A Disjointed but Perceptible Win for McCain


John McCain came out ready for a fight, but seemed to have left his weapons at home. There were a few glimmers of hope, but 9 times out of 10, he stumbled and missed the opportunity to punch Obama in the guts.

I hope you like socialism.
That was the e-mail I received from a friend and fellow Auburn alum at a little after 11:00 p.m. I think he summed it up nicely. While I do feel that this was, perhaps, McCain’s best debate performance of the general election, I don’t know that he did enough.

Notwithstanding a little stumbling and stammering, Barack Obama was calm, careful and deliberate. On the other side? Wow, did John McCain look angry. He looked like a man who has grown tired of facing an uphill battle while wearing rollerskates. He looked uncomfortable, annoyed, irritated, exasperated and downright angry — and that was just for a single question.

At times, the split screen was devastating. On one side, Obama seemed to be calmly making his point, while on the other McCain looked to be shaking with frustration and ire.

When he was focused, however, like when he talked about keeping more money in the pockets of the American workers and when he confronted Obama on breaking his promise to accept public financing, McCain was fantastic. A lot of the time, however, the Arizona senator seemed disjointed, as though he had too much he wanted to say and no conceivable outline to facilitate a methodical, structured argument.

The question about Roe v. Wade, for instance, was an excellent opportunity for McCain to hammer Obama on his impassioned arguments against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, arguments advocating what amounts to infanticide. He mentioned it and did okay, but with a more prepared and focused approach he could have explained, even to pro-choice independents, that back in the Illinois State Senate, Obama argued not from a compassionate approach as he maintained in tonight’s debate but rather from the angle that providing medical care for a living, breathing baby who survived a botched abortion would put undue stress on the woman who chose to abort in the first place.

Besides that, I chose not to take notes, so really cannot get into specific things said by either candidate. For that and more, I’ve included a commentary by John Harris and Jim VandeHei at Politico. I think they were pretty spot-on.

All in all, I call it a win for John McCain. He could have hit harder on Obama’s inexperience, he could have said plainly to the American public that he is the known entity and Obama is not. He could have hit harder on William Ayers, and in fact almost seemed to back down when Obama responded with what seemed to be an expected and artfully scripted response, when he could have simply asked the American public whether or not they wanted Barack Obama to be granted the highest security clearance in all the land despite his close association–in any capacity–to a known unrepentant terrorist.

It was McCain’s best debate. Still, I cannot help but wonder how this race would change if he was more focused than he was tonight.

– Jeff

Debate III: Edgy McCain Sheds No New Light
By John Harris and Jim VandeHei, Politico.com

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – John McCain’s challenge at the final debate was to present his case for the presidency in a new light.

But over 90 minutes of intense exchanges with Barack Obama—sometimes compelling, often awkward—-there was very little new light, and no obvious reason for McCain to be optimistic that he has turned his troubled campaign in a new direction.

To the contrary, what McCain offered at Hofstra University was simply a more intense, more glaring version of his campaign in familiar light —- an edgy, even angry performance that in many ways seemed like a metaphor for his unfocused, wildly improvisational campaign.

The Arizona senator threw many punches and sometimes may have landed a few, as when he called Obama out for reneging on a clear promise to accept public financing and the spending limits that go with it.

But just as often Obama smoothly sidestepped the punches, as when he gave what seemed like a plausible and non-defensive answer on how he came to know the ‘60s-era domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and pivoted to boast about the range of advice he seeks from establishment pillars like Warren Buffet on the economy.

More important, what was not evident in all the flailing of arms was a clear or logically consistent case about why McCain should be president and Obama should not be.

McCain in one moment blasted big spending and high taxes, and at the same time called for an unprecedented federal effort to boost home values by buying bad mortgages and renegotiating the terms.

Ayers was important, McCain insisted, not because his association revealed something about Obama’s ideology or patriotism, but simply because he had failed to be forthcoming.

