The press will probably conclude that McCain did not fundamentally change impressions tonight. And that Obama held his own.It bothers me that a person can spew utter nonsense for ninety minutes, often incoherently so, and be declared a competent debater because they didn't drool on themselves. But even if the media wants to call it a draw, beyond belief, that has to go to the guy who's ten points up.
Obama won. McCain gave rambling, often nonsensical answers that had only tangential relations to the questions asked, exhibiting a bizarre defensiveness and even obnoxiousness that this viewer found very unattractive.
But winning the debate isn't winning the debate. What matters (right or wrong) is what emerges after the debate as the media consensus about performance. I'm watching for that now. The immediate reaction on MSNBC is that McCain was strong on the spending issue, which strikes me as insane—Obama made it very clear that McCain was arguing over peanuts while giving away the store.
Matthews talking about body language and the fact that McCain seemed unwilling to look at Obama—uses that devastating word, "grumpy."