September 26th, 2008

First impressions of the first debate

I can’t pretend to be unbiased here; I’m for McCain. But as I watched the debate I tried my very best to be objective about the candidates’ performances, because a debate is first and foremost theater.

Part of the time I listened rather than watched. I was surprised at how much warmer McCain’s voice sounded than Obama’s. Without the visuals, there was something in Obama that was very much the eager and bright student who had studied up for the big test. McCain sounded like the teacher, the guy who had done so much that he could speak off the cuff from his vast experience.

I had worried that the two men being on television on the same stage would accentuate the age differential and the height difference, both to McCain’s disadvantage. But it seemed to me that McCain was the peppier of the two, and somehow that gave him an unexpectedly youthful spark. There was nothing doddering about him. Obama seemed callow to me, and McCain’s speaking of his own experience didn’t seem to be hollow bragging, because his demeanor and words matched his assertions.

In summary, McCain presented as a three-dimensional personality and Obama seemed flatly two-dimensional. McCain seemed to be speaking in color and Obama in black and white (oh-oh, have I opened myself up to the ubiquitous charges of racism?)

[ADDENDUM: And I give Lehrer props for not being too intrusive or showing marked favoritism. I couldn't stand that "talk to him" remark, though. What does Lehrer think he is, a therapist?

To me Obama's lowest point was when he said he had a bracelet too. It made him sound like a petulant child.

Another thought: My guess is that Obama was expecting to wipe the floor with McCain because Obama believes his own rhetoric that McCain is tired and worn out. Obama was surprised this time. Next time he will either be less surprised and more prepared, or he will be less confident and therefore more nervous.]

32 Responses to “First impressions of the first debate”

  1. Lem Says:

    Obama was mugged tonight for the very first time in his life ;)

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Lem: I was listening to commentary on Fox afterwards, and I was surprised at how most of the pundits seemed to think Obama did well and that it was at least a draw. And then there was some sort of focus group of undecideds and more of them were leaning Obama afterwards. I find this rather astonishing, although I suppose it’s not a representative sample.

    Because truth to tell, I thought McCain cleaned Obama’s clocks.

  3. Kurt Says:

    Simply going by my gut reaction, and not talking about substance, I thought Obama seemed angry and petulant. He wasn’t pleasant to look at. McCain on the other hand, was a little slow to get started at first, but after the first 10 minutes or so, he displayed much more confidence and seemed much more likeable.

    As far as substance, McCain clearly had much more mastery of the material than Obama did, and this was especially evident in the last third of the debate. Obama couldn’t do much but agree because it seemed obvious he didn’t know anything about the details that McCain had been discussing. My big frustration with the debate was the number of howling misrepresentations Obama made that McCain let slide.

  4. Ex-Dem Says:

    I am a McCain fan, but I thought that Obama held his own and did very well. I don’t agree with him and I don’t trust him, but I thought he did OK.

    why doesn’t McCain turn to him, when they were talking about Veterans benefits and say, “Sen Obama, I AM a veteran, what about you?”

    BTW, Neoneocon, I’d like to see you without that apple.

  5. Ex-Dem Says:

    Dick Morris says Obama won.

  6. Deana Says:

    I’m voting for McCain regardless.

    That said, I think Obama did fairly well. I know he’s been preparing but he has clearly improved his ability to speak off-the-cuff.

    I’m sort of surprised at how many people are coming out saying McCain won. It just seemed like a draw to me.


  7. Mike Says:

    Also, Dick Morris also said the R’s should have nominated Rudi.

  8. MzEllen Says:

    I too am a McCain fan and I also thought that Obama held his own. Obama spent years at Havard and a good part of that would have been perfecting the art of presenting a case – being a debater. Obama is an excellent debater.

    That doesn’t mean he’ll be a good president. I don’t trust him.

    He seemed to have a good grasp on using the military. Here’s the problem. He’s the most liberal senator we’ve ever seen and liberals hate the military.

    RE: taxing businesses. Obama said that it’s the nurses and teachers and firefighters that need their taxes lowered, not big businesses. Yes, we need the taxes lowered…

    BUT…I live in the worst single state economy in the country (What Granholm has done for Michigan, Obama wants to do for the country). The folks whose jobs have remained here are holding their own (I’m fortunate to be one of those).

