Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Second Presidential Debate - Pundit Roundup and video

belmont, second debate, obama, mccain
Belmont University Debate '08: Barack Obama VS John McCain II
This is usually the part where I roundup initial impressions from the APF pundits on the Presidential debates.

The silence here is deafening. The pundits I usually rely on to provide prompt assessments have been notably lacksadaisical and unenthused.

Sam Seder on McCain - Not for nothing
without weighing in on the safety of nuclear power.. a three time cancer patient saying I worked on a nuke sub and it did nothing to me doesn't inspire confidence
Michelle Malkin on McCain's performance
Liveblogging the town hall debate: Zzzzzzzz
McCain-Bush, McCain-Bush.
Sarah Palin was so much more effective at defusing this talking point in her debate.
McCain is doing…nothing.
Except: “My friends, my friends, my friends, my friends.”...
No mention of Ayers. No mention of ACORN. Not even the feeblest attempt to expose Obama’s radical roots.
The always reliable Hugh Hewitt provides his patented Debate scorecard. Read Hugh's in-depth debate appraisal - President Barack Hoover.

The main storyline coming out of the debate is what didn't happen for McCain. The McCain camp has tried to reframe the Presidential race by turning it into a referendum on Obama's character. It was the main storyline entering the debate and signals what the scramble will look like as the November election approaches. The timing of the renewed focus on Obama's character seems a little off. The TownHall debate is one of the remaining national viewing drawcards but it didn't allow McCain to deliver on the narrative. In boxing/wrestling terms, you had a lot of hostilities during the weigh-in and press conference but when you tuned in to the PPV... nothing. Civility means the American people win but the pundits have nothing to talk about.

Character attacks don't play well in a dueling TownHall settings when the focus is 'feeling the audience's (people's) pain '. Another factor as Scott Horsley explained on the NewsHour is the "Awkward factor" of negative personal attacks in a Town-hall setting.
It's tough to level those kind of hardening charges, though, when Senator Obama is standing right by your side and when you're in a room full of people.
Ironically all debates have the opponents standing side by side and a "room full of people". The change is in the context. The tight quarters, the physical intimacy - whilst it creates the feeling of a "Fight club" or wrestling ring (complete with tables and chairs) it's actually the opposite. The deliberate audience makeup of self-professed independents makes it less conducive for throwing punches.

You will notice there was some stand-offishness on the part of Obama not shaking McCain's hand after the debate.

The storyline as captured by The Corner on National review

Tonight by Rich Lowry
Obama, meanwhile, just has to appear plausible and he did. In fact, he's a kind of genius at appearing plausible...
You Guys Are Nuts by Andy McCarthy
Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left?... Great. Memo to McCain Campaign: Someone is either a terrorist sympathizer or he isn't; someone is either disqualified as a terrorist sympathizer or he's qualified for public office. You helped portray Obama as a clearly qualified presidential candidate who would fight terrorists...
Andy's Right by Lisa Schiffren
we have all spent the past few weeks understanding the history and implications of the Obama-Ayers... It would have been awkward to insert that stuff in this format. It would have risked making McCain look oddly hostile and combative If the McCain campaign is serious about winning, they have to get this stuff out...
VIDEO: Second 2008 Presidential Debate

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