Your reaction: Obama/McCain III

The third and final presidential debate is over. What did you think? Did John McCain have a game-changing debate? Did Barack Obama achieve what he needed to achieve?


Update: Also, for all those who had never heard of Joe the Plumber before the debate, here's the original exchange that started all the Joe the Plumber mania:

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    I liked this from the BBC's debate blog:

    McCain is playing the role of the injured party. Obama has been palling around with terrorists so much that they have infected his adverts.

    And gawd did I want to wipe that smirk off McCain's mug.

    Overall: not much to say. Obama unsteady at first; McCain went off on the Ayers' shtick, which is already known to be a "non-performer" for him except with the wingnuts; and then his rant against abortion cannot possibly help except with the wingnuts, either.

    McCain: impulsive; Obama: disciplined.

  • Murphy (unverified)

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Like the two previous debates this mercifully final debate was a charade. What else could it be being limited to two candidates from the duopoly? If Ralph Nader and Bob Barr had been included Obama and McCain would never have gotten away with some of the points they made or tried to make.

  • (Show?)

    I would like to associate myself with Markos's analysis:

    When trailing in the fourth quarter and time running out, the trailing team will go into its "hurry up offense" -- no huddle, quick plays, aggressive, trying to keep the defense off balance, the ball moving quickly. That was McCain tonight. The defense in such situations will usually go into a zone defense and play loose -- the idea is to surrender the short yards but prevent the big game-changing play, all the while chewing up the clock. That was Obama tonight. Scoring a field goal doesn't help you when you're down three touchdowns.
  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)

    For the third time, Barack Obama has confirmed why I will be one of the millions of independent voters who will decide the election for him. He stuck to the issues, respectfully retorted, and made his case.

    Conversely, McCain played to the wingnut base and tried, but ended up looking like an angry, old loser with his answers attacking Obama first and making his point second.

    In my opinion, this election was over with McCain's pick of Palin for VP.

    The presidential nominee is and has always been the pick of the party base. The vice presidential pick in winning campaigns has always been a moderate pick. McCain, in his judgment, picked a VP that appealed to the base.

    Obama has won the debates because he has persuaded people over to his side by explaining his policies and making people comfortable with him by remaining calm and respectful. McCain lost the debates because he utterly caved into the base with a Rovian method of attack first and explain one's self second if needed.

  • Joe the Plumber (unverified)

    I thought it was Obama by a lockwasher.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)

    One last thing...I try not to comment too much.

    Surprisingly, Obama has come across as more presidential in the debates.

    I would have thought that with McCain's experience debating in committee in the Senate and age, that McCain would be the more presidential.

    In the end, Obama looks like the serious soon-to-be leader who appears presidential by addressing the issues head on and is smart and respectful enough to know that one speaks to all of America in televised events. McCain looked like the angry, old entitled loser who wants it so bad, came so close and is not holding any punches to the extent that he loses that presidential aura.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    If there had been a progressive on the stage with Obama and McCain he or she could have nailed McCain to the floor when he exposed his negative attitude towards spreading the wealth, a clear appeal to people who want to keep every nickel they have and not contribute to the common well-being of the nation. Consider this hypothetical situation:

    McCain: My friends, Obama and that progressive over their want to take your money and spread it around to other people.

    Progressive: Pardon me, Senator McCain, did I understand that you object to spreading some of the wealth of some people to others?

    McCain: Uh (suspecting he might be lined up for a zinger then going on the offensive to show what a tough guy he is) Yes, I do. People should keep their hard-earned money.

    Progressive: In other words, you think this guy Fuld who got $485 million dollars while he ran Lehman Brothers into the ground and helped create our current financial crisis should keep all those ill-gotten millions and the 20 million families living in poverty should continue their struggle to survive while their children go to bed hungry each night and go without health care. Is that what you think?

    I know a progressive candidate who would have said something like that at the debate, and Obama is no progressive.

  • (Show?)

    Thankfully, there's only mere weeks before the election. Because Obama got his ass kicked. That's what happens when you put up a prevent defense. Luckily, the lead in this game is likely greater than the points McCain just put up. Ain't like the Super Bowl that Cincinnati lost to San Fran under a similar strategy.

    Here's a hint. When you say you're tax break will benefit 95 percent of Americans and the other side says you're for redistribution of wealth, you may want to point out the hypocrisy when the other guy suggests an increase in taxes for 5 percent so the other 95 percent can benefit under his so-called health care reform.

