Who won, who lost, who cares? At this point does it matter? Kudos to Bob Shieffer for at least getting John McCain and Barack Obama to at least cover some new ground. He asked them to talk about the negativity of their campaigns and do it to each other's face. McCain was on his way to wussing out of his promise to throw Bill Ayers in Obama's face when he interjected it at the last possible moment of that segment. I don't know if he was just trying to hit and run there, but Obama got all the time he needed to explain both the Ayers claims and ACORN. Let's just say Obama was ready for both. In fact, his comment after the last debate about McCain not having the guts to say it to his face may have been the bait. I think McCain got suckered on that play for three reasons:
1. If McCain didn't bring it up, he looks like a chicken.
2. If he does, it gives Obama a chance to explain himself without raising the issue himself.
3. If he does, Obama gets another chance to look magnanimous by telling America McCain wants to talk about an old pseudo-friendship when our economy needs fixing.
It was a no-win for McCain. McCain needs to start getting the undecideds and taking people out of the Obama camp. Talking about Ayers is only going to make people like Sean Hannity happy and I think it's safe to say he's not voting for Obama. If McCain wants to close the gap before election day-- which I think will happen-- he has to focus on his reducing taxes pledge and national security. That or come up with a secret plan to fight the economic downturn. The tax thing may be moot, however, after this exchange last night that McCain's body language all but told America that Obama's tax plan was better than his. Critics are calling this his "Deer in the headlights moment:"
McCain did have a zinger of his own and it was a long overdue punch back at Obama's claims that McCain is in lockstep with George W. Bush.
It was a pretty good moment for Mac, but again he came off as the grumpy old man during the debate. And even if you somehow didn't think that during the debate, the post-game handshake had all the frivolity of the old guy in the neighborhood who hates Halloween and the idea of buying candy for strange children wearing capes, and someone just rang his doorbell.
All told, I don't think this debate does anything to change any voter's mind. If it did anything, it pushed undecideds more in Obama's direction. But we'll have to wait and see... now 19 days and counting.