack Obama as an equal and a plausible president of the United States.
RELATED:
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:
Live-Blogging The First Presidential Debate 2012  —  10.31 pm.  Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments.  But this was a disaster for the president …
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
It's Over  —  I've been watching presidential debates for quite a few years, but I have never seen one like this.  It wasn't a TKO, it was a knockout.  Mitt Romney was in control from the beginning.  He was the alpha male, while Barack Obama was weak, hesitant, stuttering, often apologetic.
CNN:
CNN Poll: Most watchers say Romney debate winner  —  Denver, Colorado (CNN) - Two-thirds of people who watched the first presidential debate think that Republican nominee Mitt Romney won the showdown, according to a nationwide poll conducted Wednesday night.
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Romney wins; Update: CBS insta-poll shows decisive Romney victory; Update: Romney crushes Obama in CNN insta-poll  —  I said in the open thread that the media would strain to spin this as an Obama victory, but I assumed that he'd give them something, however small, to work with.  He gave them nothing.
BuzzFeed:
Chris Matthews Unloads On Obama: “Where Was Obama Tonight...What Was He Doing?”  —  Chris Matthews Unloads On Obama's Debate Performance  —  “Where was Obama tonight?  What was he doing?”  —  Andrew Kaczynski  —  a half hour ago  —  10 responses
Mike Flynn / BREITBART.COM:
POLITICO: ROMNEY UP 4 IN ‘TOSS UP’ STATES  —  This week, Politico released its latest Battleground poll of the presidential race.  Despite coming from the left-wing news site, the poll is one of my favorites.  Its put together by respected pollsters from both parties, makes available …
Ellen Carmichael / Twitchy:
Undecided voters in focus group swing sharply toward Romney; Frank Luntz: 'I've never seen anything like this'; CBS post-debate poll shows big win for Romney … Tonight, pollster Frank Luntz assembled a focus group consisting of undecided Colorado voters.  By the end of tonight's debate …
Discussion: Michelle Malkin
Bobby Cervantes / Politico:
A Mitt Romney rebound?  —  Maybe there are second chances in presidential campaigns.  —  And Mitt Romney's could just be on the horizon, but any potential comeback will be triggered largely by whether he can turn the first debate tonight in his favor.  —  According to Mike Allen's Playbook …
RealClearPolitics Video Log:
Chris Matthews Freaks Out At Obama: “What Was He Doing?”  —  “Tonight wasn't an MSNBC debate tonight, was it?”  Chris Matthews said after the first Obama-Romney presidential debate concluded on Wednesday night.  —  “I don't know what he was doing out there.  He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it.
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Polls: Romney dominated debate  —  Two flash polls late Wednesday reflected what most pundits are saying: Mitt Romney dominated the first presidential debate.  —  A CNN/ORC poll of registered voters who watched the debate in Denver showed 67 percent believe Romney won the debate, while just 25 percent said Obama won.
Discussion: Politico, FiveThirtyEight and The Fix
Mark Finkelstein / NewsBusters.org blogs:   Dem Debate Meltdown: Stumbling Obama Surrogate Speaks Of ‘President Romney’
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Aggressive Romney blasts Obama for his ‘trickle down government’
Discussion: ABCNEWS and Politico
Robert Kuttner / American Prospect:
First Round to Romney  —  Republican presidential candidate …
Dylan Byers / Politico:   Obama's Stephanie Cutter knocks Lehrer
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Obama fails to mention Bain, ‘47 percent’
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Romney addresses Obama, Obama addresses Lehrer at first debate
Discussion: Reuters
Jonah Goldberg / National Review:   There Went the Boom
Russell Goldman / ABCNEWS:
Romney Comes Out Swinging
Discussion: Reuters, Politico and ABCNEWS
Richard Adams / Guardian:
First US presidential debate: Obama and Romney - as it happened
Discussion: Balloon Juice and The Mahablog
Russell Goldman / ABCNEWS:
Obama and Romney Clash in First Debate
Discussion: Politico and Riehl World News
CNN:
Conservative media coordinates on release of old Obama video  —  (CNN) - On the eve of the first presidential debate, conservative media outlets seized on footage of a five-year-old, widely covered speech by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who argued at the time that the federal …
RELATED:
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Drudge  —  For years, I was a big reader of Drudge.  Was never a fan of Drudge, though I recognized his entrepreneurial acumen.  In fact, I despised most everything that he stood for, from rancid politics to integrity free journalism, the endless lying.  But I visited the site ALL THE TIME.
