This analysis is being written within minutes of the end of the final debate at Hofstra University, which is about a 15-minute drive from my home. I am also presenting my views on what effect this debate may have on the final 19 days of the campaign.
This was McCain’s best debate performance — and Obama’s worst. But Obama will still be viewed in the polls as having won, just as he “won” the first two.The 733-point drop the DOW experienced was just five hours before this debate — yet another pro-Obama omen that makes McCain’s task that much harder.This economic crisis is like a perfect storm that is dragging Obama across the Nov. 4 finish line.McCain’s advisers clearly told him to smile all night long, and he did. But it looked a little weird and goofy. And he blinked a lot, too.Obama looked exhausted. And he was clearly just trying to play a “prevent defense” through this last big event before the election.Bob Schieffer was good; he was like a good Major League umpire in that you didn’t notice him. Brokaw was just the opposite a week ago.McCain’s sarcastic, biting retorts turned a lot of women and independent voters off. He just cannot restrain that go-for-the-jugular instinct.Never in a general election debate have they had such a detailed discussion about abortion. I was watching on CNN, which had "people meters" hooked up to undecided Ohio voters. And the women were turned off big time by this abortion discussion.The "Joe the plumber" story was good — and effective — but probably too little, too late. It would have done much more for McCain if he could have used it, or some similar analogy, several weeks ago.The whole “redistribute wealth” argument could have been a powerful one if used properly by McCain. He should have argued for weeks that Obama is going to take, not from the rich because the rich always have ways to avoid paying taxes, but from the middle class and give it away to the poor. That argument works. But instead McCain frittered precious weeks and millions of dollars on Bill Ayers — and, politically, got nothing for it.
All of these debates are half an hour too long; each debate should be one hour max.
It's hard not to wonder, How is it that these two are the two finalists for the most important job in the world?
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