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 The rivals for the US presidency clashed bitterly in their first presidential debate last night as Barack Obama sought to tie John McCain to the failed policies of the Bush administration at home and abroad.

Mr Obama, seen by voters as weaker on foreign affairs, was judged to have held his own in the debate, while Mr McCain did not manage to expose any major weaknesses in his opponent. But his contempt for his rival was on display throughout, as he could not bring himself to look his opponent directly in the eye during the debate. Read more.

Simple question: Who do you think won the debate?

Edit: The Independent called it a draw


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emmyjag wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 08:16 am (UTC)
I'm an Obama supporter, but I think it was pretty much a tie. Obama acquitted himself quite well in an area that McCain professed to be a subject matter expert in.

There wasn't anything spectacular, or any real defining moment in the first debate for either campaign. The people who love McCain are still going to vote for him, and the Obama supporters are quite proud of their man. The independents and undecided are still on the fence.

I am still amused that Politico's website had an ad up from the McCain campain proclaiming him the winner of the debate at 10am- 11 hours before the debate was scheduled to start, and well before he announced he would indeed attend
wegg wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 09:09 am (UTC)
Not clear
adamwolf wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm impressed with what I've seen of Obama. He seems a very European politician to me, but maybe that's going to be his big problem.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Indeed. The U.S. and Europe have grown very far apart in that respect. Obama's brand of cosmopolitanism doesn't go over well in Middle America. Part of that is good salesmanship on the part of the Republicans (oddly enough, once the party of the elite), and partly due to his own words (clinging to guns, God, and animosity to outsiders).

Personally, I'm with middle America. It's fine to have European leaders. That's what Europe is for. If y'all want him for president, go for it. If y'all want him for Secretary General of the U.N., that's fine with me. But I still believe that America is a unique place - one of the only left in the world that still believes in the sanctity of the individual. I'd like to keep it this way.
valknott wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)
No one "won" the debate.

McCain appealed to the gut, Obama appealed to the intellect.

McCain came off as a smug, condescending, angry old man whose tactic of trying to paint Obama as naive and inexperienced failed miserably.

Obama periodically slipped off into detail wonkiness that sunk his predecessors like Kerry and Gore.

Personally, I learned nothing from this debate and it did not sway me one inch from the voting decision I made months ago.
bostonmargy wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I think I'd like some wonkiness right now. We're in a huge mess and someone with a brain in their head really needs to be in charge.
(no subject) - valknott - Sep. 27th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Sep. 27th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC) Expand
starlyn_monster wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
Re: trivial pursuit
I just wanted to say that I love your comment.
Re: trivial pursuit - samilia - Sep. 27th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - valknott - Sep. 27th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - nightsinger - Sep. 27th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - hazelwindows - Sep. 27th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - valknott - Sep. 28th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - bostonmargy - Sep. 27th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: trivial pursuit - wu_chan - Sep. 29th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC) Expand
tiki2tavi wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 11:00 am (UTC)
I have just watched the debates on CNN (it was early in the morning for us, so replay was more a realistic option). Certainly, as a foreigner, I can miss something, but, in my opinion, Obama looked calmer, more balanced and sure of himself in most issues. A constant referral of McKein to Iraq war and his long-past military experience was a bit irritating.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
IIRC, it WAS supposed to be the foreign policy debate.

The fact is, McCain went back to the Iraq war because it's significant. It's a point where Obama is weak, and one where he made some significant gaffes, early on.

It shouldn't be annoying if McCain hammers home his strong points - that's what I would expect him to do.
(no subject) - tiki2tavi - Sep. 27th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) Expand
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(no subject) - allhatnocattle - Sep. 27th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC) Expand
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lurkitty wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)
McCain's stubborn refusal to look at Obama seemed petulant and childish, not strong. There was extreme arrogance in the way he kept repeating points as if Obama was a child and accusing him of being naive. It showed a lack of depth and a definite lack of respect. If this is the way McCain treats an adversary, how is he going to negotiate with foreign leaders? Is he going to be this arrogant and disrespectful talking to Akhmadenijad? That kind of attitude will surely make things worse.

It has been demonstrated time and time again by G. W. Bush that arrogance and stubbornness is not strength. We are no longer in a position in the world with our overextended armed forces and failing economy to stubbornly dictate what we want of our enemies. We need leadership that is willing to talk, to negotiate and to come up with creative solutions instead of petulantly digging in our heels and declaring ourselves the know-it-alls who will fix the world.

