Thursday, August 22, 2019 13:26

Review of the Second Debate

Tagged with: , ,
Posted by ep on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 23:46
This news item was posted in Politics category and has 17 Comments so far.

The second Presidential debates were conducted in a town hall format and hosted by Tom Brokaw. The town hall format was requested and pushed by the McCain campaign as it is traditionally where he is most comfortable. Ultimately I think the format led to the debate being fairly boring as it didn’t allow for the back and forth between the candidates where the best exchanges usually occur.

A few observations:

  • Knowing that there wouldn’t be back and forth allowed the candidates to easily fall back into rhetoric without fear of being called out on it.
  • Rather than actively trying to avoid looking at Obama, McCain would generally write notes the entire time Obama spoke.
  • McCain’s smile scares me. It is like there are servos pulling his mouth into an exaggerated smile.
  • McCain shifted from “Obama doesn’t know”, “Obama is naïve” to “I KNOW how to fix this..”. The attacks on Obama’s experience were still there, just not AS aggressive as the last debate.
  • Obama relentlessly tried to steer his answers toward the middle class, even when the question didn’t naturally lead him there.
  • McCain “unveiled” a proposal to have the government buy mortgages and write down the principal and interest for struggling homeowners
  • McCain’s reference to Obama as, “That Guy”

Ultimately very little was added to the discussion by this debate. I was interested in McCain laying (or lying)claim to an idea that Brack Obama had proposed weeks ago. The power to do this was already very clearly built into the new powers built into the package that just passed Congress. It will be interesting to see if the McCain campaign pushed this new ‘idea’ and if it will alienate his base as it seems to fly in the face of economic conservatism.

Some fact checking:

  • McCain (Lie) - McCain falsely claimed that buying home mortgages and resetting the principle and rates was his idea. The truth is Barack had proposed this weeks ago and it is already written into the new bailout legislation. (1)
  • McCain&Obama (Misrepresentation) - Both candidates grossly oversimplified why we are in this financial crisis. The truth is both parties, the market and a failure by regulators all contributed to the break down.
  • McCain (Misrepresentation) - There were several misrepresentations about the each candidates tax plans. Facts about the Obama and McCain Tax plans are listed here.
  • McCain (Mix-up) - McCain’s health care plan gives $2,500 tax credit per person, not $5,000 (1)
  • McCain (Misrepresentation) - Obama’s health care plan exempts small businesses from having to provide health care (1)
  • Obama (Misrepresentation) - Obama stated he is pro nuclear power. This is contrary to a statement he made last December when he said, “I am not a proponent of nuclear power”. (1)
  • McCain (Misrepresentation) - McCain noted that the US had to withdraw from Somalia. John McCain had actually proposed to cut off funding to bring this action to an end sooner. (1)

Once again McCain is the clear winner when it comes to creative truth telling.
McCain- Lie: 1, Misrepresentation: 4, Mix-up:1
Obama- 2 Misrepresentation

Early poll show the debate breaks down like this:

  • 60 Obama-40 McCain / NBC Focus group of Pennsylvania undecided voters.
  • 39 Obama-27 McCain-35 Tie/ CBS’s focus group of independents.
  • 54 Obama-29 McCain/ SurveyUSA’s interview of 741 debate watchers.

Here are some of the results from CNN:


Bookmark and Share
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “Review of the Second Debate”

  1. 8 October, 2008, 14:51

    Obama should win unless McCain can find something about Obama that causes people to not vote for him. I don’t think that McCain can come up with any new ideas to win people over to him.

  2. LaterSkater
    8 October, 2008, 18:48

    I really tried to watch this debate, but the very first question asked sank into rhetoric and the same talking points we’ve been hearing from both candidates. I was hoping for something new… specifics… a plan. I realize that this close to the election they want to speak in generalities so they don’t get crucified for anything, but I felt fairly depressed after the first question and then just turned off the tv. As soon as McCain did his standard delivery on the “giving money to people who frankly, , don’t like us very much” I was done.

  3. LaterSkater
    8 October, 2008, 18:49

    Oh yeah… ep… btw… I LOVE your artwork for the button on this post.

  4. 8 October, 2008, 18:59

    i didn’t really like the debate. it wasn’t as interesting as i expected it to be.the VP debate was better. nice blog!

    return the love…

  5. 8 October, 2008, 19:26

    Obama really stuck it to McCain on the “talk softly but carry a big stick” thing.

    I loved it.

