Obama Wins Debate

Joe Klein at TIME

9:40pm MSNBC Chris Matthews "Barack Obama, who kept agreeing with McCain over and over again…looked more presidential."

9:43pm MSNBC Buchanan "He did what he had to do in the sense he came off as a tough fellow, a counterpuncher."

9:40pm MSNBC Chris Matthews: "Obama Looked More Presidential"

9:45 PM CBS – Katie Couric: "The issue of meeting with Iranian officials without preconditions and Henry Kissinger's position on that came up during my recent interview with Governor Sarah Palin. Now, after than interview I called Secretary Kissinger to clarify his position – he said he does support face-to-face talks with high-level officials in Iran without preconditions."

10:42 PM ABC - David Wright: "Obama, we saw him do 22 debates or so during the primary. He was much crisper tonight, he was much more on message."

10:45 PM FOX News – Juan Williams: "If we come back to the economic at the top, I'd have to give it to Barack Obama."

10:52 PM CNN- David Gergen: "I think John McCain needed a clear victory tonight. I think a tie was not in his interests. He is behind. This is his best subject night because the last night, they're going to be talking about the economy. I think he needed a clear victory tonight. I think that eluded him, even as strong as he was, I think Bill Bennett is absolutely right… but I don't think he walked out of here with a clear victory of the kind he needed."

CNN (Gloria Borger)- "I think you'd have to watch this debate, Anderson and say Obama held his own. He didn't give an inch to McCain on the issues of talking with Iran."

CBS News (Ambinder) "Knowledge Network Undecideds Give Debate To Obama": According to CBS News / Knowledge Networks' poll of undecided voters: 40% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. 22% thought John McCain won. 38% saw it as a draw. 68% of these voters think Obama would make the right decision about the economy. 41% think McCain would. 49% of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. 55% think McCain would.

Associated Press (Liz Sidoti) A night of contrasts This debate, primarily focused on foreign policy, was supposed to be McCain's sweet spot; Obama held his own. "You were wrong" on Iraq, Obama repeated three times in succession as he pointedly looked his opponent in the eye. "John, you like to pretend the war began in 2007."

The Atlantic (Marc Ambinder) The Rumble In Oxford: First Thoughts - McCain did not filter himself, letting his frustration and contempt for Obama show; he wouldn't let himself look at the challenger.

NY Daily News – "Final Verdict on Eight Years of Failed Economic Policies." After all those months of buildup, it took exactly 106 seconds for the gloves to come off, when Democrat Obama laid the blame for the current economic mess on Republican leadership in Washington. "This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush [and] supported by John McCain," Obama said, taking direct aim at his GOP opponent… Obama seemed at ease in the early rounds as McCain struggled to find his feet.

Philly Daily News - Will Bunch blog: McCain "Needs a Knockout" … "Didn't Get It Tonight." I think Obama held his own, which is what he needed to do. He clearly showed he was knowledgeable on foreign affairs, and made kind of silly the argument that Sarah Palin has more experience than he does. McCain was a lot more restrained than I would have expected. …McCain can't afford to win on points. He needs a knockout. He didn't get it tonight.

Denver Post PoliticsWest (John Andrews) Zinger at McCain - Obama landed a good jab with his reference to McCain "threatening extinction to North Korea" and "singing songs about bombing Iran." McCain: "I'm not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I'm president. I don't even have a seal yet." Cute line at the Messiah's expense, but it was wasted in this setting. Obama was impressive, agree with him or not, in his big picture statement near the end when he panned back from Iraq to talk about China, the economy, and the fate of empires in history. McCain for all his courage and honor didn't paint on that kind of global canvas. More points scored into the Dem's column.

Tampa Tribune (Blog) McCain's Final Judgment: "Knowledge And Experience" McCain relied repeatedly on emotional but non-substantive or factually incorrect claims: That Obama "voted against funding the troops," wouldn't declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorists, wants to increase taxes on people who make $42,000. But Obama's vaunted eloquence, somewhat surprisingly, failed to overwhelm the nitpicking. The verdict: Probably a tie, which means McCain will probably hold his advantage on the issue. The future debates will be between the vice presidential contenders, and between McCain and Obama on domestic issues.

TNR Blog- Focus Groups, Undecideds For Obama: For what it's worth: The Frank Luntz and Stanley Greenberg focus groups went overwhelmingly for Obama. And a CBS poll of undecideds went for Obama 40%-22%.