Rebecca Berg / BuzzFeed:
Akin's Campaign Stands By Claim Of Abortions On Women Who “Are Not Actually Pregnant”  —  Cites “ample evidence” of doctors deceiving women into thinking they're pregnant.  Another detour in to women's health in the still-competitive Missouri race.  —  Image by Jeff Roberson / AP
RELATED:
Annie-Rose Strasser / ThinkProgress:
In 2008, Akin Claimed Women ‘Who Are Not Actually Pregnant’ Get Abortions
Discussion: BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast and Gawker
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Romney Backs Away From Own Tax Plan  —  At the first presidential debate in Colorado Wednesday night, former Gov. Mitt Romney disputed a central criticism of his tax reform plan — and appeared to disavow one of its central features.  —  Responding to President Obama's description of Romney's proposal …
Discussion: The New Republic
Michael Knox Beran / National Review:
Dubious Oracles  —  Mitt Romney will probably lose the debate tonight.  At least in pundit-world.  —  Why?  Because Republicans almost always lose by a large majority there, even when they win in more substantial forums.  —  Everyone knows that Ronald Reagan handed Jimmy Carter his hat …
Discussion: GayPatriot
RELATED:
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
Spin Room  —  I gather from brief glances at Twitter and initial reaction at NBC that Mitt won pretty big on style points.  —  A lot of progressives are beside themselves that Obama didn't mention Bain Capital, didn't mention the 47%, didn't mention the Ryan Budget (except indirectly) …
M.L. Nestel / The Daily:
Restaurant worker goes wide-eyed for Mitt at Denver Chipotle  —  The eyes have it for Marty Arps, right, as he meets Mitt Romney at a Chipotle restaurant in Denver.  —  Call the Secret Service, Mitt Romney just got photo-bombed.  —  A restaurant manager at a Chipotle in Denver …
Michael Birnbaum / Washington Post:
Sensitive documents left behind at American mission in Libya  —  BENGHAZI, Libya — More than three weeks after attacks in this city killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, sensitive documents remained only loosely secured in the remains of the U.S. mission here on Wednesday …
Noam N. Levey / Los Angeles Times:
Fact check: Romney repeats erroneous claims on healthcare  —  Mitt Romney during the presidential debate at the University of Denver.  (Rick Wilking / Pool / Getty Images / October 3, 2012)  —  Mitt Romney repeated a number of erroneous claims during Wednesday's debate …
Kristen Graham / Philly.com:
Philly teacher: Student's Romney T-shirt like wearing a KKK sheet  —  Last Friday was dress-down day at Charles Carroll High School in Port Richmond — a day for students to leave their uniforms at home and wear whatever they liked.  —  One young woman chose to wear a shirt showing her support …
New York Times:
Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy  —  DENVER — Mitt Romney on Wednesday accused President Obama of failing to lead the country out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, using the first presidential debate to invigorate his candidacy …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Steve Benen / The Maddow Blog:
The right's desperate display
Discussion: Mario Piperni dot Com
Byron Tau / Politico:
Obama aides concede Romney won on ‘style’
Discussion: The Spectacle Blog
Bloomberg:
Wrestling With Linda McMahon's Connecticut
Jim Lehrer / ABCNEWS:
Presidential Debate Transcript
First Read:
Obama leads Romney by 50 points with Latinos
Discussion: The Page
Telegraph:
Al-Qaeda blamed for Europe-wide forest fires
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Atlas Shrugs
 Earlier Items: 
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
The Zinger candidacy — all sugary platitudes, no protein
Paul Waldman / American Prospect:
You're Not in the Debate Minor Leagues Now, Mitt
Discussion: The Raw Story
BuzzFeed:
The Ugliest Campaign In America
Discussion: AEIdeas