Here's some more debate reaction from Republican bloggers. This was a moment when even their powers of denial and discipline failed them. Instapundit:

...in retrospect I have to say that I think Obama did better than it seemed at the time. This morning, my strongest impression is that McCain seemed to be trying too hard to close the deal, and frustrated that it wasn't happening. Obama, despite a lot of stammering and some ill-advised references to Delaware, seemed a lot more comfortable. I think he passed the threshold acceptability test with the audience, which -- for people looking for "change" -- is probably enough.

Andy McCarthy:

McCain's only shot is/was to show that Obama cannot be trusted with the presidency.  If Obama is plausible, McCain loses.  And McCain, unfailingly, treats Obama as if he is totally plausible.  Ballgame.

Byron York:

After it ended, there was serious unhappiness in some quarters of the McCain campaign not with Barack Obama, but with NBC's Tom Brokaw. Some key members of the campaign felt Brokaw had diluted the town hall format a McCain favorite by asking too many questions of his own. One irritated McCain aide called it "the worst-moderated debate in the history of presidential debates."

Stephen Hayes:

Obama’s test in the first debate was to present himself as a plausible president, as a guy who didn’t seem out of place on stage at a presidential debate and wouldn’t seem out of place delivering a State of the Union address. Much as I’d disagree with the policies in such a speech, it was clear that he passed that test. Tonight, his job was to persuade voters – particularly independents – not only that he could be president but that he should be president. I suspect polling in the next couple of days will provide evidence that he passed that test, too.

Jennifer Rubin:

Barack Obama wants the debates to be dull every moment of dullness and non-news is another step closer to victory. It’s up to McCain to generate the excitement. But what did he do? John McCain can’t bring himself to put together more than a sentence on the connection between Barack Obama and the Freddie/Fannie mess. He refuses to talk about Obama’s connections to radicals and his continued dissembling about the same. In lieu of a bold growth oriented new economic plan, he comes up with a mortgage buy-athon by the federal government.  So when you’re looking for “worst” I’d suggest: Worst Ninety Minutes of Missed Opportunities In A Presidential Debate. Ever.

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