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The Debate: The Prime Minister and the President

Barack Obama was running for prime minister and head of government in Friday night’s debate. He spoke with the precision of a parliamentary debater during question time. He had a three-point program for everything, but he didn’t deliver many memorable lines or offer the grace notes of leadership. When asked point-blank for his stand on the bailout plan, Obama gave a judicious non-answer: “We haven’t seen the language yet.”

John McCain was running for president and head of state. He was channeling Ronald Reagan, with all his talk about the evils of federal spending and government meddling with the health care system. He seemed almost to be emphasizing his age and gravitas. He wasn’t fluid or fast on his feet. He didn’t deign to respond directly to his opponent, or even look him in the face. He was fatherly. His voice quavered a bit, not with anxiety but a regal reserve. He looked like he didn’t want to be there.

Both styles were adequate; neither was entirely compelling. If you were adding up debating points, you’d give the contest to Obama. If you were counting only the emotional highs, you’d give it to McCain. The debate reinforced each man’s strengths and weaknesses. Obama had the most to lose, and he didn’t, so in that sense, by not losing he probably came out ahead.

What was troubling was that neither man rose to the challenge of the catastrophe that has seized the financial markets. On this issue, the two were bland, non-committal, uninspiring.

It has become a commonplace to say that we are heading into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, but in the Friday night debate, at least, in neither candidate did we find a man of the stature of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose governing style combined so well the roles of head of government and head of state.

By David Ignatius  | September 27, 2008; 12:08 AM ET
Categories:  Ignatius  | Tags:  David Ignatius  
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Next: The Debate: An Edge for Obama


"He wasn’t fluid or fast on his feet. He didn’t deign to respond directly to his opponent, or even look him in the face. He was fatherly. His voice quavered a bit, not with anxiety but a regal reserve. He looked like he didn’t want to be there."

This is being "Presidential"? I am sorry but the last 8 years have truly lowered your bar all the way to the ground.

Posted by: Kayakr | September 27, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

John McCain channeling Ronald Reagan was precisely why he lost the debate tonight. The majority of voters who will cast a ballot in November did not have to endure the sad chapter in American history known as the Reagan administrataion. John McCain came across in the debate as a grumpy old man who is too focused on the past. He came across as a man without the skills necessary to be an effective leader in our nation's future. He only has a few set talking points and he repeats them endlessly -- no matter what the question is or the topic of the discussion. The worst part about the debate was that John McCain came across as a mean person who sneers at his opponent. This is NOT the kind of person that Americans want representing them on the world stage.

Obama should be assessed with lost points because he failed to challenge the false claim of John McCain about his legacy of support for veterans. This would have been the ideal time to remind voters that John McCain just recently voted AGAINST the new GI Bill of Rights.

It is time for John McCain to start looking for a nice nursing home in Arizona. His time on the world stage is now at an end.

Posted by: lavinsr | September 27, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I appreciated that Obama took the time to expand on his answers; at one point connecting foreign policy to our problems at home. McCain doesn’t appear to grasp the importance of our connection to other world leaders and our place in the world.

Obama was fair, respectful, cool and level headed -- all the more admirable considering McCain kept using up valuable time slamming him instead of answering the questions put before him.

I would dare to say Obama conducted himself in a manner befitting a President.

Posted by: averagejane2 | September 27, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Just because Obama didn't say uh and uh uh uh as many times as he usually does without a teleprompter doesn't mean he won the debate. He had to look at his wrist to remind him of whose bracelet he wore...He said "John is right" 6 times, and he didn't convince me that he is ready to lead the country. As for talking to leaders without preconditions, its a pity McCain didn't remind Obama that Code Pink has already talked to Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad...

I don't blame McCain for not looking at him, after all the crap Obama has pulled on him and on Palin.

Posted by: Piic | September 27, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I think it was close. I think Obama did well in tying McCain to Bush and Bush's policies [ key word here is policy ]. Obama stumbled with his Kissinger statement. . . . . . .

However, and this is a big however, I came away with the impression that Obama can talk to people and to leaders and draw their thoughts out. A number of times Obama would say, "You're right John." . . . . . . I now believe that Obama is a much, much better facilitator than McCain. . . . . . . . Yes, McCain may have worked across party lines but it was on his own ideas. I felt that Obama would do a much better job of building consensus both in America and the world than McCain.

Posted by: coldcomfort | September 27, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame McCain for not looking at him, after all the crap Obama has pulled on him and on Palin.
Posted by: Piic | September 27, 2008 1:17 AM

It seemed to me that the reason McCain wouldn't look at Obama was because he simply couldn't after all the grandstanding McCain has done in the last several days. McCain was rightfully too embarrassed to be able to look Obama in the eye.

Posted by: lassair | September 27, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

"He was channeling Ronald Reagan"

I'm no big fan of Reagan, but even I know that there wasn't a lot of Reagan in McCain tonight.

Posted by: fake1 | September 27, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Ignatius,

I have come to respect your wisdom on many issues, especially foreign policy. But you seriously missed the point here. How can you "report" on this debate and not also report to your readers your certain knowledge, as a specialist on these matters, how much the supposedly "presidential" McCain twisted Obama's words and positions, as compared with Obama? The majority of undecided viewers haven't really studied the issues as you have, so if they want to be fair, they have to give McCain the benefit of the doubt quite often in these cases. But you're in a position to truly inform them how often McCain lied, and how honest Obama was by comparison. Is lying to the American people being presidential? I thought that experts like you had already recognized the devastating cost of having a serial liar in the White House. Instead, you seem to be content to just comment on the horse race aspect...

This debate provided another important insight into their likely performance in office. McCain's austere distance from Obama, his near distain for him (which you found so presidential) is probably a good indication of the degree of genuine bi-partisanship that McCain would demonstrate while in office - near zero. (Remember how Bush was going to be bi-partisan?) On the other hand, throughout the debate Obama frequently gave McCain credit for all the areas where they agreed. I was worried for a while there that he was saying "Senator McCain is right that..." too often. Then I realized that this shows his unaffected evenhandedness, his honesty, and his willingness to be genuinely bi-partisan, even in the most confrontational of settings. That ability is truly presidential, and it's what this country needs.

Posted by: AlecHansen1 | September 27, 2008 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow. What amazing insight you must have to be able to sum up the potential future legacy of a presidential candidate a month before the election! Forgive me for my skepticism, but I think it's a little premature--shall we say, possibly even *presumptuous*?--to assume that you can glean the entire trajectory of what is currently an entirely hypothetical administration from a series of five- and two-minute soundbytes. While McCain's behavior this past week certainly suggests that assuming the mantle of an FDR figure is probably now forever beyond his grasp, I think I'll wait and reserve judgment on Obama's performance until, say, at least three months after he takes office.

Posted by: calcyon | September 27, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

I did not find the two candidates' alleged evasiveness on the "bailout" to be out of line. It's sometimes hard to remember, but we do still have George Bush as president. Except for their votes as senators, neither McCain or Obama have much of a role in this debate. I also recall from history that FDR, despite intense pressure from Hoover, never weighed in on endorsing or rejecting specific policies Hoover was advocating to stem what was a worse crisis than what we face today (so far) and history has judged FDR wise to have done so. It gave him a much freer hand when he became president and finally wielded real power.

Posted by: scott_farris | September 27, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama is not FDR. Nor will he ever be. I think his campaign wanted to make sure he could swim in the deep end, before diving. In his case we still need to see if he's going to take more risks in the two remaining debates. If he does, he might come across as more FDResque, or fall flat. Whicherver it is, McCain is likely to be the same antisocial bipolar patient he was tonight. Sure he did score with Kissinger. But is that the team we want: McCain and Kissinger (Palin will probably be kept sedated during a McCain administration)?

Posted by: RegisUrgel | September 27, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Your windshield survey was lite and arguable on most points. You're right that both are vague on the econ crisis--feeling their way. But you can bet one is more fact-based and analytical, and the other pure politics.

You could have related the McCain record with the truth, the Country First theme, and other things that are truly apart of his philosophy. They were all reflected in the debate. I have high hopes that your quick analyses of the remaining debates will be your usual insightful contribution.

Posted by: axolotl | September 27, 2008 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Ignatius..... declaring McCain the Prez?:)

When has Ignatius ever been right or correct?

Nice try Ignatius! Did the pope dictate your response?

Posted by: bigsursal | September 27, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

"One thing Osama bin Laden and General Petraeus agree on is that Iraq is the center of the war on terror."- John McCain

Bin Laden loves that the US military is bogged down in Iraq bleeding young lives and billions of dollars and continuing to alienate much of the world, while effectively recruiting soldiers for the OBL army. He's playing Bush and McCain and Petraeus for fools and they've swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. "The surge is working. The surge is working." Oh, the blinding, seductive vapors of hubris...more deadly than all the armies and firepower that can be mustered.

Posted by: PeterSchweitzer | September 27, 2008 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I thought McCain held up under the pressure, but the lies and accusations he sprewed didn't take off because Obama cut them down immediately. It was embarrasing the number of times Obama had to say, "that is not true", then Obama chastized McCain like a leader does a subordinate.

Posted by: hisgrace03 | September 27, 2008 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Fast Barky lost this one. The great Communicator, Obamamessiah looked shadowy and weak as all hell - with a five o'clock shadow. Ha ha, I bet the Lib Left just about died when they saw Barky looking shifty like Nixon. Wheras McCain was big, magnanimous, a real leader, Barky was looking qualified to teach social studies and that's about it...he was grumpy, whining - hey, i got a bracelet too, if i could only remember the dude's name...
No, no matter how the leb left cuts it, Barky just failed to earn the trust. So maybe we can get some vetting now, boys and girls, now that the sheen on your Leftist Messiah is clouding over? Like his relationship with Bill Ayers, Rezko, Khalid, Soros, Odinga, and other unsavoury radical Muslims and Marxists? hmmm?

Posted by: shanelm | September 27, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Your column is full of false statements. There is no way on God's good earth that Obama won this debate. He did not answer questions adequately, he showed that he is inexperienced in foreign policy, he was arrogant to the point that he interrupted McCain when speaking about ten times, he was nervous, he called McCann "Jim". He's nothing but a man who believes he is smarter than any individual on earth but he is not. He is a fake. He would make a terrible commander in chief. If he is elected, our nation's name will be changed to "The United Socialist States of Upper America". Russia would love us as would Chavez; perhaps Russia will lend us billions for weapons since we would then be a socialist national, bordering on communism. We not have a controlled press and national TV news, so we are on our way.

Posted by: love234america | September 27, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse

"What was troubling was that neither man rose to the challenge of the catastrophe that has seized the financial markets. On this issue, the two were bland, non-committal, uninspiring."

I have no idea how anyone could have met this standard without the full stature of being President. If Obama tried to do this, McCain would have slapped him with being "presumptuous!" (Down, boy! Down!)

Posted by: quatzecoutl | September 27, 2008 4:12 AM | Report abuse

McCain won hands down. He showed a much better command of the issues and showed why experience matters. It is so sad to read someone thinks that because Obama didn't mess up he won. What does that say? Or that all Obama had to do was look we are electing a manequin. McCain actually IS presidential. He doesn't need to practice.

McCain = Experience we can trust
Obama = Not sure who he is

Anyway, the most memorable lines are:

"I have a bracelet too!"

"McCain is right"

And this from Henry Kissenger:

TWS Exclusive: Kissinger Unhappy About Obama

Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”

Posted by: joep1 | September 27, 2008 4:16 AM | Report abuse

If one actually believes McCain would be a better president than Obama, then he or she should go an buy some Washington Mutual shares tomorrow with their childrens college funds ( they wont need it) and then look for good body armour for their children going to war with Pakistan, Iran, Venezuela, Russia ( mCCain's old cold war arrangement friend) and the next county of choice.

If you are so blind to not see advertisers tricks you deserve the years ahead; should he be elected.

Posted by: petitdragondog | September 27, 2008 4:21 AM | Report abuse

Polls show that Obama won the debate.

But more to the point, after 8 years of George Bush, who could seriously be thinking of voting republican?!!

