You will have to pardon my lag in sharing my thoughts on the debate. The family trip to New Orleans took precedence, but fortunately Comcast made the debate available OnDemand. In the context of national security, I thought the leading questions were reasonable and bipartisan. However, I felt that the costs of national security in relation to other spending buckets were overstated.
McCain leveraged his extensive foreign policy experience and military service quite well in his exchanges with Obama. However, I don’t feel his anecdotes resonated clearly with the viewer. His discourses were effectively volleyed by Obama. The ugly volley was “don’t let my son die in vain” versus “don’t let another mother go through losing a son.” It is very difficult to react from the bleachers on such trying times for military families.
Obama appeared very knowledgeable and current on the situation in the volatile regions around the world. An interesting distinction was his pronunciation and enunciation relative to McCain. Unfortunately in terms of answering the questions, I think Obama spent too much time focusing on the Bush policies, rather than providing a clear doctrine. The strongest point Obama made was the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. This point, which should have resonated with the viewer, was not addressed by McCain.
All things considered, I thought it was a very even exchange in terms of what was said. McCain was more emotional than Obama. I prefer the more stoic nature of Obama and his ability to laugh at McCain’s remarks. However, I don’t think the same would be said for the average viewer.
The budgetary concerns while certainly not trivial were effectively deflected by both sides. It is impossible for either candidate to claim to endorse a balanced budget, decreasing deficit or increasing deficit with the volatile times in terms of national security and floundering economic strength.