Why would any country want to emulate our model if it is not working? It is insane to think four more years of the same will get us out of this mess. McCain thinks Obama is naive because McCain can't even imagine another way of doing things. What I saw last night was a clear demonstration of how each man would handle an opponent, and Obama showed he can remain calm, collected and respectful under pressure. Most importantly, I observed Obama actively listening to McCain while McCain showed no signs of hearing or attempting to understand what Obama was saying. Listening is a valuable trait in a leader.
saffirebleu wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
I agree with every word of this comment; well-said!
(no subject) - gwendraith - Sep. 27th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) Expand
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dangerous_47 wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
Neither. Tie-ish.
saffirebleu wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
One's idea of the winner may vary according to what one is looking for in a president.

As for the political commentators who felt Obama should have been more combative, or shouldn't have said I agree with Senator McCain on that point---I can only say they do not clearly understand that many Americans are looking for a new kind of administration which will bring about REAL CHANGE, and having an articulate, cerebral president who is interested in finding common ground with those of opposing views is something to be desired.
silver_chipmunk wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
Technical reasons made it impossible for me to actually watch the debate, but the vibe I'm picking up afterwards seems to me to show that it was close to a tie, with a slight edge to Obama.
newdadin09 wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Simple answer: McCain.
adamwolf wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Could you explain why? So far I've only heard the 'it was a tie' and 'Obama was better' side of the spectrum.
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galbinus_caeli wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Obama looked and sounded like someone we want to have in charge. McCain danced around the podium like he had to pee and spit out tag lines that he has used before. Obama actually addressed his opponent and his statements, discrediting much of what McCain said.

McCain seems more and more like a midlist politician trying to put a cherry on his career. Obama more and more seems to be a rising star.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
I only listened to it, I didn't watch it. (thank you NPR!)

I came away from it feeling like both men did pretty well. They both had faulting points. I felt that McCain refused to ever agree with Obama, and that Obama came off as a little bit too intellectual for a lot of people who are probably going to feel turned off by it. I did feel it was good that Obama discredited claims McCain made, though a few kind of fell flat. (Such as his position on earmarking)

Ultimately I felt like McCain was trying to say to us all "The economy is YOUR problem, not mine, and it's up to you, the great masses to fix it because I have faith in you"... which is more than a little offensive to the average viewer, I think.. and also, "War is the most important thing! And we must keep going for victory!".. which fell very flat to me. I'm sure opinions vary from city to city on what's a priority in this election, but I haven't met somebody in person who is currently considering Iraq to be a high priority. (Republican or Democrat.)

And then I felt like Obama had to spend a lot of his time defending himself. He was a little awkward on the economy - "I'm going to do all of these things! Which cost a lot of money! And we need them very badly! I know we'll have to cut budgets somewhere else, but we'll figure those out when we get there". (Though McCain's suggestion of eliminating all earmarking as a solution was equally awkward)

In short, which may be a little too late, I felt like it was a good opportunity to hear the differences between them directly. It can be hard to compare them when they're in separate settings, but when they're in the same room (And must realise any insult they say is said to the person standing next to them!) I think it has a little bit of a different vibe. Didn't change my opinion of who to vote for, but I do think it helped me realise that the choice I was intending on making is the choice I still want to make.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
I came away with a different view of McCain's economic points than you did, but that's because I share a fundamental point of view with McCain. Neither of us think the government is competent to fix the economy. Every time they try, they screw things up even more. Ie, take a look at the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley Act (as I've said before, Republicans get the blame for that one), which created the Mark-to-Market accounting mess that is, to a good extent, responsible for the current crisis.

Or take a look at Barney Frank's well-intentioned desire to increase home ownership among lower-income Americans and minorities. The effect he's looking for would be good for America. It's hard to be poor when you own a home, even if your income isn't stellar. But the unintended consequences, filtered through the outright corruption at the GSEs, and then through corporate America trying to figure out a way to make it work, ended up being the second leg of this failure (the third being outright greed on the part of a few corporate jakckasses - not many, but considering the banking industry is the circulatory system for our economy, it doesn't take many to spread the poison).

The problem is, while McCain and I agree on these things, he utterly failed to actually speak to them. He went straight to the conclusion. In this way, he shares Bush's biggest flaw - he's a poor communicator.
(no subject) - tyskkvinna - Sep. 27th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - izuko - Sep. 27th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC) Expand
ferrell wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
I can't really say that I saw anyone "win" the debate yesterday. I saw two men relying heavily on memorized, scripted responses. I saw several petty jabs from a smug old man. I saw some overcomplicated responses that I doubt many people could make sense of. What I didn't see was anything new, or any real passion from either candidate. I hope in the next debate something a bit more human emerges, because anyone who has paid even slight attention already knows where each candidate stands on the issues. They need to prove that they actually have emotional attachment to some of the issues, and that they aren't just reciting their party's stance; I think both candidates fell short of this last night.

What happened to that guy who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention? I'd love to see him in the next debate.
bostonmargy wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
I would have to give the nod to Obama, who seemed to have a better grasp of things. Or, at least he gave me the impression that he knew what was going on and could address issues competently.
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