Posted by: BillCarson1 | September 27, 2008 4:36 AM | Report abuse

I guess the poster who said the comment below about Obama being able to build consensus and draw people out doesn't know how Obama showed his great ability to build onsensus in the "bailout" meeting with the President the other day. The Dems and the media lied through their teeth when they said McCain caused that to fail. They were covering Obama's rear end. The Democrats in the meeting deferred to Obama when asked to comments in order to allow him to manage the meeting and to give him the chance to show his vaulted leadership skills and he was un-prepared and un-informed on what the Republican leadership was proposing and just lashed out at them and tried to get Paulson to do the same. He devolved the meeting into a screaming match and it totally was derailed. Then Pelosi and Reid and all the Dems sent Obama boy packing back to the campaign trail as fast as possible this morning. And even Obama in his remarks today admitted he did better letting others work it out and just calling him if he's needed. He flunked his big test of leadership big time. So much for his ability to draw people out and build consensus. What a fraud. And you people are uninformed due to your relying on the Washington Post and it's relying on and parroting of the Dem talking points. "I now believe that Obama is a much, much better facilitator than McCain. . . . . . . . Yes, McCain may have worked across party lines but it was on his own ideas. I felt that Obama would do a much better job of building consensus both in America and the world than McCain."

Posted by: YellowRose1 | September 27, 2008 5:05 AM | Report abuse

I am an independent. While I am not excited about either candidate, I will vote for McCain. Obama lacks the experience and is not ready to lead this nation. I would have preferred Senator Clinton but that is water under the bridge...

Posted by: smikhail1 | September 27, 2008 5:26 AM | Report abuse

was that John Mc CAIN on the podium or GRANDPA SIMPSON trying to explain how DR STRANGELOVE inspired his foreign policy

" Hey kiddies did I tell you how I was in the war - and I know that you charlie????"

Posted by: colinemery | September 27, 2008 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Head of State

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Obama Wins

CNN Poll of Debate Watchers:

Who won:

Obama: 51%

McCain: 38%

Head of State

Posted by: caraprado1 | September 27, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse


"One thing Osama bin Laden and General Petraeus agree on is that Iraq is the center of the war on terror."- John McCain

Bin Laden loves that the US military is bogged down in Iraq bleeding young lives and billions of dollars and continuing to alienate much of the world, while effectively recruiting soldiers for the OBL army. He's playing Bush and McCain and Petraeus for fools and they've swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. "The surge is working. The surge is working." Oh, the blinding, seductive vapors of hubris...more deadly than all the armies and firepower that can be mustered.

Posted by: PeterSchweitzer | September 27, 2008 2:53 AM

aand here is another part I think is happening - they are also backing off and letting the surge succeed as they want this bunch of nutters you call a Government back in - then the war of the Fundamentalists continue - right wing christian neocon nutters VS Islamic Jihad nutters.. of course also gets you then to move your surge across to where the actioon is in Afghanistan (and soon Pakistan by the looks of it) and suck you in there - then they swing back with the Iranian backed Shia taking power and Al Queda just adding choas and hassling your troops..your are the bunnies jumping about - or as we say you will become the 'Headless chooks"..

what I find funnier than Dr Strangelove Foreign policy approach of Mc Cain is that John Granpa Simpson Mc Cain thinks change is quoting and saying he is abuddy of 35 years of old Henry (past used by date) if I recall wasnt he one of the masters of bombing the daylights out of Vietnam Loas and Cambodia??? You guys lost on that master plan - and John spent time with charlie... also in the 80's he was the one who also advocated abcking Saddam Hussein and arming him whilst fighting Iran - he also supported CIA covert actrivities assiting and funding the Taliban and Al Queda against the Russians..Russia actually funded Pakistan to help - but they helped the taliban behind there backs..when are you guys going to learn that this apporach is where you loose...and yes you have to get you economy back in order and some respect or these guys are going to bleed you dry....thats both the Republicans and the Terrorists/Taliban....

So vote a man who thinks change is getting advice and backing who might have been okay for the 70's (and history doubts that) - so what you can looose again...

Obama summed it up America has to get its great reputation back and across the board - both domestic (Wall St) and Internationally.... if you vote GRANDPA SIMPSON MC CAIN in you can forget about respect internationally - unless you buy it (funding for Pakistan etc) or blow it up as your policy seems to be for the past 8 years - yes the wor5ld is watching this as USA IQTEST 2008... hope you pass or the joke will be on you...

Posted by: colinemery | September 27, 2008 6:11 AM | Report abuse

The debate was a draw. Nothing new emerged. There was only demeanor - and the deliberation behind the declarations of each candidate - on which to base a win:lose decision. In that regard, it was apparent that Obama gave considered answers and McCain delivered political platitudes. Obama gets my vote.

Posted by: shilohgun | September 27, 2008 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice McCain's blink rate? He looked like a drum roll. Fast blink rate, no eye contact ... what does that tell you?

Posted by: szwheelock | September 27, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

There were no knockout blows and no major gaffs in the debate but McCain had Obama on the defensive almost the entire debate. If this was a fight McCain clearly won on points delivered by a constant litany of jabs throughout the night. If I have to choose who I want representing the US and to go up against Putin or Ahmadinejad McCain is clearly superior in every way.

Posted by: fenoy | September 27, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Jabbing or jabbering, I don't think McCain has the intellectual stamina to go up against any world leader. He may bully and provoke a fight, but that is not in the best interest of the country.

Posted by: shilohgun | September 27, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Both of their 'styles' were effective? See, David, this is why we scratch our heads, and then change the channel, when folks of your ilk are hypotanoozin. Their STYLE? I know you guys on the left. It's all about style. It's HOW someone said what they did. People like me, REAL PEOPLE, who go to work,-(HARD work)-we concentrate on WHAT they say. And, who's style of debating is the best, ain't gonna get you too far in the REAL WORLD. Something tells me that the little RUNT in RUSSIA, probably ain't the BEST debater on the block. But that's because he doesn't feel the need to TALK that much. He DOES things. Obama, his buddies in Congress, they TALK about doing things. Ergo, all the GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS of this DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED CONGRESS. This is not the time to be breaking in a new kid for the most important job on the Planet. He's a good talker. I'll give him that. But his TALK is B.S. Because he's a B.S. Artist. He's a slick talking, silver tongued, jive talker, from the South Side streets of Chicago. To think that this guy is thisclose to the highest office in the land, would be funny if it weren't so DANGEROUS.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | September 27, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised in a way about how much time McCain spent attacking Obama instead of answering the questions for what they were. A couple of answers backfired on him b/c Obama was able to explain the details and it made McCain look like a liar.
I thought Obama looked more presidential in that McCain had this annoying grin on his face...very arrogant and that of a bully who likes to push buttons just to do it. It was not a pleasant sight and it does make you you want a man who sounds, and acts just like Bush for the next four years?
Obama kept his integrity and definitely looked and answered with fresh information. He gave you the impression of a man who really does understand what the current financial situation looks like for everyday people as suppose to McCain who is too intimidating to sit at a table with...
It was interesting to say the least...

Posted by: marnata | September 27, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain why Obama kept calling Senator McCain, John? He also called him Jim and Tom at one point? Can he not remember his name? And correct me if I am wrong, but at one point Obama referenced Tom Carper from Delaware as a conservative Republican. Isn't Carper in fact a Democrat? You would think that Obama would remember this as Joe Biden is also a Democrat from Delaware. I have yet to hear the media address this mix up.

Posted by: rk9404 | September 27, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

On the debates themselves, I thought Obama scored on the economic section by speaking more directly to middle class concerns and by pushing back on McCain's obsession with earmarks, which are not that large a part of the budget issues.

On foreign policy, Obama held his ground against the vastly more experienced candidate.

In the context of a week where McCain seemed to be grandstanding and where Palin's lack of gravitas or even command of the English language has caused prominent conservative columnists to suggest that she find another line of work, McCain needed a decisive victory. He clearly did not get more than a draw, and much less if you believe the quick polls. Advantage Obama.

Posted by: lips-are-moving | September 27, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Mean old Man. McNasty was quite apparent last night. Perhaps his running mate, Miss Congeniality, can give him a few pointers.

Now get off my lawn you damn kids!

Posted by: bhare | September 27, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The media seems determined to elect Obama to the presidency, evidenced by their extremely biased analysis of the last night's debate. The way I saw the debate was Master McCain vs. Disciple Obama. Obama seemed agitated and pretensive at times. The look on his face reflected annoyance, nervousness and uncertainty. Of course, being a very skilled speaker, Obama was able to tip toe his way through these difficult moments. McCain came across as much more poised, knowledgeable, experienced and yes, presidential. Clearly, Obama isn't ready to assume the most powerful office in the world. McCain showed decisively that he is.

Posted by: JATECT2 | September 27, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I heard nothing from McCain last night that he has not said before, many times. He came across as having no depth of understanding of the situations we face. Obama on the other hand has a broad depth of knowledge about practically everything related to being president. He also projects the impression that he would make well considered decisions. Obama, if elected would assemble a cabinet and advisers of his choosing. McCain would be saddled with many of those of the present administration and their functionaries just because they are Republicans and would take much time and effort to weed out. Obama again projects a creative and exploring intellect, far different from the worn experiences related by McCain from times past. I am an 83 year old WW2 veteran and I think I have a much clearer perception of the challenges of our country than McCain. While he is only 73 I think that he doesn't have, if he ever had, the capacity to be a good president. I want to see as president someone who can comprehend and assess the severity of the complex challenges we face and come up with creative new solutions. McCain can't do that. He is too steeped in the past.

Posted by: Herb2283 | September 27, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Head of State

Saturday, September 27, 2008
What A Debate Reveals: Anger, Entitlement and Contempt

What I found shocking reflecting on last night's debate was how angry and entitled McCain was, in a very open way.

McCain's manner was one of that who believed he should not even be on the same stage with this person. This indicates a person of extreme rights and extreme wrongs, not a statesmanlike persona, but an angry and impulsive one.

McCain carries strong ideas of what a liberal is, ideas that very little from his cherished ideas of who betrayed the nation during the Vietnam war. A stock character, driven and created by his own rage, carried, as it has been since the '70s, with a virtual ideological blindness--blinded by a contemptuous rage--that there are others who cannot understand the world the way he can. This is not judgment, but angry certainty. This is not readiness, but a just-contained rage that he should be confronted by such ideas.

You can see it in his constricted "can you believe it" rage at one who disagrees with him. This kind of contemptuous, angry dismissal of others ideas leads easily into the impulsive decisions of the last few months--generated with barely contained contemptuous rejection of those who would reject his ideas--only the most recent forms of those essential constructs--a contemptible media, easily fed with false notions and panaceas, as he believes they were earlier in his life; intellectuals, whose reason and deliberation is contrasted with the sharp, impulsive action that for his life has constituted a certain knowledge, and an angry, certain need to sweep away those who would stand in the path of righteous certainty.

What is beautifully ironic is how McCain maintains this contempt even as he switches from one position to another in the opportunistic second--this is when the look of contempt and entitlement turns, for a moment, to anxiety and panic.

Soon, however, the gaze is back. No matter what the new position is--impulsively determined, desperately grasped--if only "they" knew better. If only "they" knew the truth.

This kind of ideological rigidity and certainty (note how Obama could not contain himself from smiling when McCain attempted to compare him to Bush in that regard) combined with impulsive decision making, from the "gut" of sure knowledge, is what has created the outcomes of the past 8 years.

It was--in a setting where one would not expect it to be, where one would expect McCain to contain it--glaringly apparent last night.

This is an amplification of the last 8 years rather than a change.

We do not need to experience this type of decision making again.

Head of State

Posted by: caraprado1 | September 27, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

"Can someone explain why Obama kept calling Senator McCain, John? He also called him Jim and Tom at one point? Can he not remember his name?" -- rk9404
Sen. Obama did indeed call Sen. McCain "John" at times. However, any reference to "Jim" was directed at the moderator, Jim Lehrer (sp?) of PBS. The rules of the debate seemed to be written in an attempt to create a more conversational atmosphere, thus the first name usage.

Posted by: jurisstudent | September 27, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

So many people are still enthralled by Obama's ability to use language to work his way around issues. He is skilled enough to give the impression he deeply understands the issues that confront us. Obama reminds me of a guy I used to work with. He could B/S his way through anything and make it seem as though he knew what he was talking about. But when push came to shove, he was just a wimp.

