There are many ways to grade debates. Usually you grade on how well someone attacks there opponents or how well they presented their arguments, blah blah... etc. There will be no such grading here. No sir. This will be a purely aesthetic grading system, sometimes snarky, and but always butt-honest. Here goes.
(In no specific order, as they occur to me. This is a blog after all.)
McCain, brother, you didn't acknowledge Obama one time during the evening. Your laughing was a little creepy at times. I did think your suite was a better shade of Blue than Obama's and contrasting with your white hair you appeared a tad sunnier. However, the aging was an issue. You seem old when the camera flashed from Obama to yourself. And, I'm sorry, but the presidency is famous for aging men doubly fast. It is astounding. So, just going off how much Clinton and Bush aged... you are going to be looking mighty ghoulish by the fourth year. I think that some medical records might be in order for future consideration. Maybe a mandatory defibrillator.
Plus, mentioning Palin didn't go so well, did it? It was even a bit embarrassing. You mentioned her, hoping and expecting the applause you have so grow accustomed to, and you got zilcho clippidy-clops instead. Nada. Whole cricket families could be heard. I cringed as the smile melted from your face where you were used to pausing for long periods of time reveling in automatic Palin applause. I do feel for you there. I mean, just mentioning Palin's name at one of your rallies gets the blood pressure up 30 points at least. You never have to worry about people going comatose in your speeches, you've got the equivalent of a verbal Red Bull waiting to inject into your listeners ears. Not so at the debates.
You were obviously more educated in foreign affairs. Every time you mentioned a complicated and scary Arab-sounding name that I didn't know if felt a little safer about choosing you. Plus, you've had a tad bit of experience in the war arena. I think we'd be alright with you at the helm of our forces. I like that whole "you don't understand, business." It made Obama look like the confident but naive upstart in the college class where you are professor. It definitely got under Obama's skin.
You are slick. No doubt about it. But, your overconfidence is unnerving. You are so slick that you are are almost rubber. You don't seem to open to many things that would go against your established world view. It isn't compromise that you look for, it is total convincing your opponent or nothing. There is a difference between Wisdom and being Stubbornly confident. John's got you beat there.
And, the worst thing of the night... Your tender and touching story... of your very own bracelet. That, my friend, was embarrassing. When you said "I have a bracelet too," after McCain (for the 500th time) told the touching story about his bracelet, I outright laughed. It was hilarious. It was so obvious at that point that you had planned a point-counterpoint to every single one of McCain's strengths, as you should. But here's the deal, we never want to know that or notice it. It has to be smooth as though it is on the tip of your tongue. It was contrived and cringe-worthy. I mightily injured me as far as how I view you as a candidate.
I felt you were disrespectful. You never addressed John McCain as "Senator McCain" but you called him "John." Not only that, you referred to the President as "George Bush." You are a senator and a statesmen, buddy. He is your president. Show some respect, even if you don't feel it. It revealed a great arrogance to me.
I'm actually feeling a little riled up about Obama's bad stuff to report the good stuff. And I'm hungry. You all help me out. Seriously. Let me hear some stuff you liked about him. He did tell John "good job" at the end, which I thought was nice.