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The Debate

Original post made by Sharon, Midtown, on Sep 26, 2008


I hope I am not assessing out of my pro-McCain bias, but McCain has had Obama on the defensive 90% of the time.
And Obama is rambling on so much- good lord I can barely follow him!"

Also Obama keeps on saying, Senator McCain is "perfectly correct"

So he should vote for him, and get ready for 2012, which I believe was his original intention, IMHO he was shocked that he won the nomination.

Comments (34)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Obama Supporter
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2008 at 7:17 pm

You are.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 26, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Obama is a nice guy, nicer than Kerry , but he is way out of his league, he is not baked yet to lead, good luck in 2012


 +   Like this comment
Posted by paul
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2008 at 7:39 pm



Not too smart of Obama to invoke his fathers ghost as his final pitch.

disappointing performance by Obama, hope he does better next time, a blizzard of policies but no connection.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Obama survived, and made no major gaffes. However, McCain schooled him. Barack is not ready yet.

Barack should have debated Palin...that would have been an even match up.


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Posted by missed it
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 26, 2008 at 7:55 pm

But I hear NPR's liberal commentators call it a draw. McCain must have trounced him. What happened? Wasn't this one about the economy? Hadn't McCain just screwed up the rescue?


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Posted by Politics as usual
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:08 pm

"But I hear NPR's liberal commentators call it a draw. McCain must have trounced him. What happened? Wasn't this one about the economy? Hadn't McCain just screwed up the rescue?"

The first half on the economy was pretty much a draw, but neither really took any chances, so I was a bit disappointed in both. The second half on national security and foreign policy was right in McCain's wheelhouse and he had Obama on the defensive. Even here, however, neither really said anything new so I don't think we learned much and I would doubt that either of them changed anyone's mind.


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Posted by mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:39 pm



When McCain pointed out that he had hounded several corrupt people to federal prison Obama looked understandably uncomfortable, given that a number of his closest associates are felons.

I was disappointed that Obama did not win any points on the economy, given what happened this week, so now the issue is down the memory hole.

I doubt it changed any of the committed voters, but McCain has the independents and of course the military.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:43 pm

I agree with the "takes" so far, but can only think what the debate would have been if it were Clinton and McCain.....


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Posted by Meg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm



Kissinger clocks Obama


"Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized.
He says: "Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level.
My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.
We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."


This was Obamas chance to ace McCain on the economy or defense, he did neither, overall an uninspiring debate, but Mccain came across as the man to trust in a crisis which he could have lost from an articulate attack fromm Obama.

Obama bringing up his father was a mistake, we really do not want Marxist, wife beating, drunk, bigamists in this country.
This is going to bring a searchlight onto Obamas true biography.

On to Palin and Biden, that will be fun!


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Posted by pam
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

obama supporters are licking their wounds tonight; this is looking more and more and more like gore, and kerry. obama's elitism is simply not what americans want. hillary must be chuckling, and sad at the same time...


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Posted by Politics as usual
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm

"When McCain pointed out that he had hounded several corrupt people to federal prison Obama looked understandably uncomfortable, given that a number of his closest associates are felons."

Unfortunately, in our nation, pretty much all politicians have felons as associates, even McCain (Charles Keating ring a bell?).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for all your "unbiased" opinions. Unfortunately, Obama won the debate:

First, Hardball is citing a poll of undecided voters:
39% Obama won
25% McCain won
36 Neither won

Second, even Fox News reported that, amongst their swing voters group, while "McCain was strong," Obama "was a bit stronger." And if you heard the sound bites from that group, you'd know that McCain was viewed very dismally by the group.

Nice try!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SB
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:34 pm

WHO WON THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE?...

MCCAIN
67% 101,070
OBAMA
30% 45,541
NEITHER
2% 3,406

Total Votes: 150,017


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yea, Right
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:38 pm

SB, Care to "source" your vote? Limbaugh listeners perhaps?


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Yeah, all the focus groups and the quickie polls broke for Obama--by large margins, which sort of surprised me.

I don't think either was a disaster, but the blogs and punditocracy point out that McCain seemed angry and couldn't make eye contact.

McCain seemed old--lots of really old references and looking backwards. I think, also, his "You don't understand" bit didn't come off because Obama was able to respond in a way that showed he did understand.

Kissinger's doing a flip-flop, but he's on tape saying what Obama said he said.

Obama's "You were wrong" bit was effective. The most memorable part of a not very exciting debate.

I don't think it's a debate that will change much, though it will make it easier for some people to vote for Obama since he held his own in an area where McCain was supposed to hold the aces.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:41 pm

It's clearly an online, unscreened poll. So invalid.


