8 a.m. ET: The almost-didn't-happen debate happened, and today is the first day of the rest of the presidential campaign. The week leading up to Friday night's face-off at Ole Miss was such a whirlwind of activity that the debate had the potential to be anticlimactic, but it wasn't, with John McCain and Barack Obama painting clear differences on nearly every issue and taking several jabs at each other.
How'd it play? The beauty of the Internet is that there is never really a "consensus" on anything, but it does seem that most writers, bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters and the rest of the gang felt McCain did well on the foreign policy matters that dominated roughly two-thirds of the debate. Obama spent much of his time playing defense and disputing McCain's characterization of him. Even on the economy, McCain steered the discussion to his turf. On the other hand, because the debate was centered on foreign policy, maybe Obama "was supposed to win, so the fact that Obama fumbled a few questions just won't matter." So maybe it was a draw.
Some quickie, grain-of-salt polls showed viewers thinking Obama did better. A real verdict won't be known until the first batch of post-debate polls are released. Three tracking surveys released earlier Friday -- by Gallup, Rasmussen and Hotline/FD -- had Obama up 3, 5 and 7 points respectively. The momentum behind Obama before the debate was clear. Did McCain halt it?
And let's face it, how excited is everyone now for the next debate between Joe "When FDR Was on Television" Biden and Sarah "Alaska Is Next to Russia" Palin? Less than a week to go ...
September 27, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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