So, running up to tonight's debate I saw and heard a ton of speculation about how the candidates would act. Would McCain attack? Would Obama strike back? Would we be talking about the Keating Five or William Ayers? Would Sarah Palin show up with a walrus and a unicycle for comedic relief?
Well, now we know. The candidates acted... pretty much the exact same way they did in the first debate.
In fact, these answers were so rehearsed that if not for the town hall gimmick* you'd be forgiven for thinking the networks had screwed up and rerun that first debate. Hell, they repeated themselves constantly within this debate.
A couple moments stood out of course, most notably Obama's awesome "Bomb Iran" slam. There was also McCain's stunning proposal to go around buying bad mortgages. It's like he was saying, "Hey, you loved the bailout? There's more where that came from!" This could really be the last straw for fiscal conservatives. One minute McCain's complaining that Obama wants government to do too much, the next he's proposing that it be the personal savior of every subprime mortgage holder? What?
But other than that, if this debate changed your mind at all, congratulations: You have a career ahead of you as a focus group participant.
* Side bar, can we stop pretending this town hall thing is a way of connecting with "normal voters"? As ever, the questions were so vetted and conventional that Brokaw might as well have written them himself.