Scattered thoughts on the debate

First, I’ll refer you to video from the panel discussion last night, where you will find Joshua Gross and others offering their thoughts.

I was wiped out last night, and didn’t stick around to talk to folks after the discussion ended a little before midnight. Long day. I hope folks didn’t think I was rude, but I’d been fighting a cold and had no resources left. I’d told everyone at the start that I was just there to observe; it was the newsroom’s show.

On my way out I did run into our own Norm Ivey, who was there sporting an Obama ’08 T-shirt. You can see some of Norm’s recent comments on this post, and this one, and this one.

As I said last night from my Treo, I don’t think this was a debate that changed any minds — although Norm raised the interesting point that the candidates were speaking to voters who hadn’t paid attention until now, and that on that score he thought McCain did better. I can’t say, because I wasn’t looking for that while I watched.

Nor do I have an overall observation or theme. I thought each candidate exhibited some strengths and weaknesses, as follows:

McCain strengths:

  • Having been right about the Surge. There’s so much more to that than the fact that by sending those extra troops, and using them properly, we created a stituation in which we can start talking about drawing down and leaving behind a stable Iraq. It goes to the core fact that McCain was right, and Bush was wrong, for four years before the president finally got rid of Rumsfeld and switched to a strategy that would work. This narrative (and so many other things) gives the lie to the Democrats’ "McCain equals Bush" nonsense. It communicates that he won’t give up on our nation’s commitments, or let American blood be spent for nought. And it shows he knows the differences between approaches likely to work, and those not to.
  • The constant reminders of his long experience with these issues. The answer he gave to the "bomb, bomb Iran" remark was his best moment. He gave the history of his judgments of major decisions involving the deployment of our military, from being against sending the Marines to Lebanon in 83 to backing Clinton on Bosnia in defiance of many in his party. It strongly suggested the thought, "Oh, yeah — and Obama just got to the Senate…"
  • His long-held opposition to earmarks and wasteful spending, and clear willingness to use his veto and the bully pulpit to fight it. Lehrer was irritating with his constant hammering on "if the bailout passes, what will you give up," but McCain gave the best answer.
  • The reminder that he and Biden pushed through the 9/11 commission, again in spite of the Bush administration.
  • His answer on the initial economic question, emphasizing how encourage he was that Democrats and Republicans were working together finally, made Obama’s answer about "failed policies" of Republicans look petty.

McCain weaknesses

  • One overrides all others, and he did it repeatedly and intentionally — his condescending references to Obama "not understanding" issues. Obama is a smart man, but even if he weren’t, McCain’s constant attempts to put him down would have been unseemly, and beneath him. Yes, I believe there are some things Obama "doesn’t get," but that’s not a gentlemanly way of putting it, and I’m betting it created a lot of sympathy for Obama. Most of all, it was inconsistent with the sort of man McCain is — he is usually deeply humble and gracious to those who disagree with him (something that I think is all the more admirable because of his natural temper; he has chosen to be mild in disagreement, and it speaks well of him). This was artificial and offensive, and whoever talked him into taking this approach should not be listened to again.
  • As we knew already, he is not as smoothly articulate as his opponent. He lost himself in his sentences a number of times, particularly toward the end, and that did him no good.

Obama strengths

  • His argument that Iraq has sapped our resources to the point that we can’t "project force" where we need to elsewhere in the world. Yes, Democrats have long said this in regard to Afghanistan, but he took it beyond that. This remains the strongest argument that critics of our involvement in Iraq have, and he used it well, doing an excellent job of distancing himself from those in his party who are reflexively against ANY military action, and that’s something he has to do to be credible as a candidate for commander in chief.
  • Beyond exhausting the military, he also made a good argument that Iraq has enabled and strengthened Iran — a familiar argument, but he presented it well.
  • His gracious acknowledgment of the courageous leadership McCain showed in standing up to the administration on torture. The normal Democratic position is that McCain "caved" on the issue, and is no better than Bush. That’s a deeply unfair characterization, and Obama showed himself to be above that.
  • More articulate, as always (see "McCain weaknesses").

