NBC (Shrum) 9:43 PM: “I think he won a win tonight, Barack Obama. Because I think the big headline of this debate is that people across the country more and more comfortable with the idea of President Obama. He projects a sense of calmness and strength that kind of grace under pressure that people prize in a president.”
MSNBC (Fineman) 11:10 PM: “Another good moment for Obama was when Obama basically took control of the foreign policy debate toward the end there.”
FOX News (Luntz)10:43 PM: “We seem to be getting winners out of this. Obama did better overall.”
CNN (Hillary Rosen): I am fixated on the dial line at the bottom of the screen on CNN. Women are responding very enthusiastically to Obama. And women have been the larger part of the undecided vote in the battleground states. They like his specificity on tax cuts, the budget, education and energy. And now the environment has just sent both men and women to the top line. McCain only gets to the top line with either men or women when he is positive. Each time he criticizes Obama, the line flattens.
Washington Post (Eugene Robinson): I think most viewers will decide that Obama won the debate, if only because he seemed more presidential and he represents a party other than George W. Bush’s. These encounters, I believe, are fundamentally unkind to John McCain.
Talking Points Memo: “Clear, even decisive win for Obama tonight.” The debate’s relatively low-key tone, combined with a series of exchanges that Obama won by at minimum a marginal amount, translate into a clear, even decisive win for Obama tonight. There’s no point in mincing words: Time is running out for McCain. As multiple observers have pointed out, McCain needed to jar the electorate into seeing this race in a new way. It isn’t even clear if McCain even tried to do this tonight — there was no moment where he appeared to make an aggressive bid to take down Obama or grab the initiative.