Last night's debate was hardly the game-changer that John McCain so desperately needs and that I discussed in this space earlier. His performance improved over the first debate but not enough to woo the considerable number of supporters from Barack Obama's camp that he would need to turn around his meltdown in the polls.
From where I sit, there are only two possible game-changing scenarios that could help McCain retake the support he needs to win the election less than four weeks from now. One would be the failure of young voters to turn out, coupled with white voters lying to pollsters (telling them they will vote for Obama but, when they get into the polling booth, voting for McCain). The other would be a huge international terrorist event or near event to divert attention from America's economic woes. But as each day passes and investors get increasingly spooked, the less likely it becomes that Americans will be diverted from the economy, stupid (to quote the famous Clinton campaign saying).
Of course, it's not over until it is over. And game-changers do happen at the last minute. But this ping-pong match of a presidential race seems every day to be morphing more and more into a fait accompli.