Archive for ‘debate’

September 27, 2008

Of course Obama won the debate

I’m surprised that anyone could look at Friday night’s debate and declare John McCain the winner, but — for example — here is Michelle Malkin:

I’m giving it to McCain — and you know I’m a tough grader on him.
He was slow out of the gate — a broken record on earmarks and spending — but Obama failed to turn the bailout debacle against him. McCain hit his stride in the second half, schooling Obama on counterinsurgency, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Russia.

McCain was definitely stronger in the last 45 minutes than he was at the start. But this misses the point: What did Obama have to do to “win” the debate? He had to look and sound “presidential,” and I think he cleared that hurdle with ease. Michelle cites a few gaffes by Obama, but he didn’t say anything as stupidly tone-deaf as Mike Dukakis’s infamous answer to Bernie Shaw.

McCain looked and sounded like a tired 72-year-old man. He simply is not able to speak spontaneously about economic affairs in a convincing manner. Obama’s economic answers may be completely wrong, but they are delivered confidently. That makes a difference to the undecided voters out there and undecided voters are the coin of the realm at this point.

However, it was Friday night — high-school football night all over the country, and I doubt very much that very many undecided voters stayed home on a Friday night to watch the debate. What they will remember is the soundbites from the debate, and this one may get stuck in their heads:

September 26, 2008

Debate & bailout updates

News coming hot and heavy now:

More Friday a.m. reactions here.

August 17, 2008

Andrea Mitchell: Beyond parody

You can’t make this stuff up:

The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that — what they’re putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.

And, on “Meet the Press,” Andrea Mitchell feels obligated to inject this cheap and unsubstantiated partisan smear into the media mainstream. In-freaking-credible.

UPDATE: D.S. Hube at Newsbusters:

Andrea Mitchell barely hestitated to toss that out there, with guest host David Gregory merely offering a rather semi-innocuous “Right” in response.

Look, I am not one of those who believes that every story about politics has to be perfectly “balanced,” but when you have a campaign accusing its opposition of cheating, this is something that requires (a) supporting evidence, and (b) an opportunity for the opponent to address the accusation. You can’t just run out there in front of the camera and repeat slander to a national TV audience of 4 million viewers.

UPDATE II: You’ve really got to read the whole transcript of the panel segment of this show to get the one-sided tone of the discussion with David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, and Chuck Todd. They show this McCain ad, which first aired in March:


Then, after some discussion of the Clinton campaign’s strategy with Josh Green, it comes back to Mitchell, who says:

I think that the McCain people, if they backed off on that commercial a bit, they’ll either reinforce it later on or have the 527s do it for them. But you’re going to keep hearing that theme. They think it’s worked for them.

Oh, for crying out loud — where are these 527s that the McCain campaign supposedly controls, Andrea Mitchell? What the hell kind of reporter throws out something completely unsubstantiated like that on national TV?

UPDATE III: This just in — Republican sources are now saying that they believe NBC’s Andrea Mitchell is actually 1970s punk-rock legend Iggy Pop. Officials at NBC News have not denied this, and thus there is mounting suspicion that the former frontman for the Stooges is now masquerading in drag as the anchorette of a little-watched MSNBC program.

UPDATE IV: Rick Warren denies the accusation that McCain cheated. He does not, however, deny that Iggy is appearing in drag on MSNBC. Mounting suspicion, I tell you . . .

UPDATE V: Insty is a punk rocker. Gabba gabba hey. Carbona not glue. And still no denial from NBC or Iggy Pop.

August 17, 2008

Obama, without TelePrompter

Judging from the reviews, John McCain “won” the Saddleback non-debate Saturday night. (I didn’t watch; Saturday night is when I watch “COPS” and “America’s Most Wanted” with my kids, a family tradition.)

The big gaffe was Barack Obama criticizing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with Hot Air catching the rookie senator starting to say Thomas didn’t have enough “experience” to be nominated to the court:

Mark Levin:

Without a doubt, the lowest moment of the night was Obama’s smear of Clarence Thomas. He, like Harry Reid, can’t simply disagree with Thomas, he has to try to degrade him. On Obama’s best day he can’t hold a candle to Thomas’s intelligence. Obama can barely make it through a press conference and ducks town hall debates with McCain because of his inability to speak in complete sentences when pressed to show his much noted but usually absent brilliance.

Dan Riehl notices Obama “looking to inject his opposition to the war into debate” by calling his opposition to the Iraq war “the most gut-wrenching decision” of his career, even though he was in the Illinois state legislature at the time.

New York Times:

Mr. Warren, who has made millions of dollars on his books, including the best-selling “The Purpose Driven Life,” asked Mr. Obama to define “rich.”
Mr. Obama responded impishly, “Well, if you’ve got book sales of $25 million . . . “
Mr. Obama, too, has made millions from his books. Mr. Warren reached across the desk and gave Mr. Obama a high five.

“Impishly”? What is a word like “impishly” doing in a news story? When I was a news editor at The Washington Times, I was a sworn enemy of adverbs. There might be occasions when a reporter needs to use “quickly” or something like that, but there is absolutely no excuse for using “impishly” in a news story. I’d have deleted that one without hesitation or explanation.

ABC’s Jake Tapper:

[R]eviews seem to indicate it was one of the best — if not the very best — of McCain’s speaking performances in this election cycle.

John Podhoretz:

If John McCain can perform during the three debates the way he is performing tonight with Rick Warren, he will win this election.

LA Times:

The Republican candidate had the easier task in the back-to-back interviews before about 2,800 members of the evangelical church in Lake Forest. He drew frequent applause with crisp answers intended to reinforce his conservative credentials.
Obama offered more nuanced and analytical answers on some issues important to conservative voters: abortion, same-sex marriage and stem-cell research.

“Nuanced” = MSM for “long-winded.”
“Analytical” = MSM for “vague.”

Drew M. at AOSHQ:

You’d think this friendly, personality setup would favor Obama but it’s not. . . .
If I were Obama and his people, I’d be trying to figure out how to get out of the debates. The two of them just aren’t in the same league.

Rich Lowry:

As for the social issues, tonight should throw a damper on the notion that Obama is going to make major inroads among evangelicals voters. Why would they vote for his social liberalism couched in exquisite equivocations, when they can vote for someone who agrees with them on most everything like John McCain?

Philip Klein:

Barack Obama will have his work cut out for him in this fall’s debates if this is at all an indication of how the two of them perform on the same stage. . . . If this were an actual debate, it would have been a blowout.

And, as Phil says, “If you needed any more evidence that John McCain dominated, Andrew Sullivan has called it a draw.”