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OPINION

A win for Romney in first round of debates

Wednesday night's presidential debate in Denver was a win for Mitt Romney. He was clear and unambiguous on health care and the dangers of big government.

The president lost his focus after the first 45 minutes. For the rest of the evening he was hesitant, unfocused and discursive.

I thought President Obama opened and closed strong. He repeated his core messages. But the only time he appeared to have any passion was in his opening statement and his closing statement. Romney dominated the middle section of the debate and he made it clear that he offers a real alternative to the president.

Romney didn't close the deal in Denver. There were no knock outs. But he made it clear he has an alternative vision. He wasn't seen as extreme, he avoided that attack. But he failed to outline a jobs program or a specific plan to revitalize the economy.

After Wednesday night's debate, if he really wants to move ahead and close the deal, Mr. Romney needs to offer a clear plan to revitalize America -- both at home economically and overseas.

Expect the polls to further tighten in the days ahead. And, stay tuned for round two. There was no final decision tonight.

Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton and is currently working with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant. He is also a Fox News contributor and co-host of "Fox News Insiders" Sundays on Fox News Channel and Mondays at 10:30 am ET on FoxNews.com Live. He is the author of ten books including,“Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield 2012). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.