Last night's debate went ahead as planned, despite McCain saying he would not show up without a financial rescue package being passed. McCain should be glad he showed up too, because he gave one of the strongest debate performances of his career.
Unfortunately for McCain, Obama really kicked it up a notch in his performance. Obama was able to give declarative, very precise statements, without a lot of stuttering or pausing, something that had seemingly eluded him in the primaries and interviews.
If you were to seperate the debate into two halves, then you would not be far off. The first forty minutes of the debate were on the economy, and the remaining time was dedicated to the topic of foreign policy.
McCain really had a chance to take control of the debate on the economy. He could have pointed out how Obama supports a bailout with taxpayer money, and contrast that with his position, which is protecting the taxpayers by giving loans and insurance to the companies. Instead, McCain gave his stump speech, talking about earmark reform and government spending.
McCain was able to take a very commanding lead in the foreign policy section. McCain really controlled the debate, and twice Obama asked Jim Lehrer if we could just "move on". Obama really held his own in this area though, and that is all he needed to do, to pass the commander in chief test.
Had this debate taken place in 2004, then maybe McCain's performance in the foreign policy half of the debate would have carried him into victory. However considering there has been no terrorist attacks lately, and the economy is front and center, the tied debate goes to Obama.
Considering McCain's very respectable performance in the debate, Obama will most likely not see a very large bounce out of the debate. By Monday, the rolling poll averages will reflect the results of the debate, expect Obama to be up about six points in the daily tracking polls.