Tales from the Trail

Round 2 is over — which way are undecided voters swinging?

October 8, 2008

rtx9bhu.jpgRound two of the presidential debates between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama is over.

How did they do?

The town hall format was seen as an advantage for McCain. Did he live up to expectations?

Obama has been gaining an edge in many battleground states. Did he do anything to undermine or enhance his small lead?

Did they focus enough on the issues? Were undecided voters swayed?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage 

- Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

Comments
185 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Obama responses in this 2nd debate show that he understands the issues by explaining them clearly and offering plausible solutions. He demonstrates superior judgement in his opposition to the illegal and ill-advised war in Iraq and with his ability to turn attacks aside to bring people together (unless, as demonstrated by racists and xenophobes, they are obstinately determined to remain separate.)

I want a president who can prevent war not start one for personal gain or vendetta. Obama is a brilliant leader capable of foresight and good judgement based on current facts and history. He listens, absorbs, and integrates new information quickly and is capable of using the advice of experts needed to run our country effectively, smoothly and with attention to essential details, like upholding the Constitution. As a Constitutional Lawyer he is well qualified to uphold his obligations as President.

Obama has years of experience as a Senator for Illinois.

McCain appeals to people who want “Yes or No” answers to all questions even ones that require deep thought, genuine knowledge and thinking outside the box.

The mistaken idea that definitive answers demonstrate knowledge and wisdom is common among people who have not given genuine thought to serious local, national and international issues. McCain may have experience but he hasn’t absorbed the lessons of that experience to serve the public more effectively; only to serve himself and his friends more effectively.
McCain has demonstrated by his lifelong support of deregulation that he does not care about middle class America, the backbone of the economy, and prefers to reward wealthy friends far beyond reasonable entitlement.

The people who refuse to understand Obama repeat foolish and ugly lies they have heard from racist, xenophobic cynics.

Posted by Louise | Report as abusive
 

“. . . that one” won

 

WHY DO YOU GIVE A CNN POLL AND CBS, COME TO FIND OUT CNN ASK THEIR VIEWERS WHO WON, IT IS ALWAYS THE DEMOCRAT, CNN IS SO IN THE TANK FOR OBAMA AND CBS LAST TIME ASKED FAR MORE DEMOCRATS IN THEIR POLL, IF YOU SITE CNN, WHY NOT SITE FOX NEWS, AT FOX NEWS MCCAIN WON BY A HUGE MARGIN, HE ALSO WON ON DRUDGE AND WEL ALL KNOW THAT DRUDGE DOES NOT JUST GET CONSERVATIVES THAT GO THERE, FOX NEWS HAS RATINGS WAY HIGHER THEN CNN SO WHY DOES REUTERS ONLY SITE THEM ON CABLE?????? BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT WILL BE FOR OBAMA. PEOPLE HEAR POLL RESULTS AND THEY KNOW THAT IT WILL PUSH VOTERS INTO THINKING THEY ARE THE CLEAR WINNER, I THOUGHT MCCAIN WAS WAY MORE EXPEIRENCED, IT SHOWED TONIGHT, HE HAD A PLAN, HE DOES NOT WANT TO RAISE MY TAXES, AND I JUST TRUST HIM MORE, I DO NOT TRUST OBAMA, HE LOOKED LIKE A KID STANDING THERE IN A COLLEGE DEBATE, HIS STYLE IS GOOD, BUT STYLE DOES NOT MAKE A GOOD PRESIDENT, HE JUST SCARES ME, THE PRESS AND MEDIA ARE SHOVEING HIM DOWN OUR THROATS, ALL THE PRESS AND MEDIA ARE DOING ALL THEY CAN TO ELECT HIM, THEY TALK LIKE IT IS OVER, JUST WHAT THEY DID TO HILLARY, TRYING TO TELL HER TO GET OUT OF THE RACE, REMEMBER?????????? WELL IT IS NOT OVER!!!!!!! AND I WILL VOTE FOR MCCAIN AFTER BEING FOR HILLARY!!!!!

Posted by Sandra | Report as abusive
 

I was surprised that McCain did not do well in his much touted town-hall format. The camera angles consistently diminished him physically and he had to resort to vague rhetoric too often. Obama was consistently articulate and seemed to connect with the audience much better.

 

I was so disappointed in Obama. I am beginning to see how much he contradicts himself. Is he suffering from cognitive dissonance? I do not know now if I really believe him anymore. He seems to be more about appearances than substance. It hit me when I heard how he responded, relative to McCain’s answers.

