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article imageOp-Ed: Some Random Thoughts From The Second Presidential Debate

By Sadiq Green     Oct 12, 2008 in Politics
In the 50 years that Presidential debates have been televised, perhaps no previous one was held in such dramatic circumstances. I offer some random thoughts from notes I took during last Tuesday nights debate.
So much for the town hall format working for the Arizona Senator. I did not think McCain was at his best. He seemed very uncomfortable and unnatural to me. McCain made an attempt to look friendly and relaxed after he was criticized for being cold and unfriendly during the first debate. It came across as contrived, like he was trying too hard.
Obama projected the same steady, cool persona we saw during the first debate. He came across as a steady, confident person. He seemed more thoughtful and organized, calmer and more personable. He was more specific with his answers. The town hall format actually favored Obama because it highlighted his vitality vs. McCains age.
McCain repeated himself often using his catch phrases and campaign slogans throughout the debate and it appeared not genuine at all.
Both Senators failed to answer the question about who they would choose as Treasury Secretary if they were elected though they both invoked Warren Buffett. McCain also Meg Whitman of e-bay fame without going so far as to naming her. Is Meg Whitman a realistic choice for a Treasury Secretary? I thought she ran an Internet start up.
I have never in my years following presidential elections heard a question raised about who a candidate would put in their cabinet. I found a game to play on this topic.
McCain in my opinion, insulted the intelligence of the second questioner (Oliver Clark); I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis.", In talking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
He later turned his back to a guest (Ingrid Jackson), while she was still asking her question. It was not lost on me that both questioners were Black. I have to now ask what his views are on race. He referred to Obama as "That one" and even refused to shake his hand when offered after the event.
Seems like neither candidate had a plausible answer for who would oversee this huge bailout and economic fiasco. I thought they might have some credible economist or something to mention. Who advises these guys?
Neither candidate really seemed prepared to take on the implications of this financial catastrophe. Both McCain and Obama pulled a Palin by avoiding answering quite a few questions, which annoyed me and may have annoyed viewers.
I thought Obama related much better to middle-class voters.
Obama's aggressive answer about bin Laden was exceptional. He called out McCain on the bomb-Iran song and was forceful. His best answer was about the Iraq war, when he refused to be silenced by Tom Brokaw and completed an nice statement against the Iraq blunder.
I was gratified to learn that John McCain knows how to get Osama bin Laden and will get him no matter what, though he understandably can't tell us how. I can hardly wait.
I appreciate Obama mentioning bolstering the Peace Corps and involving everyone in our nation's mission rather than solely the military. Military solutions, excessive aggression and paranoia are out of of sync in today's world. More diplomacy and foreign service while rebuilding our own country and confidence will exemplify leadership by example, as well as rallying much-needed unity of purpose
Probably the most disturbing moment for me was when Obama dropped that comment about compromising with other countries in dealing with the financial crisis. That sounds to me like in addition to the mess of bailing out our own banks, Obama is willing to help bail out foreign banks, too. I'm not sure how else to take his comment. He needs to elaborate.
Imagine the U.S. try to negotiate an economic rescue with foreign countries. The United Nations and the World Trade Organization are not stellar models of international cooperation.
Is McCain still running with Sarah Palin? He never once said her name, but he mentioned Joe Lieberman multiple times.
I Like Obama's answer to the health care question. His answer for health care reform was articulated clearly and in detail.
How is either candidate going to reconcile their goals/campaign promises with the current economic situation. I understand that neither wants to be specific about what agenda items will be put on hold, but I think that many voters may be disheartened when campaign goals are not implemented.
McCain's closing statement was his strongest of the evening, but he seemed tired. That may have been evident by the fact that he left right after the debate not opting to stay and schmooze with the American people he claims he thinks about first.
Forgive my ramblings as this opinion was compiled from some sloppily written notes. If you have not already, you can read a full transcript of the debate here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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