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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

Comments

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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!
gwendraith wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with everything in lurkitty's comment.
hazelwindows wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
DITTO!
nightsinger wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with this comment.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
I don't agree with the issue of McCain looking at Obama. He was probably taught, as I was, to address the moderator. It's an old habit.

Unfortunately, it also cost him the ability to seriously hammer some points home, as far as body language goes. When Lloyd Bentsen dropped the "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" bomb on Dan Quayle (still one of my favorite moments in politics - even though I'm on the other side, I can still appreciate its brilliance), his body language was at least a thrid of the impact.

I don't see it as personal.

I do note, however, that McCain referred to Obama as "Senator Obama," while Obama always called McCain "John" (or, occasionally Jim or Tim). Probably more a generational thing than anything else.
isara wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
I don't think it was generational. Remember that McCain and Obama have worked on legislation before in the past, and senate colleagues do address each other by their first names.

Regardless of whether or not it was debate training, and all issues and substance aside, the net effect is that it made Obama look collegial and open to new ideas. McCain just looked cranky, a jerk, and unwilling to listen to differences of opinion (his constant smirking and tut-tutting didn't help in that respect either).
waichimak wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
I think it is possible that it could be generational;
(Though I can only speak for my own generation of 20-somethings)

Many of us (in my personal experience) went to school being asked to call out teachers by their first names if we felt 'comfortable' with it.
I also know many people, myself included, who refer to celebrities they hold respect or admiration for by their first names.

I think in this instance, it is a matter of Obama trying to display respect and familiarity for a professional rival; someone he plainly dislikes. But he knows it is best to maintain politeness and be the better man.
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