McCain v Obama: Round 1 – No KO

Last night’s debate did not offer up any major gaffes by either of the candidates. Barack Obama had clearly learned his lines very well, while John McCain gave his usual solid debating performance. Unlike Obama, McCain’s answers were natural and authentic as he drew upon his years of experience in the fields of foreign policy and protecting the American taxpayer. It was pleasing to see Obama have the decency to actually admit on numerous occasions that McCain was right about a variety of issues.

McCain seemed to be the overall winner by virtue of his attacking style in the debate, as compared to Obama’s rather defensive answers. Obama was on the back foot for much of the foreign policy part of the night owing to his lack of experience.

After this first debate, it seems unlikely either candidate will make a disastrous mistake in the debates to come, although Obama will have to be careful that his smug smirks and guffaws when McCain is speaking are not repeated.

CNN: Debate Poll Results

CNN: Who’s Qualified?

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38 Responses to “McCain v Obama: Round 1 – No KO”

  1. pacer521 Says:

    exactly — there really wern’t any big home runs or KO’s. Here is my post:

  2. Robert Beard Says:

    So far Senator Obama’s greatest achievement last night has been overlooked. Senatoc McCain’s presentation was snide, angry, contentious and he persistently refused to look his opponent in the eye. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, while being just as firm as Mr. McCain, constantly looked Mr. McCain in the eye, repectfully conceded when he agreed with him.

    Which of the two models is more likely to bring the two parties together to loosen gridlock and get both parties to cooperate?

  3. brenda Says:

    I know it was no KO…but the media wants Obama so bad, they are reporting the first debate went to Obama.
    It is so wrong when the news media feel they have the right to sway presidential votes. It is an insult to my intelligence

  4. Daniel Says:

    Obama has to stop saying, “your absolutely right”, or “john is absolutely right on that.” This is where Kerry failed.
    Stupid voters can only remember things in the first sentence… so he should say something like, “it is correct that…, BUT!”. And it has to be an emphatic “BUT!!” Stupid voters will remember the “BUT!!”. It works.

  5. gregory Says:

    I want someone to Factcheck Sen. McCain’s closing statement: MCCAIN: Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home.

    What did Sen. McCain do, or not do, to resolve the POW and MIA issues?

  6. brian Says:

    brenda says: I know it was no KO…but the media wants Obama so bad

    Thank God the media is witnessing this charade that McCain is passing off as a campaign. Suspending his campaign to “fix” the economy, possibly postponing the 1st debate, and the selection of Sarah Palin and her foreign policy experience as his running mate.
    If that doesn’t sway my way of thinking, I don’t think I need the media to do that for me! McCain is seeing his campaign twist and twirl down the toilet, because, thanks to the media, he is being exposed. He’s trying to escape from the shadow of George W. so hard, and try as he may, he’s busted!
    Obama, did IMHO, hit a solo shot out of the park, when he said, that the USA needs to reconnect with the rest of the World, and reach out to the rest of the World, because the rest of the World, has been alienated by the Bush administration. People and Business, won’t work with someone, who have been insulted, snubbed, or used.

  7. joe Cnn Says:

    They both did well with an edge to John, it look like Obamas nuts need to drop down some more. He Kept saying your absolutey right reminded me as Nixon.

  8. Mario Riggs Says:

    If you want to play G.I. Joe do it with your money and your life.

    You are killing MY Country Mr Bush and Mr McCain

    This is not a video game!

  9. Patricia Says:

    I agree that Obama was calm, confident and presidential. McCain did what he was expected to do. But Obama surprised me with his respectful style. I agree that he has a better “big picture” of the world and what we need to do to regain our status in the world. Obama pointed out where he and McCain agree (which is okay as it shows ability to see all sides of an issue) but he needed to go further with his responses and clarify what he doesn’t agree with. McCain uses anecdotes (correct or not??) to his advantage. In the next debate Obama should take some of the stories from the people he has encounted on the stump and share those stories when he is talking about the economy and what he plans to do about it. But he has to do it with a passionate sincerity.

  10. Maria da Graca Says:

    McCain seemed to be rooted in his past experiences:war, war and war. Cold war, Vietnan, Iraq. Do you want to keep draining your own resources, efforts to war addicts? So much money spend but Marriot was burned down a few days ago. Bin Laden&Co still at large. Are we really winning? How about if we embrace a diplomat, young and handsome, sensible and firm, excellent character as Barack.