Posted by: JATECT2 | September 27, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I do wish Obama would have asked McCain to defend Palin's experience. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I think of the Couric interview.

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That A has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.

COURIC: Mocked?

PALIN: Mocked, yeah I guess that’s the word, mocked.

COURIC: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

COURIC: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.

Posted by: lips-are-moving | September 27, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"... bland, non-committal, uninspiring."

Kind of like David Ignateus's writing.

Posted by: jlelijah | September 27, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

i agree w/ this commentary. i think obama is capable of being more inspiring, visionary, but i don't think he wanted to go there last night for fear of being painted as young, naive and w/ his head in the clouds.

take the issue of math and science education, which he tried to take a stab at--i think that if he had started some kennedyesque talk about american's creativity and innovation, hard strapped americans would have gone--not now. please. we're hungry. give us something we feel we can do right now.

as i talk to voters where i live, in the rural south, they don't want inspiration. they want change--but secure change right now.

it's a pretty delicate line he's walking.

Posted by: fiddle25 | September 27, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

McCain looked and talked like a disturbed knit-picker. If you want a disturbed knit-picker for president (small "p" president is what we'll get). Barack Obama laid out the big ideas, showing an understanding that regardless of what fix we arrive at now for the financial sector crash, we cannot continue the reward the rich -trickle down - with no regulation approach to markets we've lived under for the last 27 years. How could a free market believer espouse an oxymoron that markets should be expected to restrain themselves in the interest a greater good?

Posted by: tigman_2 | September 27, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Check out James Fallows for a little historical perspective:

When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.

In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan's case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the "four more years" option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test -- not necessarily by "winning" the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.

Posted by: lips-are-moving | September 27, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I will admit that due to his age and years in Congress McCain is undoubtly has more experienced that Obama, DUH!!! The question is what has he learned from that experience. It seems that he has learned to be snippy, grouchy, impulsive, narrrow-minded and self grandizing. Which translates into being stuck in the ways that got America in the trouble it is in today. In this election it is precisly this type of experience we must at all cost avoid. We need to be untethered to the rules and ways of the past. Let's face it, McCain looked like he was about to die right there on the stage. And, the thought of Sarah Palin, the political "Airhead Barbie" being a heart beat away from the presidency is frightening. Barbie and the Geezer. Please, voters save us from that prospect!!!!!!!! On the substance, style, diplomacy, RESPECT and leadership we need to move this country foward, OBAMA WON HANDS DOWN!!!!!

Posted by: friendlyfire1 | September 27, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Last night, as I listened to John McCain's myopic world view, he sounded just like George W. Bush. Barack Obama has the ability to look at the big picture. This is something that has been sorley lacking in foreign policy for the past 8 years. I listen to McCain/Palin ranting about the "good guys vs the bad guys" like it's all a B-movie plot. We've had enough "Ugly American" my-way-or-the-highway leadership. What we desperately need now is the genuine WORLD-CLASS leadership of Barack Obama to bring our country back to the high ground we expect.

Posted by: joy2 | September 27, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"I have a bracelet too! It has ... oh... wassisname on it"

"John is right. John is right. John is right."

Obama was clever and articulate. McCain was expert.

What will be interesting are the non-foreign policy debates.

Posted by: AsperGirl | September 27, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Forty years and the republicans have held the White House for twenty eight of the last forty years. The Republican revolution started in 1982 with a guy named Newt Gingrich and the GOP held congress until the 2006 elections. The fault of our current financial crisis lies with the GOP, people can place blame where they want but you cannot cover the truth. The parties in power make policy and those policies failed big time. Bill Clintons tenure was one where he worked with a GOP held congress, it was hardly a liberal Presidency. We must try a new course for the country and that will come with a Barak Obama victory.
tom mcmahon

Posted by: tommic856 | September 27, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Yes We Can Thank you Mr. Obama, you where amasing last night, I had 'perma" smile all through your debate. You showed Americans how to be a true statsman, wow.
The truth is marching on. Thank you Mr. Obama.
At 11:35pm donation from this Great Dane.

Posted by: greatdane1 | September 27, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

McCain was lacking in respect towards Obama. He would not even look at him. He just smirked or took notes or looked into the airspace. Why is that? He is afraid? Is he angry? That is not how to act diplomatically toward an opponent. And it is certainly not presidential.

Posted by: lanz2 | September 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Osama bin laden and General Petraeus have something in common" so long as they both agree with McCain - whatever be their reasons for doing so. Was he being farcical or was it an example of his bipartisanship? That was the dumbest comment I could have expected to hear from someone running for the President of the US - and I hope it comes back to haunt him before it's too late for the country.

Posted by: shaldar44 | September 27, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

McCain looked Presidential. Obama looked angry and he constantly smirked and showed his arrogance along with his naivety!! Obama's foreign policy ideas are dangerous and hes misleading the public on his tax plans too. McCain was the winner- hands down !!!

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | September 27, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: love234america | September 27, 2008 4:09 AM: Said: There is no way on God's good earth that Obama won this debate. He did not answer questions adequately, he showed that he is inexperienced in foreign policy, he was arrogant to the point that he interrupted McCain when speaking about ten times, he was nervous, he called McCann "Jim".

Completely absurd. You continued to spew ridiculous filth, but that paragraph had plenty to debunk. Obama was clear and consistent with his points and foreign policies. World leaders and the Bush administration have recently adopted positions that Obama has been discussing for the past couple of years. Obama was not arrogant, he was respectful towards McCain and was not afraid to say when he agreed with him on some issues. Obama only interuppted when McCain mischaracterized his policies, that just happened to occur about 10 times. Nervous? Called McCain Jim? You are joking right. I guess you didn't know that Jim Lehrer was the moderator of the debate last night.Obama was responding to HIS question. Wow. I guess McCain supporters are really grasping for straws after that debate.

Posted by: ckr9598 | September 27, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

If Professor Obama wants to be a European parliamentarian, they are welcome to have him.

Posted by: zjr78xva | September 27, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Dear MR. Ignatius: Your characterization "he Prime Minister and the President" is what precisely Obama is ahead among younger voter. You are as old as John McCian thinking is and thats why we want to change this county by giving vote to young and intelligent person and not for war monger

Posted by: shashikantsharma001 | September 27, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

You lament the candidates' failure to get the debate going on the bailout. Frankly, I think we've had enough injection of presidential politics into this very sensitive political issue, especially given the fragile state of congressional negotiations. So you want more of it? The American people are already beyond confusion on this issue because politics has made them fear what it may cost them without really describing the alternative. For either man to become the fatherly FDR speaking to masses needing reassurance is a nice thought, but this is not 1932 and today's electorate has long since moved on from the reverence in which they held FDR. Also remember, when FDR consoled them we were already into the abyss. American people, few of whom can remember that cataclysm, haven't gotten the picture yet. I think you’re asking a lot to expect fiercely contending candidates to go into FDR mode. It would have been nice if Bush had done it, but there were no surprises in his inept attempt. Combining the idea of prime minister and head of state is apt. Skills for the first - judgment, understanding, eloquence, coolness and strategic vision - are developed in preparation for the job. The head of state aura is earned in the job, or in some countries by birth. Assuming it without earning it is presumptuous. As you say, Obama demonstrated his tools for the first role and McCain did not. Obama may well get a chance to earn the second. Lets hope so.

Posted by: EastPaEd | September 27, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Experience is the key. I am an Asian-American and a long time Democrat. I never
voted Republican in my entire voting life.
except this year. Obama is young, intelligent and with good oratorical skills. He however lacks three things to
be President of the United Sates: G.E.D.-
Grasp, Experience, and Depth. It showed last night. When he copied McCain that he
has also a bracelet, it showed his lack of
depth and grasp. He is not ready! I am
voting for McCain!!!

Posted by: emyra | September 27, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama IS showing his weaknesses. He's no leader, he never has been and never will be. He's never done anything in his life of any substance, to show any leadership, whatsoever. McCain HAS had a life of substance, of actually DOING something for people, of taking principled stands.

Again, as a lifelong Dem., I wouldn't be caught DEAD voting for Obama. I'm not crazy about McCain, but I can live with his experience. McSame gives me some peace of mind-I can see him as Commander in Chief of the world's only superpower-I cannot say the same about Obama. No way.

Posted by: schmetterlingtoo | September 27, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Quick fact check -- I've read several times that Obama stumbled on the Kissinger point. False. Obama was correct in his original statment that Kissinger called for meetings without preconditions.

In a foreign policy forum Saturday, Kissinger said: "I am in favor of negotiating with Iran." He went on to say "I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level" and the U.S. should go into the talks with "a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government."

McCain added the mention of meeting with the president. Kissinger did not call for such meetings to be between the two presidents.

Posted by: VARies | September 27, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I liked Pres. Reagan as a man, not as a president. He left a huge defecit which Clinton inherited & fixed. He got away with Iran- contra. The timing of the release of the hostages by Iran on his inauguration day, doesn't smell good. He was charismatic & had a sense of humor & got away with the negative points.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | September 27, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama did take a stand on the economic issue. The candidates can't say they support a bill they haven't seen, but Obama gave his 4 points, basically saying he supported the plan as long as it met those 4 criteria. He thinks we need the bailout, on the terms described by Dodd and Frank. McCain didn't take any stand at all. Except, "lower taxes on the rich", boiler plate GOP, nothing new.

Posted by: WD678 | September 27, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Obama stumbled with his Kissinger statement"

No he didn't. Immediately following the debate, the news channels were playing the video of Kissinger saying that he of course favored meetings without preconditions. Kissinger never said "not with the President, of course," but then again, Obama never said "I myself will be the first person to meet with an Iranian leader." McCain was trying to hit Obama on a semantic point, and Obama was making a more broad point about establishing diplomatic ties with countries that you don't necessarily like.

Posted by: drgrepper | September 27, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I had a very difficult time discerning what the point of McCains answers were. They seemed to be rambling, disjointed collections of previously uttered soundbites. His repeated assertions that Sen Obama doesn't understand drew attention to the fact that he (McCain) has no coherent policy to understand and that he (McCain) doesn't understand that he has no coherent policy. I did not find the wild look in his eye that flashed two or three times during the debate to be at all reassuring.

Obama's answers were well organized, constructed, and substantive. His more complex arguments were repeated oft enough that they could be understood, for example, that he would pay for much of his new spending by closing corporate tax loopholes and cutting down on corporate welfare. His manner was consistent with his pledge to run a civil campaign. Unflappable is a word that comes to mind.

Obama seemed to know what he was talking about, McCain seemed to be winging it and making it up as he went along. That's my 2 cents.

Posted by: JoeBewildered | September 27, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama gave a judicious non-answer: “We haven’t seen the language yet.”
That's part of 0bama's problem, he did not do the right thing last week, which would have been to do what McCain did - go back to Washington to work on the bill. First, because that is his job as an elected member of the Senate. Second, because, as the possible President (God Help Us, Please!) he would be bound by that law, and should have been trying to structure it to his liking, instead of just sitting back, letting everyone else do all the work, and waiting to be told whether to vote for the bill or not.

0bama did not impress last night, he just emphasized the charge that without his teleprompter, he is a mediocre speaker at best.

And did I hear another major flip-flop on missile defense systems?

Posted by: Nick_in_Alexandria | September 27, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"His voice quavered a bit, not with anxiety but a regal reserve"


Posted by: sdfeel | September 27, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I see many of you have your Rush Limbaugh talking points ready to go. Did you even watch the debate?

Posted by: JoeBewildered | September 27, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

How can you work across the aisle or stare down dictators if you cant even look across the podium to someone addressing you? McCain lost last night's debate in the eyes of those who will decide this election, the undecideds because of his clear disdain for Obama.

Obama showed a lot of pragmatism by agreeing with aspects of McCain's statements before explaining to the American people why he differed with McCain. Now Republicans are mocking that. It works for their base but next week Joe Biden will be completely respectful of Gov. Palin.

Mission accomplished. There is no doubt among a clear majority of Americans that Obama passed the Commander in Chief test and has command of the issues. Even those who disagree with Obama agree that he is methodical and understands our economic and foreign policy challenges. McCain lost a lot of women voters as well with his condescension.

