Liveblogging the debate

910pm - McCain seems just a little out of it tonight.  Tired.  Rambling. Nervous.  

911pm - Obama needs to stay more focused on what is he going to do. 

914pm - Not sure that McCain's attacks on the GOP's spending and corruption is helping him.  Would love to see the data showing that Americans want all this emphasis on fiscal austerity right now.  

916pm - Obama almost nailed it.  Started strong.   Wandered at the end.  

919pm - McCain's obsession with earmarks seems, again, bizarre.  But this whole exchange on the economy has been instructive.  Think Obama has won this exchange, but he gets a little far down in the weeds. 

927pm - Obama's investment agenda was strong, thoughtful.  Loved the emphasis on modernizing the grid! Also forgot to mention that Obama embraced our argument at the outset that keeping people in their homes is the key to dealing with our fiscal crisis. 

930pm - McCain's economic strategy - cut taxes and cut spending.   A spending freeze.  A spending freeze.  Money for Iraq.  Money for Wall Street.  No investment into accelerating the development of the 21st century American economy.  I think McCain is really out of touch with the struggle folks are going through today. 

A spending freeze.

937pm - Iraq now.  Do people really believe we are winning there? 

944pm - Obama just wacked McCain hard.  It was his best moment so far.  McCain is fighting back.  This is important now.  McCain has come to life a bit.  His defense of his Iraq policy was alright.

956pm - McCain has had a good run here.

1010pm - Obama appears Presidential.  While he is not knocking the ball out of the park tonight he is doing well.   He is holding his own.   

1014pm - All in all it feels like both candidates will grow and improve throughout the debates.  As if they are just feeling their way, learning the terrain, being careful.  McCain's assault on Barack for his willingness to meet "without preconditions" while intellectually dishonest was effective.

11pm -  I think both candidates scored points tonight.  Obama looked like a President, held his own,made his points, showed he could hit McCain.  McCain after a slow start seemed steady, strong, comfortable, forceful.  But I still think McCain's overall argument is just out of synch with Americans today.  He is just a little off, off enough to be behind in this race now. 

Obama's surge in the last 2 weeks has been very important.  Given the issue environment, the Democratic tide, McCain's limited skills as a candidate and Obama's steadiness I just have a hard time seeing how McCain moves from 42-43 up to the high 40s in these next six weeks.  McCain has flashes of his old self but all in all he feels as if he has lost a step; that he is an all-star past his prime; that his best days are well behind him now. Obama seems to be in the driver's seat now...confident, steady, in touch, with no glaring weaknesses except that has shown this year that he has a hard time closing the deal.

So on we go.  Next up Palin Biden on Thursday.