Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate reactions part 2

More debate reactions are pouring in so I'm making a new post.

Polls/Focus Groups:


1004 voters nationwide.

Who won the debate?

Independents: 52% Barack Obama / 34% John McCain / 14% Don't know
Democrats: 84% Barack Obama / 10% John McCain / 6% Don't know
Republicans: 68% John McCain / 20% Barack Obama / 12% Don't know

SurveyUSA California:

Poll of 904 debate watchers in California.

Who won the debate?

Barack Obama 56% / John McCain 26% / 18% No Clear Winner

Which candidate laid out a better vision for America's future?

Barack Obama 62% / John McCain 31% / Unsure 6%

SurveyUSA Washington:

741 debate watchers. Their Washington State polls gave ties to McCain and Palin last two debates.

Who won the debate?

54% Barack Obama / 29% John McCain / 18% no clear winner.

Which candidate laid out a better vision for America's future?

Barack Obama 60% / John McCain 35% / Unsure 6%

CNN Extended Poll:

Iraq: Obama 51% / McCain 47%
Terrorism: McCain 51% / Obama 46
Economy: Obama 59% / McCain 37%
Financial Crises: Obama 57% / McCain 36%
Who was more likable: Obama 65% / McCain 28%
Who was more intelligent? Obama 57% / McCain 25%
Who spent more time attacking opponent? McCain 63% / Obama 17%

CBS Extended Poll:

Understands your needs and problems?

Before Debate: Obama 60%
After Debate: Obama 80%

Would make right decisions on the economy:

Before Debate: Obama 54%
After Debate: Obama 68%

Before Debate: McCain 41%
After Debate: McCain 49%

CNN Dials:

Pundit Reactions:

John King: "Game Over"

David Sirota:
It's stunning how uncomfortable and uninformed John McCain is when it comes to economic issues. I know it's not his forte, but he's been in the Congress for a quarter century, and was the chairman of the Commerce Committee, so he should have at least a basic command over these issues. He doesn't.
Robert Shrum:
If the question of the first debate was whether Obama would pass the threshold on national security -- he did then and again tonight -- the reality of this debate is that McCain didn't pass the threshold on the economy. He can't get there with blather about earmarks; the voters aren't dumb. And his tax cuts for the wealthy are hardly appealing in this environment.
National Review Online Reader:
Well I have gone outside and pulled up my Mcain/Palin sign. This election is over. I will vote for Mcain but I know that come Nov. 5 Obama will be our president-elect.
Matt Lewis:
Because McCain needed to gain some momentum tonight -- unless I'm missing something -- I don't think he accomplished that goal tonight...
Vaughn Ververs
A draw of that kind is good news for Obama, who has seen the political landscape tilt strongly his way in recent weeks, both nationally and in the crucial battleground states. McCain needs a breakout moment, and he didn’t get one in Nashville Tuesday night.

Chris Cillizza:
By and large, both Obama and McCain stuck to their tried and true attacks on their rival. Obama cast McCain as a clone of the current president whose judgment on domestic and foreign affairs had been wrong time and time again. McCain painted Obama as a liberal who wants to raise taxes and increase spending in the midst of an economic crisis. No new ground was broken. Obama, smartly, stuck to a script to avoid any sort of flub that could change the general direction of the race, which is a trend in his favor.

Ross Douthat:

I'd call tonight's debate a draw, which if the dynamic from the first debate holds probably means it was a big win for Obama. I was gratified by the approach McCain took - by the absence of personal attacks (though, yes, the dislike still came through), by the attempt to actually engage with Obama on issues like health care, and yes, by the promise to buy up home mortgages, which was exactly the kind of blatantly panderish thing McCain needs to do if he wants to actually win this thing. (More on this tomorrow.) But Obama was unruffled and consistent - change vs. more of the same, change vs. more of the same, rinse and repeat - and for whatever it's worth the physical and generational contrast between the two men was very striking in this setting, and especially in the early going McCain seemed to me be showing his age as he delivered his answers. He improved as the night went on, but the vigor gap was palpable.

Joe Conason:

John McCain's latest debate performance points up the cynicism of his recent attacks on Barack Obama's character -- which he plainly did not dare to repeat before the live audience on national television.

American Spectator:

So much for McCain as the master of townhalls. As Quin notes below, McCain got better as the topics moved to things he's actually interested in. But does anyone think he won this debate? I don't.

McCain's Lies:

Obama's campaign has got a list of McCain's lie's out.

1.1 1. MCCAIN PROPOSING NEW HOUSING PLAN. McCain today said he had a new plan to allow the Treasury to purchase and restructure mortgages. The truth is that this is not a new proposal and is already part of the rescue plan that was signed into law. It was Obama, not McCain who called for this move two weeks ago.

