ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS (CNN) - On the surface, at least, the civility at Thursday's vice presidential debate started the moment Joe Biden and Sarah Palin warmly greeted each other on the stage at the outset.
The cordiality lingered - you could see it in the apparently friendly conversations between the candidates, and between the candidates' families, after the debate was over.
Policy differences aside, here in St. Louis, Missouri, all feelings were good feelings, if you believed what you were seeing.
And the question becomes, as the presidential campaign moves on today:
Does this signal an end to the escalating campaign nastiness the country has observed in recent weeks? Will the attack ads stop, will the ruthless thrusts by the opposing organizations come to an end?
You already know the answer. If past is prologue, the meanest days on the path to the presidency lie ahead.