Most will say that this was McCain's best debate, since he he started out strong and on the attack. From the first question into the 30 minute mark, McCain attempted to pound Sen. Barack Obama as possessing unrealistic policies and even played the "spread the wealth" (i.e. socialist) card on Obama more than once.
Obama was cool, as usual. Spent a better part of the debate on the defensive having to explain a number of policy positions: healthcare plan, economic plan, plan on taxes, relationship with Bill Ayers, and ACORN. He seemingly came into the debate ahead on points and took the tactic of not engaging in toe-to-toe battle with McCain.
The talking heads on television chalked this one up as a McCain win because he was obviously the aggressor, but he didn't sustain the attack and couldn't deliver any game changing information. I agree with most independent voters: Barack Obama was the clear winner by showing calm and steady demeanor to McCain's oft-erratic and desperate views.
Read the entire CNN.com wrapup of the debate: Debate Overview and Debate Transcript and Debate Analysis.
Read the debate wrapup in the New York Times here.
Read post-debate thoughts at FiveThirtyEight.com here and here and here.
plez sez: i lied! i tried not to watch the debate, but i couldn't help myself!
this was mccain's best debate, but Obama's cool whipped mccain's "you know what." mccain came off as a desperate man. he was angry. at times his seething anger and contempt with Barack Obama showed. mccain came out on the attack and it appeared that he needed to win this debate or he know his campaign was over.
mccain never acknowledged the negative tone of his campaign. he never acknowledged that his running mate (sarah palin) was out of line at the rallies.
mccain had the best line of the night, though, "i am not president bush, if you wanted to debate george bush, you should've run four years ago."
thankfully, it is over... no more debates.