Why McCain Won the Debate

United States
September 27, 2008 4:02pm CST
DO YOU AGREE? There is little question that John McCain “won” the first debate last night. Perhaps he lost on points (arguments) and style (how could he beat Mr. Smooth?), but McCain “won” over the audience, the only victory that counts. Here’s what I saw and heard: 1. Any question that McCain is too old to run for office has been put to rest. He was sharp, on point and looked good, good enough, that is. 2. If the debate was held before the elite faculties of Harvard and Columbia, schools Obama attended, he would have won hands down. But this debate was held before the American public. 3. Obama was too smooth, too smart. Remember the “W. Factor.” Bush lost all the debates with John Kerry on style and substance. But Bush came across as more likeable. Ditto McCain. 4. Obama has a subtle, condescending speaking style. His hand gestures of constant pointing fingers, frequently raising his fingers to eye level, jabbing constantly, make’s one feel he’s lecturing us. Yes, Kennedy jabbed, but occasionally. 5. After, the debate I heard on a radio call in person say they listened to the debate on radio. Obama sounded like a professor. Bingo. Americans don’t elect professors president. 6. The debate opened on the economy. McCain should have scored much bigger points. He didn’t. He claimed Obama wanted to raise taxes. He should have rattled off specifics of Obama’s tax plan, including: removing the FICA tax cap, doubling the capital gains tax, increasing dividend taxes, letting the Bush tax cuts expire giving everyone an automatic tax increase, raising gasoline taxes, etc. 7. Obama also made some serious tactical mistakes. Twice in the debate he repeated the allegations of others, first saying he was “liberal” and later saying he was “naive.” Repeating labels is a no no. 8. McCain came across as authentic. This elusive quality is difficult to manufacture, and a key reason Obama can’t compete on this score. McCain smartly pointed out how Obama became a born again earmark and pork fighter – after he started running for president. 9. Obama came across as slick trying to making himself sound more moderate than his record demonstrates. He says he doesn’t really want to spend $800 billion on new programs; he really isn’t the most liberal member of the Senate; he doesn’t really want to meet with dictators like Ahmadinejad; and so on. 10. McCain demonstrated he doesn’t simply talk a good talk, but has walked the walk. He has been a long time enemy of earmarks. And he has been a fighter who has crossed the partisan divide time and again. Obama simply has no such record. 11. McCain’s strength was foreign policy. It showed. Obama did seem “naïve.” McCain won the “don’t meet with rogue leaders without preconditions” argument. Obama’s answers sounded like he was flip-flopping on his original statement. 12. On Iran, again one of the most contentious issues, McCain won because his comments grasped the gravity of the crisis. 13. Where McCain lost was on the Iraq war and the surge. Yes, McCain has been right on the surge and Obama has been wrong. But McCain came across as heavily invested in the idea of the war (creating a democracy in Iraq) and unwilling to flexibly respond to reality. Make no mistake about it: this is an unpopular war that is costing us a trillion dollars so far. On CNN I watched the audience meter as McCain talked about the war and its “success.” The meter showed Independent voters clearly tracking in “negative” territory, clearly in line with Democrats. In sum, McCain had the most to lose from this debate. Obama is known as the great public speaker. McCain did more than hold his own. And most importantly he demonstrated several things that will resonate with voters. First, he is ready on day one to be ready Commander in Chief. Second, he can be trusted. His word is good. http://www.newsmax.com/ruddy/Why_McCain_Won_the_Debate/2008/09/27/135077.html
4 people like this
22 responses
@mcat19 (1358)
• United States
27 Sep 08
I don't think this debate changed anyone's mind. If you think that the last eight years were wonderful and like Palin, you think McCain won. If you don't, you think Obama won. The polls say it went to Obama. In a CBS News poll, uncommitted voters see Barack as the debate winner. When it comes to the economy, 66% say Barack would make the right decisions versus 42% for McCain. The CNN poll results are also clear: Who did the best job tonight? Barack: 51 McCain: 38 Who would better handle Iraq? Barack: 52 McCain: 47 Who would better handle the economy? Barack: 58 McCain: 37 I think McCain was condescending; he refused to look at Obama; he wouldn't look at the audience. He kept repeating his same lies. He interrupted repeatedly. But then I couldn't vote for anyone whose bad judgment put Palin on his ticket.
3 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
I am Lady WInter and I endorse this post. Seriously though this is exactly how I feel about it. Most of the political pundits are saying Obama won. For all McCains shouting about inexperience he picks PALIN?? PLEASE!!! The woman is an idiot in my opinion.
