He answered his own question: Mitt Romney.
Hours before the debate, there was a sense of nervousness in the Romney campaign because this was the make-or-break moment. Romney had been rehearsing for several months, and after all the hours of coaching, he would be on stage alone.
At 5:30 p.m. Mountain time, amid heavy winds and graying skies, Romney left his hotel, a drab Renaissance off a suburban highway.
He passed a group of supporters who had gathered in the driveway, including a group wearing red Office Depot uniform shirts, some still sporting nametags.
Romney had ordered takeout from the Cheesecake Factory. Arriving at the Ritchie Center, the home of the University of Denvers hockey team, he tried to relax backstage, playing Jenga with his wife, Ann, and their sons and grandchildren.
Romneys longtime advisers said they were confident, but they did not take any chances: Peter Flaherty wore his lucky red tie, patterned with small lions.
Obama had prepared, too, for three days in a Las Vegas suburb. He flew into Denver early Wednesday afternoon and conducted a walk-through of the debate site. He then retired to his hotel, presumably for final preparations.
At 6 p.m., the presidents motorcade departed the hotel en route to the university, under darkening skies with a gusty wind. A crowd across the street chanted, "Four more years!" But closer to the venue, Romney supporters held signs reading "Fire Obama."
At 7, Lehrer introduced the two candidates: Obama in a blue tie, Romney in red. They strode to center of stage and shook hands. Obama patted Romneys elbow, and both smiled. Then it was time to debate.
Romney gave "as crisp a performance as hes ever had," Kaufman said. "He was ready for this. He enjoyed it. He had a lot he wanted to say, and he said it."
After Romneys two successful debates during the Florida primary, Kaufman gave the candidate a baseball that Reggie Jackson had signed "Mr. October," Jacksons nickname for his clutch performances under pressure in baseballs post-season.
"I said, Mr. President, you earned this ball tonight, " Kaufman recalled. "When it counts, Mitt steps up to the plate."