  11. fl voter Says:

    I have long been troubled by the fact that our leaders in Washington always seem to consider the source before formulating an opinion. In other words, if they hear an idea, the first question is whose idea is it….if it comes from their own party, it’s brilliant and a solution; if it comes from the other party, it is a ridiculous assault on “mainstreet”.
    I am a lifelong Republican, have contributed to McCain’s campaign, and have a W bumpersticker on my car. However, due to the Republican VP choice who I am sorry to say is disappointing at the least, and to last night’s debate, I will cast my precious vote for Obama. This is a difficult conclusion for me; however, I strongly feel we need real leadership and a calm and thoughtful temperment at this time in our history.
    I was impressed with Obama’s giving credit where credit was due, admitting that he agrees with Senator McCain on some stances; and it seemed obvious to me last night that McCain demonizes any idea different from his own. Do I wish Obama had more experience? Yes. Do I wish Obama’s ideology was more like mine? Yes. But leadership is more than agreeing with my point of view, and I agree with GeorgeWill that temperment is a most important element.

  12. Liz Says:

    McCain’s appearance and voice remind me of Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith from the recent Star Wars movies.

  13. George Says:

    I really thought Obama lost points with his obnoxious facial expressions and when he started to interject while McCain was speaking. It came off as very un-Statesman like. He acted like a cad during the primaries with his glares and non-too-subtle put downs of Clinton, and now he comes off as an arrogant adolescent who has not been brought up with manners. Our President needs to be more polished than this. No US commentators are addressing this, but they are in the UK. hmmm…

  14. Brian Says:

    Recognizing when someone else, an adversary, is right, is not a character trait of John McCain. It is part of being honest. Being honest is not the same as being weak.
    Talking to your enemies is not being weak.
    Helping the middle class is not being weak.
    Look at the verb John McCain uses most commonly: fight. Not talk, cajole, negotiate, help, encourage … it is fight.
    The man is military, and every problem has the same solution … like a workman with a hammer, and everything looks like a nail.
    He is terrified of appearing weak, and he is not too bright.
    His ability to get through his first term healthy leaves about a 12% chance of leaving the presidency to someone who seems even dumber than the current president.
    That this election is even close is a testament to 150 years of racism and slavery in the USA. If it goes to McCain/Palin, the next North American superpower and economic leader will be my country, Canada, and I really don’t want that distinction with only 10% of the population base.
    But our future is tied so closely to yours, I fear you will ruin it by failing to recognize the value of a brilliant young black politician over an old guard mainstream white militant man with an average IQ.

  15. Daniel Says:

    If you want a “knockout blow” – wait until Sarah Palin either gets yanked from the VP debates, or the American people find out that the Republicans chicken out of debates again due to a Palin family issue or some other Karl Rove tactic they have planned up their sleeves. This will truly be your “knock out blow” to the Republicans we’ve been waiting for.
    The Republicans can’t seriously let her sit there next to Biden and be questioned by the moderator. She’s going to croak, or pass out on stage.

  16. Ed Says:

    Not sure what debate CNN watched but Obama lost..and lost bad. He came off as unprepared, unpolished, and like a little kid lost in the lights. McCain on the other hand was stately, presidential, and had all the right answers America needs. CNN needs to stop doing exclusive polling at the University of California Berkely because they are going to be shocked in November to learn the vast majority of Americans do not subscribe to the liberal doctrine CNN has been infected with.

    First debate score is Soundly:

    McCain 1
    Obama 0

    we will see where it goes Thursday in the VP debates.

  17. boredwell Says:

    the debates were dreck. both were angst ridden. an abundance of tightened lips and naysaying interruptions. mccain was teaching using his sword to point to the countries of the map – he’s been to em all. he compiled a how’s how gazette of properly pronounced names, to back up his phonetic competence (unlike bush). we now know he’s sleeping with the enemy-kissinger-and fondling patraeus. cringe factors, both! both TMI.

    but the stoop-low was when each candidate did their NA-NA’s over the fact that both wear bracelets. mccain’s is blazoned with the vision of the triumphal march. obama’s is (he had to look overlong at the name engraved thereon, too; most embarrassing) a mememto mori of the deaths squandered in Iraq. And the whole war on terror. YUCK to polititricks accompanied with histrionics.

    If one is compatible with Obama’s suasion, he IS the more thought-filled; more compassionate and less self-aggrandizing. He promises to take a better, closer, fresher approach to issues and problems created by former regimes. Obama will be less prone to mustering troops to back up his bluster. Mccain, it’s safe to allege would have no such qualms. Glory is his cause in the wake of out defeat in Viet Nam, nemesis to both nation & john.

