This from Art Rhodes:
During the initial third of the debate on the economy, my scorecard showed a draw. Obama was very well prepared and stuck to his short, succinct answers that his debate coaches had instructed him to give. While his responses were very general, he easily held his own with McCain. In the case of a draw, Obama would be the winner. I actually responded to an e-mail in the early part of the debate, saying it could be a long night for McCain.
Then we moved to foreign affairs. At this point, Senator Obama should have gone home. I just kept waiting for McCain to start calling every foreign leader in the world by their nicknames. McCain was clearly more comfortable – and Obama was left to try to hang on.
Obama even had some noticeable sighs, reminding us of Al Gore in the 2000 election.
I found it most interesting that Obama started off very strong and very comfortable – but ended very uncomfortable. McCain was just the opposite, starting off very shaky (even his voice was trembling) but ending very strong. This was a 12 round fight. Had it gone 15 rounds, McCain would have gotten a knock-out based upon his building momentum.
I have a few additional observations:
- People talk about the “experience factor,” and although I know the Republicans have used this, it hasn’t resonated with me personally, until the debate. Just watching these two drives McCain’s superior experience home.
- Obama came across as a college professor, lecturing McCain and everyone else. I still don’t think that this approach really has traction in a country like the U.S., but perhaps I’m wrong. (And, yes, I have taught in a university setting!)
- One thing that both the debate and the events of the campaign have proven: Obama is anally fixated in his dislike of surprises. I’m not one to subscribe to the media mantra that running a campaign is a proper preparation for the Presidency, but his inability to respond to McCain’s quick moves bodes ill in a crisis, especially with the unpredictable Arabs and Russians.
- McCain did one important thing in the economic portion: he pitched himself well to the independent voters as a bipartisan problem solver. He definitely has the bipartisanship edge over Obama. Although I know that right wing Republicans were scrambling for their barf bags at the thought, they’ll just have to get over it.