While we dissect every aspect of this debate, including whether McCain was too angry, too grumpy or was able to hammer home phrases such as “doesn’t understand” or “naive” and whether Obama looked Presidential, agreed with him too much or was right on point when it comes to the issues, even if he didn’t have any memorable moments, there is one very important thing to take away from tonight’s debate.
This is supposed to be the one point that McCain is the strongest on, and Obama at a minimum held his own.
Sure, I thought that there were times that Obama could have landed a killer punch or that he should have been more forceful on McCain’s many lies. But there is one thing that we need to keep in mind, as the post-debate pundits talk and the McCain campaign trots out ads that show how much Obama agreed with certain points that McCain made. And that is on the issues of foreign policy, McCain did not blow away Obama.
Obama should have been crushed in this debate. McCain’s entire campaign is based on his supposed command of foreign policy issues, and Obama showed that he had a strong grasp of the issues (as we already knew) - all while looking Presidential. McCain may have gotten in a few digs, but the bottom line is that McCain should have won this debate handily, and he didn’t.
If McCain can’t show that he is that much better on foreign policy issues, and I am sure that there will be many fact checks indicating the numerous lies that McCain uttered (or mispronouncing the names of Pakistan and Iran’s leaders), then how can he claim that he is better suited to be Commander in Chief?
Make no mistake, the debate outcome was pretty close to an outside observer. Obama (I think) won on facts and substance. But McCain did very well in messaging and obviously knew what he was talking about - even if much of it wasn’t actually true. And the most important thing to remember is that we should be happy that Obama did as well as he did against McCain on McCain’s home turf.
John McCain should have won this debate handily. And he didn’t. That is the takeaway from tonight’s debate.