4 people like this
@xParanoiax (7005)
• United States
27 Sep 08
Always the dissenter on here, aren't I? I think no one won. It was a very tense debate. How could he win over the audience? How can you tell when no one was allowed to cheer or shout or nothing, because they were supposed to discuss things with eachother. How many people in the audience actually rated that thing anyway? I'm kinda out of the loop today and all, I haven't seen any polls or been able to look for online reactions, but it seemed very give-take between both of them. I did surf about and see some media reactions though. People were asking "who won"...which I'm sorry but I think is a silly question, but anyway...and no one seemed sure who looked better since it really was a tense, give-take debate. Again, I'm a bit out of the loop, but I don't think either of them truly "won".
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
My impression was that McCain seemed much more confident than Obama.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
For the sake of staying on topic, I must say that confidence is not the definition of winning.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Sep 08
I did not say it was.
@ClarusVisum (2163)
• United States
27 Sep 08
"McCain “won” over the audience, the only victory that counts." Uh, no. All the insta-polls taken after the debate favor Obama, especially among independents, the crowd McCain needed to "win" the most. CNN: 51-38 Obama CBS: 39-24 Obama MediaCurves (uncommitted voters only): 61-39 Obama Etc. Don't kid yourself. You want to claim that McCain "won" over the audience? Show me all the polls that showed voters thinking he did better in the debate.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
I do not claim anything! Check the link.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
Newsmax claims McCain won over the audience, even though the polls say the exact opposite. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Sep 08
it is wishful thinking on her behalf...because like you said the polls tell a diferent story....I dont care what news says what...the polls say he won by a landslide....unless they have change?
• United States
27 Sep 08
while i have to say mccain did a very good job at debating he was wrong on a lot of things. i know you and i have had some heated in arguments in the past so lets not go there again. obama stated some facts that were a little off base but some of the things that mccain said were straight up lies. all the polls have said that obama won the debate. i think obama did a great job. on war: mccain's only argument with keeping troops in iraq is that we can't leave defeated. there is some much more to this thing that winning. no matter what happens i will always have honor and respect for the troops. the military is one of the reasons i have the rights i have today. taxes: again obama would only be raising taxes on people that make 250,000 dollars or more. he would be helping about 81 percent of the middle class. that comment that mccain made about obama voting for more taxes on people who make 42,000 dollars a year was stated incorrectly. that increase was for single, non homeowners who make 42000 a year or more. if you're making that kind of money and don't have kids or a house you can afford a higher tax. that doesn't include singles or families of four. mullen's "dangerous" comment: mccain neglected to say that the interviewer had asked mullens to take obama and politics out of the scenario....so mullens wasn't talking about obama specifically. 18 billion dollars??: that hasn't increased in 5 years..as a matter of fact is has decreased. it was 22.5 in 2003. we don't send 700 billion dollars for oil over seas. it's 536 billion and a third of it goes to canada....mexico....UK. that's my take on the debate. think what you want.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
also i think mccain was disrespectful last night. as old as he is you think he would have had more tact and manners. does it bother anyone else that his staff is made up of lobbyist?? obama said it best. when mccain says he's going to fight special interest and lobbyist he just plans on having a staff meeting.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Sep 08
I can only repeat that the text in this discussion is not my opinion that is why I posted the link. I thought they both managed to respond, each in his own way, pretty well to the questions but neither of them has really won me over! I am still undecided.
@ms1323 (260)
• United States
27 Sep 08
I'm not sure who won overall, but I can say Obama won for me. McCain was condescending and disresptfaul in his complete redundancy of Obama's inexperience and naivety, not to mention his repeated efforts to make certain that everyone knows he served in the militarty and Obama has not. What I did not get were answers from him on the questions being put forth. He did some major sidestepping, and I personally, felt that he was under the belief that we - the American public were stupid enough to fall for it. I don't know about you, but the fact that he intentionally set out to make me feel ignorant was certainly NOT the way to get my vote.
• United States
27 Sep 08
thankyou finally someone that knows what they are talking about
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
I will have to say, people may not agree with me, but I think that McCain had done a great job last night and for that reason, I know that is why I will be voting for him for our next president. I'm sorry, I just don't think Obama is my cup of tea. But whoever wins this candidacy, I hope that they run this country right.
• United States
27 Sep 08
Look forward to more costly war-mongering if McCain is President--he was one of the first people talking about invading Iraq (who NEVER attacked us, remember) after 9/11, remember? http://thinkprogress.org/2008/09/11/mccain-iraq-911/ If you think things are better now than they were eight years ago, go ahead and vote for McCain. Personally, I can't make sense of thinking that.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep 08
The comments in the discussion are not mine but from Newsmax however I watched most of it and my impression was that McCain seemed more confident than Obama. Omaba was glib and seemed to stutter a lot.
