A bad week suddenly got a lot better for President Barack Obama, who was criticized by friends and foes for a lackluster debate performance before learning of record fundraising followed by Friday's stronger-than-expected jobs report.
The drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8% provided both a tangible and symbolic campaign boost after analysts and a snap poll said he lost the first debate to Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a Democratic source familiar with fund-raising confirmed to CNN that the Obama re-election team raised more money in September than any campaign has brought in this election cycle. According to the source, the Obama campaign is expected to exceed $150 million for the month, topping the previous record of $114 million that the president's team raised in August.
The double dose of good news followed a debate performance that was so ineffective, the Washington Post awarded Obama its dubious "Worst Week in Washington" honor.
While Obama's advisers promised adjustments in his approach to the next two debates, the president showed no sign of making any major changes to his campaign themes or messaging in the final month of the race.
Speaking Friday at George Mason University in northern Virginia, Obama laced his now familiar stump speech with new attack lines targeting specific Romney statements from the debate or in reaction to the September jobs report.
"Today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points," Obama said of the employment data and Romney's response that it failed to signal a real economic recovery.
The president then pivoted to an oft-repeated defense of his record that also took aim at his rival's pledge to cut taxes and spending while repealing major legislation such as health care and Wall Street reforms.
"This country has come too far to turn back now," Obama said, adding: "We've made too much progress to return to the policies that led to the crisis in the first place."
To Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller, the latest jobs figures lend credence to Obama's contention that his policies are making progress, albeit slower than anyone wants.