    The people who need the most help are the ones who are unemployed, who will not get a tax cut because they are not paying taxes while out of work. Taxing the businesses who have the potential to be the biggest employers doesn’t seem like a great way to create jobs.

  9. Lem Says:

    There were some zingers that might have gone under the radar (naval pilot McCain) to the casual observer.

    My favorite was “..and I dont even have a seal yet”

  10. Lem Says:

    My big frustration with the debate was the number of howling misrepresentations Obama made that McCain let slide.

    McCain did not mention how Obama in 3 years took more money from Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac than John Kerry did in 10.

    Maybe McCain is saving ammunition for the other missions, or he didn’t want to go overkill; look like he was shooting fish in a barrel.

  11. expat Says:

    I had the same frustration about McCain’s responses on the financial crisis, but I think it’s because he has one eye on the talks going on in DC. He is probably trying very hard to avoid “bringing partisan politics (i.e., stating the facts) into the negotiations.

  12. Lem Says:

    I counted about 5 variations of Obama saying how McCain was right.

    and so did McCain…

  13. Rose Says:

    I heard the first part, had to turn it off – Obama was all smooth talk, empty words that sounded good and he seemed to be getting more airtime just by talking. I tuned in to some live blogging later, and was surprised to see the comments leaning towards McCain winning the last hour. The bracelet thing seems to have stuck in everyone’s mind as something that just jumps out.

  14. Darrell Says:

    Lem, I was sad also that he didn’t hit THE ONE about taking money from FM, I hope they are saving it but I fear they are steering clear because McCain also took money, the only way he could be totally effective on it would be if he had taken none.
    It really begs the question, how could the ONE have gotten so much as a junior senator? #2? How is that possible? It tells me that he is a player and had a reputation of going along, getting along with the graft, probably business as usual in Chicago.

  15. Darrell Says:

    The bracelet thing will make a great commercial, “John McCain knows the name on his bracelet” probably wont go there tho, being honorable about the military as he is. We will see, wouldn’t be surprised to see some 527s running with it.

  16. Mitsu Says:

    In my view (surprise, surprise), Obama seemed far more relaxed and I think he countered nearly every attack McCain levelled at him, except for McCain’s criticism on the surge, where Obama was, in fact, wrong, as I think even Obama supporters have to admit. However — Obama was right that we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place, and we took our eyes off the ball in Afghanistan.

    McCain often seemed uncomfortable while Obama was speaking, whereas Obama smiled broadly at times when McCain was mischaracterizing Obama’s record, and he came back well.

    I do think McCain did rather well, but Obama edged him overall, and I suspect this is how it will play out in the public reaction.

    Now, the VP debate is going to be a whole different story — that is looking to be a debacle for Palin. But, who knows, maybe we’ll all be surprised.

  17. Thomass Says:

    neo-neocon Says:

    “Lem: I was listening to commentary on Fox afterwards, and I was surprised at how most of the pundits seemed to think Obama did well and that it was at least a draw. And then there was some sort of focus group of undecideds and more of them were leaning Obama afterwards.”

    Media people tend to go with whatever the focus groups say… but none the less, there was still the focus group’s opinions.

  18. Tom Goff Says:

    I have been surprised, and continue to be surprised, by the continuing MSM and internet bloggers pronouncements that Obama is a good, great, effective, inspiring, etc., speaker. In every speech I have heard him make, including the debate tonight, he wanders around and around in circles. It appears to be only by accident that he happens to address the subject at hand. And he continually talks in high abstraction language that is really not specific enough to nail down to an actual viewpoint, or discernible opinion, or planned set of “low abstraction” actions to be taken. I listened carefully tonight, and I observed that he continually started out as if he were going to address the specific question raised by Lehrer or McCain, and then wandered off the subject in a loosely connected series of “tape recorded” Democrat talking points. Why do people keep saying he is such a good speaker when he talks around and around in circles?

  19. Vince P Says:

    “It appears to be only by accident that he happens to address the subject at hand. And he continually talks in high abstraction language that is really not specific enough to nail down to an actual viewpoint, or discernible opinion, or planned set of “low abstraction” actions to be taken.”

    YES!! I was telling someone this earlier… he talks a lot but he actually doesn’t say anything.

