9:05: McCain is winning. On points. On facial expressions. On tone. On poise. Barack's facial expressions when he's not talking tell the tale. So far!
9:10: Every time Barack makes some good debate points, McCain fires back with his own reality and tears them down. His stuttering example of Ahmadinejad in New York (who probably had pre-conditions for his own meeting with Larry King) was effective.
But Barack landed a left with his Zapataro. Nice reply on the seal, though.
9:15: McCain just hit a home run OVER Waveland Avenue with his tear-apart of Barack's feeble defense of his "without preconditions" meeting philosophy (said he'd sit down with them). Obama tried to use Kissinger as a hammer to hit McCain bit it backfired because as Mac pointed out, you DO want "contacts" (as Kissinger indicated) but NOT high PR summit meetings that would legitimize crazy tinhorn rhetoric.
9:27: Obama just argued himself into a ball on nuclear energy and Russia/Georgia.
9:28: McCain just mentioned borders, which a first for the night. On a national security debate.
9:29: Ah, the nuclear suitcase threat. I thought only World Nut Daily believed in that threat. Obama will restore America's standing in the world..by invading Pakistan.
9:32: McCain once again seems to be schooling Obama on almost every point, such as reminding him of the after-effects on terrorist morale on us getting our butts kicked in Iraq. Again, his sidelong glances are the telltale of this event so far. It's not that he's doing that bad--it's just that Mac is doing that good.
9:33: The Maverick needs to watch puffing himself up too much--Obama can use that against him next time. But overall, it was a thumpin'.
Lehrer was nearly invisible, as it should be. The best moderator yet.
McCain did have a preachy tone at times, almost like a father lecturing a son. Such a thing will work to his disadvantage with some undecideds.
Mac's clearly done a lot of these things and knew better than to give up cheap side camera angle reaction shots when Obama was speaking, something Obama hasn't yet learned to control--he appeared genuinely frustrated at times. As we know, non-verbals are a huge factor in these things, and I thought McCain won them tonight.
As the Gateway Pundit said, McCain nailed Obama hard on earmarks. Mac pointing out that Obama had a million per day in earmarks at a time when we're dicsussing 700 billion bailouts should have been a hard right cross, especially when Obama couldn't answer the question of how he'd govern differently (in other words, what has to go).
I do agree with John Hinderacker at Power Line that Obama came off presidential enough to be accepted as legitimate, but do we want presidential or presidential enough? McCain was deeper in knowledge on just about every topic and despite several veiled attempts to fluster, never lost his cool.