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Who Won the Nashville Debate

Debate Rebate: Reactions to the Second Presidential Debate

The much be-hyped town hall debate brought the candidates close together on the bright red carpet, the people closer to the candidates, and perhaps the undecideds closer to a decision? Between the discussion happening here, and the sparkily veiled tension on the stage, how did this match up fare? Here's what we thought:

The biggest shot in the arm this debate format provided was bringing the issues down to the individual level. The audience was intimate and the scrutiny felt equally as close — both from the questioners and Tom Brokaw, who proved to be a ruthless but level moderator. I was nervous about the "real people" questions (you saw the snowman debacle, I don't always like a Pro-Am) but some of them were great.

One in particular from an 80-year-old who lived through the Great Depression — she asked what kind of sacrifice we as Americans should make that wasn't just the blood of our Armed Forces. McCain's answer focused on spending saying, "We're going to have to tell the American people that we're going to have to have a spending freeze. . . we can establish priorities and full transparency. . . and I'm going to tell you Americans that we'll get to work right away." Obama continued the answer speaking to civilian service and expanding the Peace Corps, a different take on it to be sure.

To see the rest of my thoughts and what Liberty had to say,


When the discussion turned to health care the tension ratcheted up several notches along with the interest. McCain lasered in on the government mandated aspect of Obama's plan, and slammed home the choice-and-freedom aspect of his $5,000 tax credit. Then Brokaw asked a point-blank smacker: is health care a privilege, a right, or a responsibility. McCain answered "responsibility," Obama, "right."

Overall McCain was not shy about going for the jugular, on several instances catching everyone off guard with his good-natured intensity. In particular, his calling out of Obama as "that one," was a heated moment no one missed. The last question, "what don't you know and how will you learn it?" provided the candidates a moment to wrap up. McCain seized the opportunity for his most compelling and lucidly forceful riff of the night saying, "I know what it's like to have your comrades pick you up and put you back in the fight, and that's what this country is all about."

A game-changer it was not, but an inning? Yes, and then some.

Tonight both candidates seemed a little tepid and defensive. I kept waiting to see some spirit or contagious passion.

During the discussion on government spending John McCain kept hitting Barack Obama on "increased spending." Obama defended his position as smart taxing and smart spending. He made it clear that it's inevitable that the government is going to tax and it's going to spend — but what's crucial is giving the tax breaks to the right people, and using the collected money for efficient and fair programs.

The dying debate got a burst of virility during the health care discussion — McCain described health care as a responsibility while Obama called it a right. Obama spoke clearly and concisely about his position. He came off as genuinely concerned about the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions, and pointed to the drastic differences between his plan and McCain's. He landed a strong punch when he noted that the Chamber of Commerce said McCain's health care plan would destroy employer-based coverage. McCain drew up concerns of government mandates and bureaucracy, while Obama said he wanted to preserve choices.

Obama took McCain's theme from the last debate, that Obama "doesn't understand," as a chance to highlight differences in judgment. Connecting the economy to Iraq, he noted that the US spends $10 billion a month in Iraq, while Americans are out of jobs. Noting that no country has maintained military superiority while its economy declined, Obama made it seem like McCain is the candidate that does not understand a complex world.

What did you think? Did McCain do what he needed to? Was there a clear winner?

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors, CitizenSugar and LibertySugar, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Sugar Inc.