Obama weaknesses

  • Continuing to be wrong on the Surge, and not acknowledging it, hurts him with everyone else except his base. Trouble is, that base will go nuclear if he acknowledges it. (The thing is that logically, he could still assert it was wrong to go INTO Iraq, but that the Surge was the thing to do.) The "worked beyond wildest expectations" earlier helped, but McCain turned that against him well, noting that it was no surprise to HIM.
  • Probably no one else noticed this, but when he tried to excuse his failure to hold hearings on Afghanistan (a weakness in itself), he said that’s not the practice on the committee chaired by his veep candidate. That made me fully realize, in a way I hadn’t before, just how upside-down the ticket is in terms of qualifications — the number two guy on the ticket is the number one guy’s CHAIRMAN. If I had been McCain, I might have succumbed to the temptation to point out the irony.
  • This is a silly one, but the "professor" was much in evidence in his pedantic insistence on trying to pronounce foreign names and terms the way natives of those countries might, but doing it with such an obvious American accent (the bad guys in Afghanistan were the "Tollybon," said as only an English-shaped tongue could say it). Maybe you couldn’t hear it; it’s something from my childhood when I lived in South America and was bilingual — even though I can hardly speak it now, hearing other gringos try to be SO proper in their pronunciation and fail still grates on my ear.

Yeah, I know — I gave McCain more strengths, and Obama more weaknesses. But each item does not have equal value, and overall, I think they came out even. That’s bad news for McCain, because the subject of most of the debate was his personal area of strength, and he needed to clearly win this one.

I don’t think he did that, but then I can’t speak for all independent voters.

46 thoughts on “Scattered thoughts on the debate

  1. wtf

    biased much?
    McCain tried to hammer Obama for not holding any hearings on Afganistan, even though the sub-committee that Obama chairs is not the correct committee to hold such hearings. Meanwhile McCain attended exactly ZERO hearings that were actually called himself. This glaring ommision of the truth make McCain seem amaturish in his attacks and totally erodes his so-called experience in the Senate. Oh yeah, and a total hypocrite. Themes I’m sure you’ll hear more of over the next several weeks.
    The debates boiled down to this. Obama stood toe to toe with McCain for an hour and a half on a topic that was supposed to McCain’s hometurf. For an area that was supposed to be McCain’s expertise and twenty years more experience, the new guy corrected him on many inaccuracies and showed that he belonged on the stage.
    For most undecided voters, that’s all they needed to see and the after debates polls clearly show that more undecided voters are now clearly for Obama by almost a 2 to 1 margin. McCain needed a win and not a tie, especially when behind in the polls and falling faster than Clemson in the AP coaaches poll (dig).
    Just like Bush in 2000 versus Gore…tie goes to the candidate who is not the incumbant party.

  2. Phillip

    Brad, though I agree with much of what you said, I would like to take issue with these few points:
    1) this one is actually directed towards Norm, who I think may be incorrect that McCain scored better with undecideds, some details here, obviously we’ll know more as time passes. Perhaps this is more on style and demeanor than substance, but preliminary indications are that Obama
    2) I agree that McCain scored well on arguments about the surge, but disagree that Obama’s positions on Iraq “hurts him with everyone except the base.” It’s still an unpopular war, Brad, and it is still costing an awful lot of money, and relates to our hurting economy, which (especially now) is the number one issue with voters. I would actually flip your statement on its head and propose this: If one assumes that McCain is right on the surge and Obama wrong and if that is McCain’s greatest advantage over Obama it is insufficient to overcome Obama’s perceived strength on economic issues. In other words, the economy will trump Iraq, and Obama is not a waffler at least.
    3) Also, am surprised you found Lehrer’s persistence irritating. He was doing a good journalistic job on that question…both candidates were dodging the answer, especially Obama. Lehrer was trying not to let these guys off the hook and get them to give the American people a straight answer. That’s a journalist doing his job.
    4) You’re correct that insofar as strategy goes re Iraq, “McCain=Bush” is inapplicable. But in terms of demagogic disdain for diplomacy, and the kind of obsession about not talking to Iran, etc., the inability to see gray but rather only black and white, there are definite points of alignment between the McCain and Bush worldviews. Most significantly, though, Brad, the “McCain=Bush” theme is applied most often in the area of—again, the most pressing issue to voters now—the economy. McCain’s desire to make the Bush tax cuts permanent is an albatross that Obama would be remiss not to hang around his opponent’s neck.
    But overall, I agree with you, they came out more or less even on substance. As you well know, the story of the debate that evolves in the days is what becomes solidified into history if you will, and at least on this day after, it seems Obama’s Presidential plausibility was greatly enhanced by his performance.

