President Barack Obama’s senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday sought to dismiss Mitt Romney’s presidential debate performance Wednesday, calling it “masterful” and “theatrical” yet still “fundamentally dishonest” at its core.

“Governor Romney had a masterful theatrical performance just this past week, but the underpinnings and foundations of that performance were fundamentally dishonest,” Gibbs said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Look, he walked away from the central tenet of his economic theory by saying he had no idea what the president was talking about. Ten minutes after the debate, even his own staff is walking back his answers on health care and preexisting conditions.”

Repeating that Romney gave a “masterful, masterful performance,” Gibbs said he doesn’t believe anything in the race has changed fundamentally.

Gibbs said that while Obama “understood that he hadn’t performed up to his own expectations pretty quickly,” the focus should stay on Romney.

“You know, a clone that looked a lot like Mitt Romney…walked away from fundamentally every position that he’d taken,” Gibbs said. “I think now that Barack Obama has had the opportunity to meet both Mitt Romneys, I don’t doubt that he’ll make some adjustments. I know he’s looking forward to the next debate.”

Here is video of the remarks, via Mediaite: