Tonight's presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain once again left much to be desired. Neither the first presidential debate or the vice-presidential debate, provided any real moments where a candidate stood out far above their opponent. I suppose this is something that should be expected from a race that is so close, in a very charged political environment. You can check out my notes and comments that I made on Twitter while watching the debate by clicking here.
McCain: Just as in the first debate, McCain seemed to avoid Obama unless berating him or his voting record. At one point while describing a bill, McCain gestured to Obama and referred to him as "that one". Those twittering on the debate caught this, calling it disrespectful and condescending. In fact, even before making this remark, McCain seemed to be patronizing toward Obama and even had moments where he assumed the ignorance of questioners in the audience. McCain also seemed to want to establish that he had actual solutions to fixing social security and finding Osama Bin Laden. I'm sure many are wondering why he hasn't fixed it during all his time as a senator and why he didn't let Bush administration know where to find Bin Laden.
Obama: Unfortunately, Obama has had some issues with audible pauses when he's answered questions in the past. During tonight's debate, he seemed to have recovered from that. Obama was able to counter McCain's edginess with a coolness that made it easier to listen to the answers he was providing. During much of the debate, like during the first, Obama spent a lot of time clarifying his positions and proposed policies. To do so, he pushed for time to follow-up after McCain's attacks. McCain actually had a little bit of a fit (I can't describe it any other way) when Obama was allowed to follow-up. During one such follow-up, Obama was able to clearly lay out his tax plan to counter McCain repetitious claims that Obama was going to raise taxes.
There certainly was some question dodging from both Obama and McCain during the debate, as well as some rule bending. Both candidates, and perhaps Obama was more guilty of this than McCain, tended to indirectly answer some of the question presented without providing answers to specific details of the question. Candidates should be aware that their credibility is diminished when they answer question in this way.
The winner is: While neither candidate positioned themselves ahead of the other in policy or clarity in their position, with perhaps the exception of Obama and his tax plan; Obama seemed to be able to handle the debate format better than McCain, making his performance the winning factor in this debate.