Beyond the Debate: Who's More Presidential?

Last night's final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain brought a mixed bag of reactions from bloggers around the world. Who appeared more presidential? And how did bloggers translate their facial expressions and body language? Here are a few snippets:

Writing at Pickled Politics, from the UK, Sunny argues that Obama should have hit attacked back:

Watching the final presidential debate between McCain and Barack Obama was a frustrating one for a strong supporter of Obama like me. Obama didn’t attack back enough; he didn’t point out that Sarah Palin was clearly unfit to be president; he didn’t hit back on the smears on Ayer and Acorn.

He further continues:

But I think it makes sense in a counter-intuitive way. Obama doesn’t need people like me, or similarly inclined American voters on his side. He needs to make himself comfortable to Middle America and the biggest danger to him has always been to come across as an Angry Black Man. Obama was unbelievably calm, collected and straight to the point. In fact he went out of his way to be nice while McCain was constantly attacking and putting on that fake, scary smile. Damn that smile is scary, and McCain looked almost wierd by flashing it so constantly.

Jotman, whose blog focuses on Thailand, notes the best and worst lines from the debate.

His best Obama quotes are:

  • “Not true. Even Fox News disputes it.”
  • “I don't think America's youth are an ‘interest group.’ They are our future.”
  • “He (McCain) has been watching (too many) ads of Sen McCain.”
  • “Americans less interested in our hurt feelings than addressing the issues.”*
  • “Let me tell you who I associate with . . . “on economic policy, Warren
    Buffet, on foreign policy: Joe Biden, the Republican Lugar, General Jim Jones of NATO. I think that this [your attacks on me for my association with Ayers] is such an important part of your campaign says a lot more about you than about me.”*

And his worst McCain lines from the debate are:

  • “Including [$3 million] for an overhead projector in his home town.” That's an utterly unsubstantiated criticism of Obama. It's an issue McCain brought up twice in the last debate. See this post. I would call it a lie, one big philistine lie.
  • “I come from a long line of McCains that have served our country in war and in peace.” This line irritates me because McCain should not have to say this about himself. He should have others say this sort of thing for him. It also seems a blatant attempt to remind voters that McCain is “a regular American guy,” not like “that one.”

From Bangladesh, Mash concludes:

So, the narrative is set now. Barack Obama is calm, thoughtful, and presidential. John McCain is angry, erratic, and petty. The risky candidate is John McCain – a trait that always loses elections.

Mash notes that the debate was a ‘bad night’ for McCain:

He came into the debate with a steep hill to climb. He ended the debate further behind.

The blogger adds:

McCain spent the remainder of the debate either being angry or pushing Republican ideology on social issues, tax policy, education and healthcare. Early on in the debate McCain declared he was not George Bush. Late in the debate he proved that he indeed was George Bush by pushing familiar and failed policy prescriptions. He may have made his base happy, but the few independents that remained undecided probably moved into Obama’s column tonight.

From Guyana, Providence Stadium gives a thumbs up to Obama, saying:

Without going into the details of each of the candidate's programs and policies – Obama sounded level headed and more presidential, while McCain was bitching, moaning and bordering on senility, looks like he might explode in a rage at any minute.

But Canadian Strong Conservative argues:

The more I see Obama however, the more nervous he makes me. This guy has no clue about the economy, no clue about foreign policy, and a history that no one really knows about. His entire life is veiled in secrecy and misdirection and he can't point to one single accomplishment in his life. It is frightening to think that Obama is so close to the Presidency, a man who wants to gut the military, retreat in the face of terrorists, and impose a socialistic ideology on America.

On McCain's policies, he writes:

McCain is right that the solution is not government to most of the problems facing America. If anything, the recent financial crisis has proven that government causes far more problems than it solves. That should be reason enough not to vote for Barack Obama.

Michael van der Galien, from Dutch Poligazette, takes both presidential candidates to task regarding their facial expressions. He notes:

One big problem with McCain: his strange, dismissive smirk. It looks horrible and it gives people the impression he’s incredibly arrogant. Even when he’s making a good point, that smirk ruins it.

Obama has his own weakness: he seems annoyed, and his face showed it when McCain said something he didn’t quite like. That’s bad. Don’t show your emotions and don’t give people the impression you feel like you’re wasting your time (even if it’s true).

And Kanishk Tharoor, from OpenDemocracy live-blogged the debate here.

1 comment

  • McCain and Palin are two amiable robots at best; at worste, they are the perfect combination to carry on the legacy of George W. Bush. the fact that anyone is praising McCain for his performance in the third debate proves that he and Palin have lowered people’s expectations down to nothing (don’t forget, the VP debates were a tie!)

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