Posted by: asja | September 27, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Israelis for Obama

Posted by: asja | September 27, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It is absurd to say that McCain went "back to Washington to work on the bill." The proposed bill was 3 pages as presented by Paulson and McCain hadn't even looked at it. McCain went to Washington to grandstand. A Republican minority backed him by insisting on certain new conditions - that Democrats agreed to because they wouldn't work anyway and they had no objections to worthless language in the bill - which is now over 100 pages - much of it meaningless Republican gobbledygook written with little input from McCain. McCain didn't "work" on the legislation, he obstructed it - and the real work began when he got out of town. Re-establishing a bipartisan consensus could then resume after the grandstanding by McCain.

Posted by: shilohgun | September 27, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Earlier in the evening,Barney Frank (on PBS) refused to estimate a timetable that a bill may be passed on the economic meltdown. His reason: The press will distort anything I say.

Can anyone blame either McCain or Obama for not providing any concrete thoughts about the diliberations? God forbid that "brain storming" take place in Congress. You'd be called indecisive, a flip-flopper, if at the and of the debate you voted for something that was not your own idea.

The media (mostly) and the public (in general) want instant answers without discussion. Thoughtful discussions as for sissies. No wonder Sara Palin is so "popular".

Posted by: DavidinDallas | September 27, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

With all the discussion about McCain "Channeling Ronald Reagan", I'd like to see some Democrats ask a question Reagan did: "Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?" I KNOW I'm not, and I don't suspect many in this country, with the exception of Bush's Ranger Contributors(mostly Wall Street Billionares) who ARE better off! I'd be willing to bet if Reagan were alive today, and could see what a Flat Earth Society the Republican party has become, he'd go back to the Democrats! Throw out the Banana Republicans!

Posted by: squirebass | September 27, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Last night's debate was supposed to be about foreign policy. Both candidates DID discuss the impact of the current financial crisis on our ability to conduct foreign policy. In future debates, they will discuss it again, with the benefit of more knowledge and more time to think things over. I saw something very clearly in last night's debate that gets right down to the fundamentals of who these candidates are. Time after time, Senator Obama prefaced his remarks with "I agree with Senator McCain ..." McCain's camp tried to mock him on this, but I take it to mean that Obama does not blindly form his policy just to be the anti-McCain. He's not afraid to say right out, "I agree". Meanwhile, even when McCain was saying essentially the same thing as Obama, McCain framed it as a disagreement, along the lines of, "Senator Obama says that today is Friday. Well, *I* say that today is *Friday* and I've seen Fridays and lived through Fridays, and I personally know Henry Kissinger who knows a thing or two about Fridays..." McCain is a man who sees life in terms of perpetual conflict and confrontation. If there isn't a fight, he will pick one (witness his disruptive behavior in returning to the Senate this week and blowing up any sort of deal on the bank bailout). Personally, I would rather have a president who talks softly and carries a big stick, than one who crashes around like a bull in a china shop (or a moose in a hockey rink).

Posted by: n_mcguire | September 27, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The "Straight Talk Express" has become a creaky old local train with a conductor who keeps repeating the name of the same old stops.

I was lulled to sleep last night and dreamt of the 2000 campaign (as I am sure John McCain does too). In my dream, McCain prevails. And then everything is different. Most notably a bunch of terrorists are rounded up and arrested before boarding their planes.

Posted by: JPSartre | September 27, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama's "orgy of spending" jab was very effective. George Bush used his veto pen for the first time after Republicans lost Congress. It's good that he called out McCain's hypocrisy on it.

Posted by: asja | September 27, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

of course neither man overwhelmingly endorsed the "bail-out." neither one knows what the plan is. its being negotiated. obama rightly pointed out that he hadn't seen the language. what other answer could a reasonable person give. it was the simple but unsatisfying truth. on foreign policy mccain made the point that he had visited a lot of places but that doesn't translate into judgment. i've been to japan ... that doesn't make me an instant expert on u.s.-japan relations.

Posted by: hartwell1 | September 27, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

No matter how qualified McCain may be, he still has to overcome the fact that he belongs to the same party that gave us the worst president and coward in the history of our country, and that his party has gone thru an amazing transformation into a know-nothing, anti-science, anti-reason, crackpot party of American Taliban Luddites! His best purpose would be to serve as an elder statesman to drag his Republican party out of the Flat Earth hysteria where it now resides, and try to restore it to the place where Eisenhower left it in 1960! Eisenhower had the moral authority and courage to stand up to cranks like Joe McCarthy, its a shame that an eff-up like Bush didn't have the brains or the guts to do the same! I was raised a Republican, but it is mired in kookiness and extremism now just as it was when I was a little kid back in the 1950s. God help us if we elect these crackpots to another term!

Posted by: squirebass | September 27, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed most of the comments, but I understand you take a more Obama stance. If one would be in the middle, my wife and I both felt that one issue has not been discussed enough after the debate.

That issue was that McCain was consistently bringing up the saber rattling concept to solve all problems. He even evoked the fear (Holocaust) where I lost my grandparents and their brothers. sisters and children - in regards to Iran. The then brought up the North Korea issue. Continuing with his theme he brought up the Russian dilemma (Georgia). He left no stone unturned. This to me says we would definitely need a draft to cover all the places we are going to fight alone with General Petraeus as the lead ally commander (like Ike) but without allies.

We felt this was key to his statements to international issues.

We believe after listening again today to the debate, that Sen. Obama was stating that diplomacy was key to tampering down the problems as a first step to them develop International agreements. Therefore, meeting with various leaders by lower level people was critical to develop the support to why the world needed to stand together to solve the problem(s)!

We think this was the most important difference between the two and would not vote for more war or a draft. We have no money and we have no personnel without a draft to police the world. This is a non-starter in our minds.

Posted by: jrubin1 | September 27, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Isn't McCain supposed to be the one who can reach across the aisle and get things done? Isn't McCain supposed to be the one who can put an end to partisan politics?

The person I saw last night being civil and looking for common ground was Obama. I find it amusing that McCain supporters actually hold it against Obama that he is able to find common ground with his opponent by saying "John is right..." when there is agreement between the two.

What I saw in McCain last night was arrogance. He wouldn't address Obama once and wouldn't look at him. According to McCain, he was right on everything, and if you disagree, you just don't understand. Thanks, but I've had more than enough of that attitude out of the oval office for the past eight years.

Posted by: dogsrule1 | September 27, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

On this showing one gets the feeling that Obama could grow with the job whereas McCain could only grow older.

Posted by: tonyharding | September 27, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad Obama is smarter than all of us. I am an Obama supporter and wanted him to go on the attack, boy! am I glad he did not. He may have made me happy, but he would have lost independent voters. He is brilliant and compare to McCain, Obama is an angel. McCain came across as an old, mean and condescending man who had no respect for his opponent. Could he not recognize that Obama has gotten this far by shear fact that he is so much smarter than most people? . Isn't that what we would look for in a leader? Or are we looking for someone who says one thing (fundamental of the economy is good) and acts otherwise? Aren't we tired of the show Republicans put on for their base? Isn't it time to move on and change the direction this country has been taking in the last eight years? and maybe, just maybe we can make better lives for our future generations?

ps. I do not believe anyone who says they are Democrats and voting for McCain, neither does anyone else.

Posted by: jalehw | September 27, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama looked an inexperienced and bumbling school kid! No how, no way, is this guy ready to run our country. He is a flat our danger to all of America. If he is elected, God help us all...

Posted by: PicabosMom | September 27, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

McCain was presidential if the only presidents you've ever seen are Nixon and Little Bush.

Posted by: raycrossley | September 27, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for us Americans we got exactly what we've been trained to expect from both candidates in last nights debate...a little stump and not a lot of substance. When is someone going to stand up and explain to us their vision and how they intend to lead this country?

Posted by: Atlanta-ITP | September 27, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

...and I was extra disappointed that McCain didn't treat us to a rousing chorus of: bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran...

Posted by: Atlanta-ITP | September 27, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I am a second amendment conservative.

Obama won the debate and my vote. He will make an excellent president. He will lead investment in new energy and healthcare which American families so badly need to compete in the world economy.

McCain has no clue about the issues and absolutely no plans to help our country. McCain's plans are to privatize social security and invest it in the stock market, slash medicare and INCREASE taxes on every American who receives health care benefits from their employer. I am deeply saddened that so many Americans have been tricked into voting against their own self interest. McCain will destroy the image of America around the world. Foreign governments will be happy to see America fail and our markets collapse as we try to eternally borrow money to fund endless wars. Get a clue America!

Posted by: sodesper8 | September 27, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse


McCain was FATHERLY?
What kind of snarky nasty jealous father did Ignatius have?

And since a huge 46% immediatly said Obama had 'grown in their estimation' right after the debate, independents, by the way,
there's your game.

Ignateus looks for a way to put the angry old man into the game. Scam and spin til the top breaks, everyone knows it was Obama.

But Ignateus and the Post are neocons, you know. They'll think the ignoramus Palin beats Biden next week. She was preped by the neocons and Lieberman, she's their shill...)

(The zionists don't want to give up power)

Posted by: whistling | September 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I simply felt that Obama had a better grasp on the issues. He had a more in-depth and complex understanding of what was going on overseas, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He was continually correcting McCain, which made it seem as if the only grasp McCain had on the situation was the one he had decided on in his own head, but which had no relationship to reality. More importantly, though, Obama had plans and solutions.

When McCain ran out of solutions or real answers, he would immediately pull the emotion card. He would mention young soldiers he'd spoken to, mothers of dead soldiers, and his own experience as a soldier as a way to tug heart strings -- but that's not an answer. It was deflecting questions he had no answers to with emotion shields. For all his "Obama doesn't understand" comments, McCain seemed to be the one who didn't quite get it.

In addition to lacking real knowledge, McCain came off as immature and unprofessional. He smirked constantly, bounced gleefully from one foot to another when he'd come up with some clever witticism to respond to Obama's answers, and refused to make eye contact with Obama, even when Obama was looking at him and directly addressing him. You couple the inability to make eye contact with his non-stop rapid blinking and even ducking his head and staring at his podium, he looked like a guilty child.

The whole thing was just ridiculous. McCain didn't make any major gaffes, in that he didn't stray from his party's rhetoric, but the bottom line is that half of what he said portrayed an inaccurate understanding of what is going on either in our country or outside of it. Whether he stayed on-message or not should be beside the point when the message ignores reality entirely.

Posted by: katie84 | September 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

John McCain said at least six times "Obama doesn't understand"

Obama deserves a medal and the winner's title just for keeping his cool after those repeated insults.

Posted by: eldora | September 27, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

When asked point-blank for his stand on the bailout plan, Obama gave a judicious non-answer: “We haven’t seen the language yet.”

Mr. Ignatius, how is that a "non-answer" when the language indeed hasn't been written yet. He stated the truth about his position. Yet somehow you feel the need for him to make a grand stand on this when Congress hasn't even worked out the kinks yet? I suppose if he channeled George Bush's idealogical stubbornness you'd be happy as a clam?

I don't really understand your take on that.

And the reason John McCain couldn't look at Obama is because, deep down, the man despises him and knows he's tried every smear and low road tactic against him. Could you look someone in the eye that you've basically slandered on a national stage? Didn't think so.

Posted by: iluvkmart | September 27, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

One last thought. To me, Senator McCain came off as a pugnacious, indignant child, not as a fatherly figure.

Posted by: iluvkmart | September 27, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It's quite amazing (not) that tolerant and respectfuly liberals mocking John McCain's age such as one comment here that he should go to a nursing home. Wow--man, you're quite brilliant for pointing that out. What I've learned from this season is that liberals are in fact the most sexist, ageist,racist intolerant people in the country.
Obama clearly does not understand that you do not give a holocaust denier the forum of a diplomatic meeting with the US until he meets certain preconditions. It was also funny how Obama had to make up on the spot the difference between 'preparation' and 'precondition' to cover his blunder.

Posted by: MasterC | September 27, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

It is silly to complain that these two lack the stature of Roosevelt. Roosevelt earned his stature through leadership and action, not as a result of winning a debate.

