I'm sure partisans on both sides will be spinning like mad to say their man won tonight's Presidential Debate. I covered the October 11, 1992 debate in St. Louis between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. I was fortunate enough to be seated in the audience and not the media area for that traditional-style debate so I've seen these at close range and on TV. One thing is certain given the record of such encounters over the years - knockout punches are well-remembered but rare.
Tonight both Barack Obama and John McCain landed some punches, but neither delivered a knockout blow. Given Obama's recent momentum courtesy of the economic crisis a draw would seem to favor him. But I've never thought these debates settled the issue of who would win as much as they reinforced already-held beliefs. Still, as some long-time political hacks have pointed out, you may not win because of debates but they sure can help you lose.
UPDATE: A snap-poll gives Obama a slight edge, but still points to a pretty even split among the 411 undecideds polled by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.