7:38 Central Time: For some reason, I feel as though I'm not going to have anything to say. But I'm going to try to watch like a normal person, let it flow over me as if I didn't need to write about everything, and I'll see what happens. Please converse in the comments. And I'll do updates here if the spirit moves me.
7:43: Now, my son John is a fabulous live-blogger, and he's set up to go.
7:50: In the practice debates, Obama had John Kerry pretending to be Mitt Romney, and Romney had Rob Portman pretending to be Barack Obama. I've got to think Romney had the better practice partner. Why would Kerry be any good at that?
8:05: The candidates come out and shake hands. Meade: "Romney's taller." Me: "Romney has a bigger head."
8:06: Obama appropriately makes a statement about his wife. It's their 20th anniversary.
8:08: Romney says: "I'm sure this is the most romantic place you can imagine: here with me."
8:10: In the opening speeches, Romney had a great line about Obama thinking "trickle-down government" would work. "I'll restore the vitality that gets America working again." Meade says Romney won the opening statements: "Obama talked about himself and his job. Romney talked about us and our jobs."
8:13: Obama is talking up tax cuts for the rich!
8:23: "Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything," says Obama.
8:26: Romney's going on about lowering taxes, and Obama looks irritated.
8:29: Jim Lehrer is getting the vapors. He seems very old, weak, and small. Romney seems to have a plan to dominate him.
8:41: Obama has a plan to flash his winning smile, but he just flashed it when Romney brought up Solyndra and said "You pick the losers."
8:43: Lehrer only interrupts Romney (it seems to me). "Let's go," he mutters gruffly.
8:53: How long is this debate? Is this 2 hours? Is anyone still watching?
8:55: Lehrer interrupts Obama. He's struggling to get some control. He seems desperate.
9:16: They're not really attacking each other. Just rolling out policies, pretty wonkily, and distinguishing theirs from the other guy's.
9:17: Do they differ on "how they view the role of the federal government?" Lehrer asks with dismaying generality.
9:19: Obama invokes Lincoln. Lincoln thought the government should do some things, and Obama tries to be like Lincoln.
9:20: Romney loves great schools and great teachers. But the question is what's the role of the federal government. "We're all children of the same God." We have the "right to pursue our own dreams" as "free people."
9:36: Obama's closing statement sounds like platitudes. I'm surprised he has nothing vivid to say. Romney goes second.
9:39: Lots of hanging out on stage... together. Could it be that they like each other?
10:29: Everyone seems to be saying that Obama lost by a lot. I blame John Kerry. I'll bet he was a terrible practice partner.