After two Bush campaigns it was nice to see two well-spoken candidates talk about subjects they have some interest in and knowledge of. It seemed like a pretty even match, as far as explaining their disagreements (and agreements). I do think Obama did quite a bit of damage to McCain on Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it sounded like he has a plan that he’s confidence in. McCain sounded like he just wanted to undermine that and… move on.
Not that Obama did a bangup job throughout–I just watched Joe Biden not stumble through the tactical vs. strategic question about the surge and pound McCain on the economy. Obama didn’t drive in every nail, and I don’t know that he “won,” but he didn’t lose, which might be winning, if that makes sense. He seemed calm and studied, and given the times and the past few years I think it’s secretly a huge advantage.
Apparently the immediate spin from the Republicans is that Obama agreed too much with McCain. I think they’re playing themselves. I think it helps Obama, because he didn’t look like he was just out for blood.
I do think McCain–the sneer, the pissed-off laugh, the unwillingness to look at Obama–came across as an asshole, especially on the split screen.
I don’t know if that’ll help him or not. Seriously.