Nor did the president question Romney on why he wouldn't release more details about his taxes. Another opportunity lost in an effort to try and portray Romney as being an out-of-touch elitist.
Obama's failure to take the fight to Romney and the challenger's ability to dictate the tone and speed of the debate helped Romney win.
The narrative heading into the evening was that Romney's campaign was listing and in serious need of a win. To Romney's credit, he never blamed his staff for problems that beset his campaign over the past few weeks and he was the one who righted the ship.
Romney made the case that he was in the race to help the middle class at the same time advocating a government that was more business friendly. Romney's repeated references to business -- particularly his pledge to help small businesses -- opened a door for Obama to bring in the former Massachusetts governor's time at Bain Capital. It was never brought up.
Romney's strong performance comes at a critical time as conservatives have been openly criticizing his campaign and poll numbers in key battleground states such as Ohio were trending toward Obama.
Romney played offense, while Obama was forced to play defense. With 33 days until Election Day -- you don't want to be on defense.
4. Body language matters
Sometimes how a candidate looks is more important than what he says.
That may have been the case in the first presidential debate, in which Romney often looked more at ease than Obama. When speaking, Romney often looked directly at Obama, while the president mainly looked at the moderator or the cameras when he was speaking. And Obama looked down quite often while Romney was speaking.
"The president could barely look at Mitt Romney, which was interesting. He really wouldn't engage with him, where as Romney would take the president on, on every issue." said CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
While Romney's body language seemed energetic, the president's body language was just the opposite. He seemed a bit irritated.
"I don't think anyone's ever spoken to him like that over the last four years. I think he found that not only surprising but offensive. It looked like he was angry at times," added CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who has advised both Democratic and Republican presidents.
While Romney took part in nearly 20 GOP primary debates this cycle, Obama has not participated in a debate in four years. And it showed.
"Participating in so many Republican primary debates helped Mitt Romney. He was, right from the beginning, more comfortable debating. The president was rusty as a debater. He hasn't done this in four years." King said.
Senior Obama campaign advisers disagreed, saying that it was Romney who appeared ill at ease.
"People at home saw (Romney) get testy, interrupt the moderator," Obama campaign deputy communications director Stephanie Cutter told CNN.
"My thought is that you're going to find that people watching at home thought he was quite testy," Plouffe added.
5. Chris Christie vindicated
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bothered the heck out of Romney-world last Sunday when he shirked the expectations game and stated flatly that the GOP nominee would deliver an earthquake of debate performance that would turn the presidential race "upside down."
Not on message in the slightest. But it turns out Christie might have been right.
In the post-debate spin room, the very same Romney backers who were hyper-cautious heading into Wednesday night's debate were suddenly sounding a lot like Christie.
"Chris Christie is quite the prognosticator," said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune said Romney assuaged the Republican concerns about his candidacy -- and then some.
"I think this was a make or break moment for the Romney campaign and he delivered," Thune told reporters. "This is a whole new ball game."
One high-ranking Romney adviser also acknowledged what no one on their team would admit prior the debate: That a poor showing Wednesday could have derailed Romney's candidacy.