I decided to just watch last night rather than blogging. (I don't think many people read my blog during live events anyway -- there are many more reputable people live blogging. :) )
Anyway, after watching and thinking on it, a few random thoughts:
1. The town hall format sucked. This wasn't a debate, it was like two separate but interwoven press conferences. The lack of interaction between the candidates made this a complete bore, even worse than their first debate. And of the 60,000 or millions or whatever of questions that were supposedly asked, Brokaw (or whoever) chose some rather remarkably unremarkable ones.
If this is what McCain had in mind with all his whining about Obama wanting to do town halls, I'm glad Obama refused.
2. Like the first debate, there was no clear cut winner here in terms of content. But Obama was far more commanding as a stage presence. This was a gross miscalculation on the part of the McCain camp in their assumption that McCain would beat Obama in a town hall style forum -- his body lanuage compared to Obama's makes him come across as small, frail and impatient. His pacing and wandering also didn't help him.
3. Tie goes to the leader. Obama didn't really hit the ball out of the park but he didn't have to. McCain did, and he wasn't close on anything approaching a knockout punch, just like the first debate.
4. All the people who thought McCain was going to really come out attacking Obama forgot how difficult it is to get away with this when your opponent is sitting right there and there's a live audience. McCain was wise not to try.
5. The "that one" comment was the only faux pas of the evening. And I'm not just reacting to what pundits have said about it -- I was rather surprised at the moment it happened. I don't see any racist undertones to it as some have suggested, rather, it just underscores McCain's lack of respect and consideration for his opponent.
6. McCain wants to let everyone refinance their mortgages? What happened to the party of personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility? Where are the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to do this going to come from?
7. Obama's answer on Russia was his low point of the evening. He was rambly and uninspiring.
8. Asking if something is a "right, a privilege or a responsibility" is nonsensical.
9. Obama should have responded directly to McCain's accusations about the former wanting to "fine" people with respect to his health care plan. I just assumed that was a distortion but Obama didn't clarify it, which left me thinking that McCain must have hit a nerve.
10. Every time McCain says "I know how to get bin Laden", more people ask the obvious question: "If you know, why haven't you helped the current administration get him now?"