I believe Obama will pick up 5 points after each debate. More? Less?
Democrats are notorious for being toothless when attacked. Neither Gore nor Kerry mounted a spirited defense when they were attacked in '00 and '04. You can expect the Republican attack machine to gin up pretty quickly once summer distractions are over. But in defending himself in the debates Obama runs the risk of looking like he is beating up a dottering old veteran, disrespecting a hero.
Does Obama flex some muscle and destroy McCaine in the debate, or hold back lest he be seen an American-hero-hating bully?
Obama’s performance in the primary debates was mediocre. I see no reason to think he’ll do any better in the general. That being said, the first debate is a month and a half away. A lot can happen between now and then.
Obama had to be careful. He was far from being the nominee, and was needed to leave the door open for a Clinton/Obama ticket. There were plenty of times when I thought he was holding back when he could have really made her look like bad. I don’t think he will have the same motivation to hold back with McCaine.
At the candidates’ request, this two-hour event will be held in a non-debate format, and will be open to all media. Both candidates also requested that questions be posed exclusively by Warren rather than by a panel or members of the audience. Each candidate will converse separately with Warren for approximately an hour, beginning with Sen. Obama, as determined by a coin toss.
This historic forum will be the only joint event for the two, and the last public appearance for either candidate prior to the two-week hiatus during each party’s national convention.
I think Obama was holding off a bit on Hillary partly because of her gender and partly because of her party. Neither restriction applies to McCain and after these months of McCain’s negative ads he isn’t going to pull any punches.
I’ve found the debates a disappointment for such a long time. In 2000 and again in 2004, the Democratic candidate should, in theory, have wiped the floor with George Bush. Instead, Al Gore let himself get into a tedious description of the minutea of their competing Social Security plans, and John Kerry was just too polite.
(In the debate in which Bush brought up Dred Scott, I really thought, for a moment, that Kerry was going to respond to that with: “President Bush, you’re mistaken about that – the Dred Scott decision was in fact a strict constructionalist decision. If they had decided that a black man did in fact have rights, that would have been judicial activism – which, as we know, you’re against.”)
I just hope that whatever’s thrown at Obama, he takes head-on. Anything that looks like evasion or mealy-mouthed pandering can only hurt him. (With me, at least. It still amazes me how politicians get away with not ever answering questions.)
I think it’s of a load that Obama was “mediocre” in the Primary debates. He was fine, and the more debates he did, the stronger he got. He was in a situation where he had to be a lot more measured and less aggressive, but his content was always solid and nuanced. He was also going against better competition than what he’s facing in McCain. Hillary is a much better debater than McCain, and Obama basically held his own with her, even getting in some small victories here and there (the way he parried her on the Farakhan endorsement, for instance).
Aside from his public speaking disabilities, McCain is also fatally crippled by being wrong on every single issue. Obama is smarter, better informed, better spoken and – most importantly – correct on the issues. I don’t think it’s going to be close. This idea that mcCain is somehow going to save himself by showing up Obama in the debates is just wishful thinking. Obama is fine without a teleprompter. McCain can’t even tell a joke without reading it off a card.
Obama has significant advantages both on substance and style, and he should “win” as far as things can ever be won, but if he makes any kind of verbal stumble, that’s all the media will fixate on. In terms of real effect, these debates are going to be all about the media trying to catch Obama in a gotchya ya.
I can tell how objective you are when you tell us that Obama is “correct on the issues” while McCain is “wrong on every single issue”. That’s pretty funny.
In fact, Obama and McCain have opposite speaking qualities. McCain is better when he’s unscripted and does poorly when reading off a teleprompter. Obama gives a great speech, but isn’t quite so good extemporaneously-- especially when the format calls for short, concise answers. Obama didn’t need to go soft on Hillary, if he even consciously chose to do so. If he did, then he was a fool.
McCain sucks in any format. Did you see how pathetic he was at Sturgis? I’m also not seeing any basis to this meme that Obama doesn’t do well extemporaneously. He takes his time with answers and tries to be thoughtful and nuanced instead of barking out boilerplate and talking points. I guess that doesn’t make for good television sound bites.
You know what? To hell with the debates. I pretty much already know how they stand on issues, they aren’t going to astonish me, they will only repeat their talking points in each other’s immediate presence, beyond that, WTF? That’s my “citizenship” perspective.
As a partisan, the risk is largely McCain’s. He has moments, which is not to say anything very negative, but if anybody is more likely to totally screw the pooch in public, it will be him. And even as the pure-hearted citizen within disdains this whole gotchaya shit, the partisan whispers* McCain delenda est*.