Initial Reaction

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October 15, 2008 11:04 pm
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The consensus from initial reactions is that this was McCain’s best of the three debates. And I’m not sure I disagree with that. One of the best sum-ups I saw was actually from Republican Mike Murphy, which we’ll show you shortly. I think that in formal debating terms McCain definitely did better than in the two previous debates. Often, in formal terms, he had Obama on the defensive. But McCain was just surly and contemptuous through the whole 90 minutes. He looked angry. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves: he was angry. That was obvious all the way through. I think that voters will not like that. And just as important it tends to confirm the current narrative of the campaign, which is that McCain is negative and angry.

Obama wasn’t perfect. Maybe a bit off his game. But I don’t think John McCain helped himself. His gambit in this debate was to say to voters that his anger and passion was theirs. But I don’t think he sold that argument. John McCain is just angry. Mainly angry that it’s his moment and this upstart named Barack Obama is taking it from him. That’s about him, not anyone else.

Late Update: Here’s the Murphy reaction I mentioned above …

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