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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intensity may help the Republican

Well McCain has largely been behind in polling. Actually I don't take much stock in polls because polls can not only be wrong, but also easily manipulated. Right now though it might be for most of us to believe that Obama is likely to win this election.

Still check out this article from Boston.com via Newsalert about McCain's performance last night:
John McCain last night put Barack Obama through a red-hot grilling, barely hiding his disdain for the Illinois senator and his outrage over Obama's policies.

Obama responded with cool, collected answers - sometimes too cool, answering McCain's teeth-gritting attacks with a grin that seemed more amused than offended.

The difference in the senators' temperatures - a combination of long-evident personality differences and McCain's increasing sense of urgency about Obama's growing lead in the polls - probably struck different voters in different ways.

But McCain's very intensity may have at least prompted some voters to take a second look at Obama and his policies.

"McCain came out swinging," said Wayne Lesperance, political scientist at New England College in Henniker, N.H. "Barack Obama was very cognizant of his lead and very cautious. It was reminiscent of the last round of a fight where a boxer is just trying not to be hit. If you score it on points, McCain won, but not by nearly enough to overcome Obama's lead."

McCain sought to sow doubts about Obama in many ways, some of which seemed likelier to stick than others. They included Obama's truthfulness - "There's the eloquence," he chimed at one point, claiming Obama's support for restrictions on late-term abortions had a hidden loophole in providing exceptions for "the health of the mother." (It's a loophole, but one that's been crucial to past Supreme Court decisions and hardly hidden.)

McCain also questioned Obama's judgment ("You don't tell other countries you're going to unilaterally renegotiate," he declared about Obama's vow to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement) and personal associations, sounding like a prosecutor demanding all the facts about any links between Obama's campaign and the liberal activist group ACORN, which has been accused of voter registration fraud. (There are no links, Obama said.)

While McCain often undermined his points with overstatements - claiming, for example, that ACORN's alleged offense was "destroying the fabric of democracy" - his clear-eyed anger at Obama was striking enough to make Obama's coolness seem overly lax.

Obama almost never answered a McCain jab with one of his own, preferring to try to defang the attacks with a mild explanation of his own policy.
I was at a party last night so I largely didn't watch the debate, however, I'm glad that C-Span posted the dabates over at YouTube. If you haven't watched the debates last night you can watch the whole thing right here. Perhaps you can come back and evaluate McCain's and Obama's performance last night.

I look forward to it!

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