John McCain made the mistake of not waiting for Bob Schieffer to invite him to Bill Ayers and ACORN tonight. I was frankly surprised that he went scorched-earth on Obama so immediately over Ayers, and it was McCain's worst performance. He practically invited Obama to address the ridiculous allegations to his face, and Obama hit it out of the park by showing that when he first worked with the former domestic terrorist several Republicans including a Reagan ambassador worked with Ayers in the same group. Obama also effectively turned back the insinuation that he would rely on Ayers as an advisor, giving instead a laundry list of Republicans and Democrats on whom he already relies on various issues. Obama couldn't have handled it better, and McCain looked just as apoplectic and out of control as did the social conservatives who were prodding him to brow beat Obama with Ayers at the upper midwest townhall meeting earlier this week.
Advantage: clearly, Obama. Game might be over (debate-wise).
UPDATE: McCain's admonition that if Obama wants to run against Bush he should have done so 4 years ago would be effective if McCain could deny the 90% of his voting record where he voted with Bush. It might have been effective if voters weren't suffering through the malaise of the Bush recession. Tonight it is worthless and weak.
UPDATE: Another perception about the Ayers exchange: Obama had challenged McCain to bring up Ayers to his face. Ostensibly, McCain met that challenge by bringing Ayers up in the presence of Obama. But did you notice how McCain looked away from Obama and at Schieffer when he started to hammer on Ayers? Is it really bringing it up to Obama's face if McCain doesn't look him in the eye when becoming indignant? Obama won on the moment filled with the most testosterone.
UPDATE: Did McCain seriously argue that he went negative because he didn't get enough townhall meetings?