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

During these economically trying times, both candidates did not touch on the two most important aspects that US citizens must adopt and live the lives : CONSERVE ENERGY & RESOURCES AND PRACTICE THRIFT. These two traits will help us get through the difficult times ahead.

Posted by Ari | Report as abusive
 

My fried, winning a debate does not necessary translate to vote. CNN – independent citizens from Ohio also thought Obama won the debate. However more people are going to vote for Mccan(14 to 11). Race is big factor especially for old folks.

Posted by Ted Chyn | Report as abusive
 

Both senators were very good tonight – clear and for the most part, on message. McCain won – and the reason why is that he is not the orator that Obama is – but his message about a president needing to make tough decisions, not knowing what the future will hold, and needing a track record, good judgement and strong character resonated with me. I can see through his record (though I haven’t always agreed with him) that he is ready and willing to make tough decisions – even if the polls don’t agree with him. With Obama’s lack of concise answers and firm stance on issues (more rhetoric than solid proof – like voting present instead of voting yes or no)I fear for what kind of decisions he would make under pressure. For character and dependability, I vote for McCain.

Michigan has had only Democratic senators for the past 8 years – and a Democratic governor for the past 6 years – and we are definitely much worse off under their leadership than we were when we had a Repulican governor looking out for our interest.

Posted by Michigan Voter | Report as abusive
 

Being that the good ol’boy from AZ. Has Gotten himself stuck in the mud as late as earlier today. Then he comes on the tely in front of the whole nation. And turned away from everything that he and his kronies have been slinging. Than he has the where with all to stand in front of my T.V. Take up my eveing with look at me ” I KNOW HOW TO FIX IT ” look at me ” I AM THE HERO “. This is the very type of act that has us proud americans just down right tired of it. This is the shameless finger pointing and name calling, that we as americans have to speak out on. It a component of our great nation that also has to change. And from that view point, It is why i belive that our next president will without a doubt be BARACK OBAMA. He so far has been the one to at least try to stay away from the spitting and mud slinging. Yet when forced to do so he has it him to do what must be done to set things correct and clear. He has also been the one whom has been clear with where he stands on all the concers at hand. Obamanos america…

 

McCain’s ‘Heros’ are all ‘HAS BEENS’ and he apsires to be a has been if only he could be!

Its a no brainer, Obama for President!!!

Posted by Tycoon | Report as abusive
 

1. ALTHOUGH I HEARD THE SAME SUGGESTION TODAY ON NBC, McCain claimed he owns the idea of helping home owners by renegotiating their mortgages.
He doesnt pay attention to the real world. He got the idea from a Harvard economist, so McCain thought that meant he has a patent on it. I have been hearing it for a week on TV.

2. McCain was so tired he had to lean on the chair. My friends, McCain is cooked.
My friends, presentation is 1/2 the process. My friends, people will remember him being exhausted. My friends, vote for Obama and send I’maPow back to Arizona to retire.

3. Each candidate did best what they do best. Obama was calm and presidential, McCain was on a tirade about his foreign policy issues.

Posted by bruce becker | Report as abusive
 

McCain WON this debate and I think the people will feel his readiness to serve the country. He showed that he is ready to command. Obama with all the reforms may need another 4 to 8 years to run again.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive
 

It wasn’t either candidate’s shining moment. However I think Obama maintained his composure better. His delivery was consistant and direct. McCain wasted his time and energy trashing Obama instead of just staying on topic.

I also don’t think in the middle of a debate is a good time to throw out wild changes to ones platform. The whole mortgage buy back deal seemed to be something McCain just pulled out of his head in the heat of the moment. Since he halted his campaign for almost a week to focus on the financial crisis – why didn’t he talk about all this mortgage buy back thing then?

Posted by Vickie from Florida | Report as abusive
 

McCain’s ‘Heros’ are all HAS BEENS and he aspires to be a has been if only he could be!

Its a no brainer, Obama for President!!!

