Presidential candidates and Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are back on the campaign trail today after verbally duking it out at the University of Mississippi last Friday. When the 90 minute debate was over, both candidates were still standing and neither had suffered any major bruising or gaffes. Many observers were disappointed by this. I was not.
Over the weekend, another debate followed. Who won? A new national Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll taken right after the debate and through Sunday, showed Obama beating McCain ,49 percent to 44 percent, among 448 registered voters.
According to a CNN poll of about 500 debate watchers across the nation, 51 percent said Obama won while 38 percent said McCain came out on top. However, in this survey there were more Democrats than Republicans.
Also, a focus group on the Fox Channel gave the victory to Obama as well. Some focus group members on both CNN and Fox say they were turned off by McCain’s testiness. I noticed McCain’s “attitude problem” as well. In my opinion, the Arizona senator was frequently condescending and downright rude at times during the debate.
Many political analysts say it will take days to determine if either candidate really won the first face-off. I think the first debate served its purpose. We got to hear the candidates express their opinions in their own words.
We now know that McCain would give big breaks to businesses, “… I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses will remain in — in the United States of America and create jobs.”
Obama wants to close tax loopholes being used by too many corporations and his tax plan would spread the benefits around, “… 95 percent of you will get a tax cut. And if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase. ”
McCain has a positive view of the Iraq war “… we are winning in Iraq. And we will come home with victory and with honor… And I want to tell you that now that we will succeed and our troops will come home, and not in defeat, that we will see a stable ally in the region and a fledgling democracy.”
Obama sees Iraq as a failure of the Bush Administration and feels the focus should have been on Afghanistan and tracking down Osama bin Laden, “… we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not, as president, in order to keep the American people safe. But we have to use our military wisely. And we did not use our military wisely in Iraq.”
The debate at Ole Miss showed other contrasts between the candidates as well. Neither candidate scored a knockout, but they did present their views on domestic and foreign policy to the American people. So for the viewers and listeners of the debate it was win-win situation.
Next up, veepee candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday October 2.