    Yet neither has the goods to be president. well, at least the one i envision. so what’s a citizen to do. i couldn’t get through the whole dumb drumming. CLICK! OFF! But i tossed and turned all night unable to sleep. I keep waiting for the 3am phonecall telling me we were in a better time in another era. I awake dazed and confused.

  18. Jace Says:

    I am sorry I have a very hard time believing anything that comes out of Obama’s mouth.

    This is an example of what I mean.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Saturday, September 27, 2008
    Contact: Jessica Robinson, 573-751-0290
    Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement
    JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.
    “St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.
    “What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.
    “This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.
    “Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts – not a free society.”

    The above came from

    The statement was made because of this report.

  19. gregory Says:

    This website and related websites would seem to raise doubt about the extent to which Sen. McCain helped resolve the POW/MIA issues.

  20. Susan Says:

    After the debates I am more convinced the McCain would be the best President. He not only displayed command of the issues but he also showed that through his career he has made many, many friends both powerful (Kissinger) and not or not yet powerful (House Republicans) which is so important when any politician wants/needs to make “change” happen. I thought it was curious that McCain (R) gave his wishes for recovery to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) from his seizure last night rather than Obama (D). A couple more things:

    1) I find it astounding that the media does not consider Obamas gaff about Henry Kissinger a big-foot-in-mouth moment in the entire debate on foreign policy, the topic of the debate. I would think it was humiliating for him to hear Kissenger himself response within minutes of the completion of the debate. We didn’t have to wait for Fact Check buzzing on Blackberries for this one!

    2) Any bill passed by Bush or the next president should include oversight of anyone in government especially the House Financial Services Committee led by the first drafters of the bill, Senators Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd.

    3) Obama will be eaten alive by foreign leaders just like JFK was when he first took office by Khrushchev. But he won’t have a gaggle of long time experience family and friends like Kennedy did. We simply cannot afford this while we are in a war.

    4) I know everyone wants to know where the candidates stand on the economy and the bailout plan but I think Jim Lehrer let the public down by spending so much time on this subject when no one knows what the bill, if there is one will contain. There will another debate on this subject soon.

    5) Questions: How was the seating of the audience determined? I saw John Kerry sitting on the McCain side in close view of McCain. Is it first come first choice of seats or was this a dinner party where there is a seating arrangement? Was there any republicans on the Obama side starring him down too?

  21. Me Says:

    Did anyone else besides me notice the difference between the way Obama spoke in the debate and the way that he speaks while on campaign stops? No dropped “g”s during the debate. What a phoney!

  22. Betty Says:

    It really worries me that people do not see throught Obama; He can’t just answer the question, he goes on and on. I found him quite annoyed at times and rude last night. He fumbles with his words if he gets off track from the rehersed answers. I understand that people are frustrated with Bush, and Obama is offering you “change” and it sounds great but if you open your mind and think, can this man do everything he says without raising taxes. He your typical politician, look at his voting record. It’s scary.

  23. Daniel Says:

    Clearly you weren’t paying attention to the debates. Or did you simply hear what you wanted to hear, and then tune out Obama’s response or flip the channel to the baseball game? It’s clear you most likely didn’t even comprehend the responses Obama gave, even if you did catch a sentence or two. People like you want the world to be black and white… and everything to be simple. Sorry buddy… it’s pretty complex, and that’s why Obama won. He manages complexity as if it were second hand nature, while John Mccain things just like you… everything is simply black and white. Dichotomous opposition is a thing of the past, it’s time to move forward to integrate the world and cooperate with one another in a peaceful coexistance. It sounds like both you and John Mccain need to practice some self-reflection, and think… think really hard about how you both view the world.

  24. A Difference Says:

    In this CNN poll, 41 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans and 30 percent as independents. If people who identify themselves as Republicans can be expected to vote Republican and Democrats Democrat, the true question is how did the 30% independents vote? ANSWER: Since Obama cleared 51%, then 20% apparently believed McCain won the debate and 10% thought Obama won. Some food for thought.

