McCain Reveals His True Colors: 'That One'

It wasn't a blowout. But it didn't need to be.

I thought Obama won this one -- he was more fluid and fluent and confident, and McCain sounded tired to me. That said, I didn't think it was a blowout. But it didn't need to be. McCain is the one who needs to shake up the race; Obama just needs to solidify is support. And I thought he did a good job at that.

It wasn't nearly as nasty as I had thought it might be. In the first debate, I thought Obama was needling McCain -- nothing remotely over the line, just tiny things that might have brought out McCain's famous temper. I therefore expected him to do it again this time. Moreover, had Brokaw (or anyone else) asked about any of the character stuff that McCain has been saying recently, I imagined that Obama would have responded directly and forcefully, and that some of the things he might have said -- e.g., that things McCain had said were just not true -- might also have gotten McCain angry.

But that didn't happen. McCain didn't get angry -- he was a bit cranky in his usual style, but nothing out of the ordinary. But more interestingly, this time I don't think Obama was needling him. His disagreements were all quite direct; I didn't catch any additional subtle attempts to get under McCain's skin. I found that interesting.