I don’t know how many people were watching, but all I can say is that Barack Obama will have his work cut out for him in this fall’s debates if this is at all an indication of how the two of them perform on the same stage. McCain was really at his best and the contrast played to his strengths. Obama was long-winded and wishy-washy in his answers, while McCain was short and to the point –Rick Warren even had to ask him additional questions because he finished them so much more quickly than Obama. Obama was analytical and professorial, where McCain was substantive. Obama said his most gut-wrenching decision was opposing the Iraq War as a state senator, while McCain described his decision to refuse early release as a POW even though he was severely injured, and even though he was promised it would lead to even harsher treatment. Obama was aloof and distant, McCain was funny and connected emotionally with the audience. Sure, those of us who have been following this campaign for nearly two years have heard all of McCain’s jokes and anecdotes, but they were a hit with the audience who probably hadn’t. If this were an actual debate, it would have been a blowout. Obama looked every bit like the rookie against a seasoned (not washed-up) veteran.
UPDATE: If you needed any more evidence that John McCain dominated, Andrew Sullivan has called it a draw.