    Sometimes, a simple sentence will do.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Well, would-be pundits, the public says Obama won, overwhelmingly. And once again, debates are not a boxing match, they are a sample of behavior. And most people think McCain stinks as a person, and in even in the words of the wing-nut Krauthammer, Obama won because he shows he has presidential temperament.

    From TPM:

    "The first snap polls on the debate are out, and they're giving a resounding win to Barack Obama.

    In the CBS poll of undecided debate-watchers, 53% say Obama won, only 22% say McCain won, and 24% say it was a tie.

    The CNN poll was just read on the air, surveying all debate-watchers in general. It shows 58% saying Obama won, to 31% saying McCain won. Barack Obama's personal ratings are 66% favorable to 33% unfavorable, way ahead of McCain's score of 49%-49%.

    Late Update: Some more numbers from the CNN poll were just read on TV. Obama was seen as stating his ideas more clearly by 66%-25%, was seen as the stronger leader by 56%-39%, and was more likable by 70%-22%. McCain did win in one category: He's the candidate who launched more attacks on his opponent, by a whopping 80%-7%.

    Late Late Update: Independents, who made up 30% of CNN's sample, gave it to Obama 57%-31%, essentially the same as the overall margin for Obama."

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    More reaction from Colorado uncommitted focus group, they hated McCain, this debate shifted their opinions dramatically. Greenberg focus group: Decisive win for Obama
    "Look at the favorability ratings - they HATED McCain. Obama's favorability went from 42 before the debate to 72 after. McCain dropped from 54 before to 50 after. But then look at the unfavorable rating. Obama's unfavorables dropped from 42 to 22. McCain's, however, rose from 34 to 48."

    And this from mediacurves: Independents say Obama won- 60-30

  • (Show?)

    I only wish John McCain would spend so much time courting Carl the debate coach than this plumber dude. Ohh, debate coach might be too elitist. Better just be Carl the coach.

  • tl (in SW) (unverified)

    McCain left his blinker on the whole time.

  • (Show?)

    Joe the plumber speaks with Katie Couric after the debate here.

    Compares Obama to tap-dancin' Sammy Davis Jr. Nice.

    Polls: CNN (all watchers) 58%-31% Obama, (undecideds) 57%-31%.

    CBS (undecideds) Obama 53%-22%

    CNN details: taxes: Obama +15% health care: Obama +31% stronger leader: Obama +23% more likeable: Obama +48% attacked more: McCain +73% typical politician: McCain +19% women: Obama +34% Ayers: Doesn't matter 51%, matters 23%

  • (Show?)

    Just watched that Joe the plumber vid. Wow. He's incredibly transparent. He said it outright: you'll pay more taxes. He tried to convince the guy and then afterward said that he'd work for him whether Joe voted Obama or not. Obama rocks.

  • RW (unverified)

    Just back from a profoundly moving ki gung class, and will have to catch up on the debate. I caught six minutes of it on the way to class, and by golly, he bumbled his speech three times in that very short period -- all about Miz Palin. Sounds like we mighta had a clanger? I'll go see.

    Very good program on NPR/OPR - Think Out Loud - worth streaming if you missed it, as professionals in the area of focus groups, the media, give good/clear explanation of how "it" works. Good breakdown on negative ads, etc.

    Reflecting upon whether I want to continue in the vein of negativity and egoistic standoff that so often rules me, if not anyone else, up here on a blog.

    Who will ever know the curious inflections of my voice or my transmutable features? The wild hilarity that always hides just beneath the furrowed brow expressing? And so, too me to you. Nobody. And so how is it that any could ever really know the shape of my mind, the essence of my thoughts?

    Interesting facts tonight [sorry for the ramble - it's the energy punches talking]: Obama is spending nearly 2/3 of all money being spent on the advertising now; and McCain and Obama are running closely tied in spending on negative ads. Yet: nearly ALL of McCain's arenegative and only about one third of Obama's are. It seems counterintuitive if you understand how attack ads work. Except maybe Obama has devised the way to defeat Rovian Slanderistics: stay positive and BURY your opponent in your avaalanche of vision-media. Let's hope it works.

    Next up fact -- Smith began the attacks immediately out of the gate, immediately. The famous furniture was really part of an ENTIRE TWO WING refurb, something I'm not sure I ever really "heard" no matter how many times it was doubtless said up here. I was transfixed by the pissing matches and giggling online scuffle to get shots of Smith's office. It worked: on me. I did not agree with his team, but they defined my view.

    And the efficacy of the hate-ads is undeniable. Wyden lobbed a lawsuit threat at Smith to make him take down ad components that made it appear as if Wyden "signed off" on the ad, yet the ad still runs sans "signature".