  6. lexi
    8 October, 2008, 23:58

    listened to it on NPR while driving and was really disappointed overall. I think the town hall setting took away from the actual “debate” aspect that I would have appreciated more at this late stage in the game. The rhetoric gets old and the he said=she said made me want to punch the radio in my rental car since so much of it was spun. I say in debate number 3 we should put them in the octagon. :D

  7. 9 October, 2008, 8:01

    This is an interesting article. However, I do not watch cnn because they are so biased. I was foxnews only, and according to one poll they had, it showed viewers in favor of McCain 87% and in favor of Obama 11% (the remaining undecided)

    I know that McCain is not perfect, as no human is perfect. But Obama is the one that scares me.

  8. 9 October, 2008, 8:56

    Thanks for the post on my site. I’m curious if people self select into channels they feel will match up with their views. IE. Hard core conservatives are only going to watch Fox News so when they take a poll it is going to be skewed.

    NOTE: I will watch Fox News as well so I can hear the Far Right ideology and rhetoric. I do this because I think it is healthy to hear and be aware of ideas that conflict with your own. I tried to listen to Air American and couldn’t do it.

  9. LaterSkater
    9 October, 2008, 9:35

    I think all news networks are guilty of not following up on politician’s talking points for fear that the politicians will quit appearing on their shows. I’ve never understood how a news agency owned by a large corporation out to make their shareholders rich (like Aol or Time Warner or Disney) could be accused of a liberal media bias. I used to force myself to watch the 700 Club back in college until I was able to get beyond the point of it making me angry, just to understand some of the fallacy of arguments used on that show. Now, I have to admit, I get most of my news from the Daily Show and the Colbert Report because wrapping it in comedy is the only way to make it palatable.

  10. 9 October, 2008, 9:39

    mstokes, may I suggest a movie called OutFoxed to you. It was made in 2004 and provides a revealing look into the so-called “fair and balanced” network. It’s based on interviews with former employees.

  11. Jody
    9 October, 2008, 11:55

    All news channels and newspapers are biased. I used to watch TV, and I always saw how angry the Iraqis were that we invaded their country. But I heard a few soldiers mention that the news here was nothing like the situation in Iraq. After my son was deployed to Iraq, I asked him if the Iraqis were upset that we were there. He told me that almost all of them were very grateful and thanked the soldiers over and over. He said that a few were mad and that they were very “pissed off”. So, I can’t really believe most of the news on TV.

  12. 10 October, 2008, 8:56

    I don’t understand how

    “Obama (Misrepresentation) - Obama stated he is pro nuclear power. This is contrary to a statement he made last December when he said, “I am not a proponent of nuclear power”. (1) ”

    is classed as a misrepresentation and not a lie. The differences seem very cloudy to me. If I tell you two things that completely contradict each other (I hate dogs, I love dogs) am I not lying in one of the two statements?

  13. 10 October, 2008, 9:15


    I labeled it a misrepresentation because I didn’t fill in all the details (and I apologize for that).

    His full stated position was(is) unless we have a plan and a place to safely store the nuclear waste, then he is not a proponent of nuclear power. I feel he has begun to leave off that qualification lately.

    Hope that helps, I should have included that note in the original post.

  14. 10 October, 2008, 12:34

    I agree with your analysis of the debate. It would have been so much better in the traditional format. Great job on the fact checking too. The trouble with the GOP campaign is they they are focused on negativity and not on the state of the country today.

  15. 10 October, 2008, 18:50

    Nice thoughts. I was a bit disappointed by both candidates, as each were more focused on attacking the other candidate/party, with McCain constantly digging at Obama and Obama digging at McCain and trying to link him to Bush. I also think the whole “that one” was blown out of proportion and is being used by the advisers to Obama as a racist “code word” instead of being kept in context.

    The debate was boring, but the town hall format was so constricted with time limits and the selected questions that we didn’t learn anything new. Obama voters continue to support Obama. McCain voters continue to support McCain. Independent voters are still scratching their heads pissed off at both for the most part.

    I still think Obama has this election in the bag, but anything could still happen. The “Bradley effect” is expected to have roughly a 5 point swing towards McCain, but I’m predicting it will only be about 2-3 points unless the polls are completely off. As long as the economy remains the big issue, Obama can coast.

  16. 11 October, 2008, 22:17

    Nice recap. I agree that “…very little was added to the discussion by this debate,” not so much because of the character or content of the debate itself, but because the campaign trajectory has been set on what seems to be an inalterable course by other events. The kind of meltdown Obama would have to display to “lose” one of these things in any meaningful way is simply unimaginable.

  17. 6 September, 2015, 20:50

    nice going!

Leave a Reply