So, 24 hours later who won the debate? It's a distinction worth mentioning. At the end of the debate, I thought it was pretty close to a draw. No knock-out blows, no gaffes and both men spoke knowledgeably about the issues.
However, 24 hours is a long time in post-debate spin. Both sides have had their partisans out in force, plus there's a veritable ton of media, bloggers and everyone else out there shooting off their opinions. Oh yes, and polls.
So who won? Obama, it appears. FiveThirtyEight has its usual excellent analysis of what happened with overnight polls. While pundits were saying it was a draw or maybe a small victory for McCain, people watching tended to favour it toward Obama. Plus, he seemed to have alleviated the worries of some voters on whether or not he's capable of being president.
The most interesting thing I've seen post-debate hasn't been a fixation on the issues, but on McCain's body language. It was something I noticed a bit last night. He never looked at Obama when they were debating. He had a hard time looking at him even when they were shaking hands. Talking Points Memo, an admittedly pro-Democrat site has an interesting theory - that it might not be condescension towards his opponent, as some thing, but rather an anger management issue. McCain is infamous for his temper and this might be his way of dealing with it. People with anger issues often don't make eye contact with people they're really pissed off with for fear they might lose it.
So that might explain the weirdness involving body language. There also appears to be some interest to see what Saturday Night Live will do this evening. Now, I'm long past think SNL is that influential, but their skit spoofing Sarah Palin a few weeks ago certainly caught fire. If they do one mocking McCain's body language, well, McCain could find himself having lost the PR spin batter despite not losing the debate. Impressive feat, really.
And things don't get any easier. There's the vice-president's debate on Thursday. And it's becoming increasingly evident that whatever love affair the Right might have had with Palin is over and done with. Some are really unhappy. And if you believe this report there appears to be genuine despair inside the McCain camp on how she will do on Thursday, having bombed in both a mock debate and press conference.
I tend to be wary about this sort of thing. Expectations games are being played all the time in debates and they can't possibly get much lower. So if she's not a complete blubbering idiot, then that will be a victory of sorts. Sadly, I won't be able to watch as I'll be on my way back to Newfoundland. But if she does crash and burn, on top of everything else that's happening in this race, McCain might be looking at a slaughter come November 4th.
1. Love is a place - Metric
2. Ode to lrc - Band of Horses*
3. A stone would cry out - Sam Roberts
4. Spare parts II and closing - Tom Waits
5. A villa in Portugal - The Pursuit of Happiness