I call a virtual tie, with perhaps a slight lead to Obama. No major, major gaffes, and no knockout blows delivered. I'll have more complete thoughts in a North Star column at the end of the weekend, but a few notes:
- Obama may have won without actually winning, in the sense that he sounded authoritative when talking about the issues. Clearly, he has a good grasp of this stuff, and those questioning his experience may very well have been convinced. Obama also got more comfortable as the night went on, and overall performed much better than in most of the primary debates.
- I appreciated the complete lack of Jeremiah Wright/William Ayers/flag pin questions, although Obama was wearing a flag lapel pin and McCain was not. So thanks, Jim Lehrer.
- Great question by Lehrer on how the two candidates would adjust their spending plans as a result of the current economic crisis. So great, in fact, that neither candidate answered it and Lehrer asked it three more times. On Time #3, McCain proposed a spending freeze, which he didn't mention the first two times, nor any other time in the campaign up to this point. I think maybe he made it up on the spot.
- I don't understand how McCain can gin up outrage over $3 million for a study of bear DNA, while saying he may very well support the $700 billion bailout. One one of those numbers is just a wee bit bigger than the other.
- I was surprised that Israel/Palestine was not a major topic of the debate; I'm guessing it was scheduled to be but got pushed either due to time constraints or because of the inclusion of the economy stuff. But I was glad that Obama made sure to call Israel our "stalwart ally." Did you hear that, old Jews in Florida? He called ISRAEL our STALWART ALLY.
- The vice presidential debate next Thursday has a chance to shatter Bill Simmons' Unintentional Comedy Scale. It'll either be totally hilarious or totally horrifying, and probably both.Posted by Stephen Silver at September 26, 2008 11:21 PM