Posted by Tycoon | Report as abusive
 

LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT TO YOUR COUNTRY ABOVE ALL AND COMPETENCE VERSUS
CHARISMA(CLEVERLY PACKAGED)

McCain is what America needs now by a country mile

Posted by ABBA LEITER | Report as abusive
 

I have always thought McCain was basically an ok person – not presidential material though. After his recent smear tactics and the selection of Sarah Palin, I have now lost all respect I had for him. He is condescending and negative – just what Americans do not need right now.

Posted by Mary Nell | Report as abusive
 

Whose Undecided???
I’ve decided not to vote for either of these clowns!
Third Party all the way…

 

This debate covered well-trodden ground by both parties: the economic crisis, healthcare and energy policies. McCain strove to address the first issue with a slight plan adjustment. We’ll see how voters react tonight and tomorrow to his recommendation.

But before I give my opinion of who won tonight’s debate, let me address a serious issue I have with these posts. I cannot convey how disheartened I am to read ignorant, hateful posts like this:

“…Liberals are following Obama like a puppy follows the dog catcher to doggie hell! I wrote a blog post about Obama’s contradictions, but I’m sure liberals will tell me how stupid I am, and how I am wrong with the same old language, “Change!””

I respect each opinion here, but I ask that you please respect the forum that is a public discussion–not a partisan mudslinging contest.

Who won? It depends. For the side of me that wants a reliable, “count-on-me” person in these tumultuous times, I was moved by McCain’s compassion and honesty–the kind of man who pats a retired Navy officer named Terry on the back and thanks him for his service.

But I also need to know my president’s plans and to feel assured that I’m entrusting leadership to a ‘fixer’. And Obama gives me that assurance when he talks about his priorities, about his revenue and tax plans, and about how to restore America’s global reputation by the “power of its example” (thank you Bill Clinton).

In the end, I favor my head not my gut. So this one goes to you, Obama.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive
 

I am independent but I think McCain had the edge. Obama is a “orator” and will lie and promise things that won’t be able to do, like a Populist do. McCain is the real deal and if Obama can clean his act regarding his real connections in the pass he may have another change to run again, after getting the experience needed something that McCain has NOW.

Posted by Evelinda | Report as abusive
 

McCain WON.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive
 

first of all i would like to say something to mass from canada.Why if we are such a terrible country as IT seems to me that you think we are then why is everyone from other countries SUCH as canada try to come here to live? That is one thing i have never figured out everybody wants to tear U.S.A down but get me on the next bus out of here so i can go and live in THE GREATESS PLACE IN THE WORLD!!!AMERICA!!!! Now as for the debate nobama (that is a good one never heard that till tonight)He sat back and acted like a child in his actions when McCain spoke and for the one who said McCain did not try to shake hands with nobama that is a LIE we watch that part over and over cause at first it seemed that way, BUT if you will look at it agian i guess for you in slow motion you will see McCain patted nobama on the back went to shake his hand and NOBAMA pulled back and shook cindy’s hand McCain had already tried to shake hands with him he pretended he did not notice McCain, now how many of you if you put your hand out to shake hands with someone and they responded as if they really do not want to HOW MANY OF YOU WOULD PUT YOUR HAND OUT AGIAN? not a dang one of you as sad as it is that is human nature.McCain is not PRESIDENT BUSH!!!!!!why should he have to pay for what happen under the Bush Admistration and let me add BUSH when he went into office had to come behind clinton and try to clean up his mess.I have come to believe this is a race based only what the color of skin each has,and let me answer you no i am not white only! and i very proud of that, i am not a racest, color of skin has not a dang thing to do with the way i feel about who is going to be our next commander in chief, it is about who can help us and back it up.I do have one question obama has on t.v now a 24/7 obama channel with him just talking and talking WHERE DID THIS MONEY COME FROM??If he cares so dang much about the ones who stuggle everyday with jobs bills medical insurance take your channel off the t.v that has to be costing God only knows and give it to people who need it right now. What is the saying charity begins a home? And another thing he would not come out and say is that NO HE WOULD NEVER GO AGIANST ISRAEL he went around that question every way he could without saying NO THE UNITED STATES AS LONG AS I AM PRESIDENT WILL NEVER GO AGIANST ISRAEL.And people i will tell you right now that scared the hell of of me!!!!READ YOUR BIBLE PEOPLE!!!the news now is like they are reading it right out of the bible.I pray that God’s WILL BE DONE IN THIS RACE NOT OURS BUT HIS.AND is there anybody that can honestly sat there and cast stones at anybody can you??

