John McCain probably lost his last chance to become president Wednesday night, and it wasn’t even anything he said.

On the question of late-term abortions, Barack Obama said he had voted against a bill to ban them in the Illinois Senate because there was no exemption for the health of the mother.

In responding to the question, instead of just saying that oftentimes “the health of the mother” can be stretched to make almost anything apply, McCain responded sarcastically. He repeated “health of the mother,” but did it with a smirk on his face and by making little finger quotes in the air as if it were a ridiculous term.

My guess is he probably lost his last chance of getting many pro-choice women to vote for him.

He made a few other mistakes, not the least of which saying Sarah Palin had experience with the special needs of autistic children even though the child his running mate recently had is a child with Down’s Syndrome.

Not autism.

But mostly, McCain’s problems were with the split screen. Whenever Obama was speaking, McCain either had a tight little smile on his face, was trying to interrupt or even — Good Lord! — rolling his eyes.

Just about the only thing he didn’t do was the move that sunk George H.W. Bush in 1992 — look at his watch.

This is no time for overconfidence, but McCain’s only hope of winning his the proverbial Washington one. Unless Obama is caught with a live boy or a dead girl between now and Election Day, it’s all about the margin.

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