What Did You See?

I managed to watch the debate while on the road for a speaking engagement.

Went to bed last night extremely depressed, thinking I'd watched McCain mauled by the upstart and the official end of western civilization (all but the proverbial shouting). To me he projected grumpy old-timer who can't get used to newfangled things and whose default response seemed to be, "I've been to that country, therefore I know." And he doesn't educate, he asserts.

Checked email this morning and there was a message, topic line:
Did we just see a massacre?
Thought I knew where that was going, but my interlocutor thought it was Obama who was mauled.

Then I read a 2nd email from a guy who scored it for McCain, and he also provided links to other people who scored it for McCain. David Brooks apparently thought it was McCain's best debate ever.

Not that it's saying much. If there was ever a more stark contrast between the man of action and the man of words it was on display last night.
When Pericles talks, men applaud. When Demosthenes talks, men march.
I was utterly amazed, but heartened, by these reactions.

Mr. W. talked me further back from the ledge by 'splaining it to me thus: whatever else McCain is, he's a strategist. He knew how to win in Iraq, and he thinks he knows how to win an election. He's aiming at independents; he has a pitch he's aiming at them, and he said to them what he wanted said. Bipartisanship, no blasting Obama out of the water, I can get things done. It remains to be seen if this strategy is effective, but what was on display last night was a strategy.

OK, I'll buy that. (I love my husband for many things, but especially because he always intervenes before I off myself.)

The other men in my family scored it first quarter to Obama, next 3 quarters to McCain. My brother says from where he was sitting, McCain got in more punches and Obama seemed to get tired, while McCain gathered steam with each quarter. He really seemed to him the tough old warrior you can't knock down. Hit him and he rises stronger--he had more vitality than the young 'un.

How'd McCain do with independents? Someone sent me an email saying he heard Juan Williams describe an on-air poll at NPR. McCain won handily with independent men; Obama won handily with independent women. Hmm.

I haven't spoken to her personally, but my brother reports that our uber-liberal NY relative feels better about McCain after the debate. That's quite something.

So... none of that is what I saw, but I'll take it.

And you? What did you see?