Thursday, October 16, 2008
The 3rd, and Final, Debate Reactions
I have to say, I'm glad this election is coming to an end, it seems like I've been knee deep in Obama/McCain news forever now and it will be good to finally have an outcome. I can say that especially because, Real Clear Politics shows Obama ahead nationally from anywhere between 6 and 14 percentage points. He also has slight-to-moderate advantages in every single swing state. Obviously 18 days is a long time and anything can happen in that time frame, but even the staunchest McCain supporters would admit that it's a real uphill climb for him. Which brings us into why last night was so important for the McCain campaign; it was his last chance to make his case, nationally, why he should be president. McCain came out firing from the get-go last night and went at Obama on everything people expected him to, Bill Ayers, the economy, ACORN, etc. McCain was more passionate than he had been in every previous debate, but he still failed to unnerve the ever-cool Barack Obama, who merely smiled away McCain's attacks. You could tell toward the end of the debate John McCain became frustrated that he was unable to bait Obama into irritability. Give McCain credit though, for the line of the night, saying to Obama that he is "not George Bush", and had Obama wanted to run against Bush, he should have done so "four years ago". Obama counter-punched though telling McCain that, he would have to excuse him if he sometimes confused him with Bush, because they are so lock-step when it comes to their economic policies. I am sure many democrats were a bit disappointed, initially, when Obama failed to deliver a knockout blow to McCain, especially given several opportunities, including a chance to blast Sarah Palin. Obama, though, has set his mind on running out the clock and preserving his lead, for which I can't blame him. He is up by so much in the polls, it would be foolish of him to do anything that could potentially alienate voters. A Fox News, of all places, focus group scored the debate in favor of Obama, as did every other major news networks focus group. So, the Obama campaign and message seems to continue to resonate with undecided voters across the board. It's hard to say who "won" the debate, but here if you look at it from the perspective of who did more to help or hurt their campaign, you have to give the edge to Obama because he is winning so handily and McCain did nothing to fundamentally change that. So, despite McCain's relatively strong outing, Obama won the debate, despite being slightly underwhelming, simply by having a "solid" outing and delivering cool, calculated, responses.