  3. The 7-10: Anthony Palmer

    Did you notice that Joe Biden was making the TV rounds doing interviews praising Obama after the debate while Sarah Palin was nowhere to be found? Isn’t that a bit odd?
    Having said that, if this election is like 1980, I think Obama cleared the competency threshold and looks to play Ronald Reagan to McCain’s Jimmy Carter. McCain needs to get this election to be a referendum on Obama, rather than a referendum on Palin or the economy. If he can’t do that, I think Obama stands to win 350 electoral votes.
    Oh, and even though McCain was right on the surge, nobody’s really listening because the economy matters more this fall. It is not wise for him to run as an “experience” candidate in a “change” election. Hillary Clinton ran on experience and lost. So did Joe Biden and Bill Richardson.

  4. Karen McLeod

    I must be missing something here. Everyone jumps Obama for being too much “the professor.” But he was specific. He actually said something about his plans. To me, McCain all too often spouted puffery “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”–at least nothing one could pin down. It sounds great, but it doesn’t get close to nuts and bolts. I’d rather have someone who knows what he’s talking about, and can explain it clearly.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Ah, but what do you do if ONE guy knows what he’s talking about, and the OTHER guy can explain it clearly? On foreign policy, that may be what we have here, and it’s not too great for the country either way. I still like both of these guys, but I’m worried — I think McCain understands world affairs better than Obama, but Obama expresses what he knows better, and a leader has to communicate.

    In her rather rambling, often incoherent feature/column in today’s WSJ, Peggy Noonan seizes on the fact that voters lack confidence that EITHER candidate is the one to lead us through our economic problems:

    Yet the economic crisis brings a new question, only recently being articulated, and I know because when I mention it, people go off like rockets. It is: Do you worry that neither candidate is up to it? Up to the job in general? Is either McCain or Obama actually up to getting us through this and other challenges? I haven’t heard a single person say, "Yes, my guy is the answer." A lot of shrugging is going on out there. The big shrug is a read not only on the men but on the moment.

    But what if neither can lead us on foreign policy?

  6. Sarah

    Both have shown that they could be president; now the challenge, especially for McCain, is to be the person people want to be president.

  7. Lee Muller

    Anyone who makes up their mind based on a debate or all the debates is being pretty shallow.
    The real meat is the character issue, which you have to research. Just as many people figured out before the 1992 election that Bill Clinton was a slimy crook, those who research Obama with an open mind will find his entire life associating with criminals, terrorists, socialist, communists and radical Muslims who hate whites and Jews.

  8. Randy E

    What was McCain right about? The surge has hardly resulted in long term diplomatic solutions. Meanwhile Afghanistan and Pakistan have gone to hell and we can’t do anything about it. What else?
    On the other hand, McCain talked about “muddling through Afghanistan” while he blindly believes Iraq is the main battlefield in the war on terror. He doesn’t know who the president of Spain is and how did he not forsee the Russian invasion and warn his good buddy, the Georgian president. Brad is wrong, he has communicated very well what he knows (or doesn’t know) about foreign policy.
    In profound contrast, Obama’s is clearly a fast learner because of superior intelligence. How moronic is it that we find a professoral style (reflecting high intelligence) a negative. For almost 8 years we’ve had the good ol’ frat boy who eschews intellectual rigor in favor of wittiness and reliance on rhetoric and propaganda. Are we better off than we were 8 years ago?
    BTW, Lee the Contrarian is absolutely right. Palin was sitting around almost begging the media to interview her but they didn’t think she was newsworthy and ignored her.