Roosevelt was a good orator, but that did not equate to stature. If ones skill at speech making is the measure of stature, then Obama wins unequivocally.

Posted by: eldora | September 27, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama 'spoke to me' with clarity & respect, giving a clear picture of his intentions without anger or threats. He believes in the future and in a healing of America.

Mr. McCain with negative body language, obvious disrespect for his opponent and using the podium for campaign grandstanding ...gave me nothing new to consider.

I want someone fresh & young with the capacity to speak like an adult rather than with the rhetoric and ego of Mr. Bush & Mr. McCain.

Mr. McCain continually blasts Mr. Obama for lack of experience, yet he has chosen a VP with not only NO experience, but with absolutely no common sense. I actually feel sorry for her as she was a pawn in McCain/Rove/Bush theatrics that went wrong.

As an average 64 yr. old voter, I have watched & listened to many hopeful candidates through the years and know that if McCain/Palin are elected, we have reached the bottom of our society with no hope for my children & grandchildren to experience an America without war.

I have never trusted a person who is unable to look someone in the eye when speaking to them. Mr. McCain may have suffered in his life, gained experience & been a maverick, but he lost kindness and heart along the way.

Posted by: flowermerchant | September 27, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Until last night, I was sure that McCain was teetering on the edge of senility. Since I expected so little from him, I was impressed at his performance and no longer consider him senile.

I am now convinced that the untruths he tells about his running mate, his campaign staff, himself and Henry Kissinger are bald=face lies instead of the product of a fuzzy mental processes.

Posted by: eldora | September 27, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

There are rules of decency and respect, the top of this list of rules is looking at the person who is addressing you.
Even dogs know this. McCain did not just disrpect Barack Obama last night, he showed contempt for everyone who disagrees with his issues.
You know, my Grandfather is old, wise and at times very stubborn. But he would NEVER avoid eye contact when talking to you. I didn't see the War Hero last night, I'm sorry, I saw cowardice, and contempt, and judging by the polls, so did the rest of America, because I think Obama actually came out a bit behind on points, but won in a landslide on integrity and character.

Posted by: middler | September 27, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It's very simple. Suppose you were doing an ad like "I'm a PC." "And I'm a Mac." Which of these guys would you want to promote your product? The scrappy, maybe cranky old man? Or the calm, collected one? Obama won big because he did what he wanted to do: appear presidential and reassuring to undecided voters, while avoiding any gaffes and you-tube moments by his opponent.

Posted by: landsend | September 27, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

John McCain clearly won the debate last night.

Baracky Hussein Obama seemed to be extremely nervous.

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Posted by: hclark1 | September 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Totally a tie but I can only assume McCain's negatives go up. He was so grouchy and whiny at times that it was hard to watch. Definitely the less "presidential" of the two.

I appreciated that Obama was calm and collected even when McCain was ranting up a storm. He did let McCain score some points that he shouldnt have though.

Cant say anyone won. Good and bad from both.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | September 27, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I particularly did not find McCain's style presidential, and it did not remind me *at all* of Reagan. I think McCain looked overly emotional, unable or unwilling to analyze situations. Just goes with his gut without thinking. Fine for a Senator perhaps, but not for a President. Reagan never appeared upset or agitated, but always in command. McCain's inability or unwillingness to even look at Obama stands in stark contrast to the way Reagan would have behaved. I cannot understand how you could possibly compare the two men (McCain and Reagan).

Posted by: ncarver1 | September 27, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

So refusing to look at a man millions of people nominated as their choice for President is presidential? Snide, perhaps. Arrogant. Petulant. Bushian. But not presidential.

McCain seemed irritated all night long. It worked well in the Republican debates when he could direct it at an utterly unsympathetic character like Romney, but it played poorly here. I think people who know McCain personally give him the benefit of the doubt on many things, but I don't know either candidate personally. After 8 years of a guy who promised bipartisanship and gave us the most divided government in history, I prefer someone who can find the grace to say nice things about his opponent and look him in the eye.

Posted by: starthom | September 27, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The weirdest part of the debate was when McCain started blathering on about Normandy. He completely lost me at that point.

Posted by: ElBruce1 | September 27, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

McCain was great!

Posted by: spakarati | September 27, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse


The man who tried to pack the Supreme Court?

The man who for years imprisoned thousands of U.S. citizens--men, women, and children--in internment camps?

The man who when he was dying, in the midst of war, chose as his VP a guy whose foreign-policy credentials make Palin's look good?

That Roosevelt?

Thank bog neither of the current candidates is in his mold.

Posted by: WylieD | September 27, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Why do Americans need their guy to play Emporer? Hasn't everyone had enough of the "all-powerful, just trust my divine inspiration and judgement" model by now?

Posted by: accha | September 27, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Its naive to expect either candidate to opine on a bailout bill that is not written. The devil is always in the details.I would have thought mainstream journalists would know from long experience that all bills come laden with qualifiers, special provisions,clauses and subclauses that bear the imprint of congressional politics, bureaucracies (in this case the Treasury Department),lobbyists, and so-called experts from think tanks and academia.

Its a lot to expect that two men occupied with Presidential campaigns will provide a comprehensive, detailed, answer to the many questions posed by the bailout. Some of these questions are:

Mortgages - How to solve the foreclosures problem? How to stabilize the housing market?

Valuation - How to value CMO's, CDO's, credit default swaps in the absence of regulated trading?

AIG -How to regulate the credit default swaps market and other derivatives?

Ratings -How to fix the conflicts of interest revealed by the failure of credit rating agencies?

Recapitalization - Should failed and failing banks and other financial institutions be funded to achieve higher capitalization? If yes, how much? If no, what are the alternatives?

Tax Policy - What tax laws need to change if any?

Financial Accounting - GAAP or IFRS. Which is more susceptible to manipulation by corporate executives?

As someone employed to analyze financial institutions especially transactions involving derivatives, I can report that deregulation, lack of enforcement, transparency and accountability at Treasury ( this includes the SEC and IRS) and the Federal Reserve along with political corruption induced by lobbyists' money are at the core of the problems now faced by main street.

Posted by: Integrity101 | September 27, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It is difficult to judge what someone will do just from campaign statements. Franklin Roosevelt ran a very bland, vague campaign but ended up being an extremely decisive leader. I expect the same from Senator Obama.

Posted by: johnsonc2 | September 27, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse


Logic probably doesn't matter to you, but anyone who preferred Sen. Clinton and is now choosing Sen. McCain either cares only about one thing -- experience -- or maybe it's just revenge. But shooting oneself in the foot is an odd way to show respect for Hillary Clinton. I, too, respect and admire Hillary Clinton, very much in fact. But I would not profess to "honor" her by voting against women's causes -- as McCain and Palin are against women. Palin alone would set women's progress back by decades. Just think of how ridiculous it would be if Hillary Clinton's "staff' would not allow her to appear for interviews. Yet you don't care about Palin's total lack of either experience or competence. Fascinating how people rationalize to themselves, but seriously! Obama is a leader. McCain is past his prime.

Posted by: cturtle1 | September 27, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they both dodged the economy questions, but really, what's 700 billion (running up to $1.5 trillion with all combined bailouts) when you're talking about someone elses money?

Obama made the best points that we're borrowing the money from China - our friends.

Posted by: haymarketbill | September 27, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The writer stated:
When asked point-blank for his stand on the bailout plan, Obama gave a judicious non-answer: “We haven’t seen the language yet.”

You're upset that Obama wouldn't take a hard "yes" or "no" position on a bill that doesn't exist yet? Am I missing something here? It was stupid for Jim Lehrer to ask the question--and Obama's answer was correct. He wants to see the bill before deciding whether to support it. And you think it's a bad thing that our potential future president actually wants to read a bill before deciding whether to support it? Think about your answer before responding.

What Obama did do early this week--and in his response--was lay out the major things the bill would have to include in order for him to support it. He spoke to Paulson and others in Washington to make his views known. Now he's waiting to see the actual proposed bill. That's exactly the way this should be done. No drama, just solutions.

In contrast, McCain's answer was "Sure". So McCain will support the bill no matter what it's contents? Now there's a brilliant answer. At least you can say McCain was decisive... the only problem is that he made a decision without any information on which to base it. Now that's presidential.

Posted by: davidmckittrick | September 27, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call McCain's body language "regal reserve" -- as if we want regal reserve? -- but rather a sort of pouting petulance. To me he seemed childishly trying to show what you assume was "gravitas" when he actually had pulled some silly "maverick" stunts. It's John McCain who doesn't know who he is. He's not a man who does much reflective thinking about his behavior. Instead, he impulsively and emotionally takes an action and waits for the reaction, which he then takes personally, creating his own enemies lists. This man is anything but "fatherly". My father never treated his children with such a lack of generosity or good nature, even when teaching us something. McCain came across as "harumphing" and "I'm disgusted to have to share the stage with this new guy whom I've decided is my enemy." That's childish and silly. Obama is one with an eye on the future and with the "gravitas."

Posted by: cturtle1 | September 27, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

During the debate, Senator McCain hammered at Obama's "naivete" about foreign policy. Didn't he realize he had nominated for Vice President someone who isn't "naive" but is even more woefully "ignorant" about foreign policy, and who is a heartbeat away from himself (who is a 72-year-old President who has had four operations for cancer)? I call that hypocrisy, don't you? What does this say about a man who, on the one hand, calls his opponent "naive" and inexperienced, while choosing a person who is "ignorant" and inexperienced for his V.P.? ISN'T THIS enough HYPOCRISY?

Posted by: OCPatriot | September 27, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

McCain is not "presidential." His "maverick" career basically means he has been a fair-to-decent gadfly. A gadfly can afford to shoot from the hip, be morally arrogant and provocative, and get it right 1/3 to 1/2 of the time while missing wildly the rest of the time.

But a president can't afford to be a gadfly. A president must be a leader. A leader can't afford to be impulsive, extreme, or provocative, and miss wildly as often as he/she gets it right.

Also, a leader must, above all, know how to delegate. A gadfly doesn't need to delegate; in fact, the essence of the gadfly is his or her "loner" personality. McCain has no idea how to delegate. Look who he picks as his advisers. Look who he picked as his VP nominee.

Posted by: herzliebster | September 27, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan - Thank you for questioning whether Senator McCain "will ever evolve beyond his small-bore approach to budgets and grapple with the fiscal big picture."

I wondered if I was the only one who thought it "naive" of Senator McCain to cite a $3 million earmark for a bear study in Montana while the government prepares a $700 billion Wall Street bail out.

The Republican talking point of "earmarks" has been trumped by a genuine threat of financial peril. But Senator McCain hasn't made the adjustment in his stump speech.

Instead of continually telling us his opponent "just doesn't understand..." maybe McCain can demonstrate his own understanding of how to restore American prosperity.

Posted by: tsawyer_mv | September 27, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

At this point in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was criticizing Herbert Hoover for not balancing the budget.

Posted by: officermancuso | September 27, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Strange. It is the Neo-conservative followers of Leo Strauss and the Chicago gang, of which McCain is a member, that long for a parliament. Consensus is the way of the Checks and Balances government that the U.S. has. Obama is much more in the tradition of developing legislation through exceptional knowledge, examination of the problematique and the development of an ordered evolution of options that guarantees success. Parliament just works from a vote and if it fails you are out. That sounds much more like the Authoritarian McCain than the leader Obama.

Posted by: Digoweli | September 27, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your observation that John McCain was "channeling Ronald Reagan".

Unfortunately, he was channeling the Reagan who died of Alzheimer's disease, not the man who said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Posted by: moosejerky | September 27, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

John McCain was "fatherly"? Egads, my dad acts nothing like McCain. Thank God!!

Seriously, though, McCain's refusal to look Obama in the eye came across as petty and frankly, kind of offensive. Obama showed himself to be smart and cool to the core. Some of the pundits pounced on him for saying he agreed with McCain in some cases. Well, personally, I'd rather have a President who will admit that there is merit in someone else's arguments than someone who would prefer to declare the opposite just to be contrarian. Being able to come to an agreement on things is crucial to foreign policy. We'll never be able to rebuild our frayed alliances if we can't sit down and have an honest give and take with our allies.

