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No fireworks in Round One of Obama-McCain clash

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George Will, like many, didn't see the tides turn last night.

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"This wasn't a game changer," Will said. "Both had their familiar personas. Barack Obama was the rather tweedy professor conducting a national seminar. John McCain was a rather hotter personality, the national scold."

Best sound bite

The best one-liner from the debate? Actually it came after the debate from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

"When they opened their mouths, what came out was neither hot nor cold, but a tepid gruel," Milbank wrote in seeming disappointment at the lack of fireworks.

No Jerry Springer

Where Milbank finds a glass half empty, Forbes' columnist Suzanne Garment finds a glass half-full.

"Much more important, though, is what Obama and McCain did not say," Garment opines. "They did not call each other names ... Their demagoguery, distortions of fact and pandering were well within normal bounds (though one could have done without the dueling bracelets). .. When you consider the presidential debates of the past decade or so, this one seemed positively illuminating."

Or positively boring, but Garment's a tax lawyer. So a rage-fueled John McEnroe versus Bobby Knight throwdown moderated by Jerry Springer would probably not be her cup of tea. But think of the ratings for that event.

Slow the bleed

Time's Joe Klein gives the edge to Obama acknowledging that no fatal blows were landed.

"There was nothing in this debate that was a knockout blow—nothing that should change the current trajectory of the campaign. (Although it may staunch the slow bleed that McCain has experienced the past week)," he wrote.

Mac is back

Over at Politico, Roger Simon seems to be giving the victory to John McCain calling the outing "one of his strongest debate performances ever" leading Obama to seek the aide of the moderator.

"At least twice after sharp attacks by McCain, Obama seemed to look to moderator Jim Lehrer for help, saying to Lehrer, “Let’s move on." wrote Simon.

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