Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debate Reactions Part 2: McXplosion Edition

Since the other thread is getting long, here is a new one.

Focus Groups/Polls:

Fox News:

Stan Greenberg:


McCain: 54 favorable / 34 unfavorable

Obama: 42 favorable / 42 unfavorable


McCain: 50 favorable / 48 unfavorable

Obama: 72 favorable / 22 unfavorable

Politico/Insider Advantage:

Who won?

Obama 49 / McCain 46


Marc Ambinder: Tonight, we saw a McXplosion. Every single attack that Sen. McCain has ever wanted to make, he took the opportunity tonight to make. Around 30 minutes in, McCain seemed to surrender the debate to his frustrations, making it seem as if he just wanted the free television. LINK

Ezra Klein: McCain looks angrier and more petulant than any participant in any major debate I've watched. Watching him try to stay seated is like watching a furious kid try and obey a timeout. He can hardly hold himself still. LINK

Josh Marshall: It seems like we've now seen McCain's Ayers/ACORN primal scream. I'm not sure Obama knocked anything out of the park. But at the end of it, I don't think McCain landed any solid punches either. And McCain was often incoherent and a bit kitchen-sinkish. Basically a draw, though if recent polls are any indication, the draw in debate terms may hurt McCain since people do not like McCain's attacks. LINK

James Fallows: ...the ten minute or twelve minutes that began with Obama looking at McCain and talking about crowds at Palin rallies saying "Kill him" were riveting TV and seemed to reveal purified versions of the persona each candidate has been presenting through the previous sessions. This debate may matter less in the long-term outcome than the others, since that's typically true of final debates. But because the contenders are engaging each other more directly -- being at the same table, being physically so close to each other, having more trouble containing their emotions, being aware that the whole thing is almost over -- in human terms this is actually the most interesting. Link

Megan McArdle: Okay, I wasn't voting for him anyway, but I find McCain's focus on attacking Obama, rather than his own policy, unbelievably grating. His strongest performance of the night has been talking about the benefits of his own health plan, drawing a reasonable distinction between his philosophy and Obama's, and coherently explaining that difference, without resorting to either whining or calumny. LINK

Outside the Beltway: Overall, I don’t see how McCain helped himself tonight, much less hit the home run he needed to put himself back into this thing. LINK

Kevin Drum: I know I'm partisan, but McCain seemed completely out of his depth tonight. He was flitting from point to point all night without ever putting together a coherent argument, and grabbing miscellaneous attacks from the rolodex in his head whenever some bright idea popped into his mind. His energy level was weirdly erratic, tired at times but then suddenly perking up whenever he got annoyed by something and remembered some zinger that he wanted to fire off. LINK

Jonathan Chait: McCain lost the overall message of the debate. The cost of McCain's sharper tone was that he sounded more like a dogmatic Republican. Obama was softer, let many points go, but was much more effective at sounding like a moderate. LINK

BeliefNet: OK, that's over. And so is the McCain campaign. He was more aggressive than he's been so far, and he came close to landing some blows on Obama. But he never really connected, and for the most part this debate was as platitudinous as they all have been. McCain came off as sour, agitated and petulant. Obama -- man, nothing rattles that guy. McCain was two tics away from a vein-popping "You can't handle the truth!" Jack Nicholson moment, I felt. At one point, I thought: Which one of these men would I want in the White House when the 3 a.m. phone call comes in? Link

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