So who won that first debate? Both lost. Both missed an opportunity to connect with voters at a critical time when everyone is worried about the economy. Both were more focused on policy than people, and neither showed much of a human side.
John McCain clearly had a better command on foreign policy. But he came across as ornery in refusing to even look at Barack Obama, even after Obama made respectful remarks about McCain’s service to the nation. Obama, meanwhile, often came across as too defensive, allowing McCain to drive the discussion about diplomacy and U.S. intervention overseas while missing a great opportunity to challenge whether the United States can afford, right or wrong, to be the world’s top cop.
McCain is clearly knowledgeable, but he sounded like he’s ready to take us into war in Iran and Georgia. Neither sounded very reassuring or that they understood how Americans are feeling after one of the most volatile months in U.S. history.
Furthermore, it was silly that this first debate was mostly about foreign policy. This should have been all about the economy.
Next debate: Thursday, featuring Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Expect to see much more personality and less substance. Which means more Americans will probably be watching.