Both men were good, in fact--much better than either Bush or Kerry or Gore. McCain was more confident, forceful, and (surprisingly) calm. Obama seemed more nervous, sputtering, and annoyed. Neither said anything real about the current economic crisis. Neither was all that eloquent, which meant that Barack didn’t exploit his undeniable advantage. Overall, there was nothing surprising about content and positions. McCain played the experience card effectively, and Obama didn’t deal well with being called naive. I predict a slight bump for Mac, with the additional benefit of diverting the country for a bit from the threatening spectre of economic calamity.
Not wanting to end the evening a positive note, let me call your attention to the comments on NRO by K-Lo on our Sarah. She’s one of several conservative columnists who’s faced up to the fact that the cringe factor was pretty darn severe in Palin’s recent interview with Katie Couric. Kathryn wonders whether there might be less to her than we conservatives hoped. It’s more likely the case that she’s being mishandled or being forced to be a student being filled quite inauthentically with sound bites and factoids that she’s having trouble using at the appropriate moments. Sarah needs to be herself in the debate, and we have reason to hope and pray that’ll be enough. (See Julie’s comment below, which I didn’t see before writing this.)
And here’s a commentator who suspects that overcoaching has taken a toll
on Sarah’s confidence.
And finally, Carl is correct to comment in Steve H’s thread below that McCain won’t get away next time without decent answers on taxes and health care.