mercredi 8 octobre 2008

Who won - Guest blog

Thanks to Maurice Carroll, who was asked this question by Le Monde. He is the Director of Quinnipiac University Polling

Who won the second debate, John McCain or Barack Obama?

"There were really two debates: the first one was about the economy, a topic that plays to Obama's favor, and the second was about foreign policy, an area in which McCain is in his comfort zone. So this second debate was comparable to the first, where the performances of the two candidates balance each other out. Barack Obama and John McCain both reiterated their respective key phrases and drove their message home regardless of the questions asked. From a stylistic perspective, Barack Obama is a more polished and formal speaker. John McCain is at ease in this type of format, where the audience participates, even though he has a slight limp that is visible when he moves around the stage. During the first debate, the conditions were less favorable for McCain, who was coming off failed negotiations on the financial bailout and threatened to postpone. So there was no real surprise."

I think that this is a dry and factual account of the content of the debate, but Carroll cuts McCain way too much slack in terms of style. He was certainly not comfortable on this stage and, although he has been credited with great comfort in a town hall meeting format, this was not on display last night. He wanted to appear sprightly, but he looked more manic. He spent too much time scribbling notes and then jumping out of his chair. He seemed out of breath at times. He called Obama "That one,"* and must have spat out the words "My friends" a hundred times. He sounded and looked like a full commission salesman at the end of a slow month. And in this economy, that is a really bad job to be doing.

*Remember the wizard on Mr Science: Trizzle trazzle trozzle trome/Time for this one to go home.