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Posted by Debate Watcher
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:43 pm

SB's poll number looks very suspicious - only 2% say neither won? That's an unbelievably low number.
And the landslide in favor of McCain?
Nothing I saw in the debate would produce such a lop-sided result.
Reality Check's numbers looks much more realistic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 26, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Debate Watcher,

Just take a look at the nmber involved--150,000? Legitimate polls don't collect those kind of numbers--let alone in less than two hours. You get that with online polls where anybody can hit the button umpteen times.

The networks had focus groups of undecided voters who gave their opinions on the debate and a legit quickie poll has been done with a couple of hundred pollers via telephone.

We'll see more stuff in a couple of days.

I just don't see this debate as decisive one way or another--though George Will surprised me by giving the edge to Obama.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

An interesting take from a writer at Politico:
Web Link

The mild consensus in the press file was that McCain won, if not in particularly dramatic fashion. The two insta-polls out -- from CBS and CNN -- found the opposite: That Obama won by a wide margin. CBS had it 39% to 25% for Obama, CNN 51% to 38%.

Maybe the difference was expectations. People covering the campaigns think of Obama as a much-improved debate, and McCain as at times a weak one. McCain, by that standard, overperformed. But people tuning into the race now now think of McCain as an experienced hand, and Obama as a newcomer. Obama more than held his own, and McCain failed to expose him -- as he tried -- as out of his depth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:12 pm



Obama lost the military when he said with disdain " I have a bracelet too" just like when he said " Hillary you are nice enough"

The military and veterans will remember his disdain.

McCain shined and Obama was on the defensive throughout.

The good news for Obama is that more than 30 minutes were not on the specifics of foreign policy.
But Obama stumbled badly on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
McCain simply knows this stuff, and Obama again and again betrays that he does not.

"I honestly don't believe that Senator Obama has the understanding or the experience," and hitting Obama on his stubbornness was a very strong close for McCain. "I don't need any on the job training."

It is Obama and Hillary for 2012, he as the VP


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Posted by Thanks For Your Input
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Thanks, "Sharon", for providing some "hot air" to the discussion. But isn't it past your bedtime now? The adults would like to talk amongst themselves now.


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Time magazine's overall grades for the debate:
Obama: A-
McCain: B- (although, if you look at the individual grades, it adds up to C+ - they probably didn't want to appear as being too hard on him, so they bumped it up to the B-)
Web Link


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm

"Thanks For Your Input"

People who do not have husbands and children, or a job, can, of course stay up till 3AM on this blog.

For me as a wife and mother, re the debate


These things boil down to repeatable moments.
The "I agree" sequence from Obama will be helpful to McCain and the Kissinger "Oh, not so fast" will also be handy.
Obama did not cry, plead for mercy or forget the name of any world leader, so the MSM will be pleased.
But you can tell that when they declare it a "tie" as many did their guy did not do well.
And that footage on Ahmadinejad -- deadly for Obama in Florida.

Good night


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Posted by Greg K
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Both McCain and Obama did adequately. Few voters are going to change sides because of this debate and the net will be a wash.

The only big loser is George Bush. Obama kept saying that McCain is another George Bush. McCain's main defense is that he is smarter than George Bush. Once McCain even stated that Obama is being a George Bush on some issues. Bush is the new 4 letter word for this election.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 27, 2008 at 12:41 am

The MSM I saw was giving a very mild thumbs-up to Obama, not McCain. Guess it depends on the network.

So, it's interesting that the polls favored Obama--he won, I think, in that he convinced people that he was on top of foreign affairs--something that was supposed to be McCain's strength.

He also seemed more relaxed than McCain.

I also think McCain's carrying a big negative at this point because of the way he tried to suspend the debate.

In a sense, Obama won the debate because the debate went on as originally scheduled. McCain caved. I wonder if that, in fact, influenced how voters viewed the debate itself. McCain was sort of grouchy and touchy, while Obama was cool.

McCain didn't blow the debate itself, but he blew what came before.


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Posted by pam
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 27, 2008 at 2:43 am

"The MSM I saw was giving a very mild thumbs-up to Obama, not McCain. Guess it depends on the network."

uhhh, kinda.

obama sounds fresher than mccain. mccain sounds tired, but there's something about obama that too slick. i don't think he'll stick. he should be winning by 20 points; he's pounding home very negative ads in small towns...why isn't he?


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:22 am

Favorite moments for me:

McCain: Finally a Presidential Candidate proposing a United DEMOCTRATIC League.

Looking Putin in the eye and telling him and Russia to back off.

Being very clear on support of Israel and fledgling democracies.

Being very clear on how to leave Iraq, not when.

Could have been clearer on WHO has caused this Fannie Mae Freddie Mac meltdown: too bad. Trying to be too polite, which I think is a mistake. Too oblique in references and anyone who doesn't know the story won't get his references. Hope he does better, more direct, on the domestic one, with economy. Not his strong suit, but still stronger than Obama.

