The first question to both of them was, essentially: Why is your economic plan better than his? Senator Obama clearly - I felt - explained his plan to cut taxes for the lower 95% of people and raise them a bit for the remaining large businesses and whatnot that could afford to pay such taxes, citing examples of Exxon Mobile and other oil companies which intake multi-billion dollar annual profits already. Yet, in your mention of the "Joe" that Obama spoke with, you assure Joe that Obama's plan would create fines and levy more taxes on him as a small business owner...immediately after Obama had already stated that small businesses were "the drivers of this economy" and would likely receive a decrease in taxes and be exempt from these fines. "Decrease" and "increase" are antonyms. (That means the words' meanings are opposites.) Please don't confuse the two; thank you. Twice later you state that Obama wants to increase the average family's taxes again. Oy!
Secondly, Obama (near the middle of the debate) specifically explained his affiliations with Ayers and ACORN and why they should not be held against him as a presedential candidate. Yet, a short time later, you go on to claim that all the details about Obama's relationship with Ayers and ACORN need to be known. RIght after he just told you those details. Are you not even listening to what Obama is saying? If you can't even pay proper attention to what one person is saying for 90 minutes, then how are we supposed to trust you to pay attention to what the 200-plus million voters1 of our Public are saying for a full four years?
Then, you went on to describe Senator Joe Biden's negative attributes; and said, "He voted against it [...] and obviously we had to take Sadam Hussein out of Kuwait [...]"; and, when mentioning Senator Biden's experience on foreign policy and past decisions he has made thereto, you stated that "He's [Biden has] been wrong on a great many of them." Two claims. No supporting evidence: be it demographics, statistics, quotes from other reputable experts, etc. We want to know what makes the Kuwait situation so obvious. We want to know some examples of Biden's wrong foreign policy decisions. Nothing? Seriously, Mr. McCain, 101-level classes in college teach that aspect of critical thinking.
Soon thereafter, the two candidates were asked why their running mates would be the better president, should something unforeseen happen to either of these senators as president. Mr. McCain, when you were expounding on Governor Sarah Palin's good traits, you mentioned that she "resigned when she saw corruption." How is this a good thing? Running away from a problem is not the proper way to fix it.
On the the other hand, Obama was very positive in his explanation. He did not belittle Sarah Palin; he merely explained why Biden was superior: more qualified, better understands the average family, etc. - specific and precise support for his claim. I feel that this helps show not just the aptitude for clear content in his talking, but the fact that he is skilled in keeping a debate or discussion peaceful when its topics are otherwise quite heated. This moderating ability is exactly a trait that a good leader requires - especially one who is and will undoubtedly play a top role in the governments of and interaction between nations around the world.
Both candidates were also asked about health care. McCain gave an overview for his plan to reform much of what is already in place and give everyone a $5,000 tax break which they should then further use for health costs. Only a few minutes later, he said, "The average cost of a health plan is about $5,800." So, Mr. McCain, you effectively want us to pay eight hundred dollars, all out-of-pocket, for our own health care. Essentially, encouraging people to accrue debt. As it stands, many can barely afford to pay that amount for rent or housing; how can they be expected to pay twice that for the added benefit of their health care plan?
Before concluding the debate, both candidates were also asked about their education policies.
Lastly, Mr. McCain, you mentioned that, instead of making college more affordable, we should increase the availability and repayment flexibility for student loans. Again, you're recommending that instead of fixing a problem, we workaround it by accruing debt.
While I don't feel that Obama's plan is entirely right (I'm in agreement with James Cape on this one), I do feel that he has much of it in the right direction: especially the aspects of it that encourage higher pay for better-performing teachers and requiring oft recertifications, with additional and updated training for those who fail these.
Senator McCain, you truly scare me. Quite a lot. Increasing debt does not fix an economy. Running away from problems does not solve them. Soldiers as-is do not make good teachers. Aside from that, your age means that, purely from a statistical perspective2, we can expect you to die within the next decade and even more likely, to die within the next four years - what would be your term of office should you become president. Not only have you shown yourself to be unfit for presidency in this debate, but Governor Palin has done worse against herself in the vice-presidential debates and if she took office...well, I think (quite frankly ) we'd be in an even more horrid position than we were at the lowest of George W. Bush's presidency.
As a final comment, Senator McCain's appearance and attitude versus Senator Obama reminded me quite heavily of the Nixon-Kennedy debates, wherein Nixon looked very unfocused and distant. This paralleled McCain last night with his squirming in the chair, constant interruptions for often-contemptuous remarks, and rarely ever looking directly at the camera (and through it, we, the American Public). He seemed to be in is own little world, as the saying goes.
This contrasted well with Obama's Kennedy-like behavior: he presented himself as very confident and very prepared, with well-thought out plans of action and many statistical, anecdotal, and other reasons for why he believes his views to be correct. He held our eye-contact through his talking. When watching it, I just felt like Obama was almost talking to me directly; while on the other hand, McCain seemed to be talking only to the audience of that university hall.
If McCain wins this election, the American People will lose, and quite drastically. As Forrest Gump would say: "That's all I have to say about that."
 This is according to the population pyramid from the 2000 US Census, assuming a significant majority of those in the "20-24" group and above are eligible and registered to vote. \
 The CIA World Factbook 2008 gave 2007 estimates of about 78.1 years for life expectancy at birth, with males having it reduced slightly to about 75.3 years. The United Nations also put out a list average for the 2005-2010 expected period, with numbers in approximate agreement: 78.2 years at birth, reduced to 75.6 years for males.