John McCain likes the sport of boxing. Tuesday night at the debate in Nashville, Tennessee McCain did his best Sugar Ray Leonard impersonation. He was jabbing Obama and then moving swiftly to higher ground. It was a performance reminiscent of his successful New Hampshire Town Hall meetings. He was energetic, aggressive and lively. Was it enough to be a game changer? No but The Brody File is starting to get the impression that if there’s going to be a game changer it won’t come in the debates. Obama is too smart for that. Obama simply doesn’t get rattled in these debates and continues to show a steady hand.
Look, The Brody File sees this debate as a win for McCain. But do wins matter at this point? This isn’t so much about who won or who lost. This is about which candidate can really connect with voters on the economy. The McCain camp wants to make this about Obama’s lack of character and judgment and we will see more of this on the trail in the coming weeks but voters seem to be more interested in a presidential candidate who can simply and effectively explain the implications of this economic crisis and then explain in very simple terms how they will go about fixing it.
The candidate that does that (or at least is “perceived” to be doing that) will most likely win this election.
As for the debate, Obama seemed frustrated during parts of the debate because he wanted to jump in and respond to a McCain attack right away but couldn’t because of the restrictive town hall style debate rules. You could see him getting antsy and therefore McCain was able to make his points without direct rebuttal. But look, Obama continued his ability to articulate his points in a very matter of fact way. He gets labeled as a “performer” quite a bit but that seems to be selling him short. This guy is one of the more intelligent candidates to come along in quite some time. He’s able to combine his intellect with a winning personality and it works in a debate. Obama may not have hit a homerun tonight but he didn’t need to. With the polls looking favorable right now for him, a standup double is just fine.
There was an awkward moment for McCain. He referred to Obama at one point during the debate as “that one”. Maybe McCain didn’t mean anything by it but something like that can come across as demeaning. It’ll be interesting to see how much traction “that one” gets.
One final note: The Brody File noted that the candidates would quickly answer a question and then move on to attack the other guy. They didn’t seem to care that the town hall format may be a problem for them going on the attack.