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
27 Sep 08
I think those who use the "war monger" excuse needs to look at the presidents who got us into some of these wars. No one party is responsible for all the wars and to claim so is wrong.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Sep 08
Are you telling us that Americans are stupid? Intelligence is a big point against a candidate? How incredibly horrible! Can you think of a lot of othe ways to insu entire nation? McCain came across as an authentic "my way or the highway" pseudo-dictator! Ask the parents, wives, husbands and children of the thousands who have lost their lives in Iraq for nothing if the war there is a success! How good is his word? One of hundreds of outright lies came up when, as we were sending so many of our young people to the slaughter, he said he had proof positive of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, which we all know never existed. I once supported McCain and respected his sacres, but I know better now. What hein Viet Nam was a combination of saving his own a** and ng his drunken father's; nothing for America at all. And that wust the beginnings of the lies!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
I am not telling anyone anything. I was asking if anyone agreed with the information and the link where it came from!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
Sorry. I was under the impression that you were quoting this information because you agreed with it.
@cynddvs (2950)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I honestly wasn't impressed by either candidate last night. Neither candidates answers stood out to me. And I certainly don't think McCain scored bigger points by the audience. Of course which ever candidate you agree with you will think won the debate. So really it's biased as to who "won" the debate last night. I really don't think either candidate "won" the debate. We won't truly know who's winning until election day. And we still have more debates to come one of the big ones being between Palin and Biden. And considering how Palin has done in the few interviews she has done I can already see Biden killing her in the debates. And we've got to bear in mind that this year voters are actually going to be paying attention to the VP candidates and the views considering people consider Obama to be "inexperienced" and considering McCain's age and past health issues.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
I was not impressed with either to the point that I have still not decided who will get my vote. I also do not have much confidence either in the two VP candidates.
• United States
28 Sep 08
I don't want a smooth or stylish President, I want someone who is in touch with reality. Someone that knows what work is and isn't afraid of it. Someone that isn't afraid to take a stand even if it might be unpopular. I want a man that can make a commitment and keep it. On all counts I think it is McCain.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
I think so too!
@starr4all (2865)
28 Sep 08
Here are the ones I agreed with: 1. Any question that McCain is too old to run for office has been put to rest. He was sharp, on point and looked good, good enough, that is. ***Definately!! I'm getting tired of the democratic party harping on his age!(and yes I know, I'm a democrat! I'm not happy with my party this election!). 5. After, the debate I heard on a radio call in person say they listened to the debate on radio. Obama sounded like a professor. Bingo. Americans don’t elect professors president. ***Definately sounded like a professor. Professors are great, but not for president. 11. McCain’s strength was foreign policy. It showed. Obama did seem “naïve.” McCain won the “don’t meet with rogue leaders without preconditions” argument. Obama’s answers sounded like he was flip-flopping on his original statement. ****This has been my big sticking point with the debate. Obama sounded naive (to me) when it comes to foreign policy. McCain got mucho points for the "don't meet with rogue leaders without preconditions"! 12. On Iran, again one of the most contentious issues, McCain won because his comments grasped the gravity of the crisis. ***How nobody thinks Iran is a threat or think that just talking to their leader is going to solve anything amazes me. This is the guy who thinks the holocaust never happened! How do you reason with someone like that! But then again, this is just my opinion.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 08
Some points you claim he won based merely on the fact that you agree with him. That said, he seemed to want it more, as they in sports. But I didn't find him authentic. It was a fairly agitated, wound up performance from him, whereas Obama seemed relaxed and less coached. The likability factor is a bit worrying for Dems, as we've seen clearly inferior GOP candidates win simply because they appeared like the schmo next door. When intelligence is held against presidential candidates, it's no surprise the country is in the kind of mess it's in.
• United States
28 Sep 08
I did not claim anything. The article is written by Christopher Ruddy of Newsmax that is why I posted the link!! I was asking who agreed with the article.
• United States
28 Sep 08
Apologies. But that really wasn't very clear. So, the author was making these claims based on agreeing with McCain.
@anniepa (26632)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I definitely disagree totally and it seems most of the polls back me up. I don't think he won the audience over one bit although I also don't think he pushed many of those who already supported him to the other side. I've always been taught that if someone can't look you in the eye they can't be trusted. I haven't felt McCain could be trusted or that his word was good for quite some time and that sure hasn't changed after watching his condescending performance last night and I sure don't believe he's ready "on day one" to be Commander-In-Chief. Given his disastrous choice of V.P. I don't have much faith in his judgment either. Annie
28 Sep 08
Barack Hussein Obama is pitifully unqualified to be President of The United States when compared to John McCain. He brings nothing to the table. He brings only rhetoric. During the debate, when he had no answer, which was often, he agreed with McCain. He had few answers. John McCain is a veteran, a former POW, a congressman and Senator for more than two decades. John McCain will have greater respect from our military because of his background. As a veteran I tell you all this is very important. We all respect the Office of President. But, the qualities of leadership that a person brings to that office that are unique to them makes all the difference in the world. John McCain possess the qualities that I as a voter are looking for in our President.John McCain has literally stared the enemy in the face while he was tortured. He could have gone home early from North Vietnamese captivity because of his father's status as Naval Forces Commander. He Chose to stay. Who here would have done that.I think it is a stretch to even include Barrack Hussein Obama in the same conversation with John McCain were it not for his status as the Democrat candidate for President.
