Friday, September 26, 2008


What you Gawkin' At?

I'm live-blogging the debate at Gawker.

UPDATE (10:50): Generally, I liked this debate. It had some good back and forth. Moderator Jim Lehrer just let them run. The debate kinda played AGAINST type. McCain was much stronger than expected on the economy and spending. He landed several haymakers on Obama's earmarks and on the costs of Obama's proposals. On the other hand, Obama came across as very knowledgeable on foreign policy. He went toe-to-toe with McCain over Iraq and its connection to Afghanistan. After five years in Iraq, more Americans may be willing to accept Obama's analysis than McCain's -- despite the success of the surge. Obama's best line may have been, "John, you seem to think the war began in 2007."

Given the last week, McCain, in particular came across as well-prepped. He was smart to start off with the nod toward Teddy Kennedy; he started off a little on the low-energy side, but he got much better as the evening went on. Obama seemed more passionate and aggressive (not too much) than he has in past debates.

Obama was more deferential to McCain than the reverse ("John is right..."). McCain was good in stressing his experience, however, he often used the phrase (or something similar) of the "many, many years" he has voted or worked on various issues. That, unfortunately, tends to bring up the age issue, which he doesn't need.

McCain was very good in listing the various differences he has had with George W. Bush. But, Obama came across as both "normal" (not "exotic") and well-versed in the issues. He didn't seem like a rookie, but thoughtful and poised.

I would score the debate a draw on command of issues, but a slight edge to Obama on atmospherics.

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