    There could be a house on fire and he would say stuff like “I think all of us could agree..that having a home be engulfed in flames is most defeinatetly a disaster for the occupant of the dwelling.

    What we need now is clear vision on how the conflageration could be reversed so that the rebuilding can occur.

    This urgent problem would impact anyone if their house suddenly began burning. The rich and poor. The Muslim, Sunni and Shite. Jesus and Mohemmed (May Allah bless him and fix his burning) Jews and Pigs.

    The era of just letting residences burn is over. John McCain has never fought a fire before. He never touched a hose. Let me tell you.. i have! and I will!”

  20. njcommuter Says:

    The point is that Obama is a smooth talker and can segue effectively back to territory he has well-staked out. McCain didn’t do that. Independents who are educated (in the issues, not in the halls of academia) but torn between the two will probably go towards McCain. People who have not been paying attention and expect someone to simplify things for them will probably be drawn to Obama by his performance.

    I was disappointed …. but then I wonder how much sleep McCain got.

  21. douglas Says:

    “That said, I think Obama did fairly well. I know he’s been preparing but he has clearly improved his ability to speak off-the-cuff.”

    I disagree. He consistantly avoided the question asked him and steered into canned answers that were tangential to the question, so he could stay on message and on script (the vague, rambling, analysis-but-no-prescription script). It’s just that this time he had to use his memory instead of a teleprompter, which is why he needed the last two days to cram. At THAT, he did o.k., I suppose.

    Mitsu, those ‘broad smiles’ looked rather uncomfortable to me, as they were while he was visually ‘pleading’ with Lehrer to rescue him, as his ally in the press. I have to say Lehrer did pretty well.

    I think to the pundits it was a draw because this was supposed to be McCain’s ‘home turf’ debate- foreign policy, so Obama treading water is success by that standard. If you thought Obama was going to win, I don’t see how you could think he did, but true believers see what they wish, I suppose.

    “My big frustration with the debate was the number of howling misrepresentations Obama made that McCain let slide.”

    Agreed- but I think it was part of Obama’s strategy- make so many false or misleading statements that McCain can’t possibly counter them all, at least not without looking thin-skinned and losing the initiative. McCain had to let it slide, and the fact checkers will work Obama over later. I mean, the Kissinger thing is already out, there’s more to come.

    “There were some zingers that might have gone under the radar (naval pilot McCain) to the casual observer. “

    I agree. I actually didn’t like that the audience was forced to not respond in any way during the debate. I think it took something away from it. If they’re going to do that, why have a live audience at all? It just made it even more boring than it was.

    “that is looking to be a debacle for Palin. But, who knows, maybe we’ll all be surprised.”

    To YOU maybe. Joe “gaffe machine” Biden wouldn’t get my bet on not laying an egg at some point during a debate with Palin. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t.

  22. huxley Says:

    Obama was right that we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place, and we took our eyes off the ball in Afghanistan.

    Mitsu — Yes, I know that is your opinion but asserting it as though it were a fact does not make it a fact. Repeating it as you (and Obama) do is simply a propaganda technique.

    At this point we have largely won in Iraq. Was it worth the blood and treasure and national focus? I think so, but that’s a long complex discussion and the facts are not all in. History will have to sort out the Iraq War.

  23. Jennifer Says:

    Here are some of the points I wish McCain had made:

    1. What is a “wealthy corporation”? Is it a successful corporation? Obama mentioned the importance of helping “main street” and making sure Americans have good paying jobs — does he not realize that good paying jobs come from successful (“wealthy”) corporations? How is it possible to attack corporations and want to tax them even more, while at the same time keeping jobs in America and reducing unemployment? Why do Republicans never point out how completely incompatible these two Democratic positions are?

    2. Obama mentioned that corporations don’t pay the high taxes McCain mentioned because of loopholes in the tax system he would like to close. If the tax rate is too high, aren’t the loopholes a good thing? Is Obama saying that it is a problem that US corps. don’t pay 3 times more than corps. in other countries, so he is going to “fix” that problem?

    3. McCain stressed the importance of reducing earmarks because of the corruption they support, but I wish he had also mentioned that, at a time when the nation is reeling because too many people have been unable to pay their debts, maybe the Fed. gov. should be providing a better example and stop growing their own debt to pay for things they really can’t afford. I wish he would have at least mentioned that these earmarks are debt-financed, that the US gov can not actually pay for anything unless they take money from those who earn it, or borrow it from whoever will lend it to us, including places like China. So the government should stop spending like a drunken sailor, because we all have to.

