Executive Summary: *Yawn*. Overall a rather boring debate, no real zingers or winners or gaffes. On the whole I think Obama won slightly on presentation and demeanor, McCain won on subject matters. Obama will benefit more because he had more to gain.
1. Where was Mccain's lapel pin?
2. Obama looked into the camera many times, McCain not even once.
3. McCain seemed agitated and passionate, Obama cool as a cucumber. I think both could have done better in going the opposite direction.
4. Obama did very well on Iran I thought. McCain did better on Russia.
5. Obama really blew it at the end when he didn't respond to McCain's accusations and all the "I heart veterans" stuff. No mention of the GI bill? Why not?
6. Obama clearly was trying to shift the discussion to domestic issues.
7. McCain seemed skittish but overall in control. I'm not sure if voters wondering about his recent behavior will be comforted more by the latter or worried more about the former.
8. Obama was confident and that should reassure some who were concerned about his ability to hold his own on these issues. He was nothing like what he was at Saddleback.
9. McCain spoke in old talking points far too much. In fact, when he said "Let us win" in his bracelet story, I said it along with him because I have heard it so many times.
Bottom Line: Both did fine but the net edge IMO is slightly to Obama simply because Obama had a lot more to gain here than Mccain did. There are millions of voters who want to vote for Obama but were concerned about his abilities and this should make many of them feel a bit better. This won't change any decided voters' minds either way.