I watched the debate last night til I could stand it no more. My take, overall, was this: McCain was able to corner and bully Obama by repeatedly going on the attack, talking over his responses to the attacks, and belittling Obama for his "naivete" and lack of understanding (aka "experience"). I was devastated.
Do I buy into what McCain had to say? Hell no! But, do I buy into the American people buying into what McCain had to say? Hell yes! I'm in advertising, remember? It's not what you say, it's how you say it, how often you say it, and how receptive (or dumb) the audience.
Obama certainly came off as the more reasonable of the two. He showed incredible restraint against increasingly vitriolic accusations about his record on all fronts. I would have liked to have seen more passion, less restraint and more offense, less defense.
Keith Olbermann, God love him, thought Obama won. Mr. O & the rest of his MSNBC cohorts, including Pat Buchanan, thought Obama's show of restraint, grace and composure, contrasted sharply with the surly attack dog tactics of MCain. Several of them, including Buchanan (!) went so far as to suggest that McCain's pugnacious stances are exactly what America wants to get away from...more of the same of the past 8 years.
I hope to heaven they are right but, I just don't know.