Saturday, September 27, 2008

And The First Debate Goes To...

...apparently Obama according to most of the analysis, which is surprising to me because I didn't see it as such a clear cut win. Here's my analysis for whatever it's worth:


With all the hoopla going on about the financial crisis we find ourselves in, a lot of the pre-debate talk was toned down. Then McCain pulled his one day "suspension" crap and the media ate it up, all the while not reporting that McCain probably didn't know what the word "suspension" means. The fact was that his ads were still running, he made three news appearances (getting lambasted by David Letterman in the process), attended the Clinton Global Initiative (drawing praise from Bill at the worst possible time for Democrats), made an attempt to postpone the debate and then decided to go to "Warshington" to throw a wrench in the bailout works.

Due to all the self-imposed scheduling wackiness, some including me, thought that McCain would be unprepared for this first debate, that he was an old white man running away from a black man asking for change, and that Barack Obama would wipe the floor with the doddering, old fool.


What we didn't think about, and by "we" I mean the logical thinking Democrats and liberals that live in the world of reality, was that McCain is a crafty, old codger who's been in debate situations before and knows that the truth doesn't matter, it's all about perception. He was on the attack and aggressive for most of the 90 minute debate and as we all know Obama's demeanor doesn't lend itself to angry outbursts, he seemed to be on the defensive most of the evening.

Ultimately, if you're looking at content alone and reading the transcript, Barack Obama did win the first debate. If you're looking at style points, I would have given the slight edge to McCain because of his aggressiveness but for the fact that while Obama came across as presidential and cool, calm and collected, McCain looked uncomfortable while listening to Obama's answers, seemed exasperated when Obama would zing him with the truth (did McCain say "horseshit" when Obama smacked him on the Spain gaffe?) and not once during the entire evening did McCain even look at Obama. He made no attempt at eye contact. That put me off because it was disrespectful of his opponent and came off as condescending, almost as if he seemed irritated that they had to go through this exercise. One thing's for sure, McCain is thin skinned (not just because he's old) and I have a feeling he's going to let his emotions get the better of him at the most inopportune time very soon. Maybe the next debate?

Round two will happen in two weeks. Next we get to see Joe Biden and Sarah Palin go at it on Thursday. That is must see TV.

Best Lines of the Night:

Obama: "... presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is."

McCain: "Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left."

Worst Lines of the Night:

McCain: "I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a 'K,' a 'G,' and a 'B.'"

Obama: Anytime he said "John McCain's absolutely right."

What did you think?

UPDATE (4:30pm): Here's's fact checking on last night's debate.

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