Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama wins the debate?

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Going into Friday night's debate, some argued that Barack Obama would come out ahead unless John McCain clearly dominated their faceoff, largely over foreign policy, his area of expertise. By that standard, Obama may have gained an advantage. McCain didn't blow him off the stage and, at least at the outset, when the audience may have been largest, McCain was somewhat less focused than his Democratic rival. But, overall, the 90-minute encounter was a lot like the exceedingly tight 2008 election: a nearly even contest between two closely matched candidates, each of whom had his moments and avoided obvious blunders. Obama, who needed to appear presidential to reassure uncommitted voters who think he's risky, answered questions by saying what he'd do when he was president. Unlike McCain, he made eye contact with the camera at key moments, talking directly to viewers at home -- perhaps as many as 100 million people -- instead of moderator Jim Lehrer.

Commission on Presidential Debates
Commission on Presidential Debates homepage. Voter information on presidential debates, history of debates, mission of CPD, and DebateWatch.
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YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
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2008 Presidential Debate - Hofstra University
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CPD: Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Moderators
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United States presidential election debates - Wikipedia, the free ...
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A handshake, a grin ... then gloves off as White House rivals debate ...
Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during the first US presidential debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters Barack Obama linked John ...
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Source: Guardian Unlimited
NewsDateTime: 33 minutes ago

Despite Stalled Bailout Deal, McCain Agrees To Take Part In First ...
Interest in the first presidential debate is high. Sixty-four percent of registered voters say they are "very likely" to watch the debate, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll
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Source: CBS News
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McCain to attend debate even without bailout deal
WASHINGTON— Republican John McCain agreed to attend the first presidential debate Friday night even though Congress doesn't have a bailout deal, reversing an earlier decision to delay the event until Washington had taken action to address the ...
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Source: Boston Globe
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If held, tonight's debate could be key
Friday, September 26, 2008 The first of three presidential debates is still scheduled for today, although Sen. John McCain's call to postpone it because of the current financial crisis could change that. If it is held, it arguably will be the most ...
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Source: San Francisco Gate
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The headline you won't be reading about tonight's presidential debate.
Somewhere in my attic there is a fading copy of a campus newspaper from 1967—my first year as a law professor at the University of Mississippi. The headline, as I recall, says "Negro to Address Ole Miss Class." In the space of my own adulthood, a ...
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Source: Slate
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McCain projected toughness and, particularly in the second half of the debate when the discussion turned to foreign policy, was far more fluent than he was at the start. McCain repeatedly questioned Obama's knowledge, especially on security matters, saying over and over that his Democratic rival "doesn't understand" the stakes in Iraq. It was a debate strategy designed to feed doubts about Obama; to some viewers, however, it may have come off as condescending. In perhaps the boldest claim by either man, McCain compared Obama's thinking to the rigid ideology of President Bush. In criticizing Obama's failure to support the troop surge in Iraq and acknowledge its success, McCain questioned his opponent's fitness to be president. It "shows to me that we need more flexibility in a president of the United States than that," he said. Obama appeared to get the better of the exchange over the most important topic of the day: the turmoil in the financial markets and Washington's struggle to reach an agreement on a rescue package. Obama directed his remarks to individual voters, putting himself on the side of the middle class while criticizing McCain's recent claim that the fundamentals of the economy are sound. "The nurse, the teacher, the police officer," Obama said, "at the end of each month, they've got a little financial crisis going on [and] we haven't been paying attention to them.". There was an improvisational quality to McCain's opening presentation. He began on what he called "a sad note," because " Senator Kennedy is in the hospital." That could have made McCain seem out of touch to at least some viewers, who had been told that Kennedy had already been released and was back home on Cape Cod. Both men recycled lines and anecdotes from their campaign speeches, particularly McCain, who said, twice, that he was not the "Miss Congeniality" of the Senate. Overall, as expected, the candidates hewed closely to the general themes of their campaigns. McCain, portrayed himself as a budget-cutting independent unafraid to buck his own president, countering Obama's efforts to tie him to the unpopular Republican administration of George W. Bush There were times that McCain appeared to sink into Washington lingo, talking about a "continuing resolution" and sounding like a senator, which, of course, he is. However, that's not the best way to be seen in an election about change, and Obama tried to reinforce that image by dismissing one of McCain's arguments, at one point, as "Senate inside baseball." But Obama tried, and failed, to get under McCain's skin. He harshly criticized McCain's judgment about foreign policy, particularly over McCain's support for the original decision to invade Iraq. At another point, in an effort to suggest that McCain might be reckless, he feistily brought up an incident, from the campaign, when McCain sang "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," to the tune of a Beach Boys song. McCain greeted those barbs throughout with a broad smile and never lost his composure. He defended his judgment on national security issues and his long personal history with military matters. "I know what it's like when an army is defeated," he said, referring to the war he fought, in Vietnam. "We will win this one [in Iraq] and we won't come back home in defeat and dishonor." The stakes for the debate could hardly have been higher for either man, with the presidency possibly riding on their performance. Since 1992, the opening debate has drawn the highest television ratings. The extraordinarily high level of interest in this year's campaign was expected to produce the largest debate viewing audience in history tonight. The "winners" of past debates have often seen their poll numbers rise sharply. Four years ago, Democratic challenger John Kerry gained nine points on Bush after the first debate, but he remained behind and went on to lose the election by a narrow margin. Obama stepped onto the red-carpeted University of Mississippi stage tonight in a much stronger position than Kerry, the big issue of the day -- the economy -- providing him with a lift in the polls and making it tougher for McCain. Opinion surveys over the next few days will reveal whether tonight did anything to change that dynamic.


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