You can sum it up with the exchange on the issue of Russia - whose petro-dollar fuelled resurgence as a regional power is going to test the next president throughout his term of office.
Mr McCain was able to describe meeting Vladimir Putin, "looking into his eyes and seeing three letters, K, G and B" - a reference to the old Soviet intelligence agency for which Mr Putin once worked.
Does it sound corny to foreign ears, with a slight B-movie flavour to it? It probably does. I would say in America it plays much better as a tough-guy sound-bite, suggestive of a president who knows how to stand up to Moscow.
Mr Obama's answer on Russia rambled quite a bit and veered off into a dissertation on the need to develop alternative energy sources - not his first of the night.
You could see the logic - Russia is an oil exporter and one of America's biggest problems is dependence on imported oil.
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