Presidential Debate #3: Not Close and No Cigar

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Presidential Debate #3

Bob Schieffer of CBS News moderated this third debate, a fairly lively one, from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Coming into this, McCain had to make up for some lost ground in the last couple of weeks amid a financial crisis that has made most Americans edgy about having a Republican in charge. McCain’s numbers have been down; some would say that his negative campaigning and declining confidence in running mate Palin have caused somewhat of a free fall. In contrast, Obama’s numbers have either risen slightly or remain stable. What McCain had to do was something more aggressive in this debate, which would focus on domestic policy, that would set Obama on edge and keep him constantly on the defensive. As a bonus, if he could throw the normally unflustered Obama, McCain could score some much-needed points. Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Debate #2: A Subdued Affair

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with 1 Comment

Presidential Debate 2

Tom Brokaw had it right tonight. As Obama and McCain walked onstage in Nashville for their second debate of the campaign, the mood of the country had changed tremendously since their first encounter on September 26. The Dow plunged over 500 points today and the index is closer to 9000 than 10,000; people are concerned about the economy in ways that they haven’t since the Great Depression and voters especially are anxious for answers out of these somewhat desperate times. As a result, there was a somber feel to this evening’s affair given the crisis; a distinct pallor or dark cloud seemed to hang over the heads of the two candidates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vice Presidential Debate: Biden vs. Palin

Saturday, October 4th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Palin Vs. Biden

Uh oh. Soledad O’Brien is hopped up on speed, talking so fast and loudly flailing her arms at a captive Columbus, Ohio audience as she talks up this hokey device that CNN is giving them during the Biden-Palin debate. We’re supposed to be mesmerized by this focus group, which has been given an all-you-can-eat fried shrimp dinner at a Red Lobster, with their voting devices, signaling up and down throughout the debate when either candidate makes a gaffe or hits a home run. We are t-minus 5 minutes to the Vice Presidential debate between the hockey mom from Wasilla and the scrappy veteran Senator from Delaware. The candidate from nowhere versus the insider who entered the Senate when Sarah Palin was in the second grade. Oh, by the way, she made this stupid point to Katie Couric the other day, an obvious dig at Biden’s age. Imagine that. She makes a jab at her opponent when it is she who everyone fears would become President should old guy McCain drop dead sometime in the future. That is, if he wins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Debate #1: No Knockout Punches

Saturday, September 27th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

The first Presidential debate of the election season between Barack Obama and John McCain at Ole Miss was a mostly sobering, understated affair. No one tossed any pounding blows. No one came away with any killer lines. There was, I think, a fairly decisive victor but it wasn’t necessarily because of debating skill or technique. This was to be a battle between the 72-year-old McCain and the much younger upstart Obama, the former clearly one with experience in the Senate dealing with the evening’s theme, foreign policy and national security. Obama, by contrast, had to be seen as the distinct challenger and there is evidence that his poll leads have not been as high because voters have taken his relative lack of experience to heart. McCain clearly tried to expose this vulnerability as much as possible. But Obama was able to hold his own against the senior senator.

Some highlights (and lowlights): Read the rest of this entry »

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