    It's dirty. How is it we can believe in anyone when it's all of it thoroughly gamesmanship? And nobody would be in it, fellas, if they did not LIKE the game.

    Yah, Chris - you'll never find a handle on this one, eh!

    Anyway, good prog on the radio tonight, good dovetail leading up to the campaign, well timed to help voters sort out their viscerae before they make that mark.

    Understanding how the hateful ads really work, their design and functioning no matter what we think about them is important knowledge. I hope it's being taught in the schools as we speak.

  • (Show?)

    The split screen feed didn't help McCain. I'm not sure what hurt him worse: The eye-rolling; the tense, creepy smile; or the shade of purple he turned every time Obama said something damaging.

    McCain did not look even remotely presidential tonight.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Bodden is right, it would have been fascinating to see other candidates on stage. I would have particularly liked to see Bob Barr flogging doctrinaire libertarian economics at this juncture in our economic crisis :-)

  • Jim Robison (unverified)

    There is one issue that both Obama and Biden (in the V-P debate) have tried to focus on, but everyone in the media seems to ignore. We need a fundamental change in the economic policies of this country.

    McCain attacked Obama's economic policy by chiding "spreading the wealth". Obama and Biden pointed out (rightly) that we cannot continue to follow the disastrous economic policy of the past eight years.

    Truth is, the economic policies that McCain support are the same tax breaks for the rich and de-regulation that has proven to be a failure under Bush. It is also the same "supply-side" (meaning, give more money to the rich, "trickle down" economics) that Reagan adopted which failed, it is the same economic policy that was adopted by Hoover, which brought on the Great Depression, it was also the same Laissez Faire economics of McKinley that led to depression in the late 1800s. This Republican economic policy has been a proven failure time and again.

    One economic policy has been a proven success time and again. Call this "bubble-up" economics. When the poor and working class have an increase in income, they naturally spend that new income on improving their lives (like eating better food, buying new clothes, improving their homes, etc). This leads to an increase in economic activity, creating more jobs and income for everyone by circulating that money through the community.

    When the United States followed this economic policy, our nation became by far the strongest economy in the world. The worst thing that can happen for this nation is increased concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands. That is not sustainable, and will lead ultimately to the collapse of the economic system.

    In a capitalist/free market system, the natural flow of capital is towards ever more concentration. This is why it is necessary to have economic policies in place that counteract that natural flow (such as a progressive tax structure, minimum wages, and programs that "spread the wealth around"). Unhindered concentration will result in a total collapse of the system (as we saw in 1929, and are near seeing again). Steps to counteract concentration of wealth will build a much stronger economic system where everyone benefits (just as we saw happen during much of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, and again in the 90s).

    McCain's comments in the debate proved beyond all doubt that he absolutely does not understand the problems of the economic system he supports. Obama does, and Obama will make a fundamental change in our economic policies to ensure that we return to what built this nation as the strongest economic power in the world.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    The vote (with money) on who won the debate at Obama now at 83.6 , McCain at 16.4

  • Gregor (unverified)

    For McCain, the fact that Columbia is allowing labor representatives to be assassinated should not be a barrier to trade. Now that's leadership!

    As for the insurance issue, I would rather have my government choose my healthcare then my employer. At least if I oppose my government I can protest and still work the next day. Or at least, we have not deteriorated to the point where opposition leads to unemployment ... yet. Until Bush is out of office, I still remain skeptical he will leave of his own accord. Why should he? It's the law? When did that ever stop him? Does the base sound ready to accept that, as a whole, the country is abandoning their party?

  • janek51 (unverified)

    Did I hear right? Did McCain actually say something about people's health records should be online to cut down health care costs? Good, let's put all 1400 pages of yours online to start, JayMac.

  • RW (unverified)

    Democracy Now this morning has a good program, includes Nader's campaign in the debate. The moderator cuts them off at time with no compromise and does not kiss ass.

    Nader makes a creditable Court Jester. An important role that is not recognized in our cut off culture. Think of Contraries, Clowns (as originally existent in their hx) and Heyokas.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to listen to the entirety of the debate. The stream from D.N. site seems to be realtime, and only offering sound bites now, dammit. Find it if you can - a valid addition to your pre-election meditations.

    Yes, time to quit working, establish a home business and blog at will, research as I would like. A job gets in the way of doing a reasonable job of it up here.


  • (Show?)

    Just a word of caution -- Pollster just switched Ohio back to toss-up and Florida's back to light blue and Obama is down for the second day among registered voters on Gallup.