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
yes Ricki and we should always vote for someone based on charisma, so called intellegence and being a great speaker....... Still voting McCain, especially after this debate.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Oh and I love the ThatOne08 T-shirt. Genius!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
In case anyone is interested Sen. McCain used "my friends" 22x
reactionary reactionary 8 years
i found mccain's attitude during the debate frustrating. i actually found myself yelling at the television at certain points. the constant use of "my friends" also seems incredibly superficial to me; calling me a "friend" when you do not appear to have my best interests at heart is condescending. i also found him slightly rude; i missed the "that one" comment completely, but when they were talking about health care, and obama asked to have time to respond, and mccain was being a snob about asking for the actual fine number or some such nonsense; how many cold hard facts do YOU have, sir? how about how much money your silly morgage plan is going to cost us? one of the main issues i have with mccain is that i feel that his age will actually be very debilitating, and i do not mean this in terms of oh, he is old and will die. how many years ago was he educated? he is not up to date on the most current information and methods being taught in public and private universities, and i feel that when the majority of the population is learning/has learned during the more recent years, our sets of knowledge are vastly different. imho, i think that THAT more than anything else is what makes mccain out of touch. especially with the younger population. i want my president to have the most up to date information and knowledge possible, and i think that obama has that advantage over mccain. also, i really did not like the town hall format. it was a little too awkward for me to watch.
indielove indielove 8 years
"McCain is old" :rotfl:
richkidblues richkidblues 8 years
Im Canadian and I watched the debate lastnight. I hope for all of North America, that Americans agree with most of you and vote Obama into presidency. He is charasmatic, intelligent and a great speaker. He is exciting to watch and passionate for what he believes in. He cares about the American people. McCain is old and I believe he will follow in George Bush's footsteps.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
But it doesnt matter anyways because the politicians whose pockets were being padded made such a stink that ultimately the contract went to Boeing and we all got screwed on it.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
IMA - No some people were pissy at McCain for giving it to EADS because its a foreign company so they assumed the jobs would go to foreigners whereas Boeing is an American company so they thought with them the jobs would stay here. What the media didn't cover is that EADS is building a state of the art plant in SC in which these aircraft will be built.
Imabeliever Imabeliever 8 years
Wasn't EAD's a controversy for McCain? Something about his ties/profit to EAD's lobbyists? McCain is really taking a risk going so negative on obama and attacking his "cronies" with guilt by association cause that can very well be used as a boomerang. Obama served on an educational board with Ayers.. he didn't take multiple extravagant all expenses paid vacations with Ayers like McCain did with Keating. Claiming he will give all the lobbyists the boot from Washington when half of his campaign staff are lobbyists.. ah awkward much? McCain supposedly had ties to both Joseph "Joey Bananas" Bonano, the head of the New York Bonano crime family and his relationship to Gen. John Singlaub and the U.S. Council for World Freedom that was involved with the Iran Contra scandal. Or who he shares his bed with stealing from her charity, forging prescriptions in other peoples names for drugs. So seriously.. is the campaign going to deteriorate to mud slinging instigated by McCain because he is getting desperate and forcing Obama to take a shot or two back at him? I think they should stick to the issues so they can both come out of this with a shred of honor.. all the attacking will do (esp Palin with her Obama a terrorist shouting crowd and not correcting it is going to do) is hamper whoever does win.
clocked clocked 8 years
simply the fact that mccain thinks healthcare is a responsibility, whereas Obama thinks it is a right...that says it all right there. I'll always be biased towards Obama, but i have always believed healthcare should be a right to every human being (on the planet, not just this country) and I am relieved that a candidate feels the same (and actually seems like he genuinely cares!!!)
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
I can't stay and debate but just thought I would pop in and say I see lots of Ron Paul signs. He is still generating tons of support on his new website, Campaign for Liberty. Libertarians wouldn't just toss out the school system, they've got plans to, in my opinion, make it even better.
indielove indielove 8 years
"I don't care how passionately I feel about a candidate--if it's not a magnet, it ain't going on my car!" I'm with you there! One of my neighbors has a bumper sticker saying '1.20.09: The End of an Error'.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 8 years
And pop...I'm always watching. I'll always know when you talk about Hillary. ;)
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 8 years
I would just like to point out that the tax hike Obama proposes for incomes over 250,000 is .01%. That would mean if you made $250,000.00 a year your taxes would go up $25 a year. That .01% is valid through $603,000.00 a year. I think people are making a bigger deal out of him "raising the taxes" than is warranted.
em1282 em1282 8 years
haus--I'm in Obama city, and I've seen more Ron Paul/Bob Barr signs than McCain signs! Weird, eh?? I also still see a LOT of those "W '04" stickers on cars still. I don't have a car, and I don't care how passionately I feel about a candidate--if it's not a magnet, it ain't going on my car!
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I'd love to see a third or fourth party candidate! We really don't have enough choice, that's for sure.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Its funny you guys say that because I practically never see Obama signs here! I see a car here and there with a sticker, very rarely, but never law signs. Like, literally not one. Not even during the primaries!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
mydia - Bush is more liberal in spending than I think McCain will be so thats a step in the right direction. As for evidence of McCain and earmarks, well look at the Boeing deal. There was a defense contract for new jets that was very inflated and had a lot of lobbyist support and kickbacks from Boeing and McCain stopped it and awarded the contract to EADS because they turned out to be cheaper and had no padding for politicians in their plan. He got a lot of crap for that, but that was the right choice and it saved us millions of dollars. Thats just one example, I'm sure there are more.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I don't think I've seen a single McCain/Palin bumper sticker, which is odd since San Diego's fairly conservative compared to L.A. I guess most of the McCain supporters must be in the North County or something :ponder:
indielove indielove 8 years
"It would be interesting if third-party candidates got more of a realistic shot at winning." I agree. Yeah, I always see Obama signs in lawns, on windows etc., especially where I live in LA. It's quite refreshing, in my opinion. :p I saw ONE McCain lawn sign this past weekend, in Hollywood, and my dad and I were like "They're probably not popular with the neighbors!" I saw at least 5/6 Obama lawn signs to that 1 McCain sign on that street.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Oh I'm sure gat! Its kinda crazy. Like I said, those are the really hardcore people. According to the libertarian website - "But the fact is, every service supplied by the government can be provided better and cheaper by private business." So essentially that would mean it would be up to the citizen to sign up and choose to pay for police and fire, etc etc. But for instance, my vote is in NH and there is a libertarian running for govenor there, so I thought I'd look into her. Not only does she support having no restrictions on guns whatsoever, but she also supports getting rid of public schools entirely and having it all be privatized. Those are some ideas I can't get behind.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
'so while i don't see mccain to be a true conservative, i do think he is a step in the right direction.' So Bush was more liberal than McCain? I still don't see any concrete plans on how to cut spending from McCain. Its all rhetoric to me, and Bush did run on a platform of cutting spending too(that $300 toilet seat or whatever) and didn't follow through with his word even with a Republican controlled Congress for most of the time. Just hard to really believe McCain is going to be any really difference from Bush IMO.
Gatito Gatito 8 years
No civil services! You're kidding me! That's the most ridiculous view I've ever heard. Are you sure, hausfrau?
Gatito Gatito 8 years
*can't begin, Dave. That's a big, fat CAN'T. I'm not any where close to smart enough.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
some libertarians dont even belive in civil services like police departments or fire departments!
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