Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The last debate..


Through the Obama website we had signed up for an event, which encompassed us going to the DC home of Maury Lieberman and Leslie Scalle to watch the last debate between the presidential candidates.

It turned out to be a great evening, with a variety of attendees: from the college students to the retired folks: Americans, Swedish, French and Danish
At 9 PM sharp some 40 people where seated with snacks and drinks - ready for the debate. For one and a half hour, the candidates touched upon many subjects important to the Americans

Here is what we noticed the most:

Economic plan

"The fundamentals of our economy are weak" - Obama. This was a great statement because you get the feeling that he's honest and that he won't just tell you anything to make you vote for him.

"HE WANTS TO SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND" - McCain. Coming from a pretty socialist country like Denmark it's hard even to grasp that this sentence was an attack. However, McCain continued to argue that Obama was killing "the American dream" by raising taxes for "Joe the Plumber".

(Even if you've only done a tiny bit of rhetoric you can already identify several tricks McCain is using - but it's too much)

Obama goes on talking about stuff that make sense and which we already cherish in Europe. 

- Corporate responibility
- Tax break for the middle class
- Identifying the nurse, the firefighters, the plumber and so on as the drivers of our economy

McCain got lost in talking to Joe the Plumber, offending Obama by rolling his eyes while Obama speaks and so on.

Leadership in the campaign

- Very interesting question. The candidates were asked directly if they'd admit to any negative campaigning.

McCain talked briefly and abstractly about some of his own adds and then went to attacking Obama playing the "I am so hurt by your indecency"- card, while Obama had a brilliant comeback:

"I think the people don't care about our hurt feelings" (S-C-O-R-E)

In the end of this question the candidates said something that categorised their life views. Obama was trying to round this question off by saying, we've both had negative campaigning but we can't categorise each other as bad people... McCain answered that he was VERY proud of the American people who come to their rally (and scream kill him about Obama).

One tries to unite - the other one tries to divide.

Climate Change

On energy, the candidates have quite different points of view although they agree that America needs independence from Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil. While McCain and Palin hvae gone for the 'Drill baby, drill' tagline, as was discussed in a former contribution to this blog, Obama highlighted that Americans cannot drill themselves out of the problems.

Funny statement from McCain again when he referred to Obama as an extreme environmentalist for wanting drilling to be safe. (WTF?)


A thing I loved about this debate was when Obama talked about an army of teachers, which I recognized from the politics in Copenhagen. The give and take thought. You give the teachers more pay and recognition - but you also demand higher standards.

'Joe the plumber' turned out to be the main character of the evening, and all changes to taxes, healthcare and such discussed by the candidates were put to the 'Joe the plumber test' by McCain. However, a little research shows that 'Joe the plumber' might not agree all that much with McCain.

Closing statements

McCain spent his life in service for America and he would love to get the chance to serve again (that is probably the most eloquent sentence from his side)

Obama: Yes things look bad but "I believe that our brighter days are still ahead"  Another beautiful statement was that "we need to invest in the American people" (tax cuts/midddle class, education, healthcare, energy economy)

"It's not gonna be easy and it's not gonna be quick - we have to come together and renew a spirit of sacrifice, service and responsibility" (Uniting words)

Our 'closing statements'

It was clear as mud that Obama had the upper hand at all times during this debate. He was the most eloquent, able to explain his own policies and the highest credibility. But of course we're not really McCain's target group so who's to say what sounds good in their ears.

It was so exiting to be part of this event and get a chance to talk to Americans about what they think about the election and the important subjects the candidates have to consider and respond to. American hospitality is great, and I cannot believe these people invited strangers, only connected by the trust in Obama, to their house. As Maury Lieberman said to us as we were leaving: "This is the spirit of Obama"

/Anette and Fabijana

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