Three cheers for Bob Schieffer! He has moderated this last presidential debate in a manner that actually got some answers out of the candidates. He did so in a manner that did not make him the news story the next day. Next to Joe the Plumber, Schieffer should be the one who did the best job last night, especially since Joe wasn’t actually at Hofstra.
First off, I was skeptical of the debate last night. I had been bored to tears by the debate at Belmont University on the seventh. I even wrote I may not watch another debate as all they had been, up until last night, sound bites of campaign talking points and no actual information. It is just a shame that both campaigns couldn’t get the detailed information out sooner than three weeks prior to the end of the campaign.
This particular night, Schieffer managed to hold the candidates to task. He forced answers out of the candidates and managed to get the candidates to interact immediately – something Jim Lehrer couldn’t get the men to do in the first debate.
A few items that stand out to me are Obama repeatedly said we are in the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. This statement surprises me as economists are saying recession and only quietly. I don’t know that I agree with this statement. I am the same age as Obama so have lived through the same times and don’t think that his statement is correct.
McCain called Obama to task for wanting to “spread the wealth around.” I have to agree that I was shocked that these exact words came out of Obama’s mouth in Ohio earlier this week. This is not true Marxism but is a Socialist principle. As my 17, yes soon-to-be 18 and voting in this election as his first ever vote, year old son swears, “the last person I heard say that was Karl Marx.”
Schieffer tried, as did Jim Lehrer in the first debate and Gwen Ifill in the vice presidential debate and Tom Brokaw in the second debate, to get both candidate to answer a question about which of his new plans would have to be foresaken or slowed because of the current economic situation. Obama flat out didn’t answer. That type of arrogance annoys me. McCain didn’t truly answer but did discuss an across the board spending freeze. This, at least, address the question somewhat, though only slightly more than Obama’s no answer.
It was during the candidates’ exchanges with each other concerning this spending freeze that the line of the night came from John McCain. McCain told Obama that he was not George Bush and if he wanted to run against Bush, he should have ran four years ago. That sound bite has been all over today.
McCain, and unwisely in my mind as I do not know if it can actually be done, said he can still balance the budget in his first term. Obama danced around that question and, then, did not answer McCain’s question about standing up to his own party. In Obama’s defense, he did cite examples of legislation he worked on that made him “unpopular” with Democrats but none that actually were standing up to his party.
When Schieffer asked about taking the high road in campaigning, McCain brought up associations. Obama brought up what supporters are saying at McCain campaign appearances. In my mind, McCain won here. You may ask why. My awarding a win in this area to McCain is based on many factors. First, McCain has corrected people at his rallies. Second, Obama outlined times he had contact with William Ayres. He did leave out late 1990’s – I believe that time frame is correct – political gathering in Ayres’s Chicago home when Obama was introduced as the hand picked successor to Alice Palmer for the state senate’s 13th district.
I, again, have to say the winner in my mind was Bob Schieffer. I was truly not looking forward to this debate. Between previous debates being nothing but glorified stump speeches and pundits saying that the entire debate would be on the economy – there are actually more domestic issues, I was dreading the debate. I didn’t hate it in the end. I didn’t throw things at my television during it. I actually learned a few things.