Tag Archives: presidential debate

Rabbit in Headlights

Yet again McCain couldn’t control his body language, which on the split screen allowed him to look both angry again, and completely out of touch. The relentless smiling looks as fake as it was during his speech to counter Obama’s the night he wrapped up the nomination, and just look at the CNN ticker. Game over. Again.

But hey the Guardian called it partially for McCain, so who do you think won last night?

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Obama Wins the General Election

Andrew Sullivan’s analysis on Obama’s strategy is again proven right. He absorbs hits he knows he can sustain, and then uses them to his own advantage later. McCain said Obama ‘didn’t understand’ time and again in the last debate. Watch Obama devastate him by using that meme as a weapon, and enjoy:

McCain Loses the General Election

Watch. It’s a sublime, career ending moment. Yet again he couldn’t keep his contempt for Obama under control:

That’s not a president anyone can believe in. Game over.

It Gets Nasty

With the Republicans now free-falling in their failing campaign, they’re resorting to lies (yes, more), racism (yes, more) and this:

Incitement to hatred? McCain’s actually resorting to that? It’s not as if it’s not something he’s indulged in before. It’s not just McCain doing it though – his pitbull’s doing it too, and with an even more alarming response:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

I’m being disingenuous you say? They didn’t tell their supporters to say those things you say? Well whilst McCain did look unsettled by the ‘terrorist’ response, he didn’t say anything against it, any more than Palin did to her more murderous minion. Fortunately Obama hasn’t stood for it, and released a video documentary, tying McCain, at a time of financial scandal and meltdown, to a previous financial meltdown:

Some commentators have been worried at Obama’s negative response, but I don’t agree – he’s learned the lessons Kerry ignored, which even he largely ignored in the primaries. When the GOP attack machine strikes, strike back harder and immediately. Like this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Checkmate Obama?

Bye Bye Sarah Palin

All the relevant statistical data is saying Barack Obama won the debate, whatever else the ‘experts’ and blogosphere say.

TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.

Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was “more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you”. This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase “middle class” (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.

Even a Fox News focus group of undecided voters plumped for Obama, citing the exact same reasons:

This suggests McCain’s in deep trouble. His decision to ‘suspend’ his campaign was a disaster, the growing financial crisis isn’t playing to his advantage in any way, his temper is flaring and Sarah Palin’s interviews with Katie Couric have been lambasted by friend and foe alike as worse than risible. Even conservative commentator Kathleen Parker said:

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

So the question has been that if McCain dumped the only selling point his campaign has ever had (or somehow pulled her back from the front line), how on earth could he win? What new stunt could his train wreck of a campaign try in order to regain media prominence? Today the hints began:

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

It’s about the last possible, underhanded, pointless charade of a stunt they can pull to try to take the country’s attention off the disaster that is the McCain/Palin ticket. Given that all their recent stunts have backfired, it makes you wonder how successful it really would be though. One of these videos is real, the other one is a fake. Can you tell which is which, and then tell me either way whether you think Sarah Palin is a remotely acceptable candidate for Vice President or potential President?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My feeling is that short of a national or world disaster between now and November 4th, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

Obama Wins First Debate

I must say I’m surprised. I watched most of it live, and what I saw was, despite the occasional very good answer, Obama largely reacting to vicious, patronising attack after vicious, patronising attack (peppered with lies) by McCain. That he fended them all off was one thing, but it did leave him looking painfully defensive in a debate where there were open goals going in. Rather what appears to have swung it was McCain’s attitude:

the TV pundits seem to be saying that maybe Obama’s concessions toward McCain worked for Obama! Chris Matthews thinks McCain erred in never once looking at – respectfully acknowledging the presence of – his opponent. Even Pat Buchanan said that on MSNBC. And the pundits seem to be scorning McCain’s aggression. That really isn’t the way the punditocracy usually works. Makes me wonder if they’re seeing some internal polling that the rest of us don’t know about.

The polling the rest of us do know about supports the view that Obama “won”. A CBS poll of 500 uncommitted voters who watched found this: 40% said Obama won, 38% said it was a draw, and 22% called McCain the winner. CNN had Obama winning 51-38% overall, winning on the economy 58-37%, and even winning on Iraq 52-47%.

This would fit with my penultimate liveblogging comment on Twitter last night – out of the two of them only Obama was behaving in a presidential manner. McCain was rude, aggressive, dismissive, and in an election dominated (even this week) by ‘change’ and the need for it, came across as a throwback almost to another era. Was this Nixon/Kennedy all over again? Even conservative Christians thought Obama won:

I think Obama has to be judged the winner. Nobody’s mind will be changed by this debate, but Obama seemed loose and confident and not intimidate by McCain. McCain seemed growly and tense, though more focused than usual. Because McCain didn’t beat Obama, and because Obama is ahead right now, Obama wins a narrow victory.

(via Andrew Sullivan)

New York Times? A win for Obama with reservations:

Mr. Obama was not particularly warm or amusing; at times he was stiff and almost pedantic. But all he had to do was look presidential, and that was not such a stretch. Mr. McCain had the harder task of persuading leery voters that he can lead the future because he is so much part of the past.

He tried to remind viewers of his greater experience and heroic combat career, while also casting himself as a maverick outsider ready to storm the barricades. Mr. McCain wanted to be the true revolutionary in the room, but his is the Reagan revolution, and for a lot of people right now, it doesn’t look like morning in America.

The BBC’s a little more cautious and hands it (barely) to McCain:

On foreign policy it all seemed a little clearer, although I should say Mr McCain won on points, without delivering anything remotely approaching a knockout blow.

The video and a transcript of the debate are here.