I sedvanlig anda har det nu några timmar efter debatten börjat skrivas för full om den. Alla röster är verkligen inte lika skeptiska till McCain som jag själv var. I TIME skriver Michael Scherer att detta var McCains bästa debatt hittills. Han säger inte att McCain vann debatten, men skriver ändå en hel del smickrande saker om Arizona-senatorn:
Obviously the most interesting debate so far, and John McCain's best. For long stretches McCain seemed relaxed and comfortable. He shaped the conversation, putting Barack Obama on the defensive. Most importantly, McCain got under Obama's skin at several points. Those broad Obama smiles are charming, but they break his super-level-headed mystique. If Obama's job was to be unflappable, he found himself flapped at several points during the night.
Best line of the night goes to McCain, a pre-scripted zinger that, for once, McCain delivered without a hitch: "Sen. Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. I will take this country in a new direction." Obama's response was also good, explaining how McCain had sided with Bush on the major economic issues of the day. But the response won't get cable news play. The zinger will.
I New Republic ger Noam Scheiber Obama kritik för inte ha varit lika bra som i förra debatten. Men McCain kritiseras dock mest konkret, där författaren bl a skriver:
...McCain... had a way of turning talking points into complete non sequiturs by slapping them on the end of unrelated answers. My favorite came at the end of his second pass at Ayers and ACORN, when he added, hopefully: "[M]y campaign is about getting this economy back on track, about creating jobs, about a brighter future for America." Riiiight. ...
Second problem: McCain has a habit of making jokes and allusions no one else catches; tonight he really outdid himself. At one point Obama used Joe the Plumber to make a point about his health care plan. In response to which McCain blurted out: "Hey, Joe, you're rich, congratulations." Weird stuff.
Slutligen skriver Noam Scheiber:
the debate in a nutshell: McCain fuliminating angrily, if sometimes effectively; Obama yielding more than he should at times, but still deadly on bottom-line differences. The election obviously isn't over. But McCain came up empty on his last, best chance.
I denna artikel koras dock McCain som segrare, där Hugh Hewitt skriver:
Thank you, Joe W., America's plumber, wherever you are. He must be a Browns fan.
McCain scored big with the Joe the plumber exchanges, and with the campaign tactics exchange. Obama looked angry and stumbled repeatedly as he tried to cope with what he really told Joe the plumber...
...Obama's mastery of his rote talking points is impressive, but they failed him on key exchanges tonight. ...Obama had a chance to end the campaign tonight, but just the opposite happened. Obama was in the prevent defense mode, and McCain moved the ball a long way down the field.
Överlag verkar dock de flesta rösterna anse att oavsett vem som vann debatten, så förändrade debatten ingenting. Och McCain har fortfarande en lång väg att springa för att komma Obama i hälarna.