by Max Brantley
McCain's big lick, a federal mortgage buyout plan, is old news and was recommended by Obama weeks ago. Hillary Clinton apparently came up with it first among this year's crop of candidates.
Headline roundup at Real Clear Politics suggests last night's debate didn't change the landscape. Even Republican camp follower Rich Lowry said McCain's performance "wasn't enough." RCP's poll roundup shows Obama ahead in every battleground state in the most recent soundings. At Politico, Roger Simon says McCain lost by not winning.
I'd like to comment that we've now been through three debates without the style-, trivia- and gotcha-focused questions that are so much the stock in trade of most network anchors. This has been a bright spot of the season. The windy bloviation of self-important anchors isn't missed. That said, the town hall questions last night were not memorable, as Jonathan Martin observed. At TPM, there's a useful roundup that includes a Weekly Standard comment cheering McCain's performance but adding that Obama was "nearly flawless."
For comic relief: Cindy McCain is complaining, says Obama has run dirtiest campaign in U.S. history. Also, there's Dana Milbank hooting at McCain's overhead projector fixation while the U.S. faces the economic crisis of a lifetime. "Out of touch" was how I saw it last night, long before the debate was over.