Last night's Presidential debate failed to set the world on fire. But I think we saw a shift that may be significant. The "Town Hall" format was supposed to suit John McCain, who has always prided himself on being "close to people". However, Barack Obama performed well, and on most assessments (including mine) won the debate, albeit on points rather than with a knock-out punch.
McCain had to do well in this debate to reverse his sinking numbers. He failed. There is no doubt that the campaign will now get dirtier as the Republicans attempt to make up the seven or eight point gap in the last few weeks before the poll that counts.
I felt that the most telling moment in the debate was when McCain, who was looking away from Obama, jerked his thumb at his opponent and referred to him as "that one". That single moment of disdain and disrespect may come back to haunt McCain. He clearly does not like Obama, and there isn't much love in the other direction either. However, when, in any debate, one side starts to show such an attitude to the other, it's a sign that they are in serious trouble. It may well have been the tipping point.