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9.27.2008


Everyone has their opinions about last night's debate. Many pundits say McCain won and the CBS polls and FOX NEWS & CNN focus groups say that Obama won. A lot of people are calling it a draw, which equates to a win for Obama because this was the debate topic that should have been clear for McCain.

The McCain camp has to be happy. Many words have been used to describes McCain's behavior in the last week, but the one used most often is erratic and I think somewhat trifling. However, when he showed up, he was focused, sounded very intelligent, took advantage of his impressive experience and communicated well. He stood in there during the economic argument, more than many thought he could, and he won on the points for the foreign policy issue. One problem. That isn't what he needed to do. McCain had to win this clearly. This is the one debate that he had the clear advantage going into. He needed to make Obama look as if he didn't know what the hell he was talking about. While I think he showed strong dominance, he didn't make Obama look like a fool. Obama stayed in there and even when McCain got under his skin a little bit, he maintained his focus and he shouldn't been able to do that if McCain was doing his job properly. The Obama campaign is already making a commercial noting that McCain didn't mention the middle class even once.

The Obama camp has to be happy. Foreign policy is Obama's weak point (hence the whole Biden choice) in general, but especially compared to McCain. Yet, he held his own. He was able connect McCain to Bush and not look like the liberal appeaser the RNC hoped he would. Their objective was to make him look presidential and he did. For all those people out there that don't know him and have only seen these "celebrity" clips and ads, I think they saw someone that could sit in the oval office, even if they don't agree with his policies. Obama's negative is that he didn't take advantage of McCain's weaknesses to the extent that would be memorable. He certainly spoke of the "person" more than McCain, but he didn't offer personal stories. Obama clearly inspires, but Bill Clinton connected. He has to work better on that.

A lot of people are making a lot of McCain's refusal to look at Obama and I have to say it bothered me. He even refused to look at him when they were shaking hands before and after the debate. Look at this picture. McCain looked angry that he even had to acknowledge Obama was there. Obama looked at him, held his hand out to him, pointed to him and said his name repeatedly. He was trying to communicate and even when the interviewer specifically asked McCain to respond directly to Obama, he didn't do it. To me, it made him look like an irritated old man. Obama's behavior on the other hand looked presidential. Tom Shales said it showed he had a more "presidential temperament." He was trying to engage McCain and McCain would not give. This reminded me of Bush.

Here's what people who actually know what they're talking about, instead of cutting out for the Cubs game every now and then, had to say.
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