MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is changing his strategy for his next face-off against Republican Mitt Romney, a repair job needed after his first debate performance was panned as lacking punch.
His aides conceded Thursday that the incumbent must get sharper in countering his opponent and crisper in explaining his ideas to the American people.
The heart of Obama's new message with less than five weeks to go: Romney is a liar.
Expect that theme -- expressed in softer terms from the president than from his aides -- to drive Obama's advertising and messaging for days.
Obama's debate showing on Wednesday was rusty, rambling and cautious, but his aides insist he emerged with a real opening to target Romney's candor.
Statement from Gov. Scott Walker:
"President Obama is on his heels and chose to recover from a bad debate in one of the most liberal places in America. Last night, swing voters in Wisconsin clearly saw that Mitt Romney is the better choice to get America working again."