Amid the pre-debate chatter on cable news Tuesday night, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt dropped the hottest take of all: Mike Pence should take the stage at Longwood University and admit that Donald Trump lost the first presidential debate last week.

That's what it sounded like, anyway, when Hewitt said this about the Republican vice-presidential nominee's strategy: “One thing he can do, I think, is build an audience for Sunday night [when Trump and Clinton meet again]. He needs to give Trump a chance to get back into the ring against Hillary Clinton with a reset. So he says: 'Watch Sunday night. If you want change in this country, if you think we’re on the wrong direction, watch Sunday night. A different Donald Trump is coming.'"

A “different Donald Trump” who needs to “get back in the ring . . . with a reset” wouldn't be necessary, of course, unless Trump lost Round 1. Which he did, according to non-fake polls. Also, Hewitt — a panelist at four Republican primary debates — is in a pretty good position to judge.

Still, as clear as the result on Sept. 26 might have been — even to Trump supporters like Hewitt — it would be a pretty remarkable thing to see a presidential candidate's running mate concede defeat before a TV audience of tens of millions of voters.

Then again, the Trump campaign has been all about the comeback narrative since the New York Times published tax documents showing that the real estate billionaire lost almost $916 million in 1995. The proof of Trump's genius, according to this story line, is his ability to climb out of that hole and rebuild his business empire.

Maybe the best way to spin last week's loss is to present it as an opportunity for redemption. That's what Hewitt seems to think. We'll see if Pence goes that route.