  1. MCCAIN TAX PLAN IS BETTER. McCain said, "It is my proposal not Senator Obama's" that will "take care of working families." The reality is that even the Heritage Foundation agrees Obama will provide a middle class tax cut that studies have found is three times larger than under McCain's plan. In contrast, the McCain plan's benefits would overwhelmingly go to the wealthiest Americans and would leave out 101 million middle class households.
  2. MCCAIN'S PLAN FOR HOUSING CRISIS. McCain said, "We have got to give some trust and confidence back to America" to solve the housing crisis. But Politifact agrees that McCain was taken by surprise by the mortgage crisis and was "a latecomer" to the debate. He even said "I don't claim to be smart enough" to solve the housing crisis and newspapers have found that McCain "overstates" his past actions on housing regulation.
  3. TIES TO FANNIE/FREDDIE. McCain talked about "Senator Obama and his cronies and friends in Washington" and blamed them for Fannie and Freddie, while news accounts have pointed out his "deeper" ties to the companies. His campaign manager Rick Davis fought against greater regulation for years, and then his firm was revealed to be taking $15,000 a month until this summer from Freddie Mac, after denying any recent ties.
  4. MCCAIN WILL MAKE HEALTH CARE AFFORDABLE AND AVAILABLE. McCain said "We can do them all at once," talking about affordability and availability of health care, but he failed to mention that experts say his plan may require some to pay more or get less coverage, that millions would lose their employer-based coverage, and that even he has admitted that his plan will raise taxes on some.
  5. SMALL BUSINESS TAXES. McCain said Obama's plan "will increase taxes on 50% of small business revenue," when the Washington Post found similar attacks "untrue," and studies show 97% of small business owners wouldn't see higher taxes under Obama's plan. Factcheck.org said the attack used "a false and preposterously inflated figure."
  6. TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY. McCain said "I am not in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy." While he once said that the Bush tax cuts were "too tilted to the wealthy," now he wants to make them permanent.
  7. 2005 ENERGY BILL. McCain attacked Obama for his vote for the 2005 energy bill, saying it had "billions for oil companies." The truth is that FactCheck.org called this "an old canard" and a "false attack." The non-partisan Congressional Research Service said the bill actually raised taxes on the oil and gas industry.
  8. 94 VOTES FOR HIGHER TAXES…AGAIN. McCain once again repeated the attack that Obama voted 94 times for higher taxes, calling it "his record." This attack has been debunked by the Associated Press, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, CNN, the New York Times and FactCheck.org, among others.
  9. OBAMA RECORD ON NUCLEAR POWER. McCain said, "Obama is opposed to that," when the reality is that this attack is "false" according to FactCheck.org. Obama supports nuclear as long as it's "clean and safe."
  10. HEALTH COVERAGE FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. McCain said his health care plan would let people cross state lines to get plans, suggesting it would improve care and not telling Americans that it would weaken patient protections and does nothing to require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. McCain's plan would create a situation the GOP chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said would cause a "race to the bottom."
  11. HIGHER HEALTH CARE COSTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. McCain attacked Obama's health care plan, suggesting that Obama will fine small businesses and make health care more expensive for them. ABC pointed out that he was "omitting key details about Obama's plan to mitigate costs" for health care for small businesses. McCain also omitted his record of voting repeatedly against tax credits for small businesses to help with health care costs and that the majority of members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses oppose his plan.
  12. JUDGMENT ON IRAQ. McCain said that he had "the judgment" to make national security decisions, ignoring his record of misguided statements during the course of the Iraq war. In 2005 he said the war would be over within 18 months. In 2003 he said "we will be welcomed as liberators," and that "we will win it easily."
  13. RUSSIA AND GEORGIA. McCain said Obama "was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia" when Obama had condemned Russia's actions and called for an immediate ceasefire.
  14. SURGE IN IRAQ. McCain again attacked Obama on the surge, when news accounts show that Obama "said at the time" that the increase "could improve security in certain neighborhoods but that it would not solve the long-term political strife." Meanwhile McCain said only 10,000 troops would do the job.
  15. NEGOTIATIONS. McCain attacked Obama on diplomatic engagement, but the Washington Post has said McCain is "distorting history when he suggests that Barack Obama is bucking American presidential tradition in expressing a willingness to meet with the leaders of countries hostile to the United States" and that McCain is "incorrect."

17. SOMALIA. McCain held up Somalia as an example of failed American foreign policy, saying "we ended up having to withdraw in humiliation." McCain ignored the amendment he introduced in 1993 to cut off funding for troops in Somalia.

And that's all I have for tonight. I think it's pretty clear Obama won by now.

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