Michael Grunwald: I'll tell you one thing: joe the plumber is laying some pipe tonight. Tonight is definitely going to be sacred for mrs. Wurtzelfarfegnugen.
Tonight's winner: Joe the plumber. The candidates would kill for this kind of free advertising.
Also: Bob Schieffer. The best moderator. This was the best debate. You really got a good sense of where the candidates stood.
More seriously: McCain and Obama tied on points. Maybe McCain even won on points. Solid policy answers, tough policy attacks, solid command of the facts. The first and last thirty minutes were among McCain's best .
But debates aren't usually won on points.
They're won on valence and visuals.
Emotions and body language.
And tonight, we saw a McXplosion. Every single attack that Sen. McCain has ever wanted to make, he took the opportunity tonight to make. Around 30 minutes in, McCain seemed to surrender the debate to his frustrations, making it seem as if he just wanted the free television.
And Katharine Q. Seelye at the TheCaucus:
Looks like The Associated Press reached Joe the Plumber, er, Joe Wurzelbacher, who lives near Toledo, Ohio. He did not say who he was voting for, but did say he was surprised that he was called "Joe the Plumber" repeatedly during the debate.
"It’s pretty surreal, man, my name being mentioned in a presidential campaign," he is quoted as saying.