07 October 2008

Presidential Debate #2

While I know quite well that my posting on the Vice-Presidential debate was long and rather analytical (by which I mean that many of my work-weary friends didn't read all of it), I promise to keep my recap of the second Presidential debate to a shorter length! What McCain Did Well: - The town hall format is HIS format, and he was certainly natural speaking to the audience without the restrictions of a podium. - He articulated his positions effectively to the crowd and clarified his record nicely on a number of recently challenged points. - He spoke about the economic "crisis" without sounding like either a moldy history professor or a communications major in a senior-level accounting course. What Obama Did Well: - He kept pace with McCain in all of the debate questions. - He answered every question fully without jumping off on a lot of tangents. - He spoke about foreign policy well, and very nicely pointed out the differences in his plans for the Middle East and Russia versus McCain's plans. - He didn't attack McCain, but rather let his words on the issues point out stark contrasts between the two men. What McCain Did Poorly On: - He didn't want to stay in his seat when not speaking. - I personally disagree with his "lets have government buy up the mortgage debts and renegotiate them" plan, and I think it is far too neo-conservative a plan for this election cycle. We need a candidate to reign in government control over our property, not extend it. - He failed to answer questions on economic policy, tax policy, and climate change. Instead, he generically spoke about the problems involved in each, and pointed out his record of bipartisanship. I wasn't impressed. What Obama Did Poorly On: - Not abiding by the rules of the debate, which did not allow for rebuttals between candidates on questions. Major Gaffes: - McCain: Government control over mortgage debt - Obama: No major gaffes Best Line: "It's like nailin' Jello to the wall!" - John McCain Style: McCain: Looked like a Commander-in-Chief. Obama: Looked like a President well equipped to look objectively at a situation and utilize his resources to solve problems. Who Won the Debate? - Barack Obama Why? - While both candidates did very well and outperformed my expectations, because the bar was set so much lower for Obama, and because he was able to keep pace with McCain while clearly articulating himself and his positions, I believe he is the winner of this debate. His answers were clear, concise, directed to the question rather than the opposing candidate, and identifiable to the "mainstream American" viewer. ------------------------------------- I'm not really sure how the Republican ticket can recover from three debates so far in which the Democratic candidate has at least kept pace with the Republican candidate, in some areas outperforming the Republican candidate. McCain will need a very clear win in the third debate.

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