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Cutter: Presidential race 'the same’ as before debate

"I think that Romney made modest gains, there's no doubt about that," Cutter told MSNBC. "But the race is essentially the same as it was."

The argument drew criticism from the "Morning Joe" panel, which dismissed Cutter's claim as "spin" and insisted repeatedly that the president was "hemorrhaging" after his performance.

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"What I was trying to say is that this election, we've always said, this election is going to come down to the wire," Cutter responded. "It's going to be very close. We've always known that, and we've always said it. It will continue to be that way over the next, what is it, 25 days now."

Cutter also pointed to recent swing-state polls that showed the president still holding a small lead.

"Look at what's happening in Ohio. There's been very little movement. In Florida, very little movement. Virginia, there's been modest movement," Cutter said. "But the race is essentially the same as where it was, if not before the debates, then before the conventions."

Cutter noted that Vice President Biden was "raring to go" for his showdown with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Thursday night. Cutter also predicted Thursday's contest would "be a little bit more of a conversation."

"You know, they're sitting side by side. This is not a stand-up debate," Cutter said.

She added that Biden's goal was "to nail down exactly details of what Paul Ryan says."

"Last week Romney said that tax cut doesn't exist. He'll have explaining to do," Cutter said on Romney's tax reform proposals. "Whether this is the centerpiece of their economic program that now may no longer exist, and if it does exist, help the American people do the math."

The Obama campaign claims Romney is pushing a $5 trillion tax cut. The GOP nominee says his plan would reduce rates across the board and would be deficit neutral by increasing revenues from the elimination of loopholes and deductions.