Other than getting a hug from Big Bird, what could President Obama do to make himself feel better today?

He was beaten in all phases of the debate last night: He failed to make a case for a second term; failed to counter Romney’s repeated attacks on Medicare and clean energy; and failed to call Romney on his clever prevarications on taxes and health care. The president needs to do two things today: shake up the news cycle, which is now in an endless and ugly postmortem of his performance; and reassure his supporters that he’s got the fight in him.

To accomplish both objectives, the president should speak out today about Romney’s tax plan. He should call out Romney on his lack of specifics and his fuzzy math and hope that this helps drive some coverage of what remains a serious vulnerability for his challenger.

Obama should then take a moment to gather himself and draw on some internal reserves. Mitt Romney made him look weak last night and pushed him around in the paint all night long. He can’t repair all of the damage today or tomorrow, but he can decide that it is time to up his game.