Interesting article on the debate, by Ambassador Richard Holebrooke -
... Obama usually began by laying out broad themes, often mentioning instances of agreement with McCain--frequently using phrases like "John is absolutely right"--before going on to stress their differences. This is unusual, and part of what makes Obama a unique leader; I do not recall any previous major party candidate in a debate volunteering so many instances of common ground with his opponent. McCain's response struck me as odd and even ungracious; he has often proclaimed he would work across the partisan divide, but he undermined his own claim by completely ignoring Obama and his comments. Instead, he attacked Obama repeatedly, using phrases such as "Senator Obama just doesn't understand. . ." at least ten times.....
McCain has prevailed in life not by seeking common ground (ironically,
the most notable exception was his historic voyages of forgiveness to
Vietnam). What has kept him energized (and alive) is his enormously
combative style, which he proudly calls "maverick," and his quick,
sometimes pre-emptive attacks on opponents...
Although Barack Obama articulates his positions in a calm, methodical, and understated way, he is clearly just as tough as McCain, or he would never have come this far in life, against unbelievable odds. But he thinks about how to solve problems in a manner much more conducive to successful governance than McCain. While he made clear he is ready to use military force if necessary, his life and career embodies the search for common ground between peoples of different backgrounds, different races, different points of view. During the debate he often emphasized the non-military aspects of American power--including diplomacy backed by American muscle, the restoration of respect for the nation, and the direct link between America's economic strength and its national security.....
Read the rest here.