And the mood McCain conveyed was irritable—with repeated sarcastic gibes at Obama—and sometimes a bit weird, flashing a brittle smile and bulging eyes as Obama was speaking. These were images certain to be aired again and again, from YouTube to Saturday Night Live.

As the evening ended, it was hard to imagine McCain’s performance could have dislodged many current Obama supporters, or impressed many fence-sitters waiting for new arguments or for some new dimension of McCain’s leadership skills to be revealed.

Commentators such as Charles Krauthammer, who has written devastating critiques of Obama, said on Fox News that Obama won the encounter with a poised and mistake-free performance. Fox anchor Brit Hume said some of McCain’s mannerisms were “peculiar.”

Obama did not reveal much new either about his leadership profile. He showed the same traits that marked his first two debates — fluent sentences spoken in a steady and even subdued style. It showed that he is a veteran of 23 debates over this election cycle.But as the candidate who was ahead in national polls and most swing states, Obama had less need to offer something new or dramatic.

The evening did put Obama’s own governing instincts on vivid display. Obama, for all his efforts to present himself as a post-ideological politician, is a believer in big-government liberalism.

In a different climate, Obama might have left himself exposed in this debate. By our count, he called for new spending for energy (several times), college, special needs programs, health care, teacher development, mortgage assistance, tax breaks for virtually everyone, including those who don’t pay taxes, and perhaps automakers. He came away sounding like a next-generation LBJ.

But the “big government” label simply lacks the resonance it once did. A big reason: everyone in Washington is a big-government liberal these days as Washington bailouts businesses with bipartisan support.

McCain did his best to mine this theme, especially with his references to the ubiquitous “Joe the Plumber,” who he said would suffer under Obama’s efforts to “spread the wealth” through heavy taxation.

By the end of the evening, Joe might have worn out his welcome as symbol, with references to him overflowing like a backed-up drain. And his usefulness as a McCain surrogate might be quickly over, thanks to an interview after the debate with Katie Couric of CBS News in which Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio said that Obama’s answers amounted to a “tap dance…almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr.”

You can bet that in coming days, pundits will say John McCain should have shown us the old John McCain. You know, the one who is a maverick, who loves the press, and who seems so damn likeable. As last night’s debate showed, that John McCain is long gone.

What we saw Wednesday night was the John McCain this campaign has produced. A man of passion – but one who struggles mightily to present himself as the most plausible candidate in these depressing economic times.



  1. JudgeRight says:

    I saw a cartoon of John McCain in a boxing ring with a pair of gloves he’s apparently pulling off, but he has ten pair on the mat at his feet. How wordlessly eloquent. He’s never unleashed on his opponent yet and tonight was yet another example of his reluctance to hit and hit with everything he has. I was busy taking notes and so missed some of the gestures and facial expressions so your comments are helpful to me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello Jeff,

    Here is another hint that Obama is a closet Muslim.
    See “YouTube – Osama Bin Laden on Barack Obama” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ll8lJoKEog
    Pretty shocking! By the way, Obama went to Pakistan if you know what I mean! And he went to Pakistan when Americans were not welcomed at all. How visit a country like Pakistan if he did not have a goal in mind. And Pakistan being a Muslim country, how can we think of any other goals for Obama in his trip to Pakistan than something linked to be a Muslim!!

    Still nothing from the judge! Wait and see, as this judge will do NOTHING and will wait until AFTER the elections are over to dismiss the case!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel like I was watching a different debate than everyone else. Obama looked tired and deflated to me, compared to his other performances. I felt like he was waiting for the hard questions to be asked and looked almost nervous. McCain came out stronger than ever, but didn’t follow through and I was left wondering what everyone is trying to cover up.

  4. dollster123 says:

    Your last paragraph sums it all up. I hate to think of Obama as our next president, and I hope and pray he isn’t, but something has to happen soon or he will be.

    Maybe one of the 2 suits filed will come to fruition???

