Saw as much of the debates as my system could talk. McCain had been groomed well: cool, reserved, with strong ideas. He looked much less like an enraged potato than usual; indeed, dare I say it, he gave off a presidential calm. Obama, by contrast, seemed to flounder a bit --- this was not the consummate orator I saw at the DCC.
I wish Obama had been more forceful. I don't mean he should totally embrace attack politics, but I think he let pass too many opportunities to point out what his opponent was and was not in comparison to him. He should have referred more often to McCain's inane predictions that it would be easy in Iraq and so on, while repeating his own early and correct warnings about the war. He could have made more casual references to McCain's extreme wealth and connections, to drive home the point exactly whose bottom line President McCain would be fighting the hardest for, while referring to his own civil service.
I know it's a fine line between attack politics and forcefulness, but in the words of Chris Rock, I fear Obama's forgetting he's black --- he's acting like he can win this thing fairly.
I noticed that McCain, like a lot of republicans, pointed with his forefinger a lot, while Obama used a Clintonian fingertip-thumb pinching gesture, as if picking up a tiny piece of paper. I think this election calls for less Democratic conciliatory fine-motor delicacy, and more accusatory pointing.