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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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grazie wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
entj wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
Hi! Independent voter here (lean liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal responsibility and gun rights).

McCain did better than I expected he might, and I think both sides had good moments, but I thought Obama was the clear winner. He seemed strong and, well, presidential. I thought McCain was trying to channel Reagan's kindly grandfatherly demeanor (he even cited him several times), but that the practiced facade fell away a few times when he got testy, particularly in the "Miss Congeniality" segment.

While I do think Obama can do even better, he impressed me last night, and scored major points with me with his remarks about US infrastructure, not having finished the job in Afghanistan, and overall assertive-but-not-hostile body language. I would have slightly preferred to see him address McCain in kind by his title, given that it was a formal debate, but I think he was trying to project some warmth with the more casual address of a peer.
heathus_saves wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
i really honestly don't know is anybody "won" but mccain did a lot better than he usually does in debates. obama was knowledgable too and held his own.

there was however a total lack of warmth from both candidates and not enough interaction. it felt like each were directing all their comments at jim, the mod.

i hate it when people say mccain can speak, they need to take into account his age. for a politician, he can speak well enough. if he makes a mistake, its not the defining moment of his career.
nightsinger wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I was really irritated by McCain's near-constant condescension. It seemed to me that he felt there were more important places to be than showing the American people what he thinks about the issues, and after Dubya's reign of terror, that contempt for the public is the last thing I want in a president.

That said, they both did make a number of good points in the course of the debate. But since McCain's "strong suit" was supposed to be foreign policy, I really don't see how a "tie" benefits him.
hazelwindows wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
so true.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Using the sole criterion of "how will it play to the undecided, uninformed voter," which is all the debates are good for, I'll give a 60/40 edge to Obama.

McCain did not bring his A game, while Obama was at the top of his game.

McCain's biggest problem was lost opportunities. He failed to make a case for supply-side economics. He didn't point out that the Bush economy was strong until 2006, and that it weathered the Clinton Recession and 9/11 due to the Bush tax cuts. In that, he missed his biggest chance to show Obama's point is really rather empty. I can't really pin-point the reason for that, but I imagine that it comes down to either that he was preparing for a foreign policy debate, and wasn't as prepared on economics issues (while Obama's been harping on economic issues all along, so it was right up his alley), or if he just isn't a true believer in supply-side economics.

He got better when we went into foreign policy, but still missed a lot of good chances to push the issues. He let Obama get away with a few whoppers. He did get under Obama's skin a few times, and start to shake him. That was good.

Obama kind of skewered himself on the bracelet issue. At least check the name BEFORE you bring it up.

Uninformed viewers aren't going to catch the inconsistancies of what Obama said, like his changing positions on Pakistan, or the fact that he's drawing a line between sitting down without conditions and sitting down without preparations. Nobody said he wasn't going to prepare. That's not what McCain was criticizing him on. So he set himself up a strawman.

I wonder if anyone is going to ask Obama how he's going to cut taxes on 95% of Americans, when 30% don't pay taxes currently. And McCain needs to point out that raising corporate taxes will, de-facto, raise taxes on all classes of people, since corporations don't pay taxes - they collect them from their customers and pass them along to the government. Fred Thompson ran that line the best.

Unfortunately, there's nothing McCain can do about his biggest weakness - his voice.
isara wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
petty, I know but....

Obama kind of skewered himself on the bracelet issue. At least check the name BEFORE you bring it up.

McCain had an even worse name moment... Amidiniajadajad?

I actually thought that McCain skewered himself with the bracelet thing, precisely because, on the campaign trail, he constantly refers to it and uses it as a political crutch. Obama doesn't overuse his bracelet story and, I think, surprised McCain as a result.
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yellowvalley wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
One thing that caught my attention was that Obama did an OK job, could have been better, at pointing out that McCain was reactionary in things. That McCain has, quite often in the past, waited until a crisis happens before he can "see it coming" (i.e. he doesn't see it coming: fundamentals of economy are strong, Afghanistan), and that Obama has voted (Iraq) or warned against (economy, predator lending and Afghanistan) things that are giving us trouble now years ago.

