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Romney wins big. Big Bird at risk. 33 days until Election Day.

Happy Thursday. Some presidential debates are hard to call, last night's wasn't. Mitt Romney was the victor. He delivered an energetic and aggressive performance, while President Barack Obama was flat. And moderator Jim Lehrer had little control over the economy-driven 90 minutes. At the end, the two men shook hands and it appears that Obama told Romney: "Good job. I'm pretty sure you won." The question now is whether Romney's strong performance will cut into Obama's lead in the polls. [Trib] [DenverPost] [WaPost][NYTimes] [LATimes] [Reuters] [BostonGlobe] [FoxNews] [UtahPolicy]

-> See last night's transcript here: [WaPost]. The next presidential debate will be held Oct. 16 and will cover matters of foreign and domestic policy. The vice presidential debate is Oct. 11.

Topping the news: A CNN flash poll asked registered voters who watched the debate to say which candidate won. Romney got 67 percent to Obama's 25 percent. [CNN]

-> University of Utah students also gave Romney the win, but that doesn't mean he necessarily won their vote. [DNews] [Fox13] [ABC4]

-> One Romney remark about cutting discussing non-essential expenditures wreaked havoc on the Twittersphere: "I'm sorry Jim. I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm gonna stop other things. I like PBS, I like Big Bird. I actually like you too." [USAToday] [LATimes] [DNews]

Tweets of the day: From @BlGBlRD: "WTF Mitt Romney... :("

From @pattonoswalt: "Jim Lehrer: "Miss, I-I'd like to order..." Waitress: "SHUT UP NERD I'M NOT FINISHED WITH THE SPECIALS" - at a diner tomorrow #debate"

From @StuPolitics: "If Romney doesn't get a big bump in the polls, it means people just don't like him. A huge win for Romney, but will voters see it that way?"

From @billmaher: "i must say, of all the Romneys i've seen, this Debate Romney is my favorite"

From @LukeRussert: "Basketball analogy, Romney came in wired, up-tempo offense, ran out to a lead, Obama tightened it but Romney never gave lead back."

From @RameshPonnuru: "Not sure I've ever seen a Republican nominee debate better. Think I've watched all of them from '92 on."

And if you want to see what the candidates would look like if they swapped hair styles, @ericgrant has you covered.

Happy birthday: To state Rep. Roger Barrus.

In other news: Sen. Orrin Hatch has a plan that would allow the University of Utah to use the military's remaining facilities at Fort Douglas, while also giving the Reserves the cash they need to land in some improved digs. [Trib]

-> Hatch recalls presidential debates from days past, particularly President Ronald Reagan's showdown with President Jimmy Carter. [NatReview]

-> Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, teams up with members of the iMatter youth campaign to propose a bill that would force a closer look at the link between climate change and wildfires. [Trib]

-> A Utah federal judge refused to arrest a former New York FBI agent accused of disrupting a federal criminal investigation, citing a lack of evidence to prove his danger to the community. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley tips his cap to former Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan, who passed away this week. [Trib]

-> At a Wednesday news conference, Salt Lake County mayoral candidate Ben McAdams said he will make education a priority if elected. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert formally endorsed Republican Mark Crockett for county mayor. [DNews]

-> Herbert's son fights a stalking injunction filed against him in 2010. [Trib]

-> Marc B. Johnson retired from the Utah Tax Commission after 12 years of service. [Trib] Lianne Stillman, city manager for Cottonwood Heights, is also retiring. [Trib]

2012 watch: Romney's top five lines from the debate: [Politico].

-> President Obama ditched many of his most popular attack lines before heading to last night's debate, "47 percent" or "Osama bin Laden" remarks among them. [Politico]

-> PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, no newbie to the moderating scene, struggled to keep Obama and Romney on target in last night's debate. [USAToday] [HuffPost] [WaPost]

-> Both candidates spun one-sided tales, according to a fact checker. [APviaDPost]

-> A Time Magazine article dives into the psychology behind campaign lies, attributing the frequency of their fibbing to many things, most notably that "voters just show less and less interest in punishing those who deceive." [TIME]

-> A campaign aid said Romney will cover those with pre-existing health conditions. [BuzzFeed]

-> Obama carries an 11-point lead over Romney in Wisconsin. [CNN]

-> Michelle Obama said that though she wouldn't have chosen to spend her 20th wedding anniversary at the first presidential debate, she was "excited" about it. [CNN]

-> Need to get out of the country if your candidate loses? JetBlue Airways might just be your (free) ticket. [FoxBusiness]

Where are they?

Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Sen. John Valentine just before an Asia Wild interview.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff returns to Salt Lake City after a few days in D.C.

SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends an Urban Lands Institute advisory board meeting.

SLC Mayor Ralph Becker joins the national Read for the Record literacy campaign at Backman Elementary.

WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with the Salt Lake County Council of Governments.

President Barack Obama campaigns in Colorado.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

— Matt Canham and Betsy Blanchard and

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