Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate Thoughts

I let last night's debate sit fir a little while before commenting. While there wasn't a winner or loser in any dramatic fashion, it was a good night for Obama on a few fronts. Before getting into why it was a good night for Obama, a few thoughts on the debate overall:

  • First off, Jim Leher was a great moderator in that he steered the conversation to issues rather than gotcha moments. It was kept very substantive the whole time and most of the time you didn't even notice the moderator.
  • Obama clearly won the discussion at the beginning of the debate on fiscal concerns, also did very well in the Iraq/Afganistan discussion. McCain finished strong when the discussion moves to Pakistan and Iran.
  • The all (not very) important discussion on body language the advantage goes to Obama. McCain couldn't look at Obama the whole night, was constantly dismissive of his opponent, While not important or substantive, it may be an indication why independants and women seemed to give Obama higher marks on the debate.
  • This gem from John Dickerson on a Twitter update:
  • McCain naming all those Eastern European leaders—the Shenkos and Plenkos-- it was like he was reading Dr. Seuss.
So with some of that in mind, excluding external factors coming in, I give a slight but definate edge to Obama. Unfortunately for Senator McCain, there are external factors. He is getting his ass kicked in recent poling, his VP pick is incoherent and people are starting to notice, the Wall Street crisis, and his crazed decision to "suspend" his campaign are factors that are pulling the election into landslide territory. This was also a debate in which McCain was supposed to have the homecourt advantage. It was about foregin policy. With all of that working against him, a break even performance or a slight loss isn't going to help. He needed a big win and didn't get one.

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