4.01 pm Cameron is kicking Gordon's butt - he's truly on a different level tonight. Now I see more of how he seized the leadership of the Tories five years' ago. I'd seen his sincerity and decency before now - but not the necessary steel for politics. Now I see the glints of steel. I have a feeling he has just won this election.
3.57 pm. The Conservative leader, repeat, the Conservative leader, says the bankers bonuses have been "appalling". He endorses Barack Obama's financial re-regulation bill. He's very strong on the banks, actually - sounding like a Democrat in the US. There's very little in Cameron's manifesto that Barack Obama couldn't endorse in full.
3.50 pm. Brown is making this much more pugilistic and much more of a classic right-left debate, attacking Cameron for defending the rich. Brown keeps shaking his head - Al Gore-like - whenever Cameron speaks. My view is that this has been the Tory's best debate so far by far. Clegg is now getting far more animated, backing Tory themes on lower taxes. I suspect Clegg senses he is no longer the center of attention.
Brown is saying that Cameron wants tax cuts for the very rich while cutting tax credits for children. Brown calls this "immoral". Cameron pushes back saying the tax credits would remain for the poor - not for those above certain incomes. Clegg backs him on that.
3.46 pm. Small point: the first two questioners are minorities - South Asian and West Indian. Both are about fiscal matters. The first wants more candor about deficits; the second wants lower taxes. And what Cameron is doing is trying to pitch a conservatism to this diverse population that appeals to their self-reliance.
3.44 pm This is becoming a real fight between Cameron and Blair, and Cameron is winning. Suddenly, Clegg is receding. Then Brown talks over Clegg for several seconds. Brown is on the offensive. I guess he feels he cannot please anyone so he might as well growl at them.
3.40 pm. Brown's sole point - again - is that there can be no cuts in spending now, which the Tories are proposing. Cameron says he only wants to cut 1 percent of government spending ... and now he's saying he could get some savings by abuse of welfare. A soft blow from the right. Brown actually says that David Cameron reminds him of the Conservative Party of the 1930s! Finally, there does seem some kind of choice here.
3.36 pm. There's something about this huge faux-studio that has rendered the leaders more statesmanlike in demeanor, more like public speakers than TV hosts. To my subjective mind, this has made Clegg seem a little smaller and Cameron more commanding.
The first audience question is a superbly blunt one about dishonesty in spelling out future spending cuts. Cameron is stronger than previously on this, but still dishonest. He pledges to protect spending on police, education and health. But how do you deal with the huge debt with so many items off budget?