Vol. 6, Issue 9, September 30, 2008
Clear Victor in Presidential Debate Seals Election
Friday's presidential debate at Oxford, Mississipi was a long-anticipated event, the first opportunity for the American public to see Republican candidate John McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama face off in person. For ninety minutes, the candidates traded policy positions and barbs under the watchful moderation of respected journalist Jim Lehrer. When it was all over, so was the election, according to most viewers.
"It was a really uneven contest," said Pennsylvania resident Carol Mockford. "I mean, you knew going in that it was going to be a matchup of very different styles: McCain with his aggressive maverick streak, Obama with his cool professorial demeanor. There was not much of a fight."
The candidates sparred over the economy, foreign relations, and their respective voting records in Capitol Hill.
"When they started getting into their voting records, I knew it was over," said Harold Winter, of Blue Springs, Colorado. "When you look at their total history in the Senate, I think it was pretty clear who was going to come out the loser."
Lehrer struggled at times to encourage more spontenaity out of the cautious pair, who both kept largely to their own talking points and generally declined to directly engage one another in discussion.
"It actually worked out in my guy's favor," said Marla Astor of Shreveport, Louisiana. "There wasn't so much interrupting and whatnot, but that just gave them both a chance to speak their piece. And boy, was that an eye-opener."
Both candidates came sporting memorabilia, bracelets given them by soldier's families asking them to continue and to halt the Iraq conflict, respectively.
"He had to know about the other bracelet," said Jack Thompson of Santa Fe, New Mexico. "That's why he brought his own. It was pretty contrived - obviously the one message was much more powerful than the other."
Rigorous scrutiny of the facts trotted out by the two candidates also made the outcome of the debate fairly definitive for most viewers.
"Oh yeah, it was amazing how much he stretched the truth," said Hank Bilson of Dallas, Texas. "You could practically hear it snap under the pressure."
"Yeah, he really bent the facts," said Lora Hawkins, of San Francisco, California. "I couldn't believe how he got away with it."
One thing was clear: supporters of the victor felt vindicated by their candidate's performance.
"For me, the debate definitely confirmed that I'm voting for the right guy," said Louis Thompson. "I'm sure everyone who watched felt the same way."