Well, the second debate just ended, and Senators McCain and Obama—both wearing sharp black suits against a vast red carpeted floor and bright blue backdrop—clashed on many of the same issues we heard about last time, and in the recent VP debate. “Clash” may not be the right word—though the media had predicted that McCain would come out on the attack, since his polls have dropped almost as fast as our economy over the last month—both candidates were, while never warm toward each other, relatively even tempered, even (occasionally) fair.[Here’s a complete transcript of the debate (though I recommend nytimes.com, they have video analysis if you missed the debate it’s a little more fun to watch the videos than just read what they said.)]
So, here’s the setup: four weeks to go. If the election were held now, Obama would landslide his way into the White House. That said, these are the four most intense weeks in this nearly two year election cycle—and as Mark, one of the guests at ‘Hotelephant’s organic veggie potluck tonight pointed out, the American people love a close race. So it ain’t over ’til Dick Cheney sings. McCain, as mentioned, needed a game-changer—a gaffe on Obama’s part, or a zinger on his end. He didn’t get either (in fact, the biggest gaffe of the night belonged to McCain, which Brokaw, moderating, and Obama failed to pick up on—and McCain said it twice).
So, if you’re an Obamaniac, tonight was a good night. If you’re a McCain fan, tonight was a lost night—your candidate certainly didn’t lose, but you lost time. You lost a prime-time opportunity to change the playing field. Only one more debate to go.