There are two ways of viewing the results of tonight’s presidential debate. One way is that it was a draw. There were no major gaffes, both candidates were strong and successfully attacked one another on a number of issues.
The second way is that the debate was a draw, and by virtue of the night’s focus (foreign policy) being McCain’s strongest suit, Obama won. I don’t think anything that happened in this debate will make a huge difference in polls.
Jim Lehrer did an excellent job moderating, asking good questions and steering away from bias and ‘gotchas’. He also worked hard to get the candidates to address one another, an approach more fitting of a true debate, rather than the joint press conference model these debates have become.
One noteworthy segment was Obama’s failure to mention anything of substance that he would give up to pay for the $700 billion corporate welfare package being pushed through Congress right now. Rather, he listed those things he would not give up, and when pressed a second time by Lehrer for spending sacrifices, Obama still could not cite any major changes. Of course, Obama will not mention what he will cut to a wide American audience: defense spending. But he’s said it before among liberal friends.