The debate seemed rather uneventful. I thought Edwards did better, but trying to negate my bias the only conclusion I can draw is that it was a tie.
However, I think that’s all pretty irrelevant. The best part, for me, was much more subtle. The exchange they had over gay marriage, where Edwards praised Cheney and his family, and Cheneys only “rebuttal” was “I’d just like to thank the Senator for his kind words about my family” was amazing. (I realize Cheney wants to stay away from that subject because he disagrees with Bush, but it doesn’t diminish their actions.) Politics has gone so crazy here that moments like that are rare but important. Modern-day politicians generally try not to show why they are better than an opponent but rather why their opponent is an enemy of the country. Both men, in that moment, showed that politics can still be civil and productive.
I hope all the other politicians watching the debate took that lesson.