The commentary and punditry is just beginning, but wow, that was a great debate. Each side attempted to downplay expectations leading into it, and there were worries that either McCain would be dry or Obama would be bumbling, neither of which ended up coming true. Both candidates were knowledgeable, direct, leaderly, and mostly devoid of stumbles. (My goodness, all of the nation and history and name dropping alone was a masterful display by both men.)
If I were to characterize the night and who "won," I would split up the 90 minutes into thirds: the first third both were solid, with Obama having a slight edge; the second third, Obama peaked and had his best moments; the final third, McCain had finally warmed up and landed his best punches.
Overall, we saw two very different candidates with strikingly different philosophies, fundamentally dissimilar plans for leadership. Next week I will get back into the series asking whether Christians should vote (and if so, how), but for now, after the first Presidential debate, my inner political pundit's heart feels strangely warmed.