  25. Daniel Says:

    Betty –
    I think you are just failing to grasp the answers Obama gives, perhaps because you can’t understand them. You at least acknowledge that Bush is a miserable failure… that’s a start. When you make a state of the union address to divide the world with an “axis of evil”, and point out three separate countries as the evil, this was a brazen attempt to invoke the second world war. Bush divided the world, and some are considering it a return to the Crusades and brought religion in to it. The terrorists were dancing in the streets, because they gave us a carrot, and we followed it. The terrroritst won, when George Bush took the bait. He reacted impulsively and used his gut reaction to lead us into war… a war that had been recognized as being unnecessary even by his former administration. The argument now is, since we are there, we have to stay there and make sure that terrorists don’t damage the fledgling country. This is an utter catastrophic failure = worse than Vietnam.
    Obama is the last remaining responsible politician standing. It’s been a two year campaing… and he is the only one to stand up there and have the balls to tell his opponent John Mccain (the last stubborn man standing) that his way of thinking about the world is as fundamentally flawed as George W. Bush. It is time for a change… a change we can believe in.

  26. Daniel Says:

    A Difference –
    You clearly know nothing about statistics. The critical information is the skew, standard deviation, and median, the standard plus/minus 3 percent is the critical value. It matters not how many people were represented in each group. You are just in disbelief.

  27. Robin Says:

    I believe Sen. Obama presented himself quite well last night. I found it odd, however, the number of times he took credit for something when he was only on the job for such a short period of time.

    Odder still is Obama’s insistence that he opposed the Iraq war when he was not even in the Senate at the time. The matter that I am lost in is: when are the American people going to get to know this man?

    If Obama was vetted as the media insists Govenor Palin should have been, he wouldn’t qualify as VP.

  28. ed Says:

    sorry Daniel but if anyone is guilty of not watching the debate it would be you as indicated by your unfaltering support of the intellectualy weaker candidate Obama.

  29. Kate Fergus Says:

    I find it incredible that in a 90 minute debate, the audience expected the participants to provide detailed information on how they would fix and deal with the economy and the bailout; immigration; homeland security and the possibility of another terrorist attack; the Middle East including Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan; NATO; Russia, China, Darfur to name a few of the issues people wanted covered.

    Good God! Get real. I think the expectations are far too high. I guess it must be because the people want to get a sense of security as a result of these political and economic fiascoes.

    If the people had been smarter, they wouldn’t have put the country into the hands of the Republicans for 8 years. After the first four, they should have known better. At least my conscience is clear on that point.

    To even suggest that the country could endure another 4 years of Bush policy under a hothead like McCain is unconscionable and frightening.

    The choice is McCain who will act first and think about the consequences later OR Obama who will think first, consider the options, and act responsibly. Hmmmm tough choice – NOT!

  30. Betty Says:

    Daniel; First I DID NOT SAY BUSH was a failure. Just like a liberal to change my words around. The problem is not that I DON”T understand Obama, I am realiastic and what Obama is saying is going to do I KNOW he can’t do without raising taxes and if you believe he’s not, then you are fool. If Obama is president (and GOD helps us if does) he is going to ruin the economy!! I WOULD NEVER vote for him. He stands for nothing that I believe in.

  31. Mel Says:

    Wow, I have become the most sorriest political junkie since the presidential race…. very thought provoking and nail biting. I am an imigrant, who loves this country with all my heart! I would not trade this country for any other, period – and I was born in one of the most beautiful countries in the world…New Zealand! I have great respect for both candidates and because I LOVE this country so much, I would absolutely support the candidate, whom ever wins this race. It doesn’t mean I will not question or challenge their motives and decisions, or rake them over the coals if they make rediculous decisions on our behalf, I am American now, I am American first.

    My values and positions are more aligned with Senator McCain. I am very proud to support him. In my biased opinion – he is exactly what we need now more than ever. Now if either McCain or Obama wins, we must support him, when countries citizens rally around their leaders, we become unified, the break down in this country – particularly with politics, we are quite undignified seperatists! Other people notice that, I saw Paul Begala the other night call President something like a freak’n idiot..something to that effect. Completely disrespectful, when we don’t even respect ourselves or even act civil, how on earth can we expect other countries to do the same. You know, all my life while growing up in NZ, americans were always made fun of…nothings changed, we were just an ignorant bunch of kiwi’s down under who were somewhat jealous of did not have that Americans have always fought to have, a free competitive market, free democracy. New Zealand has deffinately improved since those socialistic days – but I would rather be here. I love this Country, I hope Senator John McCain WINS!!!!

  32. JohnW Says:

    Let’s cut to the chase: McCain as President will mean more war, and Obama will mean more taxes. I’ll pay more taxes to keep my son’s out of avoidable wars.