  9. Ralph Hightower

    I read the WSJ column that you mentioned by Peggy Noonan.
    Posted by: Brad Warthen | Sep 27, 2008 5:44:28 PM:

    In her rather rambling, often incoherent feature/column in today’s WSJ, Peggy Noonan seizes on the fact that voters lack confidence that EITHER candidate is the one to lead us through our economic problems:

    Yes, it was long and rambling; more like a story than it was an editorial, or an op-ed. I understood her article.
    Then at the bottom of her article in the WSJ:

    —Adapted from “Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now,” by Peggy Noonan. Copyright 2008 by Peggy Noonan. Published by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
    Peggy Noonan is the author of seven books. This is adapted from her next book, “Patriotic Grace,” which will be published next week.

    Oh, so this was an excerpt from her book, “Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now”.
    The first bit of the excerpt is flying in the post 9/11 world. Then the story ventures into politics, still focusing on air travel. You and I are not members of that class that flies by private jet; however, politicians are members of that elite class that travels by private jet, bypassing the lower class that they govern; such as you and me. The excerpt then goes into her analysis of this current presidential election period.
    I have not flown for a vacation. I have only flown for work to solve computer problems at customer sites. In 1994, I paid for my own flights to travel back and forth from my work location in Cedar Rapids to my home location in the Columbia area to visit my wife and friends. I do not categorize flying in 1994 as pleasant; yes, I did get peanuts or almonds as a snack and was able to order a beer. The airlines just shovel us from one place to another. The last flight I took was in 2000 for work related business.
    I was on the ground in Columbia a few days before USAir Flight 1016 crashed in Charlotte, NC on July 2, 1994, but friends and coworkers in Cedar Rapids didn’t know that I wasn’t on that flight. I flew back to Iowa on July 4, 1994. That was a highlight, being able to see two Fourth of July fireworks displays a thousand miles apart (Lake Murray and Cedar Rapids).
    I don’t know what flying is like in this post 9/11 world. I have not had to take off my belt or shoes, or package liquids in clear one-ounce bottles.
    Such is the price of living with liberty.
    Of course, Conspiracy Lee will naturally call me a “terrorist”, a “socialist”, a “communist”, or a “muslim”. Of all the labels that Lee throws at me, I am none of those!

  10. Lee Muller

    The Democrats use the same line on every Republican – he or she is always “so dumb”.
    They thought Reagan, head of the Screen Actors Guild, was so dumb. And Jimmy Carter, who screwed up everything he touched, was so smart.
    Gerald Ford, honors graduate of the U of Michigan, was also continually slandered as so dumb.
    Clinton, who flunked out of Oxford, was so smart. Just like Carter, a screw up with a cabinet full of crooks and incompetents.
    Al Gore, who barely was graduated from Harvard in a social promotion, was so smart. Never mind that he was expelled from divinity school for drug use and flunked out of law school from being drunk and stoned all the time, he would have made A+, if he had wanted to stay sober.
    Meanwhile, G.W. Bush, a fighter pilot with excessive flying hours, earns an early out of TANG and earns an Harvard MBA, but he is so dumb.
    Obama, who has made a career on social promotions and Affirmative Action, is so smart. Sure he is almost 50, having accomplished nothing in his life, but just wait.

  11. gordon

    ok, hee are two guy more alike than differnt on the major issues of the day. And what did we learn from them that we didn’t already know – Nada. The system works.

  12. Randy E

    Yea, Clinton are Obama are real boneheads and W didn’t benefit from daddy’s influence. His C average was a result of his intellectual curiosity and work ethic.

  13. Lynn

    Obama was confident enough and had the grace to say so when he thought McCain was right. McCain, while claiming to be “bipartisan”, immediately produced ads attacking Obama for those remarks. Obama is willing to talk to people who don’t agree with him to try to resolve problems. McCain tells us he won’t negotiate with anyone who hasn’t already conceded to his agenda, and to prove it wouldn’t even look at Obama or speak to him during the debate. Perhaps one reason McCain is such a “maverick” is because too often he fails to communicate with potential allies, and therefore ends up in an isolated minority.

