Obligatory Debate Post

21:08 Fri 26 Sep 2008. Updated: 17:41 28 Jan 2009
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So I did watch the first Presidential debate this evening, with some friends at work. It was more or less what I expected—a somewhat blustery McCain, and a smooth Obama. It seemed as if Obama was a lot better at getting his digs in, and at working the obviously scripted attacks into the flow of the debate, while McCain at times seemed to be inserting them almost at random, and clinging to them ferociously.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t a blowout. Obama seemed more even-keeled, more reasonable. McCain was more emotional, in some ways that helped him—for example, near the end, he was quite effective in projecting love for American veterans, even if he repeated himself.

For the most part, McCain supporters would have seen a resolute McCain and a naive, appeasing Obama; Obama supporters would have seen a strong, reasoned, and intelligent Obama and an intemperate, stubborn, and irresponsible McCain.

For myself, three things stood out. One, Obama saying that the US should concentrate on efforts to “capture and kill” Osama bin Laden. That’s “and kill”, not “or kill”… Capturing him and killing him would be a war crime. Two, Obama saying that we shouldn’t be giving money ($10 billion/year) to Iraq when Iraq has a budget surplus—given what we’ve done to that country, I really don’t think we should be complaining that they’re not doing enough to support themselves. Third, in passing, when listing the costs of the awful decision to invade Iraq for spurious reasons, Obama only listed the costs to the United States (which is what you’d expect, but still, worth highlighting).

I have two vaguely related video clips. The first is just something completely ridiculous, from a McCain “town hall meeting” on 21 Sep:


The second is a reasonably good ad I saw on Dennis Perrin’s blog:

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