CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said she agreed that Trump, at several moments, "was weak."
But, Caruso-Cabrera added, "I don't know we hear this debate the way the electorate hears this debate. I'm not sure those weak moments are going to have that much of an impact, actually."
"I would disagree with John a little bit," she said, referring to Harwood. "I think the bar for Donald Trump's success was low tonight."
"Did he become the wandering Donald like he does frequently? Yes, he did it on occasion, not nearly as often as has been in the past."
"I think it was a better performance than we've seen from him in a long time," Caruso-Cabrera said. "Remember, it was unscripted for 90 minutes."
Caruso-Cabrera also noted than there was a loud cheer from some in the debate hall when Trump said that the idea that he might not pay federal income taxes "makes me smart."
"I think that was very Trumpian. I think some will find that very, very funny," Caruso-Cabrera said.
The correspondent said that in her opinion, Clinton "used the word 'plans' way too often."
"She's got a plan. 'I've got a plan for this, I've got a plan for that.' At times, it sounded like she was lecturing, which has been a criticism of her," Caruso-Cabrera said.