    4. I really, really wish McCain had called Obama more clearly and forcefully on the fact that whenever he spoke about Iraq, all he had to say was that we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place. He did have that one great, almost throw-away line about how the next president of the US is not going to have to decide whether or not to invade Iraq, but Obama said it again, even after that. I wish McCain had turned to him (at least looked at him!!) and said, “everytime Iraq is discussed your only solution seems to be that we should not invade. Is there some sort of time machine you have that we don’t know about? Is that the answer, we will just go back in time and do things differently? When, Mr. Obama, are you going to face the current situation as it is and start thinking critically about the consequences of our current actions going forward?!”

  24. Vince P Says:

    I think this lady who called into Rush Limbaugh’s show on Friday is saying the same things that many of us are feeling:

    RUSH: This is Rebecca in Pemberton, New Jersey. Thank you for waiting and great to have you here.

    CALLER: Rush, I’m going to try to stay calm because I’m having a nervous breakdown over this. I’m in New Jersey, I’m in Obama land. Signs are everywhere where I live, okay?

    RUSH: Right.

    CALLER: And I was driving to the supermarket with my 81-year-old mother, I’m yelling at the radio, she’s yelling at me, it’s crazy, we’re so fired up. But this is the thing I want to tell you. Everything that you were saying about the meeting yesterday, it’s never going to be heard by the average American on NBC, CBS, or ABC. I feel like the McCain staff and the Republican leaders, who are my leaders, I feel they’re not doing a good job of communicating this at all, and it’s like they’re a punching bag, okay, and the Democrats are punching, and when they punch them they’re punching me, because that’s what I believe in, and I’m frustrated, and I’m angry, and I think that Republicans and independents, we are angry that Obama and the Democrats, they’re allowed to spout these arrogant statements without any kind of rebuttal. And that’s just the first thing I want to say.

    RUSH: All right, first, let me answer this for you. I’m going to tell you why.

    CALLER: Okay, please –

    RUSH: All right.

    CALLER: — because I’m losing it.

    RUSH: Well, I understand. I can relate to you. This is how we get when our leaders are not ideologue leaders of a movement. George Bush is a fine man, but he’s a Republican. He’s not a conservative. He’s conservative on some things. But he doesn’t think it would be proper to be ideologically partisan while president because that sullies the office of the presidency. McCain, we all knew this going in, McCain, I hope he notices that the people he treats the nicest, the people he’s reached across the aisle, these are the ones that are lying about him, spinning, trying to blame it all on him, I hope he notices this. But even so McCain is not an ideologue, he’s not a conservative, he’s not going to go out there and react the same way you and I are. In fact, McCain loves to say — I have to paraphrase here. I can’t remember it exactly. McCain loves to say, “I’m an American first. I’m not a member of a party first.” I understand what he’s trying to say, but why even be a member, why not just be an independent?

    CALLER: Before you cut me off I just want to respond to that and I gotta say one more thing.

    RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    CALLER: I really appreciate this, because I’ve been waiting for a long time.

    RUSH: Don’t worry. We don’t cut people off here.

    CALLER: Thank you. I’ve never called a radio show before. But I understand what you’re saying. But we’re going to lose this election, and I’m down in the trenches, and I’m just this average woman, 38-year-old woman in Pemberton, New Jersey, trying to talk to my friends and family about why we can’t have Obama in. Can I tell you something, Rush? I ordered signs from the McCain campaign over a month ago, and I still haven’t gotten my signs, and there’s Obama signs everywhere. I feel like I don’t have any support, and then I look to TV, and I don’t even have my Republican representatives supporting what I believe in. And I’m on their side, and I’m voting for them, and I’m down talking to everybody I can, looking like an idiot sometimes, but I don’t care. That’s how badly I don’t want Obama in. And one more thing I want to say. Can’t that video be released at the White House? Can’t we have someone release it so we can see what happened? Don’t we have that right?

    RUSH: That’s a toughie. What happens in the cabinet room very seldom –

    CALLER: Oh.

    RUSH: — even when it’s not the cabinet.

