Categorized | Politics

Internet Abuzz with Debate Analysis

BY SWETA VOHRA//

Hours after the second presidential debate last Tuesday night, the Internet buzzed with overviews, analysis and quotes from Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain from their town hall debate in Nashville, Tenn. Liberal and conservative publications, aside from differing lead paragraphs, focused on the same issues and quotes, as well as an overall conclusion that last night’s debate did little to change the momentum of either campaign.

Several online articles, particularly from the New York Times and The Economist, led with paragraphs emphasizing the heavy role economic issues played in the debate. The New York Times reported both candidates spoke to the country on a day of continuing stock market plunges, “each promising anxious Americans that he had the better plan and vision to lead the country.”

The Economist also highlighted the importance of economy at this debate, saying “it was inevitable” it would be a major focus. However, after the 90 minutes, “the result was a draw in a predictable and dawdling debate, that undoubtedly suits Mr. Obama better.”

Publications that are thought of as more conservative such as the Washington Times and FoxNews.com, emphasized the $300 billion proposal that McCain offered to help with the current mortgage crisis. The Washington Times reported McCain’s proposal is to “convince undecided voters that they were best-equipped to address the economic crisis that has gripped the globe.”

FoxNews.com, addressing the latest poll numbers showing McCain’s campaign is suffering at the hand of the dismal economy stated, “McCain tried get out in front of the burgeoning economic turmoil Tuesday…announcing a new plan to prevent foreclosures by allowing the government to buy up mortgages.”

Although the leads in the publications differed in emphasis, the rest of the articles centered around the same key issues and quotes. One of the more prominent threads throughout the publications was what voters have been hearing for months – McCain’s attack on Obama’s experience and Obama aligning McCain with Bush’s failure in the past eight years.

The articles said McCain continued to push his opinion that Obama was not ready to be commander-in-chief, and according to The New York Times proceeded to quote Teddy Roosevelt, “you know, my hero is a guy named Teddy Roosevelt,” he said. “Teddy Roosevelt used to say walk softly — talk softly, but carry a big stick. Senator Obama likes to talk loudly.”

In rebuttal, Obama said McCain has said things like “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and wanted to annihilate North Korea – actions that clearly did not show talking softly.

However, it was only the Washington Times, which mentioned McCain tried to downplay his actions by saying, “I was joking with a veteran – I hate to even go into this. I was joking with an old veteran friend, who joked with me, about Iran.”

Other issues like McCain referring to Obama as “that one” in his most “dismissive comment of the night” as the Washington Times put it, was included in every article. But despite each candidate largely differing on their outlook and their methods of dealing with the economy, the Internet articles were clear to state neither candidate attacked the character of his opponent.

As online magazine, Salon.com, stated: “To the credit of both candidates, no time was wasted on phony issues like Obama’s arm’s-length association with 1960s radical bomb-maker Bill Ayers or McCain’s long-ago entanglement in the Keating Five scandal. Instead, there was a welcome gravity to the debate.”

After recent weeks of attacks from both campaigns as well as mud-slinging campaign commercials, the debate was void of such comments.

As in the other debate, there were no major gaffes or big surprises for voters or pundits. It was also a night where McCain failed to make a significant splash to turn around the numbers at the polls, showing he is losing ground to Obama.

“McCain needed a debate performance that would support a domestic surge in his fading electoral prospects. Such a stirring comeback was not on the calendar for Tuesday night,” Salon.com said.

In fact, as BBC News pointed out, “two polls taken right after the debate – by CBS News and CNN – judged Barack Obama the winner over John McCain.”

The next and final debate takes place Oct. 15, and no doubt the Internet buzz will likely be humming along again with analysis and conclusions about who did what and how well each candidate performed.  Stay tuned.

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