Overall, I give Obama a slight edge. Considering what McCain needed to do though, it turns into a landslide victory for Obama.
sahmahnthah wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
And the winner is......
Sarah Palin. Because she remained at home and watched from her television like most of us. The debate was a non-event. Neither shored up their platforms significantly enough to sway undecided voters one way or another. They both played it too safe. To the point of raising questions in my mind about their aptitude or ability to deal with the economic corrections ensuing when one of them takes office. The U.S. doesn't need a president who's focus is political eloquence. That's what the debate became. An arena to show off political eloquence, rather than one which empowered U.S. citizens to vote with confidence. That said I should say that the upcoming debate between Biden and Palin will create more of a stir because "lipstick" has a way of doing that. LOL! Don't believe me. Case in point. Just watch Robert Palmer's "Simply Irrisistible". LOL!
caitie wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
They both did better than I expected, and they both hit home their arguments, McCain's being that Obama doesn't have the experience to lead the nation, and Obama's being that he's the candidate if the future while McCain is the candidate of the past. But the McCain camp has already conceded that this election is about change, and Hillary Clinton already lost with the experience argument, so I think Obama has the advantage there. I also think Obama did exactly what he needed to do -- he held his own on foreign policy against McCain, and he looked presidential. Since the foreign policy debate is supposed to be his weakest, I think this is good news for him and his supporters.

But I say that Obama wins the debate (which was mostly a draw) because of McCain's weird body language. Not looking at Obama once, refusing to answer him or engage him directly -- I think that's what people will remember most about this unmemorable debate. I think years from now, we'll be talking about McCain refusing to look at Obama, just like people still talk about Al Gore sighing in the first Bush-Gore debate.

Edited at 2008-09-27 04:30 pm (UTC)
edbook wrote:
Sep. 28th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
I noticed the difference in body language too and especially after the debate ended, Obama reaching out his hand first to shake his opponents hand and looking right at him saying "Good Job John" while McCain looked down and away and mumbled something that I couldn't recognize.

It gave me the impression that McCain looked defeated.

allhatnocattle wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
I was frustrated to learn that both candidates support the $700billion bail-out. I had hoped Obama would have been more supportive of folks loosing their jobs.

I guess Obama's job last night was to appeal to a broader middle.

American politics is too right wing for it's own good. You need a third party. One that is on the left.
pennyann wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
I don't think anyone won the debate. I think it was a decent showing by both. It was expected that McCain would do better on Foreign Policy than Barak Obama, but I don't think he necessarily did. It was also expected that John McCain would stumble around when talking about the economy (which he has been quoted as admitting is not his strength), but I don't think that that was necessarily the case either. All in all, I think that while you could pick at things that either candidate said or stuttered over, it was pretty evenly plus and minus on both sides. The only real difference was (as has been pointed out) in their demeanor. John McCain did indeed come off as grouchy and combative, but then he always seems that way to me.

I think it is interesting that John McCain kept mentioning his bi-partisan efforts and reaching across the aisle, accusing Obama of being too far to the left to "reach that far", when it was more than obvious who the real bi-partisan was in that setting... and it was not John McCain. All of the agreement Barak Obama was able to find with John McCain on the issues speaks volumes of his ability to see things in a bi-partisan light. Obama would then go on to state where they differed, but he seemed to approach it by starting off with places he could agree. That is the nature of true bi-partisanship. Of course, the McCain campaign has already turned those sound bites of Obama saying he agrees with McCain into an attack ad.
grace_om wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Overall, while I couldn't see any new information coming across from either candidate, it did effectively display their contrasting styles and views.

McCain appeared much more together and alert than he has recently -- a striking contrast to his cadaverous performance at the GOP convention. I found this reassuring, because if he does get elected, I want him to live to complete his term!

I'm sure that viewers already inclined to agree with a snappy, belligerent, sound-bite approach to foreign relations were pleased. But McCain's most effective points also revealed his greatest weaknesses. His long experience and friendships with old-guard statesmen like Kissinger might seem reassuring, but also point to his advanced age and his intimate ties to past policies that haven't worked out so well. His contention that sitting down to talk with someone is tantamount to endorsing all their most extreme views and statements is ridiculous and dangerous. He did not convince me at all that he could participate to this country's advantage in delicate negotiations with other governments, or even within our own government.