In other words, advantage Obama.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | September 27, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama was running for prime minister and head of government in Friday night’s debate. He spoke with the precision of a parliamentary debater during question time. He had a three-point program for everything, but he didn’t deliver many memorable lines or offer the grace notes of leadership.
Here, read a memorable line from your republican alpha male "Bailout Plan Would Cost Less Than $700B".

Are you really that decency-depleted, Ignatius.

Posted by: Vattikutti | September 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama sees a 21st century world with cultural sensitivity. McCain sees more of the Cold War all over again and a willingness to make Iraq the Vietnam we don't ever leave, just a bit more stabilizing, and then some long lasting bases while we dominate the region like in Korea and Japan. No chance of an ongoing insurgency keeping us hopping back and forth between Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Obama is unsure, until our nation says yes this is what we want, he wont have the mojo to change our countries direction. When we make up our minds, and if we chose him then he will shine because we want him to.

Posted by: cgillard | September 27, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

'Knowing' and 'Not Knowing'
'Knowing you Know' and 'Thinking you Know'.

'Knowing' and 'Knowing you Know' is the best combination and the one that you should choose to lead...describes McCain.

'Not Knowing' and 'Thinking you Know' is the worst...describes Obama too many times.
Or even worse maybe the non-commital, indecisive Obama.

A wealth of experience and knowledge allows you to form opinions faster and more accurately. A lack of experience forces you to always ponder and
delay decisions...they all become a calculated guess.

And for me...'Not Knowing the real Chicago trained Obama' is why I will not vote for him. His political experience has been in a very controlled environment with one major get a Democrat in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Finding out who he is on Jan 21th, 2009 is not good enough for me...and I hope not good enough for you either.

Posted by: Theo6 | September 27, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Both were dull and AGREED on most everything, quibbling over minutia. I still don't get the big deal about Iran having Nuke energy, or the willingness of both parties to sacrifice our troops defending Israel. Or the hostility towards Russia after Georgia attacked 1st killing Russian troops. Neither addressed the failures of the Federal Reserve, WE tax payers paid $325 billion in interest payments!! or the fact the sun never sets on the US empires 761 military bases WE pay for.

I still intend to flip both failed parties and their party clown so called 'leaders' Oblahblah & McCorpse the bird and vote 3rd party. I'm still un-impressed with these guys, and bored of the same stale 2 party nonsense.

Posted by: govtflu | September 27, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The debate provided nothing more than fodder for last night's and today's blog posts and media pundits who are Obama supporters marvelling at how wonderful Obama was and McCain supporters praising him. Funny how Obama is always portrayed as positive yet was not last night when he attacked McCain yet when McCain attacked he is nasty McSame or McBush. Funny how people are quick to nickname McCain and show so little respect yet would hit the roof if Obama got called constant names. The point in discussing this debate is to show that there really is no point. Those that post here have already made up their minds and will see into anything what they want to see whether true or not.

Posted by: justmyvoice | September 27, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

scott_farris: I did not find the two candidates' alleged evasiveness on the "bailout" to be out of line. It's sometimes hard to remember, but we do still have George Bush as president. Except for their votes as senators, neither McCain or Obama have much of a role in this debate. I also recall from history that FDR, despite intense pressure from Hoover, never weighed in on endorsing or rejecting specific policies Hoover was advocating to stem what was a worse crisis than what we face today (so far) and history has judged FDR wise to have done so. It gave him a much freer hand when he became president and finally wielded real power.
Thanks, Scott. I agree with you.

Posted by: martymar123 | September 27, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Since this debate was on foreign policy, which is where McCain is strongest, a tie would be a loss for him, and a loss would be catastrophic. Consequentially, Obama's small positive margin in the polls in this debate represents a huge win for him. McCain will be out of his comfort zone in the next two debates, which should result in even large positive margins for him. We don't even want to talk about Biden/Palin. From her interview with Couric there is the distinct possibility that she will melt down during the debate; if Couric hadn't provided the word "mock" for her, she might not have been able to continue. She was at a complete loss. Joe will just have to not brutalize her, which, given Palin's fragility, will be tough. John didn't do her any favors choosing her, as abjectly inexperienced as she is. The future doesn't look good for McCain/Palin.

Posted by: csintala79 | September 27, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I am not an American; so maybe you want to discount my comments straightaway, but there are fundamental principles of life. Experience is invaluable, but it must be the right experience based on proper knowledge and skills acquired prior to, during and after the experience; else it will consist of dangerous presumptions of ability. On the other hand, the right attitude and preparation can enable one to get it right the first time and gain the richer invaluable experience. People who say that there is no time to break in a rookie on the number one job in the world are saying that experience makes one infallible and more or less encourage messianism. The world doesn't need that.

Posted by: mistakool | September 27, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"John McCain was running for president and head of state. He was channeling Ronald Reagan"


Ronald Reagan loathed "Gigolo John".

McLame admits as much in his memoir.

Yet last night, the pathetic old wuss invoked Reagan's name for political advantage.

Apparently, there is nothing to which the unprincipled old fool will not stoop in his desperate, last-gasp attempt to become President.

The Republicans were right when they rejected him in 2000 in favor of a village idiot.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 27, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"John McCain was running for president and head of state. He was channeling Ronald Reagan"


Ronald Reagan loathed "Gigolo John".

McLame admits as much in his memoir.

Yet last night, the pathetic old wuss invoked Reagan's name for political advantage.

Apparently, there is nothing to which the unprincipled old fool will not stoop in his desperate, last-gasp attempt to become President.

The Republicans were right when they rejected him in 2000 in favor of a village idiot.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 27, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"John McCain was running for president and head of state. He was channeling Ronald Reagan"


Highly unlikely.

Ronald Reagan loathed "Gigolo John".

McLame admits as much in his memoir.

Yet last night, the pathetic old wuss invoked Reagan's name for political advantage.

Apparently, there is nothing to which the unprincipled old fool will not stoop in his desperate, last-gasp attempt to become President.

The Republicans were right when they rejected him in 2000 in favor of a village idiot.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 27, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"This is being "Presidential"? I am sorry but the last 8 years have truly lowered your bar all the way to the ground."

George Bush hasn't just lowered the bar of expectations for being presidential. He has damned near buried the thing.

Posted by: castanea | September 27, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What amazing insight you must have to be able to sum up the potential future legacy of a presidential candidate a month before the election! Forgive me for my skepticism, but I think it's a little premature--shall we say, possibly even *presumptuous*?--to assume that you can glean the entire trajectory of what is currently an entirely hypothetical administration from a series of five- and two-minute soundbytes. While McCain's behavior this past week certainly suggests that assuming the mantle of an FDR figure is probably now forever beyond his grasp, I think I'll wait and reserve judgment on Obama's performance until, say, at least three months after he takes office.

Posted by: calcyon | September 27, 2008 2:23 AM

So, you cant predict someones Presidency, by their actions so far when it comes to Obama, but when it comes to McCain you can?

And eldora...Henry Kissinger made a few statements this morning very angry that Barack Obama completely misquoted and misrepresented him...dont know how that is McCain's lie.

And as far as not looking at Obama, in most debates you DONT talk directly to your opponent, because you are not there to talk down to your opponent.. McCain does not have that ability to throw integrity to the wind and lie to someone's face.. he has to do it facing the audience.. Obama has no problem lying to his opponents face.. he did it with Clinton, and he did it last night

Posted by: matteucs | September 27, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

You know what I thought was odd, is I felt like I was Obama and everytime McCain said I failed to understand I got more angry.

I read comments that Obama looked angry, upset, call ed Jim Lehere Jim, and John John, and comments that said McCain's was Presidential.

By definition: To look Presidential is to look like the last President. McCain was definately Presidential.

Have you ever gotten a name wrong? Should that disqualify you to be President?

As for understanding the credit swap and mortgage security issues and the liquidity of currency is like requiring a President to understand how a blender would work, or how fission could be translated into fusion.

The economy doesn't have a blueprint, it is made up by profit and torn down by losses. To think cutting a check, even 700 billion can shore up the economy is Hollywood.

Prepare yourselves for a global depression. I will possibly have a heart attack, so don't be surprised when Palin is at the helm of a ship with no rudder.

It may not really matter at that point, dark ages are entered into throughout history, and violence will certainly reduce the amount of people who suffer.

It will be much worse, for a long time, before it gets better. I'd pick a President who has some extra years to spare, he may burn them a decade per year.

The President will age in dog years. I just hope we all aren't eating Purina or Cat Chow.

Posted by: ender3rd | September 27, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I can see that all the Obama supporters watched a different debate than I did last night. They are projecting their own desires into his performance. His impatience and rude interrupting of McCain was insulting and showed me his lack of confidence in himself and his positions, in spite of his smooth talking. And I loved the "I have a bracelet too" comment. Childish.

Posted by: delusional1 | September 27, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama was clearly the more respectful and deferential of the two. However, it was also clear that John McCain had the deeper knowledge base about foreign affairs and government. If it were not for John McCain's mannerisms, he would've hit this out of the park. However, Barack had his own share of bumbling during the debate. As far as his anger toward Obama, it showed but its understandable. This article displays why. The media has clearly taken sides with Obama, and that's enough to make any candidate mad.

Posted by: forgetthis | September 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

And, Obama was clearly wrong in refusing to admit that his programs would be impossible to execute given the financial landscape in this country. He has to admit sooner or later that he is making empty, or rather impossible, promises to the American people for the sake of a campaign.

Posted by: forgetthis | September 27, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

McCain neither acted nor looked "presidential" (Reagan?... McCain looked more like Grumpy with a severe case of intellectual arthritis)
The old looked inmature, hotheaded and short-term focused. The young looked more balanced, relazed and... yes, close to Reagan's style. That's why he won the debate among the noncommited voters (which is what matters in a debate)
McCain showed that he keeps confusing tactics -such as a "face-saving" retreat (aka "surge") from Iraq leaving behind a stable ally of... Iran, with a strategic defeat -Iraq may likely be US's equivalent to the boer war that Britain also "won" at the expense of bankrupting its economy and tarnishing its reputation. McCain could use reading conservative historian Niall Ferguson. He is proposing to lead US with a lethal combination of Herbert Hoover's myopic & simplistic overestimation of "markets self-regulation" and a "Custer"-like approach to military action.
As they feel sinking into Bush's Great Depression, Americans are looking for flexible, congenial and cool FDRs, not bully, mercurial TDRs.
It was evident that Obama was much closer to the generations that are dying in the front and seeing their future mortgaged than 72-year old McCain.
It is easy to talk tough when someone else is going to die and pay.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 27, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The US is in a mess after 8 years of a Republican Presidency. John McCain cannot simply divorce himself from his party. I suspect that he would rather be running as an Independent or a Democrat, but that is he is running as the Republican nominee. Hence, he has to stand on the abysmal record of the last eight years. Further, he has been a hawk on deregulation. Unfortunately, we see that Investment banks and financial institutions need regulation. Oops - bad call John - your banker friends have let you down!

Posted by: Iceman2 | September 27, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Ignatius

I think you have summed up the debate very well.

Yes, I agree with the partisans on both sides - they make valid points here and there. Sen. McCain was condescending, and he looked old and doddering at times, but as you say, he won the emotional highs.

Sen. Obama was not forceful, some could say wimpish at times, but he's a smart guy who has a grasp of what is happening and a non-confrontational style except here and there. He won the intellectual debate but then McCaca is a dummy in comparison.

You got it about right.

Posted by: bwana3 | September 27, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, one of the legacies of the Bush Admin is the low bar set for excellence and competence in public service. I truly believe Americans hardly know how to react when confronted with candidates who have qualities we haven't seen for almost 8 years. Even journalists, trained in news gathering and analysis, are sometimes at a loss, and are unable to distinguish between intelligence and intransigence. Time to bring back the little grey cells.

Of the two candidates, it is rightly said - it is the past (McCain) vs. the future (Obama). Clinging to old habits and old techniques are sometime still effective; exploring new ways and devising new tactics may be risky but opens new horizons. This debate showed clearly the difference between the two men and their generations. McCain takes things quite personally and it shows in his gruffness; Obama is more pragmatic and generous, ceding a point if necessary. Take your pick - I'll go along with the cool one, anyday.