  5. Anonymous says:

    I sure don’t know what debate you were watching. It must have been something totally different. I thought Mccain seemed confident and challenged Obama many, many times. I have watched all of the debates and felt Mccain was holding back but this one he won. Obama is an eloquent speaker. Polished like Kerry. Mccain stumbles over his words more but you never hear that nagging, “Um, Um, Um” that Obama does. I was watching carefully the facial expressions of both candidates. Mccain smiled a lot when Obama was talking and at times you could tell he was thinking about Obama’s words and his response. I was amazed at the spin the pundits put on after the debate. They were firmly in the Obama camp. Style and eloquence does not make a good president. Substance does. Mccain has substance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The thing wrong with McCain is he did not go to the Public Alliance school. He would have learned the *in your face *techniq.or the radicle methods of debate used by every left wing person we see on TV.

    Jane in Fl.

  7. Anonymous says:

    McCain did what he had to do to the best of his limited public speaking ability. I think it was important that he appeared to show some amount of anger-everybodys angry-its a bad situation but Socialism (spreading the wealth) is not the way out. Obama looked like its just another day at the office-a little too disconnected-

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m getting frustrated with the judge in the Berg case. I agreed we should not call or email him. But now I wonder. I see no reason why he needs to take this much time, except that he merely wants to run the clock. It now seems to me that he is intent upon preventing voters from knowing whether the candidates are eligible BEFORE we vote. I don’t feel he should be able to get away with that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Whatever came of the Berg v Obama case. Wasn’t something to happen yesterday..the 15th??

  10. Icarus says:

    Its all over folks!!


    From Paddy Power – the Irish Bookie

    “Perhaps it was the fluffing of the economic crisis, but for whatever reason, the race to be Next US President is slipping away from John McCain. We’re certain Senator Obama will become President Obama so we’re paying out over €1,000,000 on him to win the election. Applies to bets placed before Thursday 3.30am. We’re still offering odds on the US election. If you’re convinced he will win, why not give our Handicap Betting your vote?”

  11. Phil says:

    Here’s the comment about last night’s debate I posted over at http://www.redstate.com:


    I completely agree with your observations on this third debate. From the beginning, I could not believe my eyes: it was as if Obama hadn’t slept very well last night! To me, he looked rather sombre, at times almost tired, and three-quarters the way through the debate, I thought he was going to begin stumbling over his own words.

    Being as fair as I’m going to be, he was able to pull off a reasonable oratory. However, I don’t think he actually said much. Every time I heard Obama used the word “invest” in connection with the government, my wallet began to feel lighter and lighter!

    Further, it appeared as if McCain was on fire. Maybe that’s out of realization that he really is the underdog, maybe that’s out of a final self-determined push he’s giving himself. Based on each candidate’s past history, I’d go for the latter.

    Some people fail to see some of the “home runs” that McCain made. The first, of note, was when he remarked back to Obama, “Senator Obama, I’m not George Bush. If you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run against him in 2004.” Major, major unspoken sentiment that the electorate (those of us conservative/libertarian) have been percolating for the longest time. Major score.

    The second major one was turning the whole “tax-and-spend” argument on its head vis-a-vis “Joe The Plumber.” I think Obama will continue to rue the day he made that comment. McCain absolutely swept Obama off the stage with centering everything around the concept that “Senator Obama wants to take Joe the Plumber’s money and ‘spread it around’ for him; I’ll make sure Joe the Plumber uses his money as he sees fit.” The “maybe-intentional-or-was-it-not-intentional-but-made-to-sound-that-way?” comment from McCain of “Senator government” was probably one of the best “slips” yet in the history of politicking! I loved it. Again, score.

