Presidential Debate I

 | September 26, 2008 8:54 PM

Watching tonight’s debate I felt frustrated with how Senator Barack Obama performed.  I thought he was on the defensive and that surprised me considering that you would think McCain would be.  As George Will said, it’s incredible considering McCain is associated with “an unpopular president, an unpopular war, and a failing economy.”

First Senator McCain starts off by talking about earmarks, how they are $18 billion, that Senator Obama had requested $900 million in earmarks or something like that, etc.  Senator Obama tried to defend himself but I would have preferred hearing was something like what George Will said, “$18 billion is a rounding error in the budget.”  Senator Obama should have repeatedly pointed out that Senator McCain was the one who said the economy was sound and if his best solution for the economy is to stop earmarks, then that’s pretty pathetic.

Senator McCain then talked about taxes, how he’d lower them for businesses while Obama would raise them.  He talked as though it’s just nonsensical to not be doing it, as though Obama was a fool.  Obama just talked about cutting taxes for those making less than $250,000.  Why didn’t he point out that President Bill Clinton raised taxes, was criticized for it, and the country enjoyed the largest economic expansion in its history?  George Bush lowered taxes and now we’re in the worst economic mess ever.  Obviously a lot more to it than that but what I wanted to see was Obama criticizing Senator McCain’s lack of economic expertise and criticizing him for holding onto the failed idea of lowering taxes for the rich.

Senator McCain then hammered Senator Obama on not admitting the surge was a success and the right thing to do.  Senator McCain kept bringing up a list of foreign policy decisions that he was right about.  Why didn’t Senator Obama hammer him more on the fact he agreed to a war whose grounds for entering it were completely false?  Why not hammer him on the fact that there was no clear mission?  Was it to get Hussein?  If so why are we still there?  Was it to install a democratic government?  If so we’re not doing a good job.  This one is probably harder to do because Senator Obama probably doesn’t want to send a possibly unpatriotic message that we’re losing.

Finally it was interesting to see that Senator McCain chose not to look at Senator Obama.  I am not sure if this looked arrogant but I thought it worked well, made Senator Obama appear like he was trying to gain Senator McCain’s favor by looking at him and saying “You’re right.”  Apparently the McCain campaign picked up on this.

Overall I was disappointed that Senator Obama was so defensive.  All the pundits I heard thought Senator Obama did well or even won and the general public seems divided so in the end it may be inconsequential.

I think Senator Obama needs to keep hammering Senator McCain on his weakness on economic policy.  And I wish he’d become pro-life.

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7 Responses to “Presidential Debate I”

eyeman wrote a comment on September 27, 2008

Overall, I thought both did well. Obama generally is a much better speaker than McCain and McCain is supposed to have an advantage over Obama in foreign policy. In the end, I called it a draw. McCain kind of scares me though with regards to the economy. And given Palin’s recent interviews and her comments on Russia and her thoughts on the bailout, I’m leaning more and more towards Barak (even tho I can’t vote, :-) ).

eyeman wrote a comment on September 27, 2008

Oh, and by the way, you seem to have pretty good thoughts as to what Barak should have said. Maybe you could run for office. If Arnold can be governor…

eyeman wrote a comment on September 27, 2008

One more comment. I missed your last sentence, but if there was a Democrat who was pro-life, I think I would be sold.

eyeman wrote a comment on September 27, 2008

Sorry, one last thing. The picture you have is a little weird. It looks like both of them are trying to make a point and are talking at the same time. Almost like they were photoshopped in.

tc wrote a comment on September 29, 2008

I was disappointed with the debate. John McCain used the oldest strategy in the public debate: make large inaccurate statements about your opponent. Let your opponent correct those statements, and look like you’re on the defensive. In the end, it made for a very uninformative debate.

I don’t see either delivering on… well… anything… especially any kind of tax cut after spending $1.4 trillion in debt this year. This more than 3X the national deficit for the 2008 national budget. The war, tax cuts, and now this bailout will be paid by debt. US has already spent $200B on Fanny and Freddy, $85B on AIG, now $700 Billion for wall street, oh and don’t for get the current national budget deficit close to nearly $400 Billion), as of 9/2008.
http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/09/news/economy/cbo_budget_update/index.htm?cnn=yes
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0527106320080909
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122156561931242905.html

I seriously considered McCain for president until the torture bill. I’m ashamed at the administration’s support of torture, and I admired McCain for fighting that stance… until… he dropped the bill:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/us/politics/17torture.html
The one person who has any personal, principled, and moral stance on torture, completely sold out. I don’t know how a person can turn their back on something so personal. At the RNC convention, the spoke about being a POW and being tortured defined him. How can that be if you sell out on a torture bill?

essny wrote a comment on September 30, 2008

there are Democrats who are pro-life. I believe one of PA’s senators is. Granted, he’s not a presidential candidate.

I was bored out of my mind watching that debate. I’d heard prior to the event that Obama wasn’t a great debater. It showed. He was so stilted. Performance-wise, it was disappointing. And knowing how stiff McCain can be, he was better than I’d expected. That’s what happens with low expectations.

I feel like I should watch the VP debate but other than from a purely entertainment standpoint, I don’t feel like what happens will make me change my mind. I’ll just wait until SNL rehashes it.

tc wrote a comment on October 1, 2008

McCain used the oldest trick in the debating book: Make inaccurate or mischaracterize statements about your opponent, and sucker him into correcting each point. That makes your opponent look defensive. After the debate, let the pundits make sweeping conclusions about the debat “Oh Obama seemed like he was on defensive for most of the night…etc etc”

I didn’t learn anything new.

I think McCain decided to come to the debate to change the media attention away from the Sarah Palin’s disastrous interview with Katie Couric.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/24/eveningnews/main4476173.shtml

Tomorrow’s VP debate will be a watcher for sure.

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