Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain-Obama debate -- McCain overplays his hand

Debate 3 Observations...
-- Sen. McCain gave his best performance and actually won the first half hour of the debate.
-- Sen. Obama remained cool. A CNN commentator said Obama's performance reminded him of a boxer who was ahead on points in the 15th round. He didn't allow himself to take many risks, because he knows he's ahead. He went in low key and stayed Presidential.
-- Sen. McCain is not terribly convincing when he tries to go negative. My college roommate, a Pat Buchanan fan, is more convincing and cutting the way he criticizes Obama. Attack ads are a Bush strategy and reflect the Bush-Rove-Atwater way of doing things. McCain built a career fighting politics as usual. Unfortunately, he wedded himself to them during this campaign. He's a lousy actor when he tries to use them. I wish the McCain of eight years ago was running against Obama. He went negative and played stuff that resonated with the Fox News and talk radio crowd, but Obama's connections with Acorn and Ayers were adroitly deflected as non-issues.
-- Joe the Plumber fell flat. Sen. McCain tried to play that card and it didn't resonate with regular folks. It created a bit of a media stir, but there's not a lot to it. I'm not surprised by a plumber making $250K a year, because there's plenty of work there. However, someone making that much money is not going to generate a lot of sympathy. Obama is addressing health insurance, the economy, and the financial crisis as his issues. McCain tried to pull the Reaganesque approach to connect with folks by personalizing an issue to justify reducing taxes. However, reducing taxes is not necessarily the solution to our nation's financial problems.
-- Sen. McCain was way too callous when he dismissed the "health" of women as a factor in the abortion debate. He probably alienated a lot of independent women voters with his air quotes gesture. He's playing to his base, but that's not going to win him this election.
-- Bob Schieffer did a great job with the questions asked and threw in enough tough ones to keep me happy. He had the sense to ask about the growth of deficits under both candidates' plans. CNN posted the actual question that was asked to show when the candidates were drifting off topic.

That's all for now. My favorite candidate was Ron Paul, but it's a shame he's not running. He would have generated a real debate on the issues and the role of government and taxes.

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