    Nevertheless, with all of Obama’s great oratory (and McCain mentioned his oratory at least 3 times last night), he failed to close the deal. I cannot say that McCain necessarily closed the deal (maybe he did in his mind in his own way), but if previous contests are a harbinger of future results, we at least know that McCain’s campaign is following a well-trod path; Obama has yet to ever legitimately finish a race without having to resort to suspicions of voter fraud and/or getting his opponents removed from the opposing ticket on technicalities.

    The race isn’t over yet.


  12. Anonymous says:


    Would love to hear your take on why the judge is taking so long. Is he really just running out the clock or is he truly working on the issues? It is hard to believe that he did not either throw the thing out immediately or soon after. Is there an agenda or something we are not seeing? Does he want to avoid influencing the election? Might it not be better to get any questions resolved now? The situation is almost surreal to me. If Berg is right and it does not come out before the election the consequences could be devastating for our country.

  13. Allison says:

    I also happen to think that McCain did a commendable job in last night’s debate. He finally called out Obama and being an “eloquent speaker” who was actually saying a lot more than people ever hear. I thought that was important, as well as calling Obama out on the fact that he never kept his promise to Hilary Clinton or to McCain on the public financing issue – because Obama cannot keep a promise. It’s impossible given the campaign that he’s been running. He promises something different to each group he’s speaking to, often times contradicting himself. And cutting taxes for 95% of the population means that those on welfare (who we’re all already paying for) will receive even more of our money. Thanks, but no thanks. I do wish that McCain had just somehow thrown in something like “P.S., where’s your birth certificate?” Ziiing!

  14. Nancy Raye says:

    John McCain could have performed better but are we looking for a performer as President or do we want someone with at least a little integrity and passion in the positive sense for our nation. If places like this sight start declaring victory for the “illegal alien” Obama, you will be convincing people there is no need to vote. I heard on our conservative talk radio program yesterday most of the polls taken have been primarily registered democrats – not likely voters. So, we really do not know where anyone stands in the poles. Keep up the pressure and the good press for John McCain. I do not have much wealth but I really do not want what little I have spread around and believe me I know many people who are just waiting for the new America so they can sit back and get their fair share and do nothing for it. One man said it correctly from a sports bar – Obama is a race horse and one time around the track and he is finished. McCain is a work horse and can work all night if he has too. This race for the White House is too important to base your vote on 3 debates. Personally, I am not ready to have an Arab in the White House.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I thought McCain was great! He showed the passion that his Town Hall audience wanted him too. My goodness, I am angry too! It showed Obama as a Socialist and I loved the real person JOE.
    It was a great debate and it didn’t need to change Obama supporters. It needed to change the undecided and I feel (as an independent) it did!

    McCain will be President based on the past elections. The only thing that has me concerned is Acorn.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So, what is the update on the API story? Did you get a hold of them today? We are all dying to know!

  17. John Galt says:

    Nothing new on the Berg lawsuit. My guess is that next week is the last week that a favorable ruling for Berg on the pending motions can be handed down.

    If Judge Surrick does not render favorable rulings for Berg by next week, which I believe he won’t because of the risk that it would generate race riots if covered in the MSM than McCain has lost to the PC candidate regardless of what he does between now and Nov 4th.

    After next week there is no way that Berg gets a favorable ruling on his motions unless Obama loses the election.

    Justice maybe blind but it is also practical especially when your legal system is based on the concept of Common Law.

  18. Goldie says:

    Awesome Phil! :)

    I was hoping that Obama was exhausted from screaming at Michelle for calling API LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    He had an emotionless face most of the time.