Posted by: jbleenyc | September 27, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama programs impossible to implement in the case of a Bush-created Depression? Who told you that? FDR brought relief to Americans by refusing to succumb to Hoover's fatalism and implementing a bold, innovative economic program -the New Deal- that brought the country back from the Depression and created the same mechanisms that today our Congress is trying to re-institute to save Americans from a second Republican-created economic disaster.
Now like in 1930, Republicans -who didn't learn a thing talking to each other- are putting economic "ortodoxy" before the common good of Americans. Let's remember what John Maynard Keynes said to the likes of this "newborn", free-spending "conservatives": "when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?".
Let's also remember that "change" can be many things, but repeating the failed policies of the last 8 years.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 27, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Piic CAN I TELL YOU WHY HE COULD NOT LOOK AT OBAMA? Its hard to look someone in the eye when you are lying to them unless your name is Putin(remember your current president--looking in eyes and seeing souls-I digress)

mccain is so in the past, we dont need a leader who is reagan. reagan could not handle the problems of today he was a 80's man. This is a new century and if you want to stay in the past century vote for the mccain. He has no way out of Irag, he keeps mentioning Victory! You would think a Col in the Navy could tell America what victory in Iraq is. The US has already won the Iraq war when we captured saddam and put in a new government. The rest is on the Iragis. He is just full of old lines and dry humor, if we were not in two wars, his humor still wouldn't be great but mccain is not going to lead us forward. He has been in the senate for over 22 years and he was a maverick in 2000 and 2004 and guess where that got him? #1 HATED BY THE GOP and admired by the Democrats but he is not the mccain of 2000/2004 he has sole his sould for the election. Prove my last statement wrong? Everyone who destroyed his character he is now kissing thier boots, mccain the maverick would not do that. My final thought, he sponsored the latest Immigration Bill( against some GOP's wishes) BUT BUT he is now against his own bill.. semi-quote.." I WOULD NOT VOTE FOR THE BILL THAT CARRYS MY NAME" wtf.. Can I tell you about your VP? Country First-which country?

Posted by: AMT64 | September 27, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Cannot predict if Obama will be like FDR? Sure, FDR was no FDR during his 1929 campaign. He had just the right judgement, and the personal qualities: coolness, respect and listening abilities as to bring very different people together. He didn't act angry neither idolized any "mantra" from economics of his time (all "ortodox" by then). Obama showed balance, self-control, knowledge of the issues and prudence not to rush to judgement until seeing the facts.
McCain -at 72- is inmature to be president. He is even inmature to be a commander like Petreus. We have enough of political "kamikazes", don't you think?.
It is time for a president with intelligence, education (FDR was also an "elitist" Yale alumni), ability to mobilize the American people -look at Obama's registration figures and rallies- and try new ideas.
McCain wants to solve Bush-created problem with Bush-legacy policies. You cannot get out of a hole by digging it deeper.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 27, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Franklin Roosevelt is remembered with gratitude because when America was floundering under a government caused depression, he acted quickly and decisively by implementing socialist type work programs that put many to work and solvency. However, when prosperity hit after WWII, most of these programs should have been left to expire, like fannie mae and freddy mac. Roosevelt saw that because things were so bad, government had to go from referee to player.

Nowadays, the government should get back to the sidelines as a strong and fair referee and stop being a player, especially in the financial area. The financial mess would not have happened if the industry were open to more regulation but the regulators were involved.

The Congress has been in Democratic control for more than 2 years and nothing has changed from when the Republicans ran it all. Both parties have become heavy burdens on America. The Republicans continue to be a danger because they have abandoned their basic fundamentals and the Democrats are just as hazardous because they have stuck to their fundamentals.

Obama and McCain are both caught in circumstances that neither knows how to handle. Neither one seems to have more than words or innuendo to offer and certainly neither is ready to be president.

They both in their own ways are probably decent men, but neither one has enough fire in his belly to be more than mediocre. the American public has become so disillusioned with government that we can not find leaders..sad.

Posted by: jstratt2 | September 27, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Would you trust the judgment of a candidate that chooses as Vice President a person in one interview ?
Why Palin is not going to Washington to help McCain with the Senators? Were she elected VP, that would be her job... Or is McCain going to try "on the job training"?
Palin's experience as mayor and governor (leaving 6,000-people Wasilla 20 million dollar debt) qualifies her for leading the Congress? Because that is the only primary VP job... and in times of crisis like this, with a likely Democratic majority in both House and Senate, it will take a Lyndon Johnson to work this out.
This is an example of McCain's executive judgment.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 27, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Prime Minister vs. President; what a silly distinction. How about this: Prime Minister Churchill vs. President Hoover. The pressures of a deadline meet inadequate creativity.

Posted by: filmlab | September 27, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

When McCain was blathering about his support for veterans, I would have liked Obama to point out that his warmongering attitude toward the rest of the world is exactly the sort of leadership that would create a great deal more veterans.

Posted by: JimC45 | September 27, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

"he was arrogant to the point that he interrupted McCain when speaking about ten times, he was nervous, he called McCann "Jim". He's nothing but a man who believes he is smarter than any individual on earth but he is not."

hey brainiac, Jim was the mediator. he was talking to him not McCain. And just because someone is smarter than you doesn't mean they are arrogant. Being smart and articulate shouldn't offend voters, I hope to god my prez is smarter than me. i don't want someone who can speak to me like a child and simplify everything; i want someone who understands and conveys the complexity of these issues.

Posted by: violet_lilac2003 | September 27, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the message of the latest McCain ad: "Anyone who would agree with McCain is obviously unsuited to be President."

Posted by: CuckooRaja | September 27, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

FDR? Reagan? Presidential? All these references have vastly different meanings to different people. But Obama is a different kind of leader than we have seen recently. My bias leads me to believe that being Presidential is not at all by aping Ronald Reagan. Being Ronald Reagan was having the acting ability to give this nation a false sense of high self esteem while saddling the future (we here today) with debt, energy dependance, a willingness to run amok with international law, etc. He may have been the great ego booster during his reign but he sacrificed those of us who bear the burdens today. Tearing down the solar panels off the White House first thing to give the show of American bravado was part and parcel of George W's rule of posture without foresight. For thinking Americans we have seen the enemy and he is us - or more specifically those who push a conservative, faith based, anti-intellectual agenda within our nation. Obama lost the debate if the debate were about winning the Presidency by manipulating the masses with false passion, lies and posturing. Obama won the debate if it were about trying to heal this country and make it more humble and give a better future to our children. McCain is sacrificing many things of moral worth in an effort to get himself elected -regardless that he honestly perceives himself as the candidate better able to serve. Thank you Obama for remaining more civil and modeling for the young what behaviors will be needed in the future to fix the festering but solvable problems that we Americans have for too long let sit unresolved and growing exponentially worse for years. And as an aside - how many votes would Obama have thrown away had he lectured or embarrassed McCain on stage in front of the nation? He certainly could easily have done so. Perhaps it was defference of respect for an elder. But consider also that a black political man today in Mississippi in the middle of a red state will not fare well should he cross that unspoken subconscious line where many white men would take grave offense at a black 'boy' acting uppity in front of one of their own. I am white.

Posted by: esmith1 | September 27, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I looked at part of the debate with the sound turned off. Sen McCains's body language worried me. It suggested emotional instability.Sen McCain must release his medical and Naval records. we have right to know what is his emotional condition now and in the past. He was unstable even before going to the Naval Academy. Nobody can spend 5 years in a communist prison and come out with out emotional scares. Why did he never get a command other that a minor training squadron while he was in the Navy? Was he passed over in the Navy? We must know whether he is emotionally capable of holding a big job. The Navy thought not.

Posted by: marketeck | September 27, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

i find it puzzling that most political commentators seem to criticize both candidates (perhaps McCain slightly more often) for not giving their own detailed opinions on the curreent bailout proposal during last night's debate. as far as i'm concerned, for either man to have injected his own personal assessment of these very delicate negotiations into a public debate just to score political points would have proven, by example, that neither was fit to be president.

Posted by: finked | September 27, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Neither of them are president yet, and the negotiations over the bailout plan are in a delicate position and already tainted by election politics. As such, it would have been unprofessional and unwise for either candidate to grandstand with an economic plan. Which isn't to say that they wouldn't have, but McCain's attempt to do so earlier in the week hurt him with the media and in the polls, so now they know better. Thank God, Americans are finally learning to look beyond the YouTube, and hold politicians accountable for the consequences of their soundbites.

Posted by: Adastra8 | September 27, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow you get paid for this nonsense???

Obama sounded like the president we need.

While McCain sounded like an angry, bitter sunday school teacher.

And while Ignatius might have visions of sugarplum Reagan's dancing in his head, that kind of cowboy leadership has run its course. We need STATESMANSHIP not ONEUPMANSHIP.

Posted by: ethanquern | September 27, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama is battling the stealth race card (extra 6 %), the Clintons' backstabbing, the moronic DNC leadership, 527s, swiftboating books (such as the depicable "Obama Nation") and "damn if you do, damn if you don't" standards (not black enough, "hidden leftist", too "profesorial"/"elitist", "too nice", too cold, not angry enough).
He has endured 18 months of this and still is on top.
Bush's Great Depression will give him the Presidency.
I look forward to see how the world looks like in a country with muted O'Reilly, Fox Channel, Limbaughs and Coulters.
He will inherit a destroyed economy, a military in strategic disarray and a world angry after 8 years of arrogance and warmongering.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 28, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Obama is surging 2% daily in the polls, leading in the bets (where the 6% crypto-racism doesn't count) and shutting Bushism mouthpieces with plain and straight competence and character.
A guy coming out of nowhere, raised on food stamps by a single mother, with only one (and strong) marriage, Harvard top graduate, able to go toe-to-toe and hold his ground against the Clinton and Bush machines and a 34 year Washington veteran like McCain deserves the respect he is getting.
A new generation is grabbing the torch.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 28, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Obama overcame the Clinton machine, the Jessie Jacksons and black establishment machine, the Bush machine, Fox channel, 527s, 24/7 slander and Walls Street lobbyists money without any other capital or asset than his connection with young Americans and Bush's apocalyptic failure.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 28, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The debate vaporized the slanded about Obama's readiness for the Presidency.
McCain's judgment test?: Economy: "the fundamentals are sound"; Foreign policy: "we are winning in Iraq"; Politics: reelecting Bush (2004) and selecting rookie Palin for VP.
More?: encouraging Georgia to figth Russia and more isolationism for US.
Time to go.

Posted by: mbernardez | September 28, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't know where you get the idea a parliamentary question period is full of "three point programs" for everything. The speaker routinely has to tell the members to quiet down, questions and answers are quite limited in time and yes there is a ton of partisanship.

It's fantastic actually, Question period would do the American system a lot of good, but I digress.

Anyway, your analogy was poor.

Posted by: Scientician | September 28, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

McCain, the maverick - what a week for him. It is unbelievable that the election is as close as it is at the moment. McCain's gambit at "suspending" his campaign (did he really, or did he simply take campaigning to an ugly low?). The disastrous Sarah Palin/Katie Couric interview where she could barely put two sentences together (after video is released of a preacher driving witches from her, no less). And let's not even mention the direct tie between McCain's campaign manager (receiving payments from Freddie Mac)and the mortgage crisis (OK, I mentioned it). What a mess.

And yet, the McCainiacs remain faithful, trusting in the promise that the label "maverick" holds. Unfortunately, for McCain, "maverick" is now just another work for irratic and risky. His high stakes ploys to resusitate his campaign (first the Sarah Palin pick; this week, attempting to insert himself into the bailout talks) should indicate just how dangerous a McCain presidency would be to America.

I respect McCain. I wrote McCain just after the Abu Ghraib scandal to ask him to personally intervene to be sure that America would never preside over such a thing again. He is a special person whose personal history and sacrifice can't be denied. But I agree with many on the right who assess that he does not have the temperment to be president. The smug, arrogant, petulant, thoughtless and pandering man I've seen evolve over the course of this campaign is too much like the smug, arrogant,petulant, thoughtless and pandering man who currently holds the office (Maybe this is what David Ignatius really means by his notion that McCain seemed "Presidential"). McCain, the maverick, may bring change - as we have certainly observed, he's changed many times during the course of even this one week - but that's not the change for which we're asking.

