The first-ever debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the first-ever debate between a woman and a black man for their party's nomination: This is, no hyperbole, the pivotal debate of the campaign so far. Polls clearly show Obama moving up, and a decent or knockout debate performance could put him in pole position for Feb. 5, a day when Hillary Clinton badly needs to run up the score. (At least four of the next six primaries—Louisiana, Maryland, DC, Virginia—lean to Obama.) A huge Obama gaffe or dead-on Clinton attack probably stops his momentum and saves Clinton's poll leads.
Then again, these things are hard to read. Last week the spin was that John Edwards won and Obama revealed that Bill Clinton "got inside his head." By Saturday Clinton was dealt his biggest humiliation in 10 years, and by Wednesday Edwards was out of the race.
It starts at 8 p.m. on CNN, and there may or may not be blogging here, but consider this an open thread.