Obama: Too bad: Came off like a little kid "Me, too!!" with bracelet, very disrespectful to McCain interrupting all the time "no, not true" "uh" and so on. McCain let him finish his thoughts, Obama was trying to bully someone who can not be bullied.
And to keep saying "not true" and have McCain simply tell us "look it up"...McCain treating us like intelligent beings, Obama telling lie after lie and thinking we won't figure it out.

It will be interesting to see what "undecideds" think of this. Those are the only ones who count at this point. Those who watched Fox thought McCain "won"..those who watched the alphabets thought Obama won.


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Posted by peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:44 am



The audience was incredibly quiet and the was very ineffective this time,

Obama came across as an academic interviewing for an assistant professorship.
You can tell immediately that he has never had any trial experience as a prosecutor or defense attorney.

McCain come across as both a war tested general launching his next campaign and a seasoned CEO launching a turn around.

What happens on the bail out will be critical next week. Obama is making a big mistake with those sleazy ads, it is against his original message and appeal.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:54 am

Perspective:
"It will be interesting to see what "undecideds" think of this."

Uh, you might want to read the thread before you comment in it - Obama won decisively in the insta-polls of the undecided, as noted above.


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Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:58 am


Round One form todays WSJWeb Link

"Every Presidential race is a decision on Commander in Chief, and this election more than most.
Americans will have to decide if they can trust Mr. Obama's assertions that he'd combine a desire for diplomacy with toughness when it counts.
Our own sense is that Mr. Obama sometimes seemed flustered by Mr. McCain's attacks on his foreign policy "naivete," in particular on Iraq and his failure to support the "surge."

The Democrat tried to turn the Iraq debate back to the original decision to go to war in 2002, and that will play well with those who are decidedly antiwar.
We doubt it will play with voters who want to make sure we don't squander the gains of the last year.

Mr. Obama was well briefed, but almost in the way a Ph.D. candidate gives his dissertation defense.
He knew the subject but without the conviction or detail that comes from wide experience".


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 27, 2008 at 11:29 am

tj,

Sorry, you're quoting from the Wall St. Journal? Does anyone even remember the last time the editorial page didn't pump up the conservative?

It's worth noting though, that the WSJ can't seem to point to a gotcha moment.

Peter,

I think Obama's approach was a deliberate choice, not a lack of ability. He can be quite sharp and to the point when he wants to be. Last night, I think he wanted to seem calm and reasoned next to the erratic McCain (not erratic in the debates, but erratic in the last few weeks). I also think he wanted to avoid any appearance of bullying a little old white guy.

So the approach was a tactic with the overall strategy of making Obama appeal to undecided voters by seeming both authoratative, but non-threatening.

Pam,

C'mon, you're just moving the bar to justify your anger at Obama.


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Posted by is it a sin to like Mc Cain?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2008 at 1:01 pm


to like Mc Cain is not necessarily a protest vote against Obama.

but attacks against Mc Cain are largely a protest against Bush and Republicans and for some of the under 25 set, it's like a sin to like Mc Cain.

I think they are both great people, but Mc Cain clearly did better last night. The comment that felt weird is Obama's comment - "I reserve the right to talk to anyone as long as the US is safe"... did that mean, only the US needs to be safe? how does that square off with leadership in the world?

I also thought Mc Cain was sharp for an old guy.


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Posted by but seriously
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 27, 2008 at 1:04 pm

I disagree about the McCain/Obama bracelet wars. McCain made a big display about his bracelet, as if that gave him the supreme perspective when he said the mother asked him not to let her son have died in vain. Then Obama said "I have a bracelet too," and explained that the mother said not to let this happen to any other soldier. The point, I think well made actually, was that not every soldier's mother is clinging to the hope that McCain will win.

Also, I disagree about McCain's being courteous to Obama. While Obama limited himself to "not true", McCain baldly interrupted and talked over him during Obama's time. And refused to look at him. Really creepy and direspectful. Obama stood up striaght, looked at McCain and addressed him directly, and was the one who went over to shake hands. McCain came across as a petulant old man who could not conceal his contempt, and it made me wonder how he would deal with diplomacy as we try to salvage the U.S.'s reputation abroad.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 28, 2008 at 1:43 am

But seriously,

Apparently Obama cornerd McCain during the bailout meeting asking him whether he favored the president/Paulson or the rebelling conservative GOP's scheme. McCain left mad and was still mad later at the debate when he wouldn't look at Obama and kept trying to talk over him.

I didn't see a clear win on actual debate points, but Obama won as far as the quickie polls and focus groups were concerned--at that seems to have been body language and affect.


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