Before the two men had left the stage, the talking heads were already declaring it a victory for Cheney. I think they’re delusional. Edwards may have faltered at a couple of points but Cheney radiated malignant evil throughout. And it’s about time somebody stood up on a national stage and pointed out things like this:

While he was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false information on their company, just like Enron and Ken Lay.

They did business with Libya and Iran, two sworn enemies of the United States.

They’re now under investigation for having bribed foreign officials during that period of time.

Not only that, they’ve gotten a $7.5 billion no-bid contract in Iraq, and instead of part of their money being withheld, which is the way it’s normally done, because they’re under investigation, they’ve continued to get their money.

All Cheney could do in response is bluster about it being a “smokescreen” and direct viewers to — which, as numerous readers have pointed out, is actually George Soros’s site. (Cheney presumably meant You gotta love that anyone who clicked on the site at Cheney’s direction would have been greeted with the headline, “President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests, and undermining American values.”

…ah, here’s the problem: I was watching MSNBC. From Salon:

So what debate was the crew at MSNBC watching Tuesday night?

Following the vice-presidential faceoff, which most observers declared a draw, giving Cheney points for articulating an Iraq strategy in a way President Bush failed to do last week, and Edwards credit for holding his own against the much more experienced veep, the MSNBC team of pundits, led by “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, immediately declared the debate a knockout for Cheney.

The Cheney group hug began before Edwards had even exited the debate stage in Cleveland, with NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell declaring, “Dick Cheney did awfully well in putting John Edwards in his place.” MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who didn’t flinch in naming Sen. John Kerry the debate winner last week, declared, “There’s no doubt about it, Edwards got obliterated by Dick Cheney.” (Perhaps he was trying to appease his right-wing fans who, he later remarked, flayed him alive for giving the debate to Kerry last week.) Newsweek’s managing editor Jon Meachem chimed in that Edwards seemed like “Kerry-lite,” while host Matthews skewered Edwards in a strangely personal way, reminiscent of the way Matthews hounded President Bill Clinton throughout the impeachment process…

Yet nowhere else on the television landscape — not even on Fox News — was Cheney crowned the winner. Most pundits saw the debate as an obvious draw…

Update: apparently wasn’t Soros’s site at all — some undetermined mischief-maker redirected the traffic. Via Josh.