 

This comment is coming from… Chelyabinsk, Russia. This debate certainly did not bring any clarity for the questions like: “What are you ready to give up on as a president in this economic situation?”. Personally, I do not see how, say McCain proposes “US gotta leave troops in Iraq,” but he also agreed with Obama that “we need more troops in Afghanistan”. How are you going to do that? Surely, not out of your own pocket… I expected someone honestly stand up and say, “Yes, there will be tax raise”, because obviously there will be a raise, no matter who is going to take an office, Republican or Democrat nominee. For instance, I am very satisfied with less critique towards the Russian policy in Georgia. OSCE has published a record, where the observers stated that Georgia was an agressor. Russian answer was legal, but unproportional. Yes, there are should be negotiations, I do not exclude, may be sanctions. Russia has made a mistake, but Georgia did too. Mr. Saakashvilli, how did you expect unite the country by just going in there withh military and bombing everything that is in your way. McCain stated that there should be financial support for Georgia who is in desperate need right now. United States and George Bush could have prevented these expenditures, and the escalation of conflict late July, early August. Georgia now needs money because it conducted a military operation; it will need money in a little while because, I reckon y’all, opposition will get hold of Saakashvilli, and the elections will have to be conducted. As for Ukraine, president Yushchenko is deciding right now, right this moment on the political situation in his country. If he says “Yes”, the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) will have to go, and the new parliamentary elections will have to be conducted. Again, a budget burdain for the United States.

Overall, I was not impressed. Both Obama and McCain, certainly, are patriots and want best for their country. If I am to vote right now, I would probably vote for Obama. Though, I did not hear anything new, points he was making were substantiated, maybe, a little bit better than McCain’s.

Posted by Kirill M. | Report as abusive
 

Someone in his comment said, I don’t understand Obama’s health care plan…How much clearer he can be in the given 2 mintues !

People who are hardened republicans aren’t going to change their mind based on a debate…it doesn’t matter who won, same goes for democrats.

Me being a foreigner but with an active interest in american politics, I think Obama won by a large margin, he answered questions and not just attacked McCain…heck he agreed with McCain on some issues. McCain’s answers were mostly unjustified attacks, he called Obama “that one” which I think is beyond disrespectful.

McCain had a fair chance of winning the election up untill he chose Palin as her running mate, god forbid if McCain dies in office, America is doomed under Palin!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive
 

Obama won. McCain tried the old wrap myelf in the flag tactic and had no response from the audience. Voter want solutions, not grand-standing.

Posted by Robin Reese | Report as abusive
 

Oh, yes, another thing: McCain stated he knew how to win wars and how to find Bin Ladin. Pray, tell us, John McCain, if you are so “gifted” why are we still fighting two wars and why is Bin Ladin still hiding? We have been in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003… it is now 2008; what’s the holdup, John McCain?? Have you been keeping this “knowledge” to yourself and endangering our troops, literally killing 4,000 plus of them, so YOU can win the wars and kill Bin Ladin IF you become president??

 

Watching the debate from outside United States, I feel there is a shocking ignorance within the debate. My honest feeling is, the candidates are just pouring words that the American audience would like to listen. And then, who are these American audience? They are the ones who would like to spend most of the time watching ‘prison Break’. Its a pity that the presidential candidates are thinking more about America when they are talking about addressing issues like poverty and hunger in developing countries. Astonishing was some of the comments of attacking Pakistan, Iran and Elsewhere…I am not surprised why US is on the downturn…maybe the McCain camp has to understand more about peace and love and not violence.