    I was actually hoping that the October Surprise would be McCain had been all over Obama’s past indulgences and found enough on him to convict and the police would come out and arrest and cuff him. LOLOLOL

    I would also love to die from eating chocolate LOL

  19. Anonymous says:

    On the lawsuit delay-you can look at it a couple of ways: First, the Judge may delay and McCain wins-no harm no foul-no decision -the case is moot. Yippee. Second, the Judge may delay and the O wins, so that the Judge then says he has to relinquish Jurisdiction to the Congress to proceed with Impeachment (you can then imagine that result)Third, take heart in the fact that if it was a matter of “lack of standing” the Judge would most likely have readily dismissed the case as he would not have had to address anything else. So, it would appear that the case may have real legs but unless it gets moving soon, I believe that (unless someone has other information ) while there may be a remedy in Impeachment there may ultimately and tragically be no relief. I think that the idea of lawsuits in several other States would be effective but Obama must be named as the Secretary of State is charged( in Florida) with only processing an affidavit and fee from the Candidate stating that the Candidate is qualified. So, the Defendant must be the Candidate-he committed the deception and violation of law. It might be that then another Judge in one of the other States with the right inclination might act to stop this train wreck before its too late.

  20. Allie Mac says:

    Just one more point.

    In 40 years, if someone who is now a child says, “hey I was eight when Osama Bin Ladin blew up those towers, he was young and idealistic, now he is just a professor, a casual acquaintance, and he lives in my neighbourhood.” will future generations think that that association is no big deal?

    The fact that so many are so eager to think of Ayers as just some radical professor is shocking to me.

  21. Oli Smythe says:

    Yes, McCain seemed out of sorts, but you know what? How would you like to stand/sit/debate an opponent, albeit polished, individual surrounded by so much controversy? I feel certain that Obama represents the essence of socialism; ultimately communism; someone who smircks and laughs in the face of a man who knows what honor, loyalty and character really means; a man who HONORABLY served our country and continues to do so. Obama shows no remorse for the blatant lies he tells the sheeple, who his mentors have been, and who he has constantly surrounded, allied himself with. How McCain could hold any restraint from not kicking his arse surprises me. He despises the great and powerful o, for what he stands for, how he has been “manicured” for POTUS…Well so should every other red-blooded American feel this way. I don’t care what color o is, is. For that matter, I had rather Alan Keyes serve as President. At least he is represents values I can identify with. Oh, and by the way, o’s bud, Ayers, the neo-con terrorist professor, who has been allowed to brainwash our children into believing in there is a new world coming…duh? Change? Has anyone noticed that we (the economy) just “happened” to tank…to take our eyes off a man who is not QUALIFIED to run for POTUS? Is it too late? Is that why McCain is drawn off his performance because he is as angered as I am…as many are, because there is a chance we are facing a more devastating future…one we could not possibly have believed, had we not seen it with our own eyes? I’m getting off my soapbox now…thanks for allowing the vent!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Impeachment comes into play only if a ruling on Obama’s eligibility does not come until after he wins and is inaugurated. If he is found ineligible between Nov 4 and Jan 20, the 20th amendment kicks in and in that scenario, Biden probably becomes president.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight, we have a man running for president who is going to great lengths to cover up his own freaking identity (!) and a judge is going to do nothing because he doesn’t want to influence the election?

  24. Anonymous says:


    Stop the Obama Constitutional Crisis
    Sign the Petition : 13,367 Letters and Emails Sent So Far
    A lawsuit has been filed with the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court requiring Mr. Obama to produce documents to prove he is constitutionally qualified to run for President. So far Mr. Obama has refused to produce the documents and is trying to fight the court order to produce the documents. Any American should be able to prove citizenship in less than a day. Why can’t Mr. Obama?

    Here is a link to the actual court documents – http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/Pennsylvania/paedce/2:2008cv04083/281573/
    A constitutional crisis will rip our country apart. If this is not cleared up now we will have a crisis. If you care at all about America you must call for Mr. Obama to produce the documents and prove that he is eligible to be President.

    Please call on Mr. Obama to produce the documents to prove his constitutional qualifications.

    Thank you

  25. Me says:

    I’m getting the sinking feeling that nothing is ever going to come of the Berg lawsuit. I fear the clock will run out and once the election is over, the suit will be dismissed.

    You know, this whole election cycle has been surreal. DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying what I am about to type is a possibility at all, this is NOT factual, this is NOT rumor, this is NOTHING but a hypothetical scenario and an EXTREME EXAGGERATION simply to make a point.