@taface412 (3177)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I do agree with you that McCain did demonstrate his strengths during this debate. And as one commentator after the debate pointed out several times throughout the debate Obama said "yes, McCain is right." It was quite obvious that in terms of the foreign policies and military knowledge McCain outweighed Obama. I mean after all the man had served, which is experience in addition to his political experience (another huge plus to me). Plus, you are totally right about Obama being a smooth talker. I mean all this time we were even wondering if the debate would occur all the while Obama was prepping and McCain was reported as somewhat prepping for it. And honestly this goes to show McCain's strength even more as efficient decision maker. Honestly the age thing is a joke. I mean I even heard one commentator say that this could be a way to show the public that he can last a debate....as if he would get tired....please I think this man is capable of enduring a lot of things. As well as honoring his integrity. After all he said he would risk losing an election (which is demonstrated by him prposing to postpone the debate) than put his country at risk.....WAY TO GO. That is integrity to stand up with. I just wish McCain would have pushed the "naming names" attached to pork barreled bills. And my father and I discussed the tax cuts for companies....and I tend to agree that it would be much better than obama wanting to raise the tax on the corporations. Afterall, lower taxes in the market creates competition and who benefits from that --- us the working public. It keeps the economy strong here by creating this competition. It's not just another loophole IMO. Raising the taxes will only cause greater grief on the people who buy the products....haven't we seen this already.
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
28 Sep 08
Well said and let me add, you don't get jobs from poor people. They come from those who have the ability to pay their employees!
@kyodao (38)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I don't think anyone can be unbias and judge this debate fairly. Obviously, the Republicans will side for McCain and Democrats will side for Obama. Each candidate had some very strong valid points and each candidate had some weaknesses. Neither candidate is the end all be all. I think there could be improvements for both candidates and people will vote for who's platform they think is best for the country.
• United States
28 Sep 08
To answer the question as posted. I do not agree with the newsmax story. It is, in my opinion, one of the thousands of spin stories that came out after the debates. Take with a grain of partisan salt. You could find a story that said Obama won with an itemized list for reasons why. The true judge of a debate belongs to you, the individual. The fact that we are debating which person was the winner seems to imply a tie; or close to it.
@DFrodeo06 (1325)
• United States
28 Sep 08
i didn't watch the debate that stuff is so boring to me. BUT i do read the recaps , like this one. Obama has always had a condinsending tone and he just rubs me the wrong way. with that staement can you tell who i'm all for? yep mccain!
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I missed the debate-I was trying to catch it on the local evening news but they didn't show ant clips it really bummed me out because I wanted to see their facial expressions. Thanks for sharing that really filled me in I don't vote but every since my friend LKo & my DM started getting into it I've been keeping up with whats going on. +'s |:)
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I didnt watch all I was in and out of teh house but saw a little bit of some of it nd I watched Obamas face. When he didnt like what McCain was saying he would purse his lips out and wiggle them and roll eyes. Then later I got a call asking me who I was going to vote for I told them Mc cain before she said much and she hung up fast
@newtondak (3950)
• United States
28 Sep 08
I think throughout the debate, McCain maintained one very good point - and reinforced it many times - Obama doesn't understand - Obama fails to understand - basically that Obama does not have the knowledge or the experience to lead. He made his point that he has the on-the-job experience and knowledge to do the job and will not be just learning as he goes as Obama would be. I think that people fail to understand that a tax break to lower income Americans actually means very little - if you don't make much, you don't pay all that much taxes - the government has very little to lose by giving them the tax breaks! Many people wouldn't even receive them because they don't make enough to file taxes! This is an area that Obama supports, however, because he figures it will get all of the non-working and lower-paid people to vote for him. It sounds good in theory, but actually means very little to the people. I do understand, however, what McCain says regarding tax breaks for large companies operating in the United States. If they can get a better deal in another country - they're going to pick up and move their factory to that country, leaving more people unemployed here. This same scenario happens between cities in the United States - for example, if Fargo ND offers Dollar General a better deal for locating one of their distribution centers in their city than Minneapolis MN, then Fargo will be their location.