Friday, September 26, 2008

First Presidential Debate (Oxford, Mississippi)

Hi everybody! Woo! Tonight was a political junkie's dream. Tons of wonky goodness to be had. I realize that at this point I'm pretty biased when it comes to the candidates, but I still have the ability to have some objectivity and it was pretty clear to me that Obama won this debate hands down. Actually, even a poorer performance from Obama might have been considered a win because tonight was supposed to be McCain's debate. The conventional wisdom has always been that his big strength is foreign policy, though I've actually never bought into that whole line. In any regards, debate reactions are now pouring in from all over and the initial snapshot is that Obama took the prize. Whether that narrative sticks through the weekend remains to be seen. Anyway, I had planned to give you my thoughts in full fleshed out form with, like, actually paragraphs and stuff, but I am tired. So bullet points it is! Enjoy:
  • Kudos to Ole Miss, Jim Lehrer, and everyone else involved in the execution of this debate. It was excellent. There were no idiotic questions (flag pins, anyone?), no frustrated moderator cutting off nuanced explanations, and no gimmicks. The audience was politely silent and the candidates were allowed to actually, well, debate. Perfect.
  • McCain was way too hung up on earmarks, while Obama talked about kitchen table issues. Yes, earmark spending is important, but I think most people view it as something more abstract and not directly related to their lives. Big blunder there. It's been reported that McCain didn't even say the words "middle class" once.
  • The creepy smiling! My God, the creepy smiling.
  • Excepting some annoyed nodding, Obama remained cool and focused throughout, while McCain was continually condescending and would not even look in Obama's direction, much less reciprocate his eye contact.
  • Obama talked in specifics, sometimes even answering a question with verbal bullet points. McCain dealt in generalities throughout.
  • I was a bit disappointed in how Obama talked about the surge. He did not mention the other numerous reasons for the decrease in violence. It was unclear if the omission was purposeful or if he was slightly knocked off his game.
  • Obama bringing up McCain's "bomb Iran" diddy got a laugh from me.
  • Though it was hilarious when Obama gave McCain a little smack down by saying "I have a bracelet too," my heart stop beating for a second because Obama paused in such a way that I thought he forgot the name of the deceased soldier. Luckily, it was just his speaking style. Oh, that would have been bad.
  • Man, McCain is a name-dropping fool!
  • It was great to see Obama noting that Ahmadinejad isn't actually the most powerful person in Iran. McCain's laugh in response to the statement was bizarre and a little frightening. Was he not aware of the fact?
  • Ha! McCain got in a POW reference at the very end. Well played, sir.
  • Switching to the post-debate coverage now with The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT)
  • If this is 360, why is the Wolfbot all up in Anderson Cooper's airtime? Blitzer has to be dragged off at night, doesn't he?
  • Analysts galore! Jeffrey Toobin, John King, Christiane Amanpour, Michael Ware, Gloria Borger, Campbell Brown, David Gergen, and Anderson Cooper. Great table. (Sorry if I left someone out.)
  • Aw, Anderson sounded and looked a little sick, though the latter might have been due to bad makeup. The Gerg gave his analysis in such a whisper that I'm wondering if he's sick too. Stock up on the Vitamin C, boys! We're in the home stretch of this thing. No one gets sick! (And if neither one of you actually are sick, er, nevermind!)
  • The fact-check on Obama regarding speaking with our enemies leaders seemed a little nitpicky, but whatever. And I actually don't remember them fact-checking anything McCain said, though I might have missed it.
  • Michael Ware and Christiane Amanpour were criminally underused. They got themselves all prettied-up for that? C'mon, you don't just let awesomeness sit there and say nothing.
  • Anderson responding, "Don't hold your breath on that one," after the Wolfbot noted they had invited Sarah Palin on the show was priceless.
  • The real time dialing thing CNN had on their screen during the debate was kinda cool to watch, but was it really only 32 people? That's pointless.
  • Some awesomeness to end the post:


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

It appeared to me also, that Obama carried the debate. Jim Lehrer was perfect. McCain didn't come across too well. He sneered and didn't look at Obama, weird. Obama kept calling him John but McCain would not call him by his first name. Considering that Alaska is the biggest earmark recipient, it was strange to me McCain kept harping on earmarks. McCain got it in there that he was a POW. I am looking forward to the VP debate. Did you see Bush's nonassuring statement that lasted all of a minute Friday morning? Anne D.

6:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from