From the start of the debate McCain wouldn't meet Obama's eye. At the end of it that hadn't changed, even as Obama gave McCain his due time and again, which the McCain camp has already turned into a video. It was the difference of someone being small, compared to someone revealing his confidence, while showing presidential temperament. On that alone Obama "won" hands down.
Hillary Clinton weighs in:
"Tonight Barack Obama displayed beyond a doubt that he understands both the gravity of the financial crisis facing America, and the challenges we face in Iraq and around the world. Senator McCain offered only more of the same failed policies of the Bush Administration. America deserves better.
"I stood next to Barack Obama in 22 debates and tonight epitomized why millions are joining me in standing with him and working hard to ensure he is the next President of the United States."
Obama's goal tonight was to simply become an equal to the "legendary" foreign policy man John McCain. He accomplished that, while showing unending patience with his opponent who continually displayed the politics of condecension, bordering on petulance that is unbecoming of anyone at this level of political prowess. I can't imagine independents appreciated McCain's sniping, and I bet they also saw that he was about to pop about half of the time.
McCain needed a win, in my opinion. This was his issue night. He didn't get it.
Obama needed to stay even with the "legendary foreign policy expert." He did that and more, while remaining unruffled throughout.
McCain didn't get the knock out he needed. Obama held his own and showed the right stuff. Plus, McCain looks like yesterday. Obama represents the future. Good night for our side.
As for the reviews, Obama gets the nod:
Philadelphia Inquirer: McCain Uncertain - "McCain has been uncertain - Obama not."
Washington Post: Fact Check- McCain seriously misstated his vote concerning the marines in Lebanon. He said that when he went into Congress in 1983, he voted against deploying them in Beirut. The Marines went in Lebanon in 1982, before McCain came to Congress. The vote came up a year into their deployment, when the Marines had already suffered 54 casualties. What McCain voted against was a measure to invoke the War Powers Act and to authorize the deployment of U.S. Marines in Lebanon for an additional 18 months. The measure passed 270-161, with 26 other Republicans (including McCain) and 134 Democrats voting against it.
Washington Post: Fact Checker- John McCain raised an old Republican canard, repeated often in the primaries, when he claimed that Obama's health care plan would eventually turn the health care system over to the federal government. The Illinois senator proposes helping individuals purchase health insurance through a system of subsidies and tax credits. He is also in favor of mandatory health insurance for children. But he is not advocating a state-run health system, such as the one that exists in Britain and some European countries.
New Republic (Jonathan Cohn) Obama Tells It Like It Is on Economics - Obama just gave a terrific, honest explanation of his economic agenda.
CNN (Bill Schneider) Obama Scores a Direct Hit - Obama scores a direct hit, saying that McCain wants tax cuts for the wealthy. He's associating McCain with the Bush record on tax cuts.
CNN (Bill Schneider) Obama hits familiar chord on Iran - Obama's answer on Iran was interesting and important.because he's talking about something that a lot of American's understand. Our involvement in Iraq has strengthened Iran.
FL- Tampa Tribune (Blog) "Israel-The Next Big Argument" After arguing over Iraq, John McCain and Barack Obama moved quickly to probably the next most emotional argument in foreign policy-Israel. They got into it over a question from moderator Jim Lehrer over Iran, and McCain went for the most crucial line: "We cannot tolerate another holocaust." That hits a weakness for Obama, whose enthusiasm for Israel is questioned by some in the U.S. Jewish community. Then McCain went for another claim that's been debunked: That Obama refused to call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist" organization. Obama had sponsored legislation that did just that, but voted against a bill including that measure which, he said, also included authorizing an open-ended effort in Iraq.
The Caucus (Katharine Q. Seeyle) Using the Tax Word - Mr. McCain tosses out a barb to Mr. Obama, saying that you ought to hear Mr. Obama's definition of rich, but didn't provide it. Mr. Obama almost took the bait - and then switched! Instead of being driven by Mr. McCain he described his tax cut plan, saying 95 percent of people will get a tax cut "and if you make less than 250,000, you will not see one dime's worth of tax increases."
Washington Post (Live Blog) Fact Check: McCain accused Obama of wanting to stage "military strikes" inside Pakistan, which is a misleading account of what Obama famously said in 2007: That he would be willing to go after Al Qaeda targets inside that country with or without the approval of the Pakistani authorities."If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.
Miami Herald: Obama engages McCain on his diss to Spain - Barack Obama just scoffed at John McCain's assertion a week ago or two ago that he wouldn't meet with Spain's Prime Minister. "Spain!" exclaimed Obama. "Spain!" "I'm not going to set the White House visitor list before I'm president," McCain replied, getting in a dig at the presidential-seal like sign Republicans have ribbed Obama for displaying. "I don't even have a seal yet."
First Read (Athena Jones) Longer format helps - He's on message, hitting his talking points on the contrasts with John McCain on taxes, his plans for healthcare and energy independence. He seemed to cover more ground than McCain whose main points were about cutting government spending.