Posted by John Calder | Report as abusive
 

It’s amazing how a near majority could go for one unproven candidate and ran on the theme of change and unity (Oh my, did we forget our history) Bush and now again go for another one. It’s scary. And if you doubt that fact about Bush please do some research. I’m a Dem but have little respect now for a candidate who snubbed Clinton and who is supported by (Oh my, many racists (over 80% for Obama – if that’s not racism well I guess it needs a new definition) and many sexists – and ladies women can be also). It’s simply disgusting. I am so disappointed by the American public right now. You voted for what’s in there now and it’s scary to look towards what the future holds. When will my fellow Americans learn and have some backbone. Stop the racism, sexism, elitism, leftism and rightism. I want someone who will work for all people and care about the middle class, our financial future and stability. I am just sick and tired of the ignorance out there. Please vote but I will hold you responsible if America falls further down the horrible path it appears to be going. Why didn’t you people vote in the previous election or care at all?

Posted by CJ | Report as abusive
 

McCain needs to appeal to the fears of Americans who already harbor them, like the guy named “George” who posted up there. Hire some outside groups to focus on Obama being black and Muslim, even though he isn’t a Muslim. The Swiftboat guys did the smear job well, McCain needs to do the same thing.

Posted by Tony Olson | Report as abusive
 

Obama obviously won. McCain comes across as old, desperate, condescending, entitled to the Presidency instead of “THAT one”, with inappropriate attempts at humor; there’s a phoniness and shallowness to McCain … shallow, that’s the word I’ve been searching for for quite some time to pinpoint about what’s “off” about John McCain. He doesn’t strike me as intelligent either … in that regard he reminds me of Bush. He also comes across as being full of hubris and bluster rather than ideas. Also he comes across as someone who’d just as soon go to war with you than talk to you … not much of a diplomat. He also has repeatedly displayed … disturbingly strange … foreign policy blunders and inaccuracies. Obama won. He looked confident, cool, collected, steady, calm. I thought for McCain … after McCain’s bazaar VP pick and his erratic antics of the last 2 weeks … for McCain to bring up a couple of times “You need a cool” … not sure that was the exact word … but “cool hand at the tiller” … I thought this reflected McCain being out of touch with his own erratic behavior to think that he’s the “cool hand at the tiller” when in fact his judgment and behavior has been quite questionable. Disturbing.

Posted by Audrey | Report as abusive
 

McCain won because he has policies and statements grounded in real life accomplishments. Obama say’s what many people want to hear but has just the opposite in true voting records. Too much like a used car salesman. I don’t need that extra ashtray in the back seat, i gave up smoking years ago and i cannot afford it. Look at the economy today and think if you will get even half of what Obama is promising. If he is elected, the number of prescriptions for Prozac will go through the roof.

Posted by Tenacious Moses | Report as abusive
 

What a big difference between the two candidates!! John McCain looked like he was having difficulty walking and looked old and worn out. In contrast, Senator Obama looked refreshed, vigorous, articulate, and presidential. Who do you want representing the United States of America?? Who do you want communicating and working with other world leaders and heads of states?? Who do you think will move our country forward? Who do you think will lift us out of our economy crisis, job losses, home foreclosures, loss of retirement funds, etc.?

 

I give McCain big thumbs up. Obama desn’t have a foreign p9olicy experien ce when it comes to running the world. President of the United Sttes oversees the nation and the world, however, Obama isn’t up to challenge, due to debate with John McCain. An experienced president knows how to solve the worl criss, and that’s Sen. John McCain.

 

John McCain looks smaller and smaller every time that he appears beside Barack Obama. I can see the day coming very soon when he will be completely irrelevant. Definitely NOT presidential material.

Posted by Roberta | Report as abusive
 

John Sydney McCain III (yes that is his full name), although you felt “town halls” were your strength, it is obvious that you have never faced opposition to your responses. Barak Hussein Obama beat you at your own game.

