The Collective
Thursday, October 16, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Of the three debates, the one last night was the liveliest, although like the previous two, there was no key moment that has the ability to affect the basic dynamics of the race. Really, aside from Joe the Plumber, was there anything specific that was memorable from the interchange?

I did think that McCain looked a bit pensive and ever-ready to attack and Obama looked cooler and more relaxed. Of course, part of all of that is it is easier to be the guy with the lead. However, I do think that the body language comparison, the night played better in to Obama’s campaign narrative than McCain’s (i.e., calm under pressure, reasoned and thoughtful and so forth).

As James Joyner noted:

Obama seemed cool and confident throughout, occasionally amused, while McCain seemed too eager to get in some rather poorly crafted and rehearsed talking points. The attack lines seemed forced rather than conversational, let alone amusing.


Given that maintaining the status quo was a win for Obama, then Obama clearly won the round.

Here are the early poll numbers:

Via CBS: Uncommitted Voters Say Obama Won Final Debate - Horserace

Fifty-three percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight’s debate. Twenty-two percent said Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-five percent saw the debate as a draw.

Via CNN: Poll: Debate watchers say Obama wins

Fifty-eight percent of debate watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said Democratic candidate Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying Republican Sen. John McCain performed best.

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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |


  1. A memorable part for me occurred when Senator McCain said:

    “We need to encourage programs such as Teach for America and Troops to Teachers where people, after having served in the military, can go right to teaching and not have to take these examinations which — or have the certification that some are required in some states.” (quoted from CNN transcript)

    I was concerned that he seemed to promote bypassing teacher examinations and certification requirements as a solution to the country’s education problems. Coming from an armed services background, I recognize that a lot of my peers would make excellent teachers. However, it is still important that teachers demonstrate their qualifications by meeting state guidelines.

    After looking up the Troops to Teachers program this morning, I was both encouraged and disappointed to find that Senator McCain had misrepresented the program. I was encouraged because the actual program sounds like a great way to help soldiers find teaching jobs and meet certification requirements, not bypass them. I was disappointed that Senator McCain characterized the program in such a misleading way.

    Overall, this debate, like the others, left me with the impression that Senator Obama’s statements and positions make more sense than those of Senator McCain.

    Comment by Sarah K. B. — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  2. [...] Poliblog [...]

    Pingback by The Final Debate: The Morning After « The Alabama Moderate — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  3. I did think that McCain looked a bit pensive

    Pensive?? Hmmm… I thought he more looked scared. When he wasn’t about to explode in an impetuous fit, just his jittery behavior, eye rolls, etc.. when Obama was talking suggested a guy doing a terrible job at hiding his inner terror.

    Comment by Ratoe — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  4. What a crock!! Obama did his typical vaporous rhetoric and smiled a great deal.

    It is no fabrication that his campaign has filtered over $800,000 to ACORN and we all should be aware of what they do. His numerous VERY questionable long term relationships raise many flags. Also his ludicrous tax plan will stiffle Americans. As a tax preparer I can tell you that his ridiculous claim of 5% is much closer to 50% inclusive.

    Just because a media made inexperienced charleton smiles and stays “cool” (aloof) does not a leader make. I am still looking to see what he has ever governed or what major legislation he ever developed and passed on HIS OWN.

    We thought Carter was a disaster, JUST WAIT! As a DEM voter for 40 years I have already sent my ballot in for McCain. The FIRST time I have ever voted REPUB!

    Comment by budo — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Wow I notice that in almost every poll out there its cnn, msnbc, nbc, abc, but those are all liberal backed polls. Where is your poll from the fair and balanced news….Fox News?

    Oh thats right,

    Mainstream media’s bias has brain washed alot of americans.
    If you notice the polls have a greater percentage of democrats in them.

    News is not unbiased in mainstream media. Oh and what did Obama say about his promise to accept only public money for his campaign. Oh yeah that was before a bunch of rich liberals started throwing unheard of money to him. Just the amount of money his campaign is coming up with could feed the poor in this country for years.. go figure

    Comment by Dan Z — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  6. Obama acted presidential all MCcain does is spew lies out of desperation!
    Anyone who has a problem with Obama better GET OVER IT! Because he will be your next President!
    You KKK members can go to hell!
    MCcain and Palin are a couple of crooks and the people know it!
    Obama’s lead in the polls prove it!

    Comment by CHERYL FROM FLORIDA — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  7. So far, all the conclusions by all the pundits are
    totally based upon POLLS. Not a single actual vote
    has been cast yet. Obama supporters gush at how
    well their man has done in the debates, which proves
    once again that Obama is a good debater and a good
    speaker. It doesn’t say anything about his character,
    judgement, or what kind of a leader he would be.
    I still would rather trust a man who would not sell out
    his fellow prisoners, even during 5 years of torture,
    than to trust a man who betrayed a 20 year friendship,
    for personal ambition. And … regarding this election,
    until people actually vote … it ain’t over till it’s over!

    Comment by Howard — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  8. Mccain finally got a chance to go in and put his points across (and he does have quite a few) but his temper got in the way. If only he had left his high horse at home things would have been different. I made a decision yesterday and it definitely does not favor Mccain…

    Comment by rick — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

  9. It’s hard to understand someone who hasn’t made up their mind by now, how ignorant they have to be of all that’s happening around them, around the country, around the world at this point. I’m trying to imagine what petty thing will now help them make their mind: whose wife dresses better, who looks better in HD (advice to McCain camp, put make-up on those aged hands, he looks ancient in HD), whose running mate and daughters look better in a skirt. The pandering for this lame excuse of a vote is going on with such ferocity by both sides it’s really making me sick…and yet they can’t not do it. The eyes of the world are upon us, and many are shaking their head.

    Comment by Tim — Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

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