Punches come fast and furious in opening debate round

September 27, 2008

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama came out swinging on the economic crisis facing the U.S. financial system during the first U.S. presidential debate, while Republican rival John McCain first words were to praise the bipartisan efforts to craft a rescue plan. rtx8yoi.jpg
Obama blasted the Bush administration and tried to tie the last eight years to McCain. 
“This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy promoted by George Bush and supported by Senator McCain,” Obama said as the debate at the University of Mississippi opened.
Meanwhile McCain said he, along with many Americans, had not been feeling so great about the U.S. economy these days — stark contrast to his widely-panned comment more than a week ago that the fundamentals of the economy were strong — and he welcomed Democrats and Republicans working together for a plan.
“I’m feeling a little better tonight,” McCain said. “”We have finally seen Republicans and Democrats sitting down and negotiating together and coming up with a package.”
They both cited the need for transparency and oversight in the rescue plan. 
But missing from the two senators — one of whom will be president come Jan. 20 — was a firm commitment to vote for the rescue package being crafted. Obama said the language hadn’t been crafted yet but was optimistic a deal could be struck while McCain said he hoped he could vote for it.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

– Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (McCain and Obama greet each other at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.)


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What a sad performance of both of them, more like a bunch of bikkering schoolboys…when are they showing the courage to actually deal with the big issues at hand in stead of trying to score points on trivial issue.

Posted by David Repko | Report as abusive

I agree there was too much bickering, but that’s entirely Lehrer’s fault. I have never seen a moderator with less control over a debate. Nevertheless, McCain’s constant ad hominem attacks did not stand up to Obama’s clear policy and plans for the future.

Posted by Christopher Chopin | Report as abusive

Sorry folks – the fault in the “bickering” was John McCain who would never shut up, rambled, lied and broke the rules of the debate and common courtesy.

He did not in 90 minutes have the decency to look his fellow Senator in the eye.

A disgusting performance by a once great man.
That time has gone by. McCain is stale. Old. Tired.

Obama looked and behaved Presidential.

Posted by RJP3 | Report as abusive

I liked how Lehrer stayed out of the way. I thought Obama was more polite, but I loved how McCain pushed Obama around, very impressive. The eye-contact thing was a bit weird. I don’t know why he acted like that. Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt about his ability to turn his head – POW injuries and all.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

We’ve had a major war to test the idea straight up’ of bullying your way to what you want. Add to that the current ‘Bushism’ of the administration – only work with people you agree with, bully, drown out or straight up fire the others and replace them with less qualified people.
I think we all know how it ended.
We can’t have another bully in the pulpit. That was McCain last night. Not that Obama was weak – he had an excellent, civil debate. The personal attack level was difficult to watch. We were to compare approaches and tactics. But the ‘he does not understand’ and ‘he can’t speak English (tactic versus strategy) was just uncivilized.

Posted by Reno | Report as abusive

I love how these people can blame McCain for “eight years” of Bush when 4 years ago WE voted Bush bakc in. At that time “We the People” thought this man was doing a good enough job to vote him back in (and I’m a Democrat). It was until Obama started campaigning and the media jumped in behind him and started saying he wasn’t. Even I didn’t realize it until they started stating out and out lies that I started checking into the media’s and Obama’s quote ‘truths’. Obama was the one who kept saying both negative and incitful things. He even went so far as to give stratagies up on Worldwide television (I guess he thinks the talaban doesn’t watch tv). I know he is playing to the unintelligent, but anyone that does a little checking will see what I am talking about.

Posted by Cynthia | Report as abusive

OOPS, sorry about my spelling, but I have a problem with the fact that 19 months ago Obama started working out right on his campaign for Presidency, said he didn’t want to run a negative campaign and then has his buddies in the media do it for him. That and that he cried about this debate when he still has not answered the ones that Hillary asked in thier debate.

Posted by Cynthia | Report as abusive