    If McCain can’t look Obama in the eyes, try to envision him across the table from Putin. Now we know why he thinks it’s a bad idea to meet with enemies unless they’ve already succumbed to his demands. Anyone who knows anything about conflict management knows that communication is the key to solving problems, and that means talking, and looking at each other.

    McCain claims he wants to freeze spending. Yea right! Like that’s even possible. This from the guy who threatened not to show up at a debate; was the first candidate in history to “suspend” his campaign because he was too incompetent to multitask; and selected a VP running mate who was barely able to graduate from one of six colleges. Some may call that Maverick, I call it stupid.

    re: Obama has no experience. Take a look at the resumes of everyone you know–how many of them graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, and how many broke through three hundred years of racial divide to become the first black President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review (or equivelent). Yea I know, he’s got flaws like everyone else, but he’s pretty darn smart, and that’s the kind of guy I want running the country–not someone who relies on stunts to fool uninformed voters into supporting him.

    My final point, if I read or hear anything about either of these guys that sounds unbelievable, I don’t believe it. Trust your instincts.

  33. Karen Says:

    We noticed Obama stuttering a number of times while looking a bit rattled . . . but I haven’t heard or read anything about the media noticing it. Did anyone else? I also didn’t feel that he gave clear answers . . I felt he was dancing around giving a firm answer. I don’t want to hear him saying that he wouldn’t do what the Bush Administration did . . . I want to hear what he will do!

  34. TX Lady Says:


    How old are you? “this was a brazen attempt to invoke the second world war” The second World War, we already fought and won that one.

    If you own a calculator you need to learn to use it. Obama’s tax polices just don’t add up. He is offering $19.23 a wk in tax relief for the middle class while offering to raise taxes for big business, which they will pass on to you the consumer. Believe me it will be a lot more than $20 a week. He has already come out and said the Wall Street mess will cause him to be unable to provide the health plan he offered to the uninsured. He is a phony and will never do for the ‘people’ what he claims. Can’t do it.

    I wish we could re-do the primaries, knowing what we know now. Too bad there isn’t a good choice this year at all.

    TX Lady

  35. Benji Says:


    You’re clearly delusional … let’s look at the educational history of the candidates for each party:

    Occidental College – Two years.
    Columbia University – B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
    Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

    & Biden:
    University of Delaware – B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
    Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)


    United States Naval Academy – Class rank 894 of 899

    & Palin:
    Hawai i Pacific University – 1 semester
    North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
    University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
    Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
    University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in journalism

    (2 Doctorates – vs – 5th last in a Naval Academy & a 6 institution BA ???)

    If after the above information you can legitimately prove to me how Obama is now somehow intellectually “weaker” than McCain, McCain will get my vote. Period.


    How do you ruin an economy that is already completely ruined; the US economy’s already nosediving and spiraling out of control … anything that occurs from here on out is almost the entire result of the last 8 years and an unnecessary war in Iraq, not to mention poor foresight regarding energy independence; a looming problem for the last 25 years (I’ll give you 1 guess at which “McC–n” voted against EVERY bill pushing renewable energy research and efficiency standards).

    Very simple logic required to understand the situation, although no matter complex into the matter you delve, the same answer is inevitable.

    Wake up people … Obama is far from the infallible savior many make him out to be, but seriously … he’s gotta be at least twice as promising a candidate as McCain. And that’s without the inclusion’s on VP’s on the ticket.

    Sarah Palin = Anti-Christ: she’s a lying, manipulative, redneck witch.

    Burn her.

    At a stake.



    I’m out … this country’s ship is split in half and sinking … and a large percentage of people are kicking and screaming that a roll of tape and 4 more years of the same approach (applying the tape with a chainsaw) is going to fix it.

    Breaking News: Change the approach, or jump ship now. We’re all f@#ked if not, and possibly anyways … what do I care?

    I’m going to live in Australia, New Zealand or Scotland instead …

  36. Brian Says:

    Somebody up there said McCain was intellectually superior???

  37. James Says:

    It is pathetic that CNN had to have an “Audience Reaction Meter” to control the public’s perceptions. Obviously, they control the meter and bring it up and down at their will. This is just another way for the media to control the perceptions of the people!

  38. Diana Says:

    It is clear that Obama won the debate and proved himself to be a natural leader.

    John McCain was amusing at best. He was however, in no position to criticize Obama on meeting with foreign leaders, when he couldn’t even look his opponent in the eye.

    That didn’t show strength, that showed an unnerved individual. It shows that he’s incapable of an honest interaction. It’s almost as if he pretends something isn’t there, eventually it will go away, like a percoset addiction in the family.

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