Just finished watching it via CNN online. Initial impression: Obama won it and won it hard. That's not because I'm a fan, but because he knows his facts, he states his plans, He knows the figures and you can see when watching him he's got the presidency mapped out into finite points. McCain performed much better on this debate (Less hissing and reptilian tonguing - except when he mentioned China once, I caught that one) and even discussed some of his plans rather than simply saying "I have a plan" but he did revert to "I have a plan." "I know how to win the war." "I know how to fix the economy." without backing up his statement. Obama is far better at backing up what he says. He must have an amazingly organized mind.
I found Obama's coolheadedness served him well tonight as McCain was obviously out to make the pot shots and sniper remarks. He was openly insulting with his "You know who didn't vote for it? That one." remark. He kept rewording what Obama said to distract from the issues and force Obama to defend himself which is a debate trick to pull attention from the fact you don't have all the facts which in the end always causes you the most harm by giving your opponent extra talk time. That's why he went a bit defensive when Brokaw was going to allow Obama his moment to respond. McCain as hoping the time restrictions would allow him to get a dig in without any return.
Things that stuck out for me was when asked in what order each would prioritize health policy, entitlement reform and energy, McCain said he could get all three in one go and there was no need for to prioritize. He then said in regards to energy "Build nuclear power plants - a whole bunch of 'em!" which struck me dumb. Then he says we should reign in money we send to foreign countries that don't like us very much "Some of this 700billion ends up in the hands of terrorists." who in turn will be really excited to hear we're going to build a whole bunch of nuclear power plants as I'm sure if they're determined to find targets to attack, those will be easy to find.
Obama says we must prioritze and his order is Energy, health care and education. He never gets back to us on reform entitlement which considering who's losing out in the economy and after what just happened to Iceland's banks I thought that was an unfortunate omission. However, how very enticing is this plan of his to have the USA energy independent in 10 years at the cost of $15billion.
When the question about what sacrifices are expected on the average American, McCain says he'll go through programs that aren't working and cut them out. He mentions a plane contract the was controversial and he'd cut (or did cut?) but in any way, defense will be scrutinized. In fact he'll put an across the board freeze on all programs - except ones that help vets and defense...even though defense will still be scrutinized. This came across as very unprepared and backward. And what is this £3million overhead projector he keeps going on about?? I'll have to google that after I post.
I really ought to have bullet pointed this one again...what else stuck out? Health care as a commodity? I'm not sure either came out and said what I wanted to hear which is health care is a vital right to every American and should be available to every American. McCain said something about having health care records online which freaked me right out! With all the missing briefcases containing highly sensitive information (Ok that may be UK based fuck-up) but the thought of my medical records being viewed by some hacker is scary stuff. How could they regulate and enforce Data Protection? Too many issues surround that throw away comment and I'd like to know what he meant about it. Also, who the fuck wants to go crossing state lines to find the best health care? That's lunacy! I don't want to be traveling hundreds or thousands of miles away from my home and family for any major medical care. That's batshit crazy. I want to know I can get the same level of health care in my local hospital as any other hospital in the rest of the country.
The issues around Pakistan and whether they are concealing al-Qaeda cells and/or Bin Laden, again these two are very different and yet not so different. Both say go in with diplomacy but impress firmly about rooting out the terrorists. Obama says he would launch his own attack if Pakistan won't police the problem themselves. That is saying he'd attack over Pakistan's borders and he doesn't say whether it would be with/without Pakistan's permission but one can assume they would not be pleased about a war taking place over its own border without its own involvement. McCain quotes Roosevelt's "Speak softly and carry a big stick." which is the same as saying let's talk and hope you come around to our way of thinking or I'll smack you with my big stick. Thing is, Pakistan has a big stick too.
I wasn't as impressed with this debate as the first one as there wasn't too much new information or going over new ground. I think McCain came across as smarmy with the public, rancorous towards Obama. Obama seemed very informed and level but did show that he was fed up with McCain and that he was annoying him. I have to give him credit for not outwardly telling him to fuck off, which I'm sure really wanted to. But he held his own amiably enough.
I'm off to see how the rest of the world is thinking about this. Debate polls! What fun!