Iraq War. It's a non-starter for McCain. He shouldn't even want to go there. On CNN, the uncommitted voter lines on the bottom of the screen are going flat the more McCain talks about Iraq, even when he talks about the success of the surge. The responses go up the more Obama talks Iraq.
Obama pretty much wiped out McCain's appeal to Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly" aphorism on Pakistan by showing that singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" is not speaking softly. That was most interesting part of the debate. And they suspended the rules to get interesting. (Of course, Tom Brokaw has been applying the rules almost exclusively to Obama's overages and rarely to McCain's. He's the McCain consigliere to MSNBC anyway.) Obama's admission that he would take out bin Laden is no more telegraphing his punch than McCain saying "I know how to take him out" is. McCain may not telegraph his punches, but if this debate is any indication, he doesn't land them cleanly either.
Obama edged McCain in this portion of the debate, because foreign policy is again supposed to be John McCain's forte, and the latter did not rise to the occasion and provide anything more than he did the first debate.
In the end, I was struck by how much like the first debate this debate was. Both sides' statements and responses were pretty much exactly like those in St. Louis, except a little flatter. Again, I don't understand why the media hypes huge differences in these venues.