I'd give it a big "eh." Tonight's strategy seemed right, but the execution could have been better.
My hope tonight was that Obama would focus more on the human side. The debate has been getting bogged down lately in costs, and CBO reports, and new commissions, etc. All that stuff is extremely important -- but it's also very hard for the public to follow these types of policy minutiae.
And so I liked Obama's initial focus on "what's in it for you." That side of the debate should be more loudly emphasized because, at the end of the day, it's the most important. But Obama just didn't pull it off very well, either in the initial delivery or in the questions (Kevin Drum seems to agree).
Maybe none of this matters if the only point is to get quotes in tomorrow's papers and to refocus coverage. Regardless, as a live performance, he could have done better.
One last point on the whole "shouldn't we slow down" question... We don't have to analyze this question in the abstract. The stimulus debate provides good guidance.
Remember that the Republicans were saying "let's think about this," "let's slow down," etc. Now, if they had actually been interested in stimulating the economy more efficiently, fine. But that's not what they used the delay for -- they used it to drag things out and to try to kill the stimulus by a thousand cuts. Each day brought new attacks on things like honeybees.
If we were living in some sort of Platonic ideal of The Republic, fine. We could study things and enact the very best plan possible. But in this world, we have John Boehner. And delay at this point means death to reform.