    CALLER: Okay. And you know what else? Sandy, I loved her, I loved what she said, but you said, “Are people going to remember this in three weeks?” But there’s a foreign policy debate. Isn’t the next debate the economic debate? And the Democrats are going to have a chance to come back out with all these statements and remind everybody. I feel like we don’t have a chance, and that’s what’s taking me to the point where I’m just really losing it, and I’ve never been like this about politics in my life. Today is the day that I’ve just gone crazy. (laughing)

    RUSH: I wish I knew what I could do for you.

    CALLER: Well, I feel like you’re the only — and this might sound really corny, but listening to you on the radio I feel like you’re probably the only person who can hammer this away. We want to be supported. We want our ideas to be pushed out there with strength. We don’t want to be a punching bag anymore. We’re sick of it! I’m so sick of it.

    RUSH: Look, totally, 100% agree with you. It’s so damn frustrating, you get tongue-tied and flustered trying to express the emotion you feel.

    CALLER: Yeah. I’m emotional because I know deep in my heart, and this is from my father, who was a World War II veteran, my mother, who is a wonderful 81-year-old Italian woman who is for McCain and she’s yelling at me, she says, “Let Rush talk!” She’s yelling at the radio, I’m yelling at the radio. You know, people are fired up because we know what’s at stake here. You know, they know, my father knows what it’s like to fight a war, but he went in there and he did whatever he could, because he believes in America, and we love America, we don’t hate America, and we don’t want Obama in there. I’m asking if anybody is listening from the campaign, or my Republican leaders, there’s people who are really trying to help, we’re trying to help any way we can. Please come to our rescue. That’s all I wanted to say. Thank you for letting me talk.

    RUSH: You really want those McCain signs bad, don’t you?

    CALLER: Can I tell you, I want my McCain signs, I got them for all my friends and family, I ordered McCain bumper stickers, and they don’t even have signs, and there’s Obama signs everywhere. We need support. Help. Somebody help me. Okay, I’m going to go have a cup of tea.

    RUSH: You know what? It’s a shame for two reasons. One, all of this is so unnecessary, but number two, I think that the passion that you and Sandy today and, of course, I as host, reflect here every day, I think gazillions of Americans are just waiting for somebody to come along and make this actual, to realize this.

    CALLER: Right. And you know why?

    RUSH: It’s such a golden opportunity. There’s no way we should lose this election! We are so much more fired up than these people on the left.

    CALLER: Yes.

    RUSH: Passion, love for country will trump hate for America every election.

    CALLER: Amen. And that’s why we were so excited about Sarah Palin’s speech because she got out there and she was tough and she said it like it was. I was jumping around my living room, my mom was high-fiving me. I’m not kidding. We were fired up because we want our views out there, and there’s a lot of us, and we need to be heard. Amen. That’s all I want to say.

    RUSH: Okay. Rebecca, it’s great, it’s great that you’re out there. Don’t change. I don’t care what happens, don’t change.

    CALLER: I’ll do my best and I really appreciate you letting me vent. That was very kind of you. (laughing)

    RUSH: You feel better?

    CALLER: I actually do. (laughing)

    RUSH: See, I know. I get to go home every day thinking I got my say, and a lot of people heard me.

    CALLER: Well, guess what?

    RUSH: It’s therapeutic, there’s no question it’s therapeutic.

    CALLER: You made my day. I got my say and I’m going to go relax a little bit.

    RUSH: Have an adult beverage later this afternoon.

    CALLER: Sounds great.

    RUSH: All right.

  25. Kerstin Says:

    I am one of those people who don’t know much about politics. Or history. I grew up in a very liberal household in Germany, and have always leaned to the left because of that. Then I met my husband who is a conservative and a walking encyclopedia. He does not judge but prefers to let the facts, and history, speak for themselves. I still feel out of my depth most of the times when it comes to politics but overall I try to be less guided by my “feelings” and to be more informed.

    As my former self I would totally be impressed by Obama after this first debate. And even my current self actually agrees with those who thought he held his own. He came across as more substantiative and less condescending than I had experienced him previously. My former self, which wasn’t too interested in factual details and more concerned with wanting to be assured that there will be “peace and equal happiness for everyone”, would have perceived Obama as the one who wanted the same and who was articulate enough to achieve it. As though being a good talker is all that was needed. It certainly was all that my former self needed.

