Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate roundup

I did indeed take in the first Presidential debate last evening between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. To me, there were no surprises or "campaign changing" moments contained in the debate aimed primarily at foreign policy.

However, I thought McCain had some pretty good zingers towards The One Obama in what at times became a spirited exchange:

McCain, on emphasizing his own record of bi-partisanship:

"It's hard (for Sen. Obama) to reach across the aisle when he's that far to the left."

McCain responding to Obama scheduling meetings with foreign leaders:

"I don’t set the President’s meeting schedule yet, and I don’t have my own Presidential Seal."

McCain on Obama's willingness to meet with thuggish dictators without preconditions.

"Let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad and he says, 'we're going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,' and we say, 'no, you're not?' Please."

But the question I have is what is the criteria for "winning" a debate? If "winning" is determined by who is more eloquent, Obama wins almost any contest because of his inherent ability to speak in platitudes. But while Obama might be able to more eloquently make the case that 3 x 2 equals five, he'd still be wrong. So the winner should be determined by who is right on the substantive issues. Of course that will always be McCain, especially when it comes to matters of foreign policy.

While I don't think last night's performance will vault McCain into a big lead in the polls, it's pretty clear he dispelled his opponent's notion that McCain has "lost his bearings."


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