The curtain has fallen on the final debate of the 2012 cycle, yet one question remains unanswered - will it change anything?
President Obama was on the attack, Mitt Romney modulated toward the center, and Bob Schieffer played it low-key in the moderator's seat in the Lynn University face-off in Boca Raton, Fla.
Below, POLITICO's seven takeaways:
There was far from a consensus view on who won the debate in the hours after it ended. Two instant polls gave Obama a clean edge over Romney, but the pundit class was, to quote Obama, all over the map.
Obama's aides were elated with his performance, which was aggressive from the get-go. They felt he slapped Romney down repeatedly and pushed back forcefully on some of the rhetorical flourishes the Republican has used against the president over the course of the year.
It's not a surprise that Obama was aggressive - he clearly believed, based on what he has seen in polls, that he needed to be. And he did win on points, scoring some cleaner arguments against Romney on pure policy grounds and getting out his pre-canned lines about the Republican as an archaic figure (1980 calling for its foreign policy to be returned, the era of horses and bayonets in the military being over).
But many Republicans - and some neutral commentators - believe Romney held his own in a difficult format. His aides think he passed the acceptability test and that Obama didn't disqualify him (and Republicans desperate for a win were sighing deeply that Romney didn't have any gaffes).
What's more, while Romney declined to actually distinguish a number of his own positions from Obama's, it was ultimately a tactical benefit for a candidate who has spent the general election hoping to disprove the idea that he's an extreme war-monger. After archly questioning Obama's toughness for months, Romney managed to position himself as a fan of guns and butter with an endorsement of foreign aid and even nation building. He seemed calm while Obama seemed hot.
It is not going to be clear until later in the week how the debate plays out with voters. Given that both sides think they won, it could be a wash that won't change the trajectory of the race.
Neither man thinks foreign policy will decide this race
Obama has enjoyed an edge on foreign policy for much of this campaign, with those numbers softening some in the wake of the Benghazi attacks that claimed four American diplomats' lives.
But Romney declined to make a strong case on that issue when Schieffer asked about it right out of the gate. A week after he whiffed on the topic in one of the ugliest exchanges of the Hofstra University debate, Romney basically let the issue lie.
And when there were opportunities, both men talked at length about domestic issues - teachers, Romney's tax plan, the federal auto bailout.
The areas where they both made some of their strongest cases were Iran and Israel, which puts the race roughly where it's been this entire year. Romney repeatedly pointed to policy toward Tehran as a case study in Obama weakness and a clearly-aggravated Obama (who strongly denied a New York Times report about one-on-one negotiation plans with Iran) pushed back hard that he is the one who can play a credible role in the region.
Obama repeatedly mentioned Israel, clearly mindful of the headline if he didn't. Romney did the same, though that wasn't a surprise (he also mentioned in passing his personal relationship with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu).
But both men see the clear need to walk the John F. Kennedy path in arguing that policy abroad relates to jobs at home. For Obama, that meant economic policy but also singling out his target group - women - as it relates to a decade of U.S. involvement in foreign wars. And for Romney, who is not naturally facile on foreign policy, this was safer terrain.
There was the Middle East and then all the rest
Libya. Syria. Israel. Egypt. With few exceptions - and some domestic policy deviations - the first hour of the debate was focused squarely on the Middle East.
It is the area where there is the most instability in terms of U.S. interests right now, and it's not a surprise that it was the major focus.
But sub-Saharan Africa came up only fleetingly (a couple of mentions of Mali by Romney). Europe got similarly scant attention, including issues related to the Eurozone and the flagging economies of Greece, Spain and other countries Romney routinely cites.
For those looking to actually learn more about broader U.S foreign policy, there wasn't much here for them.
The president of 9/11
There were few breakout moments for either candidate, but one of Obama's came when he told a story about a little girl whose father had died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and what her reaction was when she learned that Osama bin Laden was killed.
The president has poked fun at his own repeated references to bin Laden during the campaign.
But the attacks on U.S. soil are far from faded from memory, and the death of bin Laden still resonates for voters - which is, of course, why Obama has pointed to that action as his signature foreign policy achievement.
Republicans argue it isn't enough to eradicate questions about Obama's broad foreign policy doctrine (although Romney failed to make a strong case against the U.S. policies in the Mideast overall). But for voters, there is lingering resonance on the bin Laden issue.
Remember George W. Bush?
Obama certainly does - he tethered Romney to the former president, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, in terms of his policies.
But Bush has barely been a factor in the election, choosing to stay out of the spotlight as his approval ratings have remained low.
He was also barely a factor during the debate - Schieffer did not ask questions centered around Bush and his doctrine. And Romney skillfully again left the impression of distance from Bush-era policies without openly breaking with the 43rd president.
To that end, Bush retains his status as the Invisible Man heading into the final two weeks.
The sweats and the glares
It's happened in the other debates and happened again in this one - the split screen was neither man's friend.
In the case of Romney, who seemed nervous at the outset, he appeared flushed and had a sheen for much of the night, which was the subject of quite a bit of Twitter chatter (actor Albert Brooks, whose "Broadcast News" character suffered an epic case of sweating during a newscast, tweeted that he would look for royalties).
But Obama looked too hot and peevish at times, glaring at Romney across the table. It did not serve him well - he did much better in the second debate, when he grinned broadly as Romney grew agitated.
But sitting at a table didn't do much to mask the disdain the two have for one another.
Schieffer, the least controversial moderator
It's been a season of second-guessing the moderators, and Schieffer, who hosts CBS's "Face The Nation," got his share of criticism on Twitter throughout the debate. He wasn't sharpening his questions enough, he allowed the domestic policy discussion to roam free, he let the answers wander on other topics.
But - aside from his slip when he referred to "Obama's bin Laden" - he was perhaps the least controversial of the four moderators.
Working in his favor? There were two major sporting events going on at the same time as the debate, and it's unclear how many people actually watched.
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