  14. James D McCallister

    My question is, how on earth are they prepping Palin for next Thursday? Getting her wired up with a W-style radio receiver and earpiece?

  15. Ralph Hightower

    Randy E,
    Thank you for the link to the NY Times about the connection of the gambling lobbyist to McCain. The article is very enlightening.
    At least McCain did go against the Republican party to expose Jack Abramoff and his bilking of $66 million from Indian tribes. McCain should have taken down Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed as part of the Abramoff investigation.

  16. Phillip

    Lynn’s point is excellent…Obama had no problem acknowledging points on which he has no disagreement with McCain (“John is right in saying…”) but McCain, the supposed Unparty-type politician couldn’t bring himself to show any such reasonableness. Very interesting…
    Nicholas Kristof in today’s NYT: “Although he is frantically trying to distance himself from President Bush, Mr. McCain, by his own accounting, would be more Bushian in foreign policy than even Mr. Bush is now. While Mr. Bush has been forced to accept more sensible policies in his second term, Mr. McCain has become steadily more of a neocon…Mr. McCain could constitute a dangerous gamble for this country.”
    Brad, I share Kristof’s sentiment in disagreeing profoundly with your view that McCain understands world affairs better than Obama. The events of recent weeks have convinced me more than ever that McCain would be more reckless, and probably less reliable as our Commander-in-Chief than Obama would be.
    But in the end, most people will vote on the economy, and to paraphrase Chris Rock, they’ll trust the guy with one house to understand them more than the guy with 12 houses.

  17. Doug Ross

    Considering The State’s long time aversion to gambling of any type, wouldn’t it be just another case of ignoring its own strict editorial stances if McCain gets the endorsement?
    McCain holds opposite views from The State on school vouchers, healthcare, and now state supported gambling.
    An endorsement of McCain will be apparently be based solely on a war that the majority of Americans do not support.

  18. Karen McLeod

    I have a feeling that, since we owe China so much money right now, our foreign policy is likely to merge with our economic policy. Any way you look at it, Mr. Bush’s spendthrift policies have resulted in what may be the ‘perfect storm’ for this country.

  19. Phillip

    And now, Brad, the final piece of evidence that not only does John McCain NOT share your Unparty proclivities, he cynically attacks someone who does try to find points of commonality amidst disagreements:

    I sincerely hope, Brad, that this opens your eyes to what John McCain has become. I’ll be astonished if you can endorse him for President after seeing this.

  20. Doug Ross

    Phillip says:
    “I’ll be astonished if you can endorse him for President after seeing this.”
    I won’t. McCain’s a one trick pony (war) and Brad’s been waiting in line with his ticket to ride since 2000.

  21. Norm Ivey

    Brad–thanks for the shout-out.
    I hold to my view that many people who are just tuning in to the election will probably see McCain as the winner. His responses were more aggressive and easier to understand. I think many voters are looking for those kinds of answers to their problems.
    It’s interesting to see the clips that have been picked up for replay on the news commentary shows–the repeated “You were wrong” from Obama directed at McCain and the frequent cross-stage shots of Obama addressing McCain while he clenched his teeth and stared at Jim Lehrer or the audience. I wonder what impact those sound bites and images will have on those viewers who didn’t tune in and only watched the evening news to find out what happened.

  22. Lee Muller

    Since McCain was not a party to the Jack Abramoff scandal, why bring it up, except to try to smear him for a scheme mostly involving Democrats?
    Besides, during the Clinton administration, over $1.0 BILLION was stolen from savings accounts on Indian reservations, and the Reno DOJ failed to indict a single person or recover one cent.

  23. rb

    Oh Brad, people don’t care how he pronounces anything…SC helped elect a dimwit who, after two terms and plenty quality time with Condi Rice, still says “nucular” …

  24. Randy E

    Lynn, great points about Obama’s willingness to agree. But Brad points out that McCain’s speech included promises to be nonpartisan so talking the talk is all that matters.
    Ralph, in the article it is explained that Abramoff provided an opportunity for McCain and his posse to score points (and make some coin). McSame is dirty.