    With some reactions I see from people and their avid and blind support of Senator Obama, I’m really beginning to think that multiple bodies could be found in the crawl space of his house or basement or attic and discussing it would only make people say that discussing and investigating it is hate speech and racism. It’s crazy. Saying anything to question anything about him makes one suspect instead of making him suspect and I do not understand that at all. It is bizarro world. He is running for the office of President. We need to question his past, his associations, his present, his life, etc., and thoroughly investigate who we might be putting in the White House and very few are willing to do that. Once (if) he is in, after all, we’ll even get to hear about such personal things as his intestinal polyps and how his yearly physical goes, so why are we afraid to find out who this man is? (Unless, of course, the Truth Squad censors such information once (if) he is President.)

    With McCain’s being so very late in coming out strong in questioning him (and then not following through with the line of questioning and stopping short at the end) and saying we have nothing to fear from him if he becomes President is also strange. DISCLAIMER AGAIN: I’m not saying that what I am about to type is a possibility at all, this is NOT factual, this is NOT rumor, this is NOTHING but a hypothetical scenario and an EXTREME EXAGGERATION simply to make a point.

    I questioned McCain’s comments (nothing to fear if Obama is Presidnet) and said I was beginning to think that maybe some terrorist group had planted nuclear bombs throughout the U.S. and threatened to detonate them if Obama wasn’t elected, so that is why the media and everyone else won’t say anything negative about the man and why saying ANYTHING at all remotely unfavorable brings about strange reactions and accusations of racism, hate, etc.

    I’m getting very discouraged and keep hoping to hear some good news.

    This has been a very strange election cycle, indeed. And, I fear the outcome will damage America in ways that many cannot imagine, but some of us are terrified of seeing come to fruition. I pray we are wrong if Obama is elected President.

  26. Phil says:

    Here is what is likely to happen over the next 2 – 4 years if (1) Obama becomes our 43rd President; (2) the Democrats gain a 60+ “filibuster-proof” majority in the Senate; and (3) the Democrats gain another 10 – 20 seats in the House:

    Then-President Obama will only have a mere 2 years (in actuality, slightly less time than that) to consolidate power with his Democratic allies in Congress. Realize also that folks such as Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid have their own ambitions in their respective areas of power; more often than not Congressional aides meet the incoming President and basically say (no matter who’s in control), “You’re either going to work with us or nothing will get done.”

    So, why would they only have ~2 years to do nearly whatever they pleased? Because by 2010, I would wager that this kind of scenario would seriously wake people up and the Democratic party would likely loose their majority in the House and reduce their “60+ majority” in the Senate by at least a handful of seats.

    The worst thing that would happen during these 2 years with absolutely lasting effect is that Obama would appoint at least 2 Supreme Court justices. If he only got 1 appointed, that would probably result in a lot of “split” decisions; 2 would be a firm liberal majority.

    Also, let’s say that the Democrat plan of reviving the Fairness Doctrine and/or making 401(k)’s no longer tax shelters (among other loony ideas) were to be brought up for serious consideration. I guarantee they’d have to expend a lot of political capital in getting these things even remotely through, as even the smallest minority in the House (and, perhaps, even the Senate) can use Parliamentary procedure to help stymie and stall such disastrous legislation.

    How do I know that such a backlash is not just possible, but likely? For the simple matter of fact that America has always tended to revert to having one party in the Executive and the other in the Legislative, especially if one party tried to exert too much control in one of those areas. This has usually resulted in, at best, only the most popular legislation becoming law, and, at worst, creating a logjam.

    I’ll say it again: It’s not over yet. And even if the socialists get too much power (in our estimable view!), it is highly likely to last a very short period of time.


  27. Enouranois says:

    It seems to me that the desirable scenario is for Obama to be found ineligible between November 4th and January 20th.

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