Posted by Rachel | Report as abusive
 

I think voters will see that McCain’s display of disdain for a fellow US Senator does not bode well for his ability to work out differences with any world leader “who doesn’t like us very much.”

I don’t see that O. “walked away” with this debate. When the tired old points keep coming back (like “preconditions” and “the surge”) Obama needs to find a fresh angle of attack instead of canned comebacks. I’d like to see him dramatize the Republican attitude in DC that we need to get rid of, and the only way to do that is flush the Republican White House completely. Attack the mindset that got us into this mess and present his ideas of a better mindset.

Obama misses opportunities to make an example of “wasteful” spending when he lets McCain get away with stuff like the planetarium remark. First, does McCain know that a planetarium IS just a huge overhead projector? Is a science museum something that has to be jettisoned from the budget so more oil companies and defense contractors can get more tax cuts?

He also missed bringing up Cheney’s “energy conservation is a personal virtue” remark when he had the perfect opening for it. This is more of the Republican mindset that must be wiped out entirely.

They both say fundamentally too much. I mean, er, they both say “fundamentally” too much. I’d like to hear Obama say “but” less. Keep the points strong; instead of “but I will do this…” just say “And I intend to do this…”

It never sounds like either of them are “thinking on their feet.” When Obama makes a point to comeback at McCain about something, it still feels scripted and kind of passionless.

Security and spirituality are key for next debate. I’d like to see Obama make strong, unequivocal statements on both. Then, if the questions persist in the next newscycle, he can say to McCain or Palin, “weren’t you watching or listening to me? I’ve answered this, yet apparently you weren’t paying attention or you chose to dismiss it.” That would be sweet. I’m sick of the repeated slams that have been addressed over and over again, especially by Palin. (Who, by the way, should be on media shutout until she holds a press conference.)

I think a main winning point for Obama was McCain’s doddering gait across the stage. If he wasn’t such a power hungry lying scuzbucket, my friends, I’d feel sorry for the old coot.

Posted by Paul Stravinsky | Report as abusive
 

I choose OBAMA

McCain was saying way too much “I THINK” and also talking too much about the “PAST”

we do not need to think the past, thats where got us right where we are today. WE MUST think of the future, and McCain to me doesn’t have a future vision.

Posted by e | Report as abusive
 

Now, we’re told the rich paid more taxes because they made a greater share of the money. That’s true. “The top 1% earned 22% of all reported income, but they also paid a share of taxes not far from double their share of income.” In other words, the tax code’s already steeply progressive. Yes, even at 35, 36%. And what this proves is the old adage that when you lower taxes, you get increased revenue. Listen to these numbers. “In 1990, the richest 1% were 14% of the nation’s income. They paid 25% of all taxes. In 2000, they paid 37%. In 2005, they paid 39%; and 2006, 40%.” So since 1990, the rich, top 1%, richest 1% have paid from 25% in 1990 to 40% in 2006 of all income taxes. The richest 5% in 1990 paid 44%. In 2000, they paid 56%; in 2005, paid 60%. The top 10% now pay 71%. But the big number is the top 50% are paying 97.1% of all taxes.

“It proves the way to soak the rich is with lower tax rates, and the IRS data from last week provide more powerful validation of that proposition. But, nevertheless, the Democrats and Obama continue to say that these tax cuts have been a giveaway to the rich and it’s a figment of their imagination. Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006, from $136 billion in 2003.” What happened in 2003? We rolled back the Clinton tax increases! “No president has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his 2003 tax cuts. These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9% of GDP in 2006 when it was 3.5% in 2003.”

Posted by TJ | Report as abusive
 

They both the same, it’s not much of choice,….Ron Paul is my president…

Posted by A.D | Report as abusive
 

These pollsters must be drinking …… EVERY poll has Obama up by 3-5 times their 2 point difference survey. New Hampshire 12 points, Pennsyvania 11 and Mich. and Minn. already in the bag, get real, Find another job guys …… Or is Rueter’s another FOX network/website???

 

MCCAIN WON.

He has been in the darkest, most hopeless hours and I think that it will be nothing compared to what lies ahead of us.

I hope America isn’t stupid enough to vote for an elitist like Obama with no experience, no track record, and no record of bipartisanship. If Obama wins this country will be torn apart.

Posted by jermaine | Report as abusive
 

Hey Reuters readers- there is actually objective news coming out of CNN…
Lou Dobbs: Wall Street Bailout Fraud – Acorn Under Investigation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ2CBL19v B4

WHY WASN\’T THIS BROUGHT UP IN THE DEBATES???????