  25. Lee Muller

    Since when did a Clinton or Obama supporter start caring about a candidate with dirty friends.
    Obama’s campaign is run by 30 K-Street lobbyists.
    Obama’s economic advisors include the heads of Lehman Brothers and Freddie Mac, as well as a fan of Communist Romania.
    Obama’s mansion was bought for him with help from convicted swindler Rezko.
    Obama’s entire law practice consisted of grabbing federal grants for Rezko and the Nation of Islam to redevelop slums. Now all the projects are bankrupt and the money gone.

  26. Lee Muller

    We can’t change the hard-core Obama crowd, because many of them are socialists and hate America, so Bill Ayers and the other terrorist friends of Obama don’t bother them.
    But we can put the facts in front of voters who are still undecided. Good, honest Americans will find Obama’s agenda very repulsive and scary.

  27. Norm Ivey

    Thanks for the links. I’m pleasantly surprised at the polls. Perhaps people have been paying closer attention than I thought.

  28. Karen McLeod

    Norm, re: McCain, you said, “his responses were more aggressive and easier to understand.” My take was that his responses were certainly more aggressive, but for the most part contained nothing but sloganeering. If you want the ‘Jesse Ventura’ approach to politics, McCain’s answers may have been perfect for you. Personally, I was hoping that the candidates would explain their positions more fully, and that they would attract voters through reason. We are supposed to be electing a president, not fighting each other.

  29. Randy E

    Karen, if you look back at the debate you’ll see that Obama addressed specifics about economics to remain competitive:
    1. energy independence veering towards alternatives
    2. fix health care system
    3. education and affordable college
    4. rebuild infrastructure
    Contrast that with McCain who held up a pen and talked about earmarks. (Obama pointed out amounts to less than 18B over a year. McCain’s war costs that much in 6 weeks.)

  30. bud

    The surge is a success? That’s the conventional wisdom but there are many reasons why violence is down in Iraq. It’s not clear whether the surge played even more than a minor roll. Obama couldn’t acknowledge that given the debate format but he certainly has no obligation to gush about it’s success.
    Obama came back strong on the surge nonsense by pointing out how we’ve been in Iraq since 2003, not 2007. Besides the fact that the surge has cost the treasury additional billions this whole “surge is a success” mantra has no meaning given the overall idiocy of going into Iraq in the first place. Obama had the better argument hands down on Iraq.

  31. bud

    The constant reminders of his long experience with these issues. The answer he gave to the “bomb, bomb Iran” remark was his best moment.
    Really? When he launched into that long diatribe about his roll in this or that decision on issues that go back decades it reminded me of just how old he is. He even mentioned Alexander the Great. Was he there to give AG advice on strategy?
    In general McCain seemed like a dated 20th century cold warrior whereas Obama came across as fresh, thoughtful, presidential and far more intelligent.

  32. Phillip

    Randy mentions the McCain obsession with earmarks and puts it in some perspective. To understand this even more in a visual sense, I recommend everybody check out this pie chart.
    Reminds me a bit of the arts endowment flap of the late 80’s and early 90’s…where rightwing nutjobs like the late you-know-who expended so much hot air complaining about 3 or 4 controversial NEA grants, when the overall arts budget amounted to about one raisin out of an entire Sunday brunch buffet at the Clarion on Gervais.
    In other words, while no one can deny that some earmarks may be questionable and the entire process is worth re-examining, for McCain to huff and puff about that at great length while being so blithely willing to flush away hundreds of times that much on neocon geopolitical experiments like Iraq is the ultimate demagoguery and hypocrisy. That goes for you too, Jim DeMint.

  33. bud

    The normal Democratic position is that McCain “caved” on the issue, and is no better than Bush. That’s a deeply unfair characterization, and Obama showed himself to be above that.
    No it’s not. McCain pulled one of the most stunning, inexplicable flip-flops in political history. He did so for purely political reasons. By supporting legislation that allows the CIA to torture McCain completely lost all credibility on this issue. This was one area that I had great respect for McCain but now it’s area that exposes him for the phony political hack that he has become.
    Obama didn’t exploit this because it was too sensitive to go after McCain given his POW status that essentially insulates him from overt criticism. Obama did what he had to do but I don’t consider that a “great” moment for Obama, just a necessary moment.