Sorry John, you are on the wrong side of history, and Sarah’s 15 minutes are almost up.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

I think Barack Obama came across as a more genuine person who cares about the people who have not enjoyed the excesses of the privileged. I sometimes think the people who are in control, like corporate executives for instance, totally disregard everyone else but themselves.

That’s not an America I can be proud of. Obama best represents my thinking. McCain just sounds so out of touch.

 

Hey Toronto, Canada – Are you a US Citizen? If not, how about saving your opinions for your own country’s debates. This will be our president, not yours. This is our country, not yours. One of the candidates, howver, seems to forget what country he is running to lead. He felt it necessary to pander to crowds in Europe instead of staying here and talking to Americans. You know, the trip where he did not have time to visit American troops, and cancelled that leg of his journey when he found out the cameras and the press would not be following him.

- Posted by Pawprints
———————
Okay Pawprints McCain IV, this is exactly how the current administration has treated many foreign countries and this is why we have lost standing in the world. The rest of the world is VERY interested in ALL of our presidential elections and WHO we elect as president affects the rest of the world. Our President is not in a box, what our President does impacts the entire world, not ONLY America! There is nothing wrong with our neigbors voicing their opinions.

 

Did Obama favors we can’t chhose our own health care, and it has to be chosen by the government? What’s up with that? That means the government’s going to choose the heath care physician, istead of we choose the doctor. What happens if we run out of doctors? Where do we go from there?

 

McCain is campaigning for the 1968 election. A time where we didn’t have the knowledge and research available concerning global and local events. McCain speaks to the “65″ group — those over the age of 65, and those under the IQ of 65.

Obama speaks to the rest of us. He speaks to an educated voter. A voter who is cognizant that the current administration, and for that matter conservatives in general, are in it for themselves. We now know what cutting taxes does…it puts public money which is ours, into the hands of private corporations which is there’s.

The wasn’t a debate. There was nothing to win or lose. McCain speaks and touts a continuation of a failed nation. Anyone who doesn’t see that, better buy a gun and store water and canned goods in the bomb shelter. A vote for McCain will totally erase the modicum of good will remaining for America around the world today.

Posted by David Campbell | Report as abusive
 

As an independent, I thought both candidates aquitted themselves quite well. The bonus bailout plan and the taxable $5k health care program (esp. for me, as mine is worth $15k – I don’t want to cut my coverage by two-thirds!) do not sit well with me; I must lean towards “that one”.

Posted by Vincent Truman | Report as abusive
 

Oboma won the debate big time, no doubt! He is composed just like the president—

Posted by Char Vansi | Report as abusive
 

John MCcain lost Colorado tonight.

Republican state no more!

Posted by Denver Dan | Report as abusive
 

The “Old Man” McCain is a man of the past using the outdated Arkansas Model(the model used by Hilary “the Monster” Clinton)
H B Obama is a man of future.
The economy is centre stage and the “Old Man” knows little of economics policy(He showed it the other day with his opportunistic trip to DC and his part in Paulson Plan failed at a cost of one trillion dollars to investors

 

OBAMA, when was the last time you heard about Bin Laden from anyone in the BUSH CAMP OR MCCAIN? OBAMA is not as strong on every single foreign issue, but the leadership is clearly there, and he has better insight, and is willing to find a way to work things out, but not afraid to defend if needed. He has a good balance. He has the strength to withstand what will be the most difficult role any president will face as we have major and multiple domestic and foreign and GLOBAL issues. McCain will be more of the same. And when it comes to record, McCain does not have a very good one, either with middle class concerns, nor with Vietnam Vetrans. That alone speaks volumes. His voting record in the Senate has been many votes of NO for Troop improvements he shot down. How in the world does that make him a hero now?

I was very proud of OBAMA. He can do the job. I find truth in him. I find lies in McCain. I find the common man and the common ground in OBAMA, I find division and hidden agendas with McCain. I find ability, and youth, with OBAMA. I find worn out ideas, or stolen ideology and lots of aging factors that are very troublesome with McCain.