Posted by Bob Jones | Report as abusive
 

Obama won this debate hands down. The choice is simple if you want change vote Obama. If you want to continue on the course that we are on vote Mccain. Not much else to discuss or debate.

Posted by Eddie Fullbright | Report as abusive
 

Both McCain and Obama looked very even during the debate. I thought both of them weren’t extremely interesting; the debate brought up few new issues. Both seemed arrogant on time constraints and it looked like they were bickering. Hopefully the Town Hall won’t be tried again, as Tom Brokaw was having a fit (rightfully so) with the candidates not following the rules.

If I had to pick a winner, it would probably be Obama by a hair. But still, that’s just barely. It was very mediocre.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive
 

Good Forum to see the candidates in action. Obama has a calmness and is able to clearly articulate the issues. McCain showed his age with his repetitions,forgetfulness,
and thinking his “schmoozing” would gather votes. CEOs are not sharing the burdens of society , but walking away with stacks of unearned money. Well the chickens have come back to roost, something will to be done about the CEOs.

 

Obama was simplistic and stupid as usual.
McCain was boring as usual

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive
 

I was watching the debate with my 12 year old. I think kids can sometimes intuit things that grown-ups tend to ignore. First of all, every time John McCain said “my friends,” the kid’s response was “EWWW! creepy” (We’ve always taught him to be wary of strangers who try to buddy up to you.) Then when McCain mentioned something about the 4 corners of the world, the kid response was “Oh my gosh! He still thinks the world is flat!” I tend to agree with him on both counts.

Posted by tired of it | Report as abusive
 

Obama won the debate last night. McCain has become too desperate and continued to attack as usual.

Posted by NeedChange | Report as abusive
 

Obama won! Hands down. No contest. Crystal clear.

Posted by Vivian | Report as abusive
 

I’m a teenager who’s very conservative, and while I support McCain, I’d have to say that Obama won last night’s debate. I noticed that both tended to beat around the bush and not directly answer the question. They would sometimes go off on random tangents that had nothing to do with a given question. But when that happened, I think Obama did a better job of redirecting himself. Both candidates also tended to repeat themselves a lot. One thing that bugged the crud out of me about McCain, is that whenever he talked, his eyes flutter and he ends of blinking too much. Regardless, I’m still in favor of McCain. However, it doesn’t matter who lands in the White house in a couple of weeks, we Americans are still going to be living in a nightmare. One other note about Obama. He keeps saying he’s going to bring “change.” COME ON!!! Is that not something that a fifth grader might say to be elected as ASB president at school? During the Vice Presidential Debate, Biden and Palin were asked “What promises have you made that you won’t be able to keep”? Palin basically said that they hadn’t made any promises they couldn’t keep, which IS TRUE. McCain and Palin simply haven’t made any promises nor said specifically (if not at all) what they’re going to change. Biden was upfront and admitted that they had made some promises along the way that they probably won’t be able to keep. Of course, no one caught that because everyone was too doggone focused on how “passionate” he was when he spoke. How “emotional” he got at times during the debate. Where the heck did they (the media) pull that? He was talking about an accident several years ago that involved two of his sons, I think it was, and his wife. He paused at one point to catch his breath and swallow before continuing on, and what does the media do? They blow that WAY out of porportion and somewhere out of that they pull the “look how passionate he is” junk on us. Good Grief! Give me a cotton-picking break!

 

Palin has less experience than Obama. McCain is 72 years old and the odds are good that Palin could be the next President of the USA. Why doesn’t that scare everyone out of their minds? I just don’t get it. Obama is the clear choice. Obama won the debate and I really hope he wins the election.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive
 

Obama won. Reading some of these posts makes me realize just how clueless and prejudiced some people are. McCain, great man, but old-thinking, archaic conservativism is done.

Posted by Giovanna | Report as abusive
 

The debate was truly a contest between somebody who thinks because he served in the military he now has the experience and insight to lead this nation…All I can say if he ever gets elected God help us all… Obama clearly won

Posted by john true | Report as abusive
 

As someone who resides in Chicago and has seen firsthand the “projector” McCain lauded about, I would say that was one of the better projects that recieved cash in Chicago.

The Adler Planetarium is visited by hundreds of schools yearly. I remember going myself as a young child, and being amazed at our wonderful world.

The “projector” used in the planetarium was old and was beginning to have service issues repeatedly. The money spent to update the equipment and give our children the gift of knowledge associated with that project, was wisely spent and to watch McCain attack that makes me wonder who he really is working for.

