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Duel in the Delta: Blogging the debate

10:37: It's over. Interesting that Obama talked about his father and America's standing in the world -- I think he's right, but I wonder how that resonates with swing voters. McCain did finally throw in his return from "prison" at the end there.

Watching the post-game on MSNBC, they're coming down somewhat hard on Obama -- saying his body language was too standoffish, that he missed opportunities. I think Obama held his own, which is what he needed to do. He clearly showed he was knowledgable on foreign affairs, and made kind of silly the argument that Sarah Palin has more experience than he does. McCain was a lot more restrained than I would have expected.

To me, the biggest disappontment was the economy -- I don't think either one addressed the real problem or what needs to be done -- at least they'll have two more cracks at it. You would think that Wall Street greed would have been an easy target for either one of them. I think both McCain and Obama pretty much showed American who they are -- as noted earlier, it might be helpful for Obama to have a zinger or some Reaganesque self-depreciation, but that's not who he is.

I expect that polls may show McCain a slight winner, but in 48 hours we'll be back to dealing with the diastrous consequences of McCain's ally George W. Bush. Which is why McCain can't afford to win on points. He needs a knockout.

He didn't get it tonight.

10:28: McCain: "I know our allies and I can work with all of them." Except, of course, for Spain. Interesting that McCain answered a question on 9/11 without really mentioning al-Qaeda. Where's Osama? I don't think McCain is as good, now, on torture as Obama gave him credit for, not with some of his cave-ins of the last couple of years.

10:22: Detailed and intelligent talk from both candidates on the situation in Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine. Do you think we'll be getting the same level of analysis next week from Sarah Palin? At the risk of sounding like a liberal, I do think that Obama is right that our failures on alternative energy are a big part of what is fueling tyrants like Putin.

10:19: 69 percent of Drudge Report readers think that McCain is winning, which probably means that it's a draw/

10:10: McCain didn't really quite get it right on Reagan and the Soviets; it's true that he didn't meet with Brezhnev, Chernenko, or Andropov, mainly because they kept dying on him, but he penned a long letter to Breshnev in the first year of his presidency and was interested in a dialogue. Obama nailed him on the Spain thing, but McCain deftly played to his base with "I don't even have a seal."

OK, who is to blame for the height gap between North Korea and South Korea!

10:04: McCain wants something called "A League of Democracies" -- I'm sure his contemporary Woodrow Wilson would be proud. By the way, here's the breaking news: Final score, Phillies 8, Nats 4, magic number down to 2 -- and the Mets are getting killed so we could clinch a tie tonight.

10:01: Obama has a bracelet, too. I think he's cutting through some of McCain's sentimental troop bluster, but then, American voters have been known to like sentiment. Unless I missed it, I don't think McCain has mentioned POW yet, which is a little surprising.

9:55: What's with Obama's affected pronounciation of "Pakistan." What an elitist :-) . Meanwhile, as many have pointed out, can you spot which candidate is wearing a flag pin? Overall, I think Obama is winning this one on points, but anyone who expected him not to be "professorial" tonight, well, he sounds pretty professorial. That's just who he is. I think McCain has a game plan, which essentially is to tout his experience -- most of the time that works. But voters see where "experience" has gotten us in 2008.

9:43: Was interrupted to edit our story about Sarah Palin at the Irish Pub in Philly, where she spoke for all of one minute. Continuing the theme of politicians without much new to say tonight. I do think Obama is scoring points here on Iraq, though, I don't think McCain gets that a majority of Americans still oppose this war and don't care about the strategic ups and downs like he does.

9:29: McCain: "I opposed ethanol subsidies." Later on, remind me to post the rally where McCain supported ethanol...before the Iowa caucus. Work interruption, but I just saw McCain propose a spending freeze, did he make that up on the fly?

9:26: Work interruption, ugh. OK, that was some good back and forth, and it did illuminate some of the differences on taxes, especially corporate taxes, and health care. Still, I find it annoying that both are falling back on campaign talking points rather than addressing the $700 billion bailout. I mean, didn't McCain suspend his entire campaign over that?

9:20: Finally, some excitement...Phillies 8, Nats 4; Marlins 4, Mets 1.

9:14: When did Dwight Eisenhower become the be-all and end-all of American presidents -- can we bump him ahead of Reagan on Mount Rushmore. Meanwhile, asked about the financial crisis, McCain is talking about earmarks, which has nothing to do with what's going on on Wall Street. He also criticized a $3 million bear DNA study (stepping on the punchline of his joke, by the way) which sounds exactly like some of the earmarks that Sarah Palin is seeking. On the other hand, Obama still pretty flat...what about that debate prep?

McCain: "I don't want to go back and forth." Uh, it's a debate.

9:11: McCain: "I've been criticized for calling for the head of the SEC to resign." Actually he called for the head of the SEC to be fired by the president, which the president can't do.

9:09: Jim Lehrer notices...THEY'RE DUCKING. No one wants to take a stand on this bailout package. McCain says he will vote for it...not convincing.

9:06: McCain tells the world that Ted Kennedy is in the hospital -- except that he's already out. I guess McCain's Pony Express hasn't arrived with the news. By the way, neither one sounds that inspiring here....

9:05: Obama: "$700 billion potentially is a lot of money." Potentially?

9:04: They're off. So Jim Lehrer chose all the questions and didn't show anybody else -- that's power!

8:59: Funny thing: MSNBC said that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews wouldn't be anchoring major political events -- but here they are! Looks like the excuse is that it's the regular time slot for "Countdown." Matthews: "The American people want the opposition party to do well tonight" there ya go. 

8:54: I have two important things to tell you:

Phillies 7, Nats 5 (in the 6th)

Marlins 3, Mets 0 (in the 6th)

The debate...who knows? God only knows what crazy scheme McCain has cooked up. Stay tuned.