Senator Obama gave a sterling performance in the second presidential debate while Senator McCain seemed tired and old beyond his years. Senator Obama spoke crisply and emphasized his key points while making good eye contact with the audience. Senator McCain continued his ineffective attack on Obama and repeated most of his points from the previous debate. It is questionable as to whether Senator McCain actually reads the newspapers. He was still harping on the importance of the surge and victory in Iraq when today's papers carried statements from the outgoing British commander in Afghanistan that the war was unwinnable. Message to Senator