Posted by jaJ | Report as abusive
 

KEATING ECONOMICS, just google that… if you are undecided, you won’t be after that. OBAMA is the man for the job… a job that is going to take all the strength and mental ability, clear thinking, leadership, and willingness to try NEW IDEAS that can be mustered. McCain is too old. He looks sickly. He was leaning on everything, chairs, and the railings. He was so worn out midway… he is not qualified …. he hasn’t got the stamina and the mindset needed to address all the issues that will need someone to jump out of the gate running. McCain votes against every major funding bill for the TROOPS Can you believe that? Just google KEATING, CHARLES KEATING and see how heavily involved McCain was for his association with this benefactor who by the way was indicted for his wrong doing in his company. McCain was involved in using his power to get deregulation passed so this best pal’s company would benefit and not be investigated. The bailout payout then was to the tune of $3.4BILLION, does that ring a bell folks? $700BILLION bailout. This man is wrong and this ticket is wrong.

Posted by jaJ | Report as abusive
 

I’m not American and no favouring anyside. The Presidency should be given to a person who is Open to feedback and has sound logic and who cares for people. Sure McCain is a war hero but the issue is whether he would be a good President. Race and religion are fears that are interfering with people’s judgement. Put them aside and it is clear that Obama is more confident, clear and cohesive

Posted by Cletus Fernandes | Report as abusive
 

“That one” won. McCain, whose anger was palpable, looked tired and acted condescending, even to those in the audience who asked questions.

Posted by oaklynne | Report as abusive
 

Vietnam Veterans don’t like him nor his voting record in the Senate. He only voted 4 x this year and there were 14 issues on the ballot. Can you believe that? War hero 50 years ago, not a hero now. He is an Aristocrat, an Elitist,
with his hands in the pockets of those on Wall Street. He could care less about middle class, health care, or anyone that doesn’t make more than $500,000 a year. Period!!!!

Posted by jaJ | Report as abusive
 

Neither won on any subject of real substance.
Obama’s tone of voice listening to the radio was condescending while McCain’s sounded like a doddering old grandfather. We have an intellectual idiot and a geriatric buffoon as the two top candidates. I’m voting Libertarian even though Barr leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Obama was cool calm and collected – an intelligent leader. McCain looked old and sounded like a 7th grader. Mostly tho, nothing new happened. Except McCain looked even more out of touch on the economy – the mortgage thing he proposed is already in the bailout and besides, obama proposed the same thing months ago!

Posted by lucyblue | Report as abusive
 

Americans make me laugh!!!

The Republicans Party has ruined your country in the last eight years and yet you guys give this senior citizen a chance??

What is wrong with you all????????

Posted by uk | Report as abusive
 

William Ayers- according to CBS Bews, Ayers was a terrorist, and Barack Obama associates with him. To me, this could be a dangerous idea, because he may cause terrorist attack in the future.

 

they both lost. obama seems cold and untrustworthy as usual, and mccain seemed desperate and seemed to be trying too hard. sad, but we are the usual victims of our lack of good choices.

 

the republicans may have made us look like idiots, but the democrats have admittedly ruined the world economy.

 

Neither… both failed to answer the questions as posed… set your political bias’s aside… go back and really pay attention to the questions… and the the answers… none were given… both used “polispeak” to avoid providing the other with any advertising sound bites… so I would have to say that we, the people lost…

How about a last minute write in campaign for Charlie McCarthy… exchanging one dummy for another is no loss… besides, if pulled it off, we get Candace Bergen for “1st Sister… Mortimer Snerd for Chief of Staff… and best yet… Denny Crane for Attorney General… then when openings occur on the Supreme Court he Allan Shore are named associate justices… Come to think of… this is beginning to sound pretty good…

 

It was CLEAR to me the Obama would be a foreign policy disaster. I don’t believe he understands the complexities of foreign affairs at all.

Posted by theGateKeeper | Report as abusive
 

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