Saturday, September 27, 2008

The debate: Morning after analysis

By Libby Spencer

I liveblogged the debate and put up my initial analysis and roundups at the Detroit News last night. Of course, I was spinning hard for Obama but here's my unspun morning after thoughts. Obama did a good job of drawing a pretty bright line between himself and McCain on the issues. I would have liked him to challenge McCain harder on the maverick reformer meme. I thought Obama missed a lot of opportunities to do so.

The best moment was when Obama brought up his actual voting record and McCain almost boiled over. I think if he had pressed harder, we would have seen a McCain meltdown. I'm hoping he's just saving that strategy for the last debate so it will be fresh on the voters' minds when they get to the ballot box.

I've always hated that Obama is adopting the "surge worked" and "Iran is teh big scary evil" themes but I don't really see how he can avoid that and still win over the low info voters. We can only hope that reflects political expedience and not so much his mindset. Not that it's a dealbreaker in comparison with bomb, bomb, bomb McCain.

Biased as I am, I tried to be a neutral observer and I thought McCain came off as mean, cranky, evasive and lost in the past. I don't know how much his inability to make eye contact is going to hurt him. I suspect not much with the low info voters but it was widely criticized in the high info crowd. Obama came off as cool, collected, knowledgeable and ready to lead into the future.

As for who "won" I'm not sure it makes any difference since there weren't any dramatic moments for the punderati to obsess over for the next few weeks. In the immediate response they were pretty much calling it for McCain with the exception of KO and I assume Rachel, although I never caught her response. Tweety was kind of the fence. Initially he was saying McCain but then I saw him later and he was leaning more towards Obama. I read this morning the media are now calling it for Obama. I suspect that's in reponse to the voter polling which overwhelming was going to him.

For myself, I'd say it was Obama's night. He didn't hit it out of the ballpark but McCain didn't score either and this was supposed to be his night to prove his superior foreign policy creds. Obama was a little too wonky but he demonstrated his creds well enough and goes into the next debate on the economy with the advantage. It will be interesting to see if he gets a bump in the election polls from it.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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  • If by "Rachel" you mean Maddow, she never called a specific winner, but her critique basically was that Obama missed opportunities, some very significant, and perhaps shouldn't have directly agreed with McCain as much as he did, but that McCain was cranky, condescending, misstated facts, was a poor sport, and seemed like he wasn't enjoying himself at all. Just to fill you in ;-)

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 10:05 PM  

  • Thanks Lindabeth. That's exactly who I meant and I'm glad to get the update. I agree with her completely.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 9:59 AM  

  • Hi there - I'm reading your blog for the first time after googling lots to catch up on Palin's trainwreck with Couric (I don't watch much tv). Lots of good reading so far.

    I would say that the debate was rather even, but I would give an edge to Obama for not coming off as a scolding, cranky know-it-all. He definitely could have pressed harder, but I think he wanted to play it safe, review it and learn for the next 2 debates.

    Of course, I'm drawing my own conclusions, but I've gotten the impression that he tends to think things through. Sure, he's a bit green but of the 2 candidates, he's the only one I'm confident can learn, grow & improve. The world is not static and kicking it old school isn't the way forward. And there's also the preview of both candidates' judgements based on their choice of running mate.

    btw, I've never heard the term low info voters before, but it articulates who both candidates are making efforts to appeal to very well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:28 PM  

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