Republican insiders expressed astonishment that the Romney team seemed to be flailing given they were battling an incumbent with middling popularity and with a weak economy to boot.
"Unemployment above 8 percent and the debt over $16 trillion, and we are still losing? Enough said," one Republican said.
"Campaigns matter. If they didn't, anybody with [Obama's] record would be cooked," another said.
A third Republican had a simpler answer when asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the two teams, after choosing the Obama campaign: "Duh."
Still, Republican insiders didn't let go of the chance to ding the president while admitting the Romney team was flawed: "The Obama team is not as effective as they think, but Romney's is not as effective as the American electorate deserves," one said. "By far," another added, also selecting Obama's team as the better one. "Too bad his economic team wasn't as good."
One Democrat used a corporate example to illustrate the difference: "Obama Staff=Apple+Google. Romney Staff=Microsoft+Yahoo!"
Many Democrats attributed the Romney campaign's deficiencies not just to the operatives, but rather the weaknesses of the candidate.
"Team Romney is the Boston Red Sox of politics. Looks great on paper, keeps making mistakes on the field, and the leader keeps saying stupid things," one said.
"The fish rots from the head, hence Romney's team is hapless," a second corroborated.
Others pointed to what they saw as lapses in the Romney's team strategy and the reports of internal fighting.
"Team Romney is becoming a circular firing squad. If he blows the first debate, the congressional wing will pull the money out, and that's it for Romney," one Democrat said.
"Romney's campaign has done a great job doing the blocking and tackling, but the problem has been on the strategic end," a Republican chimed in. "They failed to understand that running a referendum campaign still means you have to define yourself in order to be a viable alternative."
Yet another pointed to the strength of the battle-tested Obama team: "Practice makes perfect."
Still, not everyone was on board with the idea that the Obama campaign was in all ways superior.
One Republican expressed his confidence this way: "The Chicago crybabies have spent $100 million more than the Beantown boys and they can't top 50 percent. Pucker time!"
"They defeated a multicandidate field in a grueling nomination fight. They are going to raise close to $1 billion, and they are neck and neck against a popular incumbent with the [mainstream media] in his pocket," another Republican said.
Meanwhile, a Democratic insider gave the upper hand to the Romney team, but for very different reasons: "To get this close with that level of lies takes some doing."