That was by far the best debate, especially for McCain. If McCain had debate like that throughout the election he would be doing a lot better in the pollls. Here’s a breakdown of each candidate.
Winner by default
Obama didn’t do anything to lose the debate so in many ways he won the debate, and with it the election. Obama started off strong, especially compared to the rambling McCain but when McCain started talking about issues of character and integrity, Obama waivered. Not because Obama lacks character and integrity per se, but more so because McCain knows how to speaks the language of a character voter.
Integrity and Character
Obama still struggles when he has to talk about personal integrity issues like his public finance pledge for example. 90% of the people don’t care about the public financing issue they care because Obama looked the American people in the eye and said he would take a certain course of action and then he didn’t. Fortunately for Obama, McCain has done an absolutely horrible job framing this point and making it into a voting issue.
Details versus Rhetoric
Obama does best when he talks about the big picture. This what the audacity of Hope is about. Its not a lack of good answers that’s Obama’s problem its his tendency to talk like a college professor. Obama’s summation on education, abortion, and the mortgage crisis polled through the roof.
McCain finally shows up to a debate
This was by far McCain’s best debate. McCain does best when he’s arguing as John Mcain instead “Copy and Paste” Republican Candidate. You say John McCain gets angry. I say good. Here’s a secret. Voters love it when candidates get angry. An angry candidate throws all the political BS out of the window and provide a contrast between the candidates. It shows that they care about the issues.
In this debate McCain got angry. But it was less “old man grumpy angry” and more I believe in this and I’m going to call you on it.
Non Verbals that kill
Anger is good. Disdain is not. Some of McCain’s facial expressions during the debate gave off a horrible impressions. But as much as politico’s love to talk about it, most independent or “soft” voters don’t care about it one way or another.
Offense wins Championships and Elections
Charles Krauthammer made a grade point on health care. McCain’s problem with these debates, and his campaign in general, is that he jabs and jabs but never delivers the finishing blow. Much like boxing, if you’re only debating in order to win by points you’re going to lose.