This was, I think, John McCain’s best performance. He was consistently on the offense, setting the tone of the debate, and forcing Obama to react.
Of course, all Obama has to do is try to run out the clock, and he will likely be able to do that, as he did with Hillary Clinton.
I have to write 150 words about the debate and the way forward for the campaigns for the Atlanta paper, to appear on Sunday. Any suggestions?
I will say that this was the best of the three debates, because it approached most closely what we actually mean by a debate, with give and take. Bob Schieffer did a pretty good job of asking good and difficult questions, and the candidates responded less frequently than usual with canned answers.
My only disappointment with McCain was his judicial answer, which I found lacking in coherence. He’s right to argue that "elections have consequences," but that doesn’t square well with his claim to focus only on qualifications. He could have stressed constitutionalism much more than he did and he could have pounced on Obama’s blather about judges who stress fairness and looking out for the little guy, which perhaps ought to be the job of our representatives, not our judges. McCain’s wisecrack about the statute of limitations was on point, but insufficiently well-developed, frightfully close to the kind of Dole Senate-speak that we saw in 1996.