    McCain did better than I expected, he is not such a gifted speaker after all. But in my opinion he looked back too much, going on about his experience like many older people do when they have more time behind them than in front. But overall he held his own well, too, and I agree that he came across as warmer and more knowledgeable. But overall, looking at this debate from the point of my former and current self, I would also say that both came out about even.

  26. Ozyripus Says:

    “. . . there was something in Obama that was very much the eager and bright student who had studied up for the big test.”

    The perfect comment! Let me add: and he’ll only get a B+, never understand why.

    Neo, please keep the apple! It’s a fun symbol.

  27. Matthew M Says:

    My opinion of Jim Lehrer diminished quite a bit. Was that supposed to be the foreign affairs debate? I suppose the trillion dollar deal had to come up since they practically walked straight from the White House meeting to the debate, but that was not Mr. Lehrer’s News Hour, nor an open-topic interview. The debate was supposed to be focused on foreign affairs yet the first hour went almost entirely to the government-created bad mortgage debt debacle. I don’t distrust Mr. Lehrer so much as to think he was attempting to do Obama a favor, but his mediation of the debate was dreadful for that reason alone.

    njcommuters comment “that Obama is a smooth talker and can segue effectively back to territory he has well-staked out. McCain didn’t do that.” crystallizes my impression for why the victory in this debate clearly belongs to Obama. McCain did OK but this topic was supposed to be so handily in his pocket that Obama’s success at putting over his tangentially relevant responses makes me worry about McCain’s effectiveness at contrasting himself from his opponent.

    It only got worse when McCain kept repeating the dollar amount of Obama’s earmarking requests. McCain came across as the one who had memorized a few debate points that he was determined to slip into his responses regardless of context. Nor did McCain hit the Russia and Iran questions out of the ballpark like he should have considering his actual substantive experience and positions on those issues.

    Those of us who follow the news know McCain has more substance but he failed to demonstrate his superiority.

  28. NeoCon Says:

    Actually, I think it was pretty much a draw. They both stuck to their obvious talking points and nothing very much new arose.

    If anything, i think Obama actually did a bit better. McCain relied too heavily on saying “Obama doesn’t understand”… which is way too much of a simplification. Both of them are smart enough to understand plenty. They have a difference of opinion as to the best way to proceed. But saying something like “he doesn’t understand” just trivializes the debate.

    But both of them had some small scores. I don’t think it really moved many voters though.

  29. Vince P Says:

    Why do people think Obama won the first part of the debate?

    He never answered the question of what spending he was going to cut , nor did he even admit that cutting spending is imperative.

    No.. he’s going to increase spending by about 1 Trillion.

    That’s a win?

  30. schnargley Says:

    Obama out-performed McCain. He projected a feeling of complete assurance and absolute knowledge to the audience, which, by the polls and CNN reports today, seemed to have impressed many impressionable people. He just perfectly portrayed the dignified Presidential mein, and convincingly conveyed the very essence of capableness, bringing to mind the black actor, Dennis Haysbert’s character, David Palmer, who ran for President in the “24″ series. He also reminded me of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Lawrence Fishburne all together.

    Simply put, this was no contest. This was Mike Tyson vs Peewee Herman. This was William Hung vs. LaToya.

    All the old man had were facts. Hello? May I speak to Mr………..Boooooooring!!!

    P.S. And can anybody tell me who his make-up artist was? That was truly inspiring!

  31. Lee Shahinian Says:

    “…McCain sounded like the teacher, the guy who had done so much that he could speak off the cuff from his vast experience…”

    Hmmm, I guess that’s why he recently referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn’t existed since 1993. Or how about his concerns about the Iraq-Pakistan border? Best of all, on his most recent trip to the Middle East, he repeatedly referred to the Iranian support for the Shiite movement, Al-Queda.

    As a physician, let me tell you that this guy is in the early stages of dementia, and I insert the word early to be kind.

  32. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Dr. Shahinian – diagnose at a distance often? Tell me what you think of Sam Nunn about the same mistake? My google suggests you have made no public comment.

    All candidates make repeated mistakes of this nature because all people do. The sheer volume of verbal production makes this inevitable. Biden is leading everyone at present, despite a late start – but 80% of his errors are of no importance.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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