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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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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.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
I actually haven't decided if I agree with the viewpoint of either Obama or McCain on the economy. It's something I've been very much on the fence about.

I do agree with what you've said, though. McCain came off as a horrible communicator, and probably as such, made it difficult for me to agree with what he was saying even if the general sentiment was something I thought I agreed with.
izuko wrote:
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
It's really something the Republican party has to work on. But that will take time to work its way through the party. The fact is, after Bush, who was acutally right more often than not (but when he was wrong, he went for some real doozies (I'm looking at you, Ben Bernanke)), we've proven that we can't afford any more poor communicators.
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