Obama was right there on every point, and did not let McCain's aggression get the best of him. He showed himself to be unflappable, well informed, thoughtful, and able to find points of agreement in the midst of larger disagreements. That is someone I would trust to govern this country and to protect and further our interests when dealing with other countries.

So, to answer the question, like most others I don't think there was a clear winner on points. I'm inclined to give the edge to Obama, because he showed me what I was hoping to see. I am equally certain McCain's supporters were not disappointed.

betalibrae wrote:
Sep. 28th, 2008 04:36 am (UTC)
Not to mention Obama mentioned modern day needs like - Cleaner energy, better broad-bands, How to support the new energies efficiently...something an old money man like McCain is completely clueless about!
inafoxhole wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I think they both did a good job. McCain scored a few points, and he was expected to do well with foreign policy. His attitude was condescending, but I find him to be that way most of the time. Obama was perceived going in that this would be a weakness and he held his own quite well, so he proved what he came to prove. He came across as more measured and didn't have the factual problems that McCain seemed to suffer from. And I never had a problem with Obama's "coolness".

However, neither one of them knows how to debate. It's a shame we don't teach debate skills in this country. And I fear that a really good knock-down drag-out debate would not be appreciated.
whatisbiscuits wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
For me Obama won, for the simple reason that he emphasised his proposal to cut taxes for 95% of the US ordinary working population, whereas McCain proposes cutting tax from 35% to 25% for companies. By the way McCain has received significantly more in donations from the oil and gas industries. Who do you think he sees as more important, ordinary working people or the big companies who pay his wages and allowed him to buy his (10) houses?

I live in the UK so cannot vote. This is presumably why it baffles me that two of McCain's campaign issues are 'human dignity and life' (taking the choice of abortion away from women) and the right of US citizens to bear arms. Are these issues really as important as health care, education and earning a decent wage?
credendovides wrote:
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Technically Obama slightly misrepresented his tax cuts. He would cut taxes for 95% of families, not of individuals. For individuals it's closer to 80%. I'm assuming that is ignoring the rather large chunk of people who don't pay taxes at all (Due to not meeting the minimum income requirements) since that is more than 20% of the population.

But McCain suffered from much worse factual errors than Obama did.
victor_szasz wrote:
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
Hands down, Obama. McCain was all over the place and making outright lies to things he's said in the past. I actually suspect he may've been a tad tipsy.
betalibrae wrote:
Sep. 28th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
Debate Oh- Ate
I bring you...
DEBATE Oh-Ate!!!

The Topic:

Economics!!! That's right ladies and gentlemen, economics with a side of 'How do you pay for a $700,000,000,000 side of fries?!'. What a great debate...oops did I say debate? More like what a great ass kicking McCain got over and over and over and over again.
I'm sorry the mud-slinging does not work so well when your opponent is in front of you John! It might have helped if you looked at his eyes and not the shit stains on your shoes.
Seriously I think John "The Turtle-Lizard King" McCain shit himself! His opponent a... as John would say..."colored" man, spanked his white aristocratic ass from here to Pakistan! All that was left was a McShame with a stupid smile that never left his face, rosy cheeks and I think I saw a little drool.
Obama, I'm not one of those bandwagon riding sons of bitches...but my friend you were sexy out there tonight! Hmmm...I never thought seeing an old, white, lizardy man getting spanked liked that would make me so hot! But Obama...seeing a Republican scared like that will give me wet dreams for months and hopefully eight years. The debate went something like this (If you are on another planet or are a Mexican in a laundromat and did not watch)...Issue (Economics)...McCain - "I was in the war" or some other old story from old people. Issue...Obama - "I want less taxes for the middle classes, universal healthcare and to rebuild the infrastructure.". Issue (Bailout)...McCain - " I was in the war, a prisoner!" (Which means he surrendered) and "Reagan is fucking awesome!". Issue...Obama - "Does anyone else think this guy looks like a mix between a turtle and a lizard?". Issue (War)...McCain - "Even though I was a little bitch and surrendered I still love sending other decent men to suffer what I went through!". Issue...Obama - "Damn! I think this cracker lost his fuckin' reptilian mind! Yo! We all know this mothafuckas retarded...do what thou wilt!". That was the way I saw it at least! This is Vavava, signing off. COMMENT BITCHES I'M LONELY!!!! JK ;)...but I would love to hear some feedback.

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