I'm sure the press would love a McCain presidency in that special way that the press loves a compelling story - and certainly McCain will generate a story a day as he pivots and dodges his way through America's myriad and substantial problems, as mavericks will. But is this what we need? Can we absorb another blow like the series of gut punches we've had for the past 8 years?

Presidential, Mr. Ignatius? I think not. McCain is turning "maverick" into a dirty word.

Posted by: LincolnX | September 28, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

McCain is running scared. He was not even able to look at the face of his opponent. That smells a lot like a coward than a maverick or a hero. The fact that Obama's campaign didn't even bother to pick on Sarah Palin after her Ms.South Carolina style interview with Katie Couric also tells a lot about how much baggage McCain has to drag having Sarah Palin in his ticket. She is outright scary to be in a number 2 spot, when the number 1 spot has a grumpy old man with skin cancer who has already put one foot in the grave and the other foot on a bar of soap. McCain's snickering and silly jabs at Obama are all signs of a big time loser. At this stage, McCain is looking for a miracle like the one he got in the primaries where he suspended his campaign for lack of money and later resurfaced only because of the other candidates floudering big time. But given how astute Obama is a similar miracle is not in the works for McCain. He is history. History will remember him as a coward, phony, and an outright liar who had the intelligence of a pin head to put Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Posted by: MaryHiggins1 | September 28, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

McCain is surely regretting his VP pick. After the Katie Couric interview of Sarah Palin we haven't heard McCain pronounce her name. Neither have we seen him publicly by her side. He seems to enjoy the company of Liebermann more as we saw them both on Saturday for a photo op after the big debate. Is an announcement of the form "Sarah wants to spend more time with her family" in the making in the McCain camp? I hope so because she is sinking and taking McCain down with her in the polls.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | September 28, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

This idea that McCain and Obama need to make specific proposals on the "bailout" seems to be universal, but why? We can't get our best economists to agree completely on anything, and all of them equivocate in the final paragraph.
Obama did present thoughtful guidelines for any final agreement, and they both stressed the need for some kind of action.
However, the first one of the candidates to say "I have the one, the only, the final answer" should be immediately disqualified and sent to his room for time out.
The next journalist who asks the question should leave at once to prepare the room.

Posted by: GuySturino | September 28, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

If either candidate wants to pick up some undecided voters, they should be voting against any bailout plan. It is overwhelmingly unsupported by the citizens. Why do Senators insist on voting against the wishes of the constituents that voted them in to represent them?

Democracy schmemocracy.

Posted by: gypsyjones | September 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Can Obama or his supporters ever say anything that's not a deliberate distortion or outright lie? Check out the second reply to this post: "This would have been the ideal time to remind voters that John McCain just recently voted AGAINST the new GI Bill of Rights."

Right. The problem is, McCain voted against this bill because it would've encouraged our servicemen to leave the military early, while they're still needed in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Obama's people want you to believe that McCain is anti-veteran, which is ludicrous. Sadly, the whole Obama campaign is like that.

Posted by: floyd15 | September 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Where is the John McCain I supported in 2000? I gave money to his campaign when he was trying to win the GOP primary, I admired him, liked him and was impressed by his openess and integrity.

That man is gone.

When Obama was speaking McCain didn't hide his distain and animosity. At one point it looked like he was saying "Bull sh!t" under his breathe when Obama was giving an answer.

But when McCain had trouble pronouncing a name Obama leaned over and said "that's a tough one".

Just a little thing....but it says a lot about the character of these two men.

Posted by: Saramee | September 28, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

18 billion in earmarks vs 300 billion in tax cuts is no contest and Obama won big on the economy and energy. John was right seemed more like crossing the aisle than McCain's constant attacks, worst one being he does not understand. Obama showed a grasp of war theaters and foreign affairs especially in the Afghan theater belittling he does not understand. On foreign policy a slight edge to McCain, on the domestic front a big win for Obama. Obama's calm demeanor in the face of attacks won the he is inexperienced and will falter under pressure attack. Obama showed he is ready for the job which was his mission. McCain without winning big, now needs a home run from Palin in her debate. Another Couric episode will spell doom for his campaign.

Posted by: jameschirico | September 28, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The liberal media is foaming at the mouth at the thought of a woman VP and a War Hero in command of the government of our country!.....instead, their sexism and white guilt remorse have pushed their clouded minds to support a young, naive individual that has no experience in governance or foreign affairs and his only strength is the skill of oratory.

The fact is, America still does not know who the real Barack Hussein Obama is, but Americans remember Obama’s 20 year close association and blood relationship with his religious leader, priest and father image, Jeremiah Wright.
Americans remember vividly the hideous videos of Jeremiah Wright's congregation which included Obama and Oprah, when they were celebrating in bombastic joy, the murderous attack on America on 9/11.

Americans that love our country and have always been proud of it, know Barack is a radical extremist and black supremacist that has a hidden agenda that is a serious threat to the American values we all treasure and cherish.

The sexist liberal media will not succeed in destroying the McCain/Palin presidential campaign the way they destroyed Hillary Clinton's effort, because Americans including all the democrats that supported Hillary Clinton will make the choice to put our Country First and vote for McCain and Sarah Palin.

Country First!
McCain/Sarah Palin

Posted by: Manolete | September 28, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The disparity between Barack "Acorn" Obama's debate commentary and his actual Senate record was astounding. Had McCain chosen to, he could have spent the entire night exposing Obama's outright distortions. "I support a missile defense system." Obama has vowed to CX the program if elected. "I recognize the need for a strong military in dealing with rogue Nations." Obama has vowed to cut tens-of-billions from the military budget; and, to terminate advanced weapons programs. "I support the gasification of coal." Obama voted against it. "I support nuclear power." Obama has vowed to terminate the production of fissile material. The feedstock for nuclear power plants. I'll give 95% of Americans a tax reduction in their Federal Income Taxes." A real Obama 'hat trick' since more than 40% of Americans don't pay ANY Federal Income Tax. "I agree, we need to control excessive government spending." Obama has proposed hundreds of billions of $s in NEW government spending; to include Foreign Giveaways mostly directed at Africa; and, even to the point of providing government funded health care for 20million+ illegal aliens. "I warned of the deregulation of the mortgage industry." Obama fought Bush Administration efforts to reign in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; and, even proposed legislation to prohibit mortgage lenders from tightening standards on low income borrowers. Not to mention the fact that he was a primary beneficiary of industry largess; tried to funnel tens-of-billions of $s in the Democrat's recent "Bailout Package" to the Acorn extremists; and, welcomed the likes of Bob Johnson, Franklin Raines and Penny Pritzker into his campaign structure. Etc. Etc. Etc. The only way to express Obamaspeak in a civil dialectic is to note that the man is a congenital liar. God help us if the majority of Americans are beguiled by this novice circus comic. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | September 28, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Manolete wrote: "Americans that love our country and have always been proud of it, know Barack is a radical extremist and black supremacist that has a hidden agenda that is a serious threat to the American values we all treasure and cherish."

We other Americans (who by the way love our country and have always been proud of it) know that you bigoted extremists on the far right have tried to intimidate and scare the citizens of our country for far too long with your unsubstantiated and frivilous smears. Please stop your hate speech.

Posted by: LincolnX | September 28, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

How the heck much time did FDR have to think over the "bailout" after the great depression started? You want quick answers like George Bush and his secret "look into Putin's eyes" kind of decision making? Saying he hasn't seen the language yet is putting horses before the cart - which is a good thing. We've been riding a horseless cart for so long that we're just used to going wherever the heck it takes us, and for eight years, that been in the ditch.

Posted by: 10SPAUL | September 29, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

yellowrose1 wrote;"The Democrats in the meeting deferred to Obama when asked to comments in order to allow him to manage the meeting and to give him the chance to show his vaulted leadership skills and he was un-prepared and un-informed on what the Republican leadership was proposing and just lashed out at them and tried to get Paulson to do the same. He devolved the meeting into a screaming match and it totally was derailed."

--------------------------------------------How strange that you are the only one in the whole world to think this...maybe because it NEVER happened.

First of all, Obama was the one who was prepared. He had been in contact with Paulson all week, getting updates everyday.
He was completely prepared. In fact, McCain and Bush were the ones that wanted Obama there in the first place. McCain was trying to get out of studying for the debate and Bush was trying to make McCain look good.

But it didn't work because after all the bluster, McCain just sat there that a moron and did say anything. Even when Obama tried to engage him and find out his thoughts, McCain (the census builder-NOT) refused to answer just a petulant kid. How weird is that?

The only thing McCain did when he got back to DC was to run to his rep cronies and get them all fired up so there would be no agreement and there was no agreement.

There is something very strange about McCain and Caribou Barbie Palin as well.

Both are egotistical, self serving, greedy people and do not deserve to be anywhere near any sort of office which will give them power.

Obama 08

Posted by: MUPPET | September 29, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If McCain can't even look Obama in the eye and address him directly, what would happen if he sat down with Vladimir Putin? He'd get totally owned, that's what. Obama is the one with the temperment, intellect and judgment to be President.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | September 30, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I didn't watch the debate, and I've learned nothing of substance about EITHER candidate from that happy party boy Ignatz.

His level of analysis ranks right up there with sorority-girl gossip.

Posted by: bracken1 | September 30, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Dear David:
Allow me, if you can, relate the interestingly economic-cum-political scenario of the finanacial breakdown on Wall Street with Humpty Dumpty, a Nursery rhyme. If the words are too far-fetched, here is a sampling of the same:

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again."

Suffice it to say that, the Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. rejected the initial bailout plan of $700billion to rescue the U.S financial system. Which way out then? What will it take to rebuild the ruin that is Wall Street? At this critical point in American history, a reality check on two key factors is needed. First, the ongoing war in Iraq --based on bad judgment-- has placed a huge financial burden on the taxpayer. Second, the growing hegemony of China's global economic adventurism which has usurped and/or eclipsed United States influence around the world as a result. The question is, how would Franklin D. Roosevelt have delt with the current crises? Would he be as deft as he was then? Let us stretch the argument and extrapolate the issue of a Prime Minister...Is the "more perfect union" of the United States of America ready to CHANGE into a Kenya style democracy by having both the offices of the Prime Minister and President govern the affairs of people?
David Wafula Nerubucha

Posted by: david_wafula | September 30, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama and McCain are an odd match indeed.
Obama is surreally and exaggeratedly deferential to a man who in turn has been nothing but a serial abuser of Obama, showing on a daily basis nothing BUT emasculating disrespect, always negatively invoking Obama's name on so many levels I'm suprised McCain hasn't blamed Obama for starting WWII!

It's up to Obama to put a very loud and public halt to McCain's grievous insults, to his face, mano a mano -- no one else can do this for him.
McCain has been spitting on Obama since the end of the primaries in June. It's NOT a recent mode of conduct for McCain, and there is something odd about it, I just cannot imagine him talking so viscerally insultingly about any other candidate the way he does Obama.
I think it's racial bigotry, but again, Obama must publicly stand up to a vile, old man who has despite his own glowing words about HIMSELF, appears to be the worst cheater and liar in presidential election history.
Poor Arizonians .... has this man really served them well?

Posted by: strohblumen | September 30, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey David, it's America, comparing Obama to a Prime Minister is just being insulting while pretending to analyze.

As polling shows, unless you were already for McCain, most folks saw a President and a grumpy old coot.

Posted by: cvm1 | September 30, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

John McCain looks like a good and, yes, experienced soldier who however can only focus on individual battles but is unable to piece together his observations to give us an overarching strategic vision. And I am just talking about his foreign policy credentials.

His understanding of economic issues is totally off the mark.

I think Obama has more than passed the experienced threshold. I would be looking for sound judgment. After all, what good did seasoned politicians like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld bring us?

Posted by: ChrisL1 | September 30, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

My fear with Obama's agreeable attitude with his debate opponent is simply this, "Will he have the same agreeable-ness with our Country's opponents?" Do we really want someone in the Whitehouse who agrees with our enemies?

Posted by: David-in-Chicago | October 1, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

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