While the live blogging is over (see post below this), it is now time to reflect and, as is my wont, give out some grades:
Final Score Sheet:
Debate B +. No great quotes or sparks but intelligent debate all round....two worthy opponents.
McCain was surprisingly articulate, no senior moments, on point, clear and calm (apart from that little outburst on Iran). There's just that little matter of the blatant misleading and you know, LIES. He was much the ruder person too. B+
Obama was nuanced, fair, honest and so, as a result, not as easy and pat, which is great for people like me and the people that read my blog...but not so great given the black and white narratives that drive American politics. Polite, civilized and a gentleman. Great closing statement but bad slip in not addressing McCain's lack of experience barb. So, an A - from a (wannabe) academic and a B+ from a policy wonk.
Well done on both for producing a good debate- nothing too memorable but intelligent and thorough. God knows we haven't had that in 8 years.
Lehrer: firm, civilized, non-flashy A
A- for effort, A+ for enthusiasm, B for lack of organization...
McCain: Good job for sticking to your GOP talking points. Stop lying, maybe?
Obama: Stop praising or giving McCain credit for anything. There is little room for civility or nuance in this kind of dirty politics. There will be plenty of time later to be honorable. Right now, look at your opponent (he did not give you credit for anything even once) - stop being nice and play the game.
Here's Daniel Drezner's live blog of the debate - wonder how many others were doing the same thing? He suggests debate drinking games like drinking every time someone says "I resent' - which actually would have meant we all would have ended up pretty sober.
With hindsight, "that's not true" would have got you hammered tonight....