Who Won The 2nd Presidential Debate? Obama Takes It!

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Who Won The 2nd Presidential Debate? Obama Takes It!

October 7, 2008 Politics 4

The 2nd Presidential debate is over.  The 24 hour news channels and opinion makers in the papers held two views about how this would play out.  First, that McCain was going to go hard on Obama’s character.  Second, that McCain would do better than Obama in the town hall format.  Pundits were wrong on both counts.

In my opinion, Obama walked away with this one.  It reminded me of the Nixon Kennedy debate.  McCain, as Nixon, seemed uncomfortable and old, walking aimlessly around the stage when Obama was talking, then talking in disconnected phrases and ending most of his sentences and statements by making promises that ‘I know how to fix it.’   Obama was cool, coherent, and stayed on message, only pausing to parry McCain’s frequent jabs when he thought they might have connected.  

And that’s all the debate analysis you’ll get from me tonite.  Unless, of course, I hear from you!

Comments are welcome.  Topic:  How persuasive were the candidates for you?

be well



4 Responses

  1. David says:

    I totally lied. Well sort of. I ended up watching like 1 hour of the debate, missing the 30 minutes or so where I decided to take a leak then walk to my gym, and then finished watching it there.

    Also, LANDSLIDE FOR MCCAIN!!! WHY?? Because Michelle Obama wore a dress with a visible zipper in the back. I’m calling this debate right now for McCain. Game over man, game over.

    Now that I got that out of the way, I do agree with your analysis Dr. Kirschner. I think McCain looked a little less comfortable, though he still did well. In the end, I feel that this debate went down in a similar way that the first one went down, where basically both sides neither beat the other or made a major mistake, so it could probably be considered a slim Obama win or a wash. Regardless, Obama wins the tactical battle though. McCain needed a decisive win at this point (my arbitrary football record calculator has Obama at 8-4-2 and McCain at 5-7-2) and tying games isn’t getting him any closer to winning.

    I watched the CNN rendition of the debate as well so I could get the feedback numbers. (if I was old enough to drink I would have played that drinking game where I took a drink whenever they said something I knew they would say)(also, my liver would have dissolved in protest) Overall Obama seemed to do better based on their responses. Women especially seemed to like him more, men seemed to give McCain and Obama nearly even responses for a lot of the night.

    I think the key thing here wasn’t the body language (though to be honest I was half-listening, half watching poll numbers) but rather the talk. McCain went over a lot of the same arguments he did in other debates. So did Obama, but he did so in a positive pro-himself way, while the retreads with McCain were all negative. This did lead to Obama breaking the rules to respond to McCain at one point, a solid move considering the misleading statements made. Both sides benefitted from being able to go back and forth, as opposed to one side makes a spiel then the other.

    Overall, I think Obama connected better, though that’s just me. It will be interesting to see what others think, though initial polling indicates that Obama did well. (mediacurves.com has obama winning the independents 54-34, and CNN right now has it 79-17 (though that is likely to change))

  2. Thanks, David, for your analysis.

    The more I think about it (I’ve been away from the teevee for a few hours), the more I think that McCain appeared to HAVE BEEN a leader for the 20th century. Obama seemed to me more like a leader for THIS century. McCain kept looking back, (though ending with statements of confidence in the American worker being the most innovative and productive, most exports and imports?, and mostly Obama looked forward (though occasionally calling attention to the failed last 8 years and tying McCain to it.

    McCain also failed in most of his attempts at humor, delivering his snark at inappropriate or poorly timed moments (I recall at least one occasion when it appeared he had just walked in, that’s how out of place his punch line was) whereas Obama had a couple of useful zingers, like ‘high on the hog (invoking memories of lipstick on a pig) and ‘the straight talk express lost a wheel.’

    I still think that in the zeitgeist of it, Obama walked away with it. I’m amazed at how calm, cool, um, serene (there, I said it) he is. He seems so undisturbed. Every reference McCain made to a calm hand at the tiller seemed to bring Obama into focus for me.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    I listened to a session by the guy who wrote Learned Optimism and in his research he said that historically (with only two exceptions), the candidate with the most positive sounding messages wins.

  4. Hmm. Interesting.

    That’s how I’d guess it works too, particularly when things are so bad. There’s something in the American character that likes to light a candle rather than curse the darkness, to find the new horizon instead of lamenting what is lost.

    BTW, for those interested in such things, here’s a FACT CHECK link

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