Obama and McCain faced off in the second debate last night. It was a town hall format, which I definitely think favored McCain. There’s no question Obama is a better orator than McCain. Equally so, McCain is better at talking to an individual, connecting, as was the case last night.
Most people say Obama won the debate by any one of a number of metrics. I’m not so sure. I felt like McCain did a good job of framing his experience vs. Obama’s inexperience, but I’m biased on this issue. In reality, I don’t think either made substantive in-roads on any one issue.
Tom Brokaw did a better job than Gwen Iffil. I’m not sure whether I preferred Brokaw to Lehrer. I enjoyed watching both of them actively engage the candidates. I guess I’d have to chalk it up to Brokaw, since I thought a few of his follow-up discussions really did lead to a better dialogue between the candidates.
The more I think about it, the more I really appreciate the job Tom did. Even though he did try to spur them along at times, his follow-up questions led to the only real new information either candidate covered. It’s in those points that I think McCain missed his chance.
It was said by someone in the media that everyone (including the Obama camp) expects McCain to attack Obama’s inexperience. Their opinion on the “McCain Slam Dunk” was for him to tell his story, “inside out”. If he told a story of his personal experiences, and why those personal expreiences fully prepared him to be President, Obama had no answer.
While Mccain did touch on his experience, I really felt like he missed the opportunity to stop telling people why Obama wasn’t qualified and start telling people why he was. No question the unqualified line appeals to the right, but it’s the moderates that he needs to win.
And, according to 538, he needs to win everyone over in the middle. While it appears statistically impossible for him to overcome Obama’s lead, there’s still a month (and 1 debate) left for both candidates to define themselves.
As I stand today, Obama still really hasn’t proven to me that he’s ready to run the country. Here’s hoping for clarity in the next 25 days.