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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Prez Debate: "That One" Won

Obama on taxes at Nashville debate

You know who I mean. The guy cranky John McCain referred to dismissively as "that one" in last night's presidential "town hall meeting" in Nashville -- Barack Obama, the winner last night, and our next president. Already, an "I'm voting for That One" tshirt is available at Cafe Press. And we have a new take on Obama's logo:


As with the first debate, the focus groups and snap polls, along with many pundits, declared Obama the winner. Democracy Corps, which organized a focus group of undecided voters in Nevada to watch last night's debate, reported in part:

"Unlike the first debate, when Democracy Corps research showed half the voters remaining undecided and the two candidates splitting the other half, the vote following the second debate showed a decisive shift toward Senator Obama. This debate was a clear victory for Obama who made major gains not just in the vote but also on personal favorability and key attributes like 'has what it takes to be President,' which ultimately drove undecided voters into his column."

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb
One of my favorite exchanges, as reported by the AP:

...Obama seemed to get the better of him in a discussion of whether the United States should violate Pakistan's sovereignty if that's what it takes to kill al-Qaida terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. McCain quoted Theodore Roosevelt, who said, "Talk softly, but carry a big stick."

But Obama "likes to talk loudly," McCain said. "In fact, he said he wants to announce that he's going to attack Pakistan. Remarkable."

Obama shot back: "Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan. ... If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should."

He continued: "Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible."

McCain smiled and said, "Thank you very much." But the smile faded when Obama said: "This is the guy who sang, 'Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,' who called for the annihilation of North Korea," Obama said. "That I don't think is an example of 'speaking softly.' This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, 'Next up, Baghdad.'

Obama calls out McCain on bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

Echoes of Kennedy-Nixon, Clinton-Dole
I agree with the analysis Terrence McNally at Huffington Post:

We all know about the difference between the responses of those who listened to the first Kennedy-Nixon debate on the radio versus those who watched it on (a small, black & white) television. I did both last night and the same was true.

I recall Frank Luntz earlier this year saying that he would caution McCain to minimize being seen in the same camera shot with Obama. The contrast of age and "vigor" would be too stark. Watching the two of them out on the open floor last night in the faux "town hall" format brought his warning to life. The difference was visual and visceral. The tall, lanky, young Obama smooth and confident versus the shorter, tighter, older McCain.

... On MSNBC's Hardball, someone (perhaps Jonathan Alter) said this debate reminded him of a moment in '92, Dole v Clinton, when you knew it was over -- unless something huge were to happen.

Here's what CQ Politics had to say about the night's "bests" and "mosts."

Check out this post at NM FBIHOP about the well-attended debate watch party at One Up in downtown Albuquerque, my friend.

Did you notice how Barack and Michelle stayed in the hall for about 20 minutes talking to audience members? Did you notice how Johnny and Cindy fled the hall as fast as they could get out of there? Telling.

Bottom line by most accounts: McCain needed to inject a "game changer" into the proceedings last night in order to stop or slow Obama's momentum. He didn't succeed. Now I guess he and Palin will return to the campaign trail and their wise-ass negative attacks to once again try to convince voters that Obama is a nasty, dangerous, un-American guy. An increasingly dishonorable and dishonest campaign staggers on. Clearly, most undecided voters aren't buying what McCain and Palin are selling. No wonder. The more undecideds and others who haven't been paying much attention until now see Obama, the more they like him and see him as a strong, smart, calm and trustworthy presidential contender.

P.S. Turns out that "overhead projector" John McCain claimed Barack Obama tried to get a $3 million earmark for was actually money to rebuild Chicago's Adler Planetarium (photo below), America's oldest planetarium. I should know. I often visited there as a child. Tons of Chicago area schools organize field trips to the Adler, and they always have wonderful exhibits and shows for adults, too. It's a stunning place on a narrow piece of land (once an artificial island) that extends out into Lake Michigan. I WANT more of my tax dollars going to things like that, don't you? (h/t TPM)


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October 8, 2008 at 11:01 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, John McCain | Permalink