A lot has been made this morning of John McCain's blinking last night during the debate, but more disturbing was his grin each time he thought he'd just zinged Obama. Football coaches try to get players who score touchdowns to act like they'd been in the end zone before, and McCain could have used some similar advice.
Really, though, more telling was how often McCain ended a segment with a non-sequitur. After Obama laid out his tax plans and how 95 percent of the country would see tax cuts, McCain followed that by simply asserting that Obama wants to raise our taxes. After Obama pointed out what a small percentage of the budget earmarks make up, McCain reiterated the importance of cutting earmarks. After Obama conceded that McCain had differed with Bush on torture - but only for a while, I'll add - he voted consistently with Bush on economic policy. McCain responded by naming a number of non-economic issues where he split with his party. These exchanges allowed him every opportunity to confront Obama's plans and charges, and in these cases and many others, he had no meaningful, substantive response.
Last thought - hands down, the best debate format and best moderator.