    We need to keep working folks.

  • Court Jester (unverified)

    On three key issues last night -- energy, health insurance, corporate crime -- Obama stood with the corporations against the interests of the American people.

    Last night, McCain challenged Obama.

    Tell me one time you have stood up to the leaders of your party, McCain said.

    Obama couldn't name one time when he stood up to the corporations that control his party.

    So, instead he named a couple of times when he stood with the corporations.

    And against the interests of the American people.

    I voted for tort reform, Obama said.


    Brave of you Barack.

    You stood with the National Association of Manufacturers against injured people.

    I support clean coal technology, Obama said.

    Wow Barack, you stood with the polluting coal industry against people who suffer the consequences.

    When McCain accused Obama of supporting a single payer, Canadian style national health insurance system, Obama said he didn't.

    And he doesn't.

    Despite the fact that a majority of doctors, nurses and the American people want it.

    On national health insurance, Obama stands with the insurance industry and against the American people who are demanding single payer.

    Over 5,000 U.S. physicians have signed an open letter calling on the candidates for president and Congress "to stand up for the health of the American people and implement a nonprofit, single-payer national health insurance system."

    Obama says no.

    McCain says no.

    Nader/Gonzalez says yes.

    Yes to single payer.

    Yes to solar and no to coal.

    Yes to protecting the American people from corporate recklessness and crime, no to tort deform.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Check out the photo of Obama and McCain:

    Obama the Adult Versus McCain's Economic Easter Bunny

  • genop (unverified)

    To the GOP and their straw man "Joe the Plumber" in the words of "The Who". "We won't get fooled again." Trickery is so last eight years. McCain has earned his spot on the bench and I'm not talking the judiciary.

  • RichW (unverified)

    Since I was workiing at the time, I listened to the debate on radio. I thought that McCain scored a lot of points in the first half and the last half was slightly for Obama, but overall I gave the night to McCain.

    Then I got home in time to see the CNN polling and I was amazed. I couldn't figure out why Obama sored so high. So I watched a reun of the debate on TV. It struck me almost immediately. Obama's stage presence was superb and even when he played defense in the first half or so, he did it with a presidential composure. McCain looked bad, and the "goiter-cam" made him look even worse. Obama, on hte other hand exuded confidence.

  • (Show?)

    "I know a progressive candidate who would have said something like that at the debate, and Obama is no progressive."

    So you wanted Obama to play to you, like McCain played to his base? That would have been really, really bad strategy.

    I don't like Obama's position on torts, clean coal or single payer either. But right now we just don't have time for every possible issue to be addressed at the Presidential level. We need to arrest the conservative economic dogma, rebuild our foreign policy on the strength of diplomatic allegiances, restore science over faith, and treat government as something that can work for people, as opposed to a place to stick pure ideological cronies into payback jobs.

    The lower down the electoral ladder you go, the more important individual positions become. At the top we need someone with a cohesive vision and strategy for running the country, not necessarily the best possible list of progressive positions.

    McCain was a disaster, Obama was once more calm and reassuring. That is 100% the correct posture to take, and obviously the results are bearing that out...

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)


    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Court Jester, I didn't know that a President/Vice-President combo could rule by fiat (the current crop notwithstanding).

    Based on my viewing of An Unreasonable Man, I think that Nader has much of the same problems as McCain, only with arrogance instead of temper.

    He works as an adversary and gadfly, not someone who can work with people to get an imperfect, but necessary, piece of legislation through.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    torridjoe: Court Jester was referring to those three issues because they were discussed at that debate. That doesn't mean that those are the only three issues that he or other progressives care about.

    Aaron V.: You need to see An Unreasonable Man again. You also need to read about Nader's history of accomplishment.

    If you still don't like him, support some other progressive. Obama is not one, and his clearly regressive policy statements, such as: Increase military spending to more than the rest of the world's combined; Leave nearly 300,000 corporate and regular military personnel in Iraq and the "vicinity"; Maintain corporate control over health care; Threaten Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia militarily; Unqualified support for Israeli crimes; Unclean coal and nuclear; No impeachment for war criminals or the defilers of constitutional rule; Offshore drilling; Bailouts for the Wall Street crooks with no speculation tax; NAFTA-style unfree trade; FISA betrayal; Renew the Global War of Terror; "Missle defense" = Reaganist Star Wars; and Provocative NATO memberships for Georgia and Ukraine are disgusting to any true progressive. Don't be fooled again by DP betrayal.

open discussion

connect with blueoregon