His campaign has been stumbling since the economy imploded and the "Town Hall" format of Tuesday's debate (supposed to be a McCain strength) gave him the best opportunity to turn around or at least slow the decline of his campaign. While he did reasonably well with some of his foreign policy answers, he didn't do well at all with his answers on the economy and other domestic issues.
In short, the end result of the debate looks to be status quo (pending the results of the inevitable polls certain to be all the rage on the cable news channels on Wednesday).
A transcript of the debate from CNN here.
Where McCain bombed completely was his demeanor toward Obama (again!!).
From the transcript (emphasis mine) -
"By the way, my friends, I know you grow a little weary with this back-and-forth. It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney.
You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me. "
Whether it's his refusal during the first debate to acknowledge or even look at Obama or the using the disdainful "that one" to refer to Senator Obama during the second debate, McCain's open contempt for his opponent is becoming as much of a story as the rest of the debate.
I don't know if the whole "don't acknowledge Obama" schtick is something from McCain directly or he's just following some consultant's advice. Either way, though, he needs to show a little respect for Obama.
Candidates facing off for the same office don't have to like each other (and it's pretty clear that these two don't like each other), but they have to show each other a little courtesy and respect.
Let's be clear - it's ok to criticize your opponent's words, positions, and votes. "This is why my opponent is worse than me" is the flip side of the same campaign coin that "This is why I I'm the best candidate." It's a legitimate part of campaigning.
However, people in this country are sick and tired of the politics of derision, and right now, John McCain is a leading practitioner of it.
BTW - In the quoted section of the debate, John McCain talked about a bill that was supposedly sponsored Bush and Cheney.
Ummm....they may have *pushed* such a bill, but they couldn't have *sponsored* one under Congressional rules. Only a member of the House or Senate can do so. (Yes, I'm a geek. :)) )