I missed the first half hour of the debate. Watched the last hour and a half, although I'll admit I was texting Spike for the last half hour or so, and may not have been entirely listening.
So here are my random impressions. I'm sure you'll attribute bias, but you might be wrong in what my bias is. And before you opine that I'm voting based on silly impressions, keep in mind ... I've read (skimmed) all their platforms. So yes ... I wanted to see how they looked in a televised debate. Thus my impressions in that regard.
Layton - I had forgotten, and quickly remembered, how well he comes off in a debate. Combines passion with eloquence, shoots all sides down with aplomb, and speaks confidently right to Canadians. Even when I disagree with him ... I grudgingly admire some of his ideals. I think he's a hard worker, and a really good NDP leader.
Ignatieff - Gotta tell ya - he sounded whiny to me. I didn't like him. My impression was that he was all attack (which is to be expected, of course) and no "here's what the Liberals would do". I wanted to slap him a little, tell him to quit his bellyachin' and offer a solid solution or two of his own. I wanted to tell him to talk to the camera, talk to me, don't just natter at Harper. I wanted to agree or disagree with one of his ideas, but I didn't really hear any. That surprised me. I kind of expected him to own this debate, given yesterday's leaked-draft-document media frenzy. I expected I would be more impressed with him when I heard him unedited in a debate. I was not.
Harper - he surprised me too. I see other comments saying he's mechanical and scripted and creepy. For me ... well he seemed calm and unruffled and clear. Even when I disagreed with him (and I did, at times), I thought he held his own pretty well. It's always hardest on the one currently in power - everyone's attacking. I remember thinking the same thing when it was Paul Martin getting hammered by everyone. It's a tough spot. By the way, is it just me, or did Harper get new glasses? And don't you really want to know if his hair is just one solid entity?
Duceppe - I remember liking him in the last debate. Less so this time. Just didn't grab my attention in the same way, although my eyebrows went up when he asserted repeatedly that "multiculturalism doesn't fit for Quebec". Okely dokely then. Good to know. He seemed genuinely angry at Harper a few times, and I was OK with that. Genuine anger - fine. Nattery whining - bleah. I giggled at one point when he kept saying, "bill 101 bill 101 bill 101 bill 101 bill 101". I don't know what Bill 101 is. Probably don't care. But if you say it enough times, it starts to sound funny.
Oh, and by the way, I can't be certain, but I think - I THINK - they all claimed immigrant status in one way or another.
You know ... I wish Elizabeth May had been able to be there. Even if I don't agree with all her party's ideals, I remember her kicking some serious butt last time. Ah well - no seats, no speaks. I can live with that.
Did you watch the debate or am I the only nerd?