Any thoughts on last night's Obama-McCain debate?
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One debate down...post #1 of 59/27/08 at 10:16amThread Starterpost #2 of 59/27/08 at 11:54am
Hehe I've got lots of thoughts.
I thought both candidates did a pretty soild job. McCain was pretty weak on the economic section, but did a good job illustrating his experience advantage in the foreign policy section. Obama could have done better in the economics section, but clearly had the advantage over McCain anyway. Obama also did a really good job holding his own in the foreign policy section, showing a good understanding of all the different areas discussed (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Georgia, etc.). Obama was even stronger on Pakistan than McCain, and also on Afghanistan. He never really stumbled, which is very important in showing his readiness to be commander-in-chief.
In terms of behavior, I think Obama had the clear advantage. He stayed cool all night and directly addressed McCain several times. McCain never once even glanced at Obama, and came off as condescending by repeatedly saying "Obama doesn't understand..." when clearly Obama had a good grasp of the issues.
Obama also won the debate in terms of honesty. McCain had several inaccurate claims and some flat-out lies. The one that bugged me the most of course was his claim that he's always supported alternative energy. Obama correctly stated that McCain has consistently voted against renewable energy legislation, and McCain claimed this was untrue (lie), and even asked incredulously "who wouldn't support solar?". You wouldn't, McCain, that's who.
I was also surprised to learn after the debate that despite McCain's soliloquy about "I love the veterans, the vets know I'll take care of them, etc.", veterans groups have rated Obama far higher than McCain. For example, in 2006, Disabled American Veterans gave McCain a score of 20% and Obama 80%. You would think that as a veteran himself, McCain would have a great record on legislation supporting veterans, but that's simply not the case. I wish Obama had hammered him on this point, but it's tough to hammer a veteran on supporting veterans, I suppose.
Overall Obama missed a few opportunities like that, but was solid. McCain was also pretty solid, but had some honesty and personality flaws.
Polls show that debate viewers seem to think Obama won. A CNN poll gave Obama a 51-38% win. A CBS poll of undecided voters gave it to Obama 39-24%. Even a poll on Fox News' webiste gave the win to Obama 54-46%. Wow.
So personally as a strong Obama supporter, I'm thrilled about it. The most important fact is that McCain is behind in the polls and foreign policy is by far his strongest subject. He needed to kick Obama's butt tonight, and not only did he not kick his butt, most voters felt that Obama performed better.
I think McCain is in serious trouble, especially with the Palin/Biden debate less than a week away.
Edited by dana1981 - Sat, 27 Sep 2008 18:55:13 GMTpost #3 of 59/27/08 at 1:46pm
very glad that obama came out ahead of mccain in the polls. i agree with you that i wish obama had hammered mccain more on the plethora of misrepresentations...i was worried that the lack of a hard offense on obama's part might harm viewers' perceptions of his overall performance, but it looks like not -- at least not enough to undermine his "winning" the debate!post #4 of 59/27/08 at 2:11pm
Yeah one interesting point is that independent voters like candidates who can come to bipartisan agreements. McCain was aggressively attacking Obama all night, whereas Obama didn't attack nearly as much and many times pointed out where he and McCain agree. A lot of pundits at the time were saying that's not how you act in a debate, but to the independent and undecided voters, Obama's agreements with McCain were a sign that he can compromise and come to bipartisan agreements. Which may help explain why uncommitted voters thought Obama won.
One other point is that I think Obama had an easier challenge, like Bush did against Gore in the 2000 debates. In 2000, before the debates the perception was that Bush was a neanderthal and Gore would crush him. And according to analysts after their debate, Gore did crush him, but the public thought Bush did well. All he had to do to 'win' was to be coherent and speak relatively intelligently.
In this case, McCain has consistently portrayed Obama as unprepared to be president and too inexperienced. That was the main concern of voters about Obama, so all Obama really had to do was speak intelligently and show he's prepared to be president, which he certainly did. So while the pundits generally thought McCain had the slight edge (and as with Gore, I agree), the public perception was that Obama won because he showed he's not too inexperienced to lead.post #5 of 59/27/08 at 7:10pm
It scares me that McCain would freeze all non-military spending. That seems like such a bad policy for so many reasons.
Did anyone else notice that McCain didn't look at Obama at all? Obama looked at McCain when he was speaking.
I wish Obama had done more to counter McCain's arguments about earmarks. I think that would really hurt Obama with the fiscal 'shh, don't mention that we are borrowing billions of dollars to fund a war' conservatives.
I can't wait for the VP debates, if it was anything like Palin's CBS interview it should be an interesting show...
At least you all get to vote.
- Barack Obama For President In 2008
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