We sat down and watched the First Presidential Debate. It was on TiVo because of my work schedule.
On the Economy:
- McCain opened the night with the old soundbyte about the study of the DNA of bears. It's an easy target since the subject really was about averting economic disaster. But it no longer surprises me that the United States continues to lose its place as the world leader in pure scientific research. One of the primary laws of scientific research is that you just never know what you will find, and how freakishly often we find what we need while studying weird tree bark, dog semen, pond scum or ball lightning.
- In general, I believed Obama more than I believed McCain. A lot of the fight was over specific numbers that could be fudged either way. As I've said before, I support more government oversight when the retirement income of millions of Americans is at risk.
- I didn't get the feeling McCain has any understanding of the middle class, or middle class challenges.
On what either candidate would have to give up should an economic rescue plan be put in effect:
- McCain was much more decisive that he would consider spending freezes.
- McCain went into a weird sideline of how liberal Obama was. Obama had a nice moment telling McCain it wasn't that he was trying to be liberal, but that he was anti-Bush.
- I believed Obama when he said the best thing to give up would be the $10 billion/month cost of the war in Iraq.
- McCain uses the term "Maverick" too much, and kept saying he never ran for Miss Congeniality in the senate. Who cares.
About the war in Iraq:
- I agreed with Obama that the cost of the war ($10B/mo) is too high, that the surge is old news, that we should concentrate on getting Bin Laden, and that we should have a timetable to exit Iraq.
- McCain did a good job showing his many years of experience, and the number of times he has visited a lot of places and met a lot of people with strange names.
- The whole thing about the bracelets ended up a win for Obama.
- I agreed with Obama that the war in Iraq has essentially strengthened Iran.
- I agreed with Obama that America has to have discussions with nations we don't get along with. I don't think this would necessarily legitimize these leaders/nations.
- I agreed with Obama that labelling nations "Evil" will make things worse, and will egg them on to develop nuclear weapons.
- I didn't see much difference between the two candidates.
About post 9/11 America:
- Surprisingly, this section of the debate was not a clear win for McCain.
- There wasn't much substantive difference bewteen the two candidates.
- I agreed with Obama that there is too much being spent in Iraq that could be better spent in Afghanistan hunting for Bin Laden.
Overall, I'd say the first debate was a draw, but polls are showing that the public views it as an Obama win. I might agree with this because, given the fact that the topic was mostly about foreign policy, it could have been a clear McCain win. I thought Obama did a good job maintaining a believable image of a leader that can take on international challenges.
I like the fact that the crowd was instructed not to applaud or cheer for their candidate. I think this kept the candidates on topic, and probably spared us a lot of the usual soundbytes.
I thought McCain was unduely aggressive toward Obama, and I didn't like it whenever he said "Obama just doesn't understand." It seemed very old and stodgy.
I wish Obama would have called McCain "Senator McCain" rather than "John." It made him sound patronizing and not as respectful as McCain seemed. Although the fact that Obama said "John is right" as often as McCain said "Obama just doesn't understand" made me doubt how great McCain is at crossing the aisle.
So overall I liked Obama more than I liked McCain.