Friday, September 26, 2008

More Notes While Watching

The following was me live-blogging the first Obama-McCain debate. Nothing really moved me until about forty minutes in (see previous post).

9:45 -- good answer by Obama on the surge. McCain is sounding like a complete slime now. Trying to cloak himself in "the troops" and similar pieties. Piling up lies. Nonsense about "900 days." Stale talking point if there ever was one. Wonder if his strategy is to make Obama lose his cool.

9:50 -- the question of The Surge would be better debated in a more structured format

9:55 -- seriously, how many times is McCain going to namecheck Petraeus?

9:56 -- ooh, Obama just zinged McCain for talking irresponsibly. Brought up "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

10:00 -- someone blogged earlier today that the problem with this debate format is that it would turn into dueling stump speeches. Spot on. I could go the whole rest of my life without hearing a politician tell some heart-string-yanker about someone he met on the campaign trail. Points to Obama for making his 15 seconds while McCain's was endless.

10:03 -- McCain keeps talking about traveling to war zones. Wish Obama would remind people that when he hit that Baghdad marketplace to show how "safe" it was, he did it while wearing body armor, surrounded by troops, and escorted by Apache helicopters. Just another stunt, in other words.

10:05 -- McCain says "straight talk" again. Everyone in the nation does a shot.

10:08 -- good bit by Obama on importance of talking to other (non-friendly) countries. McCain harping on "no preconditions." Good answer by Obama, not trying to run away from what he said earlier. Even better -- states how Bush, and McCain advisors, are now saying the same things he's been saying all along.

10:13 -- oooh. Obama zings McCain on Spain! McCain ignores it. Probably his best play. Wish they were showing more reactions shots.

10:14 -- I hope McCain saying "Ronald Reagan" is not part of anyone's drinking game, else half the country just passed out from alcohol poisoning.

10:15 -- if you came into this debate disliking McCain, you probably dislike him more. Man, I hate the way he keeps twisting things and giving that creepy little smile.

10:22 -- McCain sounds good on Russia, once he got past his stupid little dig about Obama's initial cautious statement when Russia invaded Georgia. Obama in his rebuttal transitions relations with Russia to general energy considerations. Seemed clumsy at start, but okay. McCain bit, anyway.

10:31 -- On question of "safer since 9/11?", do see a nice distinction -- Obama thinks we're mistaken to focus on Iraq, McCain insists its "the central issue" (and earlier called it "the central front").

10:34 -- I don't get why McCain keeps emphasizing that he's been around for so long and been in on "every important decision." Experience, yeah, but with all the recent mistakes that weigh most heavily on people's minds, not to mention how many people think the US is on the wrong path, it seems counterproductive for him.

10:37 -- McCain plays the POW card. Nation drinks.

Okay, it's over. My immediate sense is that this debate won't change anybody's mind. No obvious blunders, no killing zingers. Hard to say what undecided voters will take away from this. McCain didn't sound as bad as he has in the past few days. My opinion of him is that he's unable to talk any specifics on economic matters except for earmarks, but maybe that resonates with people. He did fine on foreign policy tonight -- lots of specific names and places. It comes down to whether voters think staying the course is the way to go on a lot of this, and whether they prefer McCain's more bellicose instinct to foreign relations.

I thought Obama was fine. I worried coming into this, because in some of the debates during the primaries, he had trouble being succinct and to the point. That was not a problem at all tonight. Obviously, I'm a big supporter, so there's not much point in me going on and on about how well he did tonight. I will say that I liked that he kept bringing specific foreign and domestic policy questions back to a more comprehensive point of view. To me, this says that he's not going to be the kind of president that runs around overreacting to every little problem, the way McCain always seems to do.


John Evo said...

I thought Obama was fine.

And I thought McCain was fine. And this equates (I hope) to a net loss for McCain.

Look, Mr. National Security Experience had HIS night - and it's a break even? (At least from my view). That's a win for Obama, no?

Let's see if the weirdos are less than impressed with McCain's horrible body language. Of course I think this is non-sense, but I'm not one of the fence-sitters who make up their minds over things like that. Obama stood straight, smiled broadly at times, looked McCain in the eye. McCain can't lay claim to any of that.

I guess we'll know when we see the Sunday polls, huh?

bjkeefe said...

That part about tonight having to be McCain's night, so a draw is a loss for him is a good way of looking at it, John. I'd add this -- Obama probably came into this with most uninformed voters having lower expectations, so that helps some, too.

Via Twin, here's a nice bit of data to look at. Don't know about their sampling, but boy, if the independents in their group reflect the nation as a whole, tonight is a major win for Obama.

P.S. Hey - look at you! New avatar!

John Evo said...

It's still Homo erectus! I haven't changed THAT in about 1.6 million years. Back when McCain was a prisoner of war.

Did you throw your hands up in the air when he mentioned it there at the end of the debate? Talk about the whole nation taking a shot!

John Evo said...

Yeah, those numbers look really good. Especially "who won the debate". I'll be watching closing Gallup and Rass the next two days - particularly Sunday.

bjkeefe said...

It's still Homo erectus! I haven't changed THAT in about 1.6 million years. Back when McCain was a prisoner of war.

I could have sworn your avatar was a different skull before today. But if you insist, I'll write it off as my own senior moment.

Did you throw your hands up in the air when he mentioned it there at the end of the debate? Talk about the whole nation taking a shot!

LOL! Actually, that he only said it once was something I was thankful for. Slimy of him to use it as the closing line, but at this point, I'm convinced that he hurts himself as much as he helps himself every time he says "POW." He's just played that card too often.

Actually, given that he used it as the closing line, it probably did nothing for him among the uninformed voters.