  34. bud

    And there’s this:
    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Four bombs killed at least 32 people and wounded scores in busy districts of Baghdad on Sunday as Iraqis shopped and broke their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, police said.
    With stories like this continuing to pop up is it really credible to boost endlessly that the surge has worked? Worse, is it really appropriate to abuse Obama for failing to acknowledge that the surge has been a smashing success?
    It’s been more than 1-1/2 years since we started the surge and 5 years since we started our occupation of Iraq. Isn’t that enough time to bring this thing to a final conclusion?

  35. p.m.

    Sometimes, Randy, you can show your own ignorance with a “gotcha” like McCain and gambling.
    That story, as you might say of McCain himself, is so old it’s practically prehistoric.
    Heck, a Fox News biography of McCain I saw a couple of weeks ago probably had more detail about McCain and gambling and — perish the thought — the womanizing he did more than three decades ago than the latest New York Times witch hunt for whatever Republican they want to crucify.
    I’ve been to Las Vegas, Randy, and one night a week, I play poker with some friends. Should my right to vote be canceled as a result?

  36. bud

    p.m., I’d like to remind you that the centerpiece event in McCain’s life, one that was endlessly pushed before, during and after the convention is his life changing time in the Hanoi Hilton. If you can bring up that incident in the context of how it changed his life from one of selfishness to one of caring for others and country then you’ve opened the door for evidence to the contrary. Given McCain’s penchant for gambling and adultery during the 70s and 80s it is disingenuous to continue to flaunt the Hanoi Hilton story. You can’t have it both ways. Either McCain’s ENTIRE life, including the philandering and gambling, is relevant or just his recent history with regard to current political issues is relevant.

  37. p.m.

    Familiar with Obama’s half-brother, bud? The one who lives on $12 a year in a Kenyan hut, the one the great Democrat holier-than-thou messiah Obama doesn’t help AT ALL?
    If not, check out these links.
    Get a feel for what kind of guy your candidate is, bud. He’s a man who became wealthy as a community organizer when that should be a non-sequitur, and what’s his foreign policy? He’s letting his half-brother, the one he saw for the second time two years ago, rot.

  38. Ish Beverly

    You have to remember that McCain was debating the liberal news media and Obama combined. And he still won. I think people have already made up their minds. If we could get all the true facts about Obama’s past out before the people, like Lee said, Ithink a lot of people would not vote for Obama. One thing along this line worries me about Obama. He had the same info as everyone in Congress had when we went to war with Iraq. Obama opposed and just about everyone else agreed. Does this mean he has sympathy for our enemies? Will he protect America and America’s interest in a conflict with our enemies? Does he respect America? And how is Obama going to fix the economy when he does not know how it got broke? If he ever does, he will have to take the Fifth Amendment. Also you Democrats need to know that President Bush had a HIGHER grade point average than than did Sen. John Kerry at the same school.

  39. Lee Muller

    The Gallup poll saying Obama was in the lead, turns out to have been taken in Washington, DC, with 72% identifying themselves as Democrats, and 65% of them being black.
    More Obamedia propaganda.

  40. bud

    You have to remember that McCain was debating the liberal news media and Obama combined. And he still won.
    Actually, the so-called “liberal” media pundits seemed to give the edge to McCain or had it a draw immediately after the debate. Tom Brokaw was pretty strident in his positive opinion on McCain. But the actual polling of undecided voters gave Obama a double digit win on the question of who won the debate.

  41. bud

    Lee, all the polls now have Obama ahead in the 5-8% range. This can change of course. McCain was ahead 3 weeks ago and he can re-gain the lead but right now it’s Obama’s too lose. All legitimate polls use a random selection of voters to make the determination. The Gallup poll is no different.

  42. Lee Muller

    Maybe you need to read the fine print on “all the polls”, just like I read the fine print on that worthless Gallup poll.
    The poll that counts right now is the stock sell off in fear of an Obama election. Over the weekend, I was talking to professional investors, who say they will sell off everything to cash if Obama is elected.


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