So first of all, I have to say how could Obama get the first question and does not use it to immediately land a quick punch on McCain? Some suggestions here:
"What took you so long Senator McCain?"
"First of all, I must say to Senator McCain, I am very disappointed to see you here, I was kinda hoping this will be my night to shine alone!"
"Senator McCain, you couldn't just let me have this one night?!"
Ok, ok, I know Obama is not good at these one liners, but that is why you have a campaign staff to help you with these things. But this is a week when McCain came up with this decision to go to Washington and suspend the debate, how can you not bring that up at the beginning of the debate? Senator Barack Obama is a dynamic speaker on the campaign stump. He was probably a great professor at Univ. of Chicago, but he is not that great at debates. Having said that, I must say it was not a very bad debate, it was not a great debate either. Not a lot of memorable lines and catchy zingers. My only problem with the Obama campaign - they have to do a better job of lowering expectations for Obama.
Other quick observations - Obama did not maintain throughout the debate the link between Bush and McCain. We are a nation of short attention spans, if you don't repeat something over and over again, we forget. Obama was too nice to McCain, next time stop telling McCain each time, "you are right!" McCain, (and I may be biased here) seemed condescending, almost like Bush Senior did to Bill Clinton back in 92.
Overall: This was McCain's turf, so if it is a tie as I think it is, then its good for Obama, but I still think he could do better in the remainig debates.
Jim Lehrer did a great job moderating!