That is to say, Obama didn't lose badly enough. McCain performed well, put Obama on the defensive, had a few good one liners, some gotchas, all that went over rather well for McCain. On substance and yes, style I think McCain won. Obama was good, but he was tortured when he had to explain his nuance for policies McCain said were not good for America.
That's where Barry suffered a lot. Every time he felt the necessity to explain why his policies were good, he went into detail, which normally would be a good thing, but it came off like a complicated story from a kid who explained his way out of trouble, a complicated story full of nuance for all 13 instances of trouble. It's like they say; when you're on defense, you're not scoring.
One place where McCain had trouble was with potential Roe-supporting judicial nominees. But it wasn't much. It's not like the country hasn't elected a president who was against abortion before.
I think he fumbled a little on Ayers and ACORN. At first he pinned them on Obama pretty good, but he turned it into something like a double 180, not a 360, but 180 degrees one way, and then back. It went like this:
Obama has some serious explaining to do about his connection to Bill Ayers, even though I don't care about him. And he has explaining to do about ACORN. These are important issues the American people should know about, but we shouldn't dwell on them. Obama is a good guy, but these are horrible connections. My campaign is not about this stuff, it's about bigger issues, like taxes...Ace is steamed that McCain didn't bring up Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or the subprime mess, and I think he should have, although it seemed like the debate was not long enough. Yeah, they could have done without the "MY SUPPORTERS ARE BETTER BEHAVED THAN YOUR SUPPORTERS" garbage at the beginning, although that is a major national issue, at least according to the press.
McCain won, and I think it should help him, but it was no launch to the White House. Like I said earlier, Obama was too busy not scoring playing defense. But he didn't give much ground, ground McCain needed.
After furhter thought, I think McCain would've found what he was looking for had he delivered a verbal version of this: