Thursday, October 16, 2008



Liz "The Donut" Sidoti, of the AP's Alternate Universe bureau, says John McCain clearly won Wednesday night's debate against Barack Obama.

Analysis: McCain puts Obama on the Defensive
This time, John McCain kept Barack Obama on the defensive.

The feisty Republican tried hard to find a lifeline Wednesday night, challenging his Democratic rival at every turn over his truthfulness, associations and record.

By that measure, McCain won the last debate of the 2008 campaign.


"You didn't keep your word," McCain reminded Obama on the issue of accepting public financing, something Obama had said he would do if the GOP nominee followed suit.

McCain, seemingly more prepared and definitely more aggressive than in past debates, called Obama's tax plan "class warfare," accused him of failing to stand up to his party's leaders and said the Democrat twisted his record in ads.


McCain's eagerness could be seen in his demeanor as he waited to pounce after each Obama statement. Eyes wide, he breathed deeply, moved his eyebrows up and shot sharp glances in Obama's direction. Obama's usually earnest demeanor, meanwhile, was regularly broken by big smiles as McCain attacked.
To her credit, Sidoti acknowledges that Obama's demeanor throughout was more presidential than McCain's.

He displayed a knack for quick response again Wednesday when McCain raised issue with Obama's links to William Ayers, a radical during the Vietnam War era. "The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me," Obama said.

The debate said a lot about both candidates. McCain did better Wednesday than ever before but, even as he took punches, Obama succeeded in appearing presidential.

But if, as Sidoti states near the end of the piece, the debates are "auditions for the chief executive position," in what sense can McCain be said to have won? The mannerisms she describes as eager and aggressive - Eyes wide, he breathed deeply, moved his eyebrows up and shot sharp glances in Obama's direction - could be described also as twitchy, disturbing, even borderline deranged.

And the public clearly could not disagree more strongly with Sidoti's assessment of who won.

Thank God for snap polling. Kos is right. It's the best develop in presidential debate coverage since the invention of television.

The pundits clearly wanted to give this one to John McCain. They want a close election, and if left to their own devices, I think most of them would have declared McCain the winner.

As some of them did.

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