Saturday, September 27, 2008

Presidential Debate #1

Despite John McCain's empty threats to not show up for the event, the first presidential debate happened last night and I have to say that I was fairly unimpressed. Both candidates handled themselves well but there were no memorable lines or "gotcha" moments to spice up the event. I do think that Obama won this one and the talking heads and bloggers for the most part seem to agree with me. He looked calm, cool and knowledgeable; in short, he seemed presidential. McCain seemed testy and irritable, and he could barely bring himself to look at Obama the entire evening (even during the handshake in the photo above) and his constant laughter made him look like a maniacal little troll.

The consensus seems to be that Obama won on the economy but to be honest neither man could name any substantive changes they would make to their economic plans in light of the recent corporate bailout business; both plans run a deficit but McCain's is larger because of his tax cuts. McCain made some attempts to trap Obama on foreign policy but I think he came up short. You may hear some noise about how Obama said Henry Kissinger (a McCain advisor) agreed with him on meeting with world leaders without preconditions, a statement that McCain flat out denied over and over again; so here it is:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says the United States should begin direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program. Kissinger, speaking Monday at George Washington University along with four other former U.S. State Department secretaries, said the next president should initiate high-level discussions with Iran "without conditions," ABC News reported.
So while I don't think this debate will sway anyone except for undecided voters (one of the dumbest voting blocks out there) I'd say that Obama passed the main test of any unproven candidate: he looked like a president when it counted, just like Kennedy and Reagan before him. Oh, and one final note: if you were watching the follow up spin coverage on the various networks you would have seen Joe Biden everywhere at once, lobbying for his man. And who was nowhere to be found? That's right: Sarah Palin. I know she's gunning for his job but the fact that she's as reclusive as Cheney before the election is just plain weird.

[Update: Just read this from Big Ed Schultz:

Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin.

The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as “disastrous.” One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, “What are we going to do?” The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is “clueless.”

Does anyone still believe that the McCain campaign vetted this woman? The only thing keeping this whole farce from being completely hilarious is the possibility that they might win. One shudders at the thought.]

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