Donald Trump had a plan to control the message from this debate, no matter how his performance was rated. While it's standard practice for a flurry of campaign surrogates to descend upon the 'spin room' to spin journalists on the message and outcome of the debate, Trump knows better than almost anyone that he is his own best surrogate.
Following the debate, Trump wandered amongst the reporters gathered around a metal pen the Secret Service hastily built for him after the debate ended. He stopped and talked to foreign reporters, national reporters — all kinds of reporters, many of whom had just filed stories about how badly he had done. But Trump, flanked by an entourage that included his wife Melania, seemed unfazed — he was not only able to start shaping the narrative voters will see play out over the next few days, he took attention away from any of the surrogates Hillary Clinton had dispatched to the room.