How's McCain Doing?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 03, 2007 7:25 PM
Well, he's doing a good job of picking on Chris Cillizza enough to cast himself as the cool guy and Chris as the nerd with the pie charts, which is well-played.

He got a nice bump for his Darfur answer. When Chris Cillizza pulled up the pie charts, which they're compiling from online input from viewers, the chunk of listeners who thought he "might represent their views" or "definitely represent their views" had gone up considerably since the beginning of the debate.

Update: Here's Geraghty's take on the numbers:
Judging from Cillizza’s pie chart of the instant reaction, about 52 percent said McCain’s answer on Darfur made them “somewhat” more likely to support him, 25 percent much more likely to support him. It was 10 and 15 percent “somewhat less” and “much less likely” to support him.
McCain goes off on Paul, the preferred apathetic young people's candidate, and gets applause:
They aren't fighting for oil and they aren't fighting for empire and they aren't fighting illegally. They're fighting because they want America to be safe and if they didn't believe that, they wouldn't be fighting. Quite frankly, Congressman Paul is wrong. I know what the American fighting women and men want. I'm with them too much not to know what's on their mind and unless I see incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, that's where I'll stand.
It wasn't huge, whooping applause, but it was one of the bigger applause lines of the night. I was surprised.

Update: In addressing a question about his faith, McCain tells a story about a Vietnamese guard who once loosened the ropes when he was tied up painfully as a POW. The same guard, on Christmas Day, when prisoners were allowed to walk outside for a few moments, walked by him, drew a cross in the snow, wiped it out, and walked away. You could have heard a pin drop in this crowd of 20-somethings. I wonder what his ratings on the pie chart did at that point.

Via Jim, here's the story:
As a scared American prisoner of war in Vietnam, I was tied in torture ropes by my tormentors and left alone in an empty room to suffer through the night. Later in the evening, a guard I had never spoken to entered the room and silently loosened the ropes to relieve my suffering. Just before morning, that same guard came back and re-tightened the ropes before his less humanitarian comrades returned. He never said a word to me. Some months later on a Christmas morning, as I stood alone in the prison courtyard, that same guard walked up to me and stood next to me for a few moments. Then with his sandal, the guard drew a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly there for a minute or two, venerating the cross, until the guard rubbed it out and walked away.
Update: McCain is asked the ticking-bomb question about torture, and admonishes about torture passionately, as he always does. He also is received well on stem cells. In short, all the issues that make the base mad.

Update:
Final numbers from the pie charts:

37 percent strongly agreeing with him, and another 20-something just plain agreeing.

McCain: "Can we do another hour?"

Disclosure: MySpace paid my way to cover this event tonight, so that's where my bread is buttered. Just so you know.