For the first time in these debates, McCain was on the offensive.

Was it a knockout punch? no.  Was it his best performance: by far.  Will it make a difference: probably not.

McCain was the aggressor on just about every issue: taxes, energy, healthcare, and of course character.  He finally brought up William Ayers and ACORN, and though Obama handled both issues well, it was still five minutes of Ayers and ACORN.

But the bottom line:  Obama didn’t make any big mistakes — and that was his primary goal.  McCain needled him on virtually every issue, and Obama didn’t take the bait.

In the end, it’s too little too late.  It may close the polls by a point or two, and perhaps make a few of the swing states a litlte more competitive … but barring some kind of major gaffe, Obama will be tough to beat.

Politics The winner: joe the plumber; the loser: sam the butcher; totally ignored:...