Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final Presidential Debate: Best of the Three, for Obama, Schieffer, But Not So Much McCain

The last Presidential debate of this election, which I just saw on CSPAN, televised from Hofstra University, where I once taught a few courses, was the best so far. Best for Barack Obama, best for the moderator, but mixed for John McCain.

Obama looked the most Presidential he's been so far. He looked into the camera and clearly explained his health policy, tax policy, and the distortions of McCain and the Republicans about everything ranging from Bill Ayers to Obama's positions on health care, taxes, and the rest.

Bob Schieffer was an excellent moderator - asking tough and important questions about all the domestic issues, including the choice of Vice Presidential candidates. Schieffer also asked some good follow-ups, and rarely interrupted or got in the way of Obama and McCain's answers.

McCain had a few good moments, as he had in the earlier debates. His best line was when he said to Obama that if he wanted to run against George Bush, Obama should have done that four years ago.

But Obama came back with a crisp response about McCain supporting Bush's policies. And, as in the first two debates, McCain often came across as twitchy and uncomfortable, and occasionally close to incomprehensible. He did manage more smiles than in the first debate, and he looked at Obama, but he still looked less than Presidential in his chair.

And McCain did himself no good by any standard on abortion, first saying he would not apply any "litmus" test to his Supreme Court appointments (this will win him no thanks from his right-to-life base) but later brushing aside, incredibly, a woman's health as a valid reason to have an abortion.

In contrast, Barack Obama appeared more reasonable, compassionate, and, frankly, intelligent, on this and every other issue. In his concluding remarks, Obama never looked more like a President.

I expect we'll be treated to many more Presidential addresses from Barack Obama in the years ahead.

Post a Comment