Saturday, September 27, 2008

looking forward to upcoming POTUS debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates provides this description of the 2d debate, schedule for October 7, 2008: “The second presidential (town meeting format) debate will include any issues raised by members of that audience and online.”

I’m thinking ahead, and reflecting back. I remember how Gore tried on different personalities for each debate, a result of the previous personality not doing so well. My favorite was the Geisha Gore, with enough make-up to suggest he just did a cameo in a casket for a soap opera.

Some impressions of Obama last night. I was getting pissy as he kept on interrupting “John.” Bambi kept on trying to cut off the end of responses and even started interrupts in the middle. It was very rude. McCain seemed a lot more patient as he allowed Obama to talk. McCain did blow off Lehrer a couple of times so that he could finish an answer or response.

Obama was led several times – well, taken to the woodshed. The split screen was amazing as we saw McCain making his points, and Obama almost exhibiting facial ticks.

When I put those observations together, I think Obama needs to learn to be passive while the other guy is talking.

Obama also did his famous “I’ve been saying that for [insert time period here]” routine. Seems every problem that crops up in this world, he’s been talking about for years, and “very clearly” to boot.

He didn’t score any style points with his oft-stated, “I agree with John.”

Some impressions of McCain last night. He pulled a lot of punches. I think there’s a method to this – I think McCain has a three-debate strategy. More in a bit.

He dropped a lot of names of leaders most of us wouldn’t know – old Soviet Bloc countries. This really gave a feeling of depth by comparison – because the Bamster did none of it except for Mahmoud the Tent Maker. His packaged line, of course, was “I think the Senator doesn’t understand.” Came up about eight times.

Obama was flustered several times. He did not know where to go. Here’s an excerpt:

MCCAIN: ... I supported Nunn-Lugar back in the early 1990s when a lot of my colleagues didn't. That was the key legislation at the time and put us on the road to eliminating this issue of nuclear waste and the nuclear fuel that has to be taken care of.

OBAMA: I -- I just have to correct the record here. I have never said that I object to nuclear waste. What I've said is that we have to store it safely.

And, Senator McCain, he says -- he talks about Arizona.

LEHRER: All right.

OBAMA: I've got to make this point, Jim.


OBAMA: He objects...

MCCAIN: I have voted for alternate fuel all of my time...

OBAMA: He -- he -- he objects...

LEHRER: One at a time, please.

OBAMA: He objected...

LEHRER: One at a time.

MCCAIN: No one can be opposed to alternate energy.

OBAMA: All right, fair enough. Let's move on.

Obama gave up! What point was he trying to make? He. Gave. Up.

So where do we go for D2? Obama will force issues harder and he’ll be more patient while McCain is speaking. What does that mean? It means that Obama will adopt McCain’s D1 style – because when Obama deviated, he looked bad.

What will McCain do in D2? He should act as if Obama is not even on the stage. It’s a town-hall format. He should answer the question to the audience member or to Brokaw if it’s an e-mail. Obama does not exist.

Obama, overcompensating for his weak D1 persona, will be seen as trying to beat up an old guy.

That sets up D3, which is domestic and economic policy. McCain should after Obama like Jim Carville after trailer-park trash. Chew him up and spit him out right on the stage. Nail him hard for educational reform ala Attenberg. Bring in “results-oriented” community organizing – not the kind that identifies asbestos that is still in place decades later. Obama will be back to pure reaction.

The best part of D1 was McCain’s control and Obama’s flailing. McCain now controls the setting.


  1. Clyde

    Good post, I am excited for the next debates as well. I don't see Obama getting better, I really think in the Democratic War Room their is a freak out going on, no amount of spin will fix this.

  2. by the way it's London Locke from

  3. thanks, thomas aka london. looking forward to the next few debates.

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