You can watch it here at Hulu if you haven't seen it.
I suppose it went about like I expected. There weren't a lot of fireworks, and it was a reasonably sober discussion of the economy and foreign affairs. McCain used a lot of his old, tired lines ("We came to here to change Washington, but Washington changed us", "I didn't win Miss Congeniality", "Sen. Obama wants to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory"). You could tell that his strategy was to talk down to Obama and try to expose him as ignorant and ill-experienced. I don't know how many times he used the phrase "Sen. Obama doesn't understand...", but it was at least 4 or 5. But Obama wasn't having any of that, and he seemed confident and presidential as he described his stances.
On the financial side, I thought Obama's position made a lot more sense, saying that he'd have to postpone some of planned programs, but that no one would know what the budget would be like next year, so it was premature to talk about specific cuts. McCain at one point said he'd "veto everything that came across his desk", which seems not only extreme, but silly. There might actually be a decent piece of legislation that comes across his desk in the next year. But what he said probably appealed to people more than Obama's response.
Obama backpeddled on a lot of things that he said in the primary campaigns, and justifiably so. I'm fairly satisfied that he's intelligent enough to know that he made some rhetorical mistakes early on and that he's learned his lesson. I disagree with his position on Iraq, but I honestly don't think he's going to have a dramatically different policy from McCain. I like that he recognizes that Pakistan and Afghanistan are of primary importance right now.
McCain seemed the less genuine of the two, but he still did a decent job, I thought. Obama didn't hit a home run, but he was solid as well. I'd give McCain a B and Obama a B+.
One thing I thought was interesting was how neither the moderator nor Obama pointed out that McCain nearly didn't even show up for this debate. Obama could have taken a dig at McCain for threatening to skip the debate, but he didn't, probably realizing that he didn't actually need to say anything.
I'll watch all the debates, but I don't see being swayed much by them unless something really unexpected and dramatic happens in one of them. I really am looking forward to the vice presidential debate. Biden was barely given a chance to talk in the primary debates, which were the Obama/Hillary show, but he'll have equal time here. I wondered if going on the attack might backfire, but I think most people will be of the opinion that Palin is running for the 2nd most powerful job in the world, and if she can't take some heat, she shouldn't be in that spot. So I'd expect Biden to tear into her. Historically, VPs are attack dogs, doing a lot of the dirty work while the presidential candidate takes the high road. We'll see what happens, but I'm really looking forward to it next Thursday.