i love Presidential debates. These are where the real election season starts. As debates go, it was better than some, but a snoozer at the start. Obama seemed nervous going in and McCain seemed feeble. It got better.
1. Lessons from the war: Obama has it right. The critical decision is to go. Then he blows it. The critical American value lost was non-preemption. Our not being a first strike nation regardless of our power was the value we prized and for which we are admired. The lesson is the Bush Doctrine while tactical is not strategic. Instead, Obama talked about the effect on the economy and my wife muttered, "Bean Counter!" and the list he followed with followed that line of thinking.
He had a choice to make points on values but left them on the table for money. McCain was able to recover with the "not the decision the next President has to make. When to leave and what to leave behind are" which is exactly right and a smart way to get out of answering the question.
2. "I looked into Putin's eyes and I saw three letters, a K and a G and a B".
Classic straight talk McCain. Funny and understandable.
A wash except in style points. McCain looked old but deeply passionate about what he cared about. Obama looked young but easily irritated.
McCain wins this one but not by a knockout.
So on this most American night, something from the Americans.