Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Does a Little Better in Second Debate, Moves a Lot Closer to the White House

John McCain did ok in tonight's debate. Barack Obama did better. McCain needed to score a knock-out punch in the debate in order to reverse his skid in the polls. Given that he only did ok, and Obama did better, I'd say tonight's debate was a significant defeat for McCain, and a clear victory for Obama.

In particular -

Obama hit back hard on McCain and the Republicans' persisting, false allegation that Obama wants to raise taxes - for any American earning under $250,000, and for most small businesses, that is plain and simply untrue.

Obama also hit back on McCain's claim that Obama makes threatening statements to our potential enemies in the world - Obama reminded McCain about his "bomb, bomb Iran" refrain (McCain's version of the Regents' and Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann").

Obama was also crystal clear on his differences with McCain on health care, and how Obama's policy would both respect current health care arrangements for Americans who want to keep them, and at the same time offer health care to those who currently cannot afford it.

McCain did improve his body language and facial expressions from the first debate. But Obama has never looked better - more Kennedyesque, cool and comfortable under pressure.

McCain's best moment was when a Petty Officer in the audience extended his hand and McCain shook it. Clearly McCain is more at ease in this Town Hall format than the traditional stand-behind-the-podium. But Obama looked at ease, as well.

I wasn't thrilled with Tom Brokaw's performance as moderator - he interrupted the candidates too many times. But he's not running for office.

Obama and McCain are, and in tonight's debate, Obama came a big step closer to the White House.

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