Some of my thoughts on the debate.
My gut feeling about this debate is that it didn't create separation for either guy. This debate was about McCain's perceived strength - foreign affairs.
I imagine McCain's camp wanted to see a decisive victory in this debate. McCain came off as louder and a stronger presence than Obama, who was his usual cerebral and gracious self. This was an area of strong contradiction and it will be interesting to see how it measures out in the next couple days.
I am glad to see that Obama didn't lose any ground in a debate that is McCain's strong suit. A couple significant areas of debate.
- Is it a greater area of misjudgement to get the surge incorrect or is it worse to get the war incorrect? There is often the statement that one can lose a battle but don't lose a war. America is in agreement that the war as a whole was poor judgement and I think less people worry about decisions relating to the surge. I think Obama wins this point.
- Should diplomacy occur without preconditions? In this section I think Obama was better with the nuances of the argument explaining that it is not a black and white issue. McCain seemed to get irritated and has that way of calling Obama naive and then laughing at him as if that proves his point. That is not presidential and rather a high school way of dismissing your opponent's argument in an overly defensive manner. Educated people will see that and appraciate the nuances of Obama's point. Unfortunately there are a lot of viewers that might not understand the nuances and fall more for the image of McCain laughing at Obama and think that is stronger. I think McCain might squeek away with that point.
- Economy. Obama did a good job of connecting McCain to the failed conservative policy of trickle down, little regulation and tax cut to the wealthy. Much of this is what has led to the current crisis. McCain could only argue earmarks and incorrectly present that Obama will tax all individuals earning $42,000 and less. People know that is not true and I think it shows the desperation of McCain and his obvious weakness on issues around the economy. We will get deeper into this issue on the last debate and I think Obama felt McCain out well tonight and will be laser sharp with is points in the last debate. He will seek to connect McCain closer to failed republican principles. Tonight was just a warm up for the economy for Obama.
One interesting dynamic of the debate which I think shows how differently these campaigns are being run was the way each candidate treated one another. Obama said about 8 times that he agreed with McCain while McCain never showed any graciousness towards Obama. This is an important setup for the next week or so.
Both candidates are trying to show bipartisanship to help solve the economic crisis. McCain did not present himself as a friendly guy that will work "across the aisle" as he always says he will. He was angry, dismissive and never once looked at Obama while talking. For independents which candidate do you come away from this debate thinking will be more bipartisan? McCain's camp seems to always be thinking about winning a battle today where Obama always seems to be looking down the line towards winning the war. While Obama could have risked some debate points with his congeniality, he will gain more with those who are tiring of angry politics and want what we have come to call "real change". This will win him the war.
some poll results coming out:
CBS poll of undecideds:
Just a couple quick polls. Obama seems to have done better than I thought. next week Palin. I just can't see the republicans putting her on a live debate stage??? Something will happen.