It was a small thing, but I counted six times that Obama said that McCain was "absolutely right" about a point he had made. No McCain sentences began with a similar acknowledgment of his opponent's wisdom, even though the two agreed on Iran, Russia and the U.S. financial crisis far more than they disagreed.
That suggests an imbalance in the deference quotient between the younger man and the veteran senator -- an impression reinforced by Obama's frequent glances in McCain's direction and McCain's studied indifference to his rival.
Whether viewers caught the verbal and body-language signs that Obama seemed to accept McCain as the alpha male on the stage in Mississippi, I do not know.
Sorry, Broder, but this was McCain desperately trying to be alpha male, and totally failing. Ignoring a would-be challenger only works as an alpha-male strategy if the challenger can genuinely be brushed off, like a grownup ignoring a kid who wants to be a part of the grownups' conversation. But as the Bush years have demonstrated, ignoring intelligent, able people is a sign of serious weakness, not strength.
Of course, Broder regarded Bush as an alpha male, long after Bush conclusively demonstrated he wasn't. Gotta wonder what color the sky is, in Broder's world.