McCain Brought His A-Game (and Won)

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Oct 15, 2008 10:29 PM
Where was this McCain in the last two debates?  He's feisty, he's well prepared, he's willing to point out the contrasts between himself and Barack Obama.  Is it too late to matter?  We shall see.  But this could, conceivably, put McCain back in the game. For the record:

McCain's comments about taxes and Joe the Plumber were dead on.  Why, oh why, doesn't he reveal Barack's 95% tax plan for the sham -- for the spending increase -- that it is?

His comments about Barack breaking his word about town hall meetings and campaign finance are true, and they are revealing.   McCain got the better of the exchange about campaign supporters.  (Of course, the problem is that, at some point, voters don't really care as much about that as hard core partisans).

It's not clear to me that Barack's facial expressions served him well.  The smiling, the gestures come across as cocky.  His dig at Fox News -- to the effect that even Fox agrees with him -- made him look small and petty (beware, MSM what you've been hoping for).  And he seems less engaged and, frankly, less compelling than he has in previous debates.  In contrast, McCain seems sharp as a tack -- in terms of content, if not in terms of delivery.

Obama's answer about energy was laughable.  Does he really think that the oil companies have oil rich land leases that they're simply refusing to drill on?  Like so much of his rhetoric, it's designed to sound good, but actually means nothing.  Good catch for McCain on calling Barack on "looking at" off-shore drilling. 

And thank you for noting that Barack has never traveled south of the border and pointing out that, like Herbert Hoover, Barack wants to raise taxes and restrict trade YES!  YES!  YES!.

Finally, an abortion question.  Good for McCain for not letting Barack get away from it.  And Barack responses about the Born Alive Infant Protection Act were a lie.  No way around it.

My initial reaction? McCain has cleaned Obama's clock.  The question is whether it will help the growing perception that an Obama win is unstoppable.  But McCain came across as strong and confident -- without a whiff of the flop sweat that would have doomed him.