Two men walked the walk and it is yet to be clear which one proceeded further toward the finish line. The assumption of most experts was all Obama had to do was hold his own in the foreign policy debate. There is scant evidence an Obama supporter exclaimed: “Wow, I like McCain!” On the other hand, McCain supporters did not leap into the arms of Obama because of anything he said in the debate. However, the initial results of CNN polls revealed that Americans thought Obama had won the foreign policy portion of the debate by 51% to 49%. The vote on who could handle Iraq more competently was 52% for Obama and 48% for McCain. The vote on who better handles the economy was an overwhelming 58% for Obama and 32% for McCain.
John McCain throughout the debate spoke of his experience, his visits, his meeting of foreign leaders and emphasized his past deeds such as surviving the Vietnam war. One sensed at points he was coming across as condescending to Obama and this is probably the reason a focus group in Columbus, Ohio voted for Obama 62% to 38% for McCain. I thought McCain appeared tired and at points, he lacked energy other than being able to recite his life accomplishments. I do not believe McCain still grasps that few people under the age of 40 know anything about the Vietnam War and Ronald Reagan is a name they come across in history books. As far as being able to claim friendship with Henry Kissinger, most probably think he is some figure in a crime movie.
It will be interesting to obtain poll results as the week unfolds. I suspect McCain lost because he was not able to overwhelm Obama. His constant referral to Iraq may register with some elderly people but it is not a selling point to younger Americans. Obama certainly came across as one thinking about the future and the future is what concerns Americans, not the past.