Debate Wrap Up: No Ayers, Lots of Substance

Posted: Oct 07, 2008 10:41 PM
None of the character attacks that dominated news headlines in the run-up to tonight's debate were discussed in Belmont.

No mention of William Ayers or Charles Keating, despite GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's scathing stump speeches about Obama and Ayers and Obama's 13-minute documentary about Keating and McCain.

Instead, nearly an hour of the debate focused on the economy. During the last 30 minutes the candidates sprinted through a foreign policy discussion that ranged from Pakistan to Russia to Georgia to Israel.

The debate was substantive and compelling, although moderator Tom Brokaw did not appear to have complete control over the events. Twice Obama notably asked for extra time and Brokaw had to lecture the Illinois senator to play by the rules.

Just like the Saddleback forum earlier this year, McCain answered questions, while Obama seemed to dodge them.

On the most important issue of the day, the economy, McCain put forth a more robust way to jumpstart the U.S. economy: reduce dependecy on foreign oil, lower taxes and cut spending.  He also proposed a program for the goverment to purchase failed home loans and renegotiate them to reflect current market values. (Yes, I am groaning over this.)

Obama, on the other hand, went on autopilot. He blamed the crisis on President Bush and said McCain was "more of the same."

On the foreign policy front, McCain relied on his experience to steer the US out of Iraq, Obama said he was "more of the same."

All in all, it was a solid performance by McCain, but nothing "broke" to dramatically change the game. I do believe, however, independents will be more impressed with McCain's command of the issues than McCain.

All right, I'm off to CNN for a quick post-debate package taping. I'll have more fact-checking, etc for the homepage soon.