A Short And Sweet Hawkins’ Foreign Policy Debate Analysis

First off, Jim Lehrer did an absolutely magnificent job as a debate moderator. He was fair, he asked good questions, and he pressed both guys when they didn’t answer questions. Loved him!

The debate started off on the bailout and the economy and I gotta say: McCain was just AWFUL for the 15 minutes or so of the debate. After that, McCain got his footing back and probably outdebated Obama on the economy for the next 15 minutes. Still, over the first 30 minutes, I’d give Obama the edge.

From there, they went into foreign policy and McCain just overpowered him. His favorite phrase seemed to be, “He doesn’t understand…” McCain talked to Obama like he was a wet-behind-the-ears kid while you got the impression that Johnny Mac has heard it all and done it all on foreign policy. It was like a professor lecturing a student. All in all, McCain really beat him badly in the longer, 2nd half of the debate.

A few other thoughts.

* There were no really hot lines or huge gaffes I caught in the first run through.

* Obama came across extremely thin skinned.

* McCain wasn’t at his best and didn’t seem particularly sharp.

* McCain’s economic messaging isn’t very good. He has a tendency to drop into talking points and old slogans, doesn’t do a good job of staying on topic, and doesn’t adequately feature his strong points or draw distinctions on areas other than earmarks. He really needs to work on this before the next debate.

* On the economy, both men came across as pretty slippery — which honestly, they both are.

All in all, McCain clearly won the debate by schooling Obama badly on foreign policy, but Obama did nose him out during the economic part of the debate, which could spell trouble in the future debates.

You can read Melissa Clouthier’s live blog of the debate here. Katie Favazza’s live blog of the debate is here.

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