- Obama came across as calm and collected.
- McCain was disdainful, aggressive and petulant.
- McCain started off strong, but ended up getting flustered when his attacks weren't landing. He petered out as the debate wore on.
- The post-debate pundit spin was that McCain won...
- ...which was immediately disproven by the across the board sweep of all of the focus groups and snap polls that showed Obama wiped McCain out.
Obama definitely won the expectations game when it came to the debates. For whatever reason, it seemed to be a universally accepted fact that Obama was not a great debater.
However, one fact got lost in murky past of the brief Republican primary season: John McCain is a horrible at debating. All of the same traits that he evinces now were on display back then as well: his choppy style, his peevishly aggressive demeanor and his lack of familiarity or understanding of the economy.
Lucky for John McCain, he seemed to go up against the only person who was worse at debating than he was: Mitt Romney. That, coupled with the McCain-Mike Huckabee double teaming pretty much guaranteed that Romney was considered the loser of most of the Republican debates. But let's be honest, the Republican crop of candidates this year was pretty weak stuff.