I am very thankful that Mr. Obama helped to fund that project and I am sure my son will appreciate it as well when he gets to go experience it firsthand.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive
 

The grant of federal funds for the planetarium is perfect proof of Obama’s uncontrollable knee-jerk reaction to ask the feds for taxpayer’s money went the state can get the job done on their own.

Minneapolis also wanted to enhance it’s planetarium but requested $24,000,000 from it’s own state coffers and $4,000,000 from private benefactors. For a lousy $3,000,000 Obama figured that would be a burden on the people of Chicago and asked the feds to kick in.

The devil is in the details. This guy is the biggest financial zero I have seen since my father first introduced me to presidential politics on 1960.

The axion is “Follow the Money”. You want to know who Obama really is ask this question: “Who is asking for themoney?” This chump held his hand out for $1,000,000 a day for every day he was in the Senate.

Mark down this date. Circle it on your calendar. If Obama gets in, and implements his
tax plans unemployment will soar and no matter what the bailout people are saying this country will be teetering on the brink of the financial abyss. As Hoover discovered never raise taxes on anyone when the economy is in trouble. If you have to ask why, there’sno point in even answering the question.

Posted by Greg Marlowe | Report as abusive
 

“Yes or no is the only answer for this next question” Obama goes on for 2 minutes never picking one.

Yes… obama wins… for dodging every single question like a true politician… yes real “Change” from the status quo.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive
 

While I admit the Obama is not as experienced as John MaCain, neither is the current president. I respect John MaCain for his military experiences but he is just a tired OLD man and he needs to retire.

Posted by Walt | Report as abusive
 

Obama of course, as expected!

Posted by FN | Report as abusive
 

John Sidney McCain? What a joke of a name. I can’t follow Sidney anywhere. Sidney looked haggard and for all the hype about town hall meetings, Sidney looked like a school girl on the playground.

No way no how on Sidney. I’m voting for Obama, not Sidney!

Posted by amanda | Report as abusive
 

Both my wife and I thought it was hillarious when McCain said he’d pursue Bin Laden or someone to the “4 corners of the earth”.
Now he finally admits to believing the earth is flat. ;-)

Posted by mike | Report as abusive
 

McCain’s plan for the economy, health and security were what we need now. He did not choose to put a priority on the issues and just said we as americans can get all 3 done at the same time with the right people. His plan for Health will keep companies honest by giving us a choice on who handles our issues. Creating jobs something that we really need can be done by us becoming energy independant from countries who don’t like us anyway. Did Obama really say he would go into Pakistan to get Bin liden with or without their help. How does he plan on doing that? Pull the troops from Iraq like he promised and put them into another country. If we do not start listening to other sources of information that are non partisan. IE: FOX then he is going to steal the votes and win. He has more money because he will not devulge his campaign resources. WHY?? ACCorn HUM. WE need a real leader now not one who pretends to be one or wishes he was one. SOmeone who has been there and knows how to get us back on track. I will feel alot safer if McCain is elected. If Obama is,I am seriously thinking of moving to Alaska. Maybe I can join Todd and sequester Alaska away from the US.

Posted by june | Report as abusive
 

The question should not be who won but who lost.

The answer to that is really quite simple, America has lost. If these two are the best the country has to offer we are in deep trouble.

They are both professioanl panderers. They both are promising everyone everything. Niether has a clue on what to do about anything.

I’ll be writing in Mitt Romney.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

Seems like it depended upon the side you were looking at, whether McCain or Obama won. I guess that puts McCain to continue carrying on the same old failed Bush policies. I do not think either candidate will be able to clean up the Bush mess that has been created. For me my vote is for Obama as he has a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, which still is an important issue for me.

Posted by Fred Belz | Report as abusive
 

To me leadership was the big issue. Who could show teh skills of being the better manager and decision maker under stress.
The main turning point for me was that McCain could not and would not prioritize his agenda items. To him everything was number one. That’s a sign of a bad manager. Just because you assign priorities doesn’t mean you can do them all at the same time, but without knowing which takes priority, you’re out of control.
Obama had no problem answering the question.

The same issue was evident on cutting expenditures. Across the board simply will not due. It’s actually OK to say you’re still considering which items will need to be cut, based on how things shake out in these crazy times. Obama didn’t go into much detail about what he’d cut, but time was limited and he did say it would be targeted depending on where it had the most effect or was the fairest.

Who won? Obama, by a mile.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive
 

Wait did I read that correctly?
Someone suggesting FOX news was un-biased???

You’re kidding right?

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive
 

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