Following a widely panned debate performance, President Obama ratcheted up his attacks Thursday on Mitt Romney, accusing the GOP candidate of selling the public false promises during the presidential forum.

“When I got on the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Obama told Denver supporters. “The real Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy.”

Obama was far more animated in front of thousands of supporters near the site of Wednesday’s Denver debate, a noticeable contrast to his demeanor just hours before. On the debate stage, Obama looked agitated and disinterested, while Romney — frequently criticized for appearing too wooden — was animated but relatable.

Looking to rebound from the poor showing, the Obama campaign Thursday conceded that Romney won the debate on style points. Now Obama is seeking to disarm the former Massachusetts governor by discrediting his message.

“You see, the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions,” Obama said. “We don’t want what he’s been selling for the last year.”

Obama said that Romney was intentionally being elusive about his blueprint for job growth and reducing the deficit because the numbers don’t add up.

“We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit,” Obama said, mocking Romney’s debate pledge to eliminate federal subsides for PBS.

Obama also highlighted Romney’s assertion in a private fundraiser that nearly half the country was dependent on the federal government — a topic conspicuously absent from Wednesday’s debate — saying that Romney was a politician who “writes off half the nation before he takes office.”

The president will travel to Madison, Wis. later today for another campaign rally, while Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will hold an event in Fishersville, Va.