The Obama and Romney campaigns both released ads this morning, and the contrast between them says a lot about how each campaign viewed last night’s debate.

In the Obama camp’s new, minute-long direct-to-camera ad, the President mounts a very aggressive defense of his economic record, arguing that the economy is, in fact, recovering — something I and others have been hoping to see. He then lays out some specifics of his second term agenda, i.e. more public investment manufacturing and clean energy, and reducing the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy and with savings from winding down the wars. The ad is entirely positive.

By contrast, Romney’s new ad features footage of him at yesterday’s debate attacking Obama for his ... fictional apology tour.

Here's the Obama spot, which will air in nine swing states:

And here’s the Romney ad (placement of buy unknown):

Yesterday’s performance by Romney seemed conspicuously lacking in some of the main attacks on Obama the right had been waiting for. Many commentators this morning are concluding that Obama was the one on offense and successfully put Romney on the defensive. In reprising these lines — that Obama apologized for America and has yet to visit Israel — the Romney camp is again attacking an Obama that mainly exists in the minds of the Obama-hating GOP base, and probably doesn’t really exist in the minds of undecided voters, who have watched this president for four years and don’t share the base’s suspicions about his commitment to America.

At least one RNC official is calling this Romney’s “best moment of the debate.” It’s a curious choice: With two weeks to go until the election, Romney’s best moment wasn’t an affirmative one where he laid out his own agenda vis a vis America’s role in the world; it’s one where he attacked Obama for an apology tour that never happened. The fact that a criticism of Obama that has been has been completely debunked is seen by the Romney camp as his shining triumph of last evening is fitting. It will be interesting to see if this is how the Romney campaign intends to close out the race. If so, it contrasts sharply with the Obama pivot to an affirmative case for a second term agenda that is now underway.


UPDATE: In fairness, the Romney camp has also released this minute-long spot in which Romney touts his 12 million jobs plan. Friendly reminder: Romney’s own campaign was asked to back up the plan’s promises, and was unable to do so.