The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was last Friday night. Actually it was the third debate, but the first where they appeared together to answer questions. At the first two they took turns answering questions. A few thoughts:
(1) The debate was supposed to be about foreign policy, but the $700 billion elephant in the room was the bailout bill being proposed in Washington, DC. Both men looked weary.
(2) It looks like that same elephant will still be in the room for the Vice President candidate debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin this Thursday. Will the VP debate this Thursday draw a bigger audience? Yes, for entertainment value at least, we think that it will be must see TV.
(3) Jim Lehrer, the PBS reporter who served as moderator, seemed to put down Barack Obama as though he were some teenage miscreant, chiding him twice in quick succession, “Say it directly to him.”
(4) I counted the names of at least 6 countries where we might have to fight, 6 more countries we might have to help defend, and 6 countries where we have already been fighting over the last 40 years. I am fast warming up to the Clinton Doctrine, “more friends, fewer enemies.”
(5) I hear CNN instituted a new system where a panel rated the debaters as they made their points, with a distracting graphic display of who scored and who took a hit. Apparently CNN thinks that voters who have made up their minds need that to stay interested.
(6) Who was the winner? David Yepsen, the influential Des Moines Register editorial writer told his swing state Iowa readers that McCain won it and said Obama failed to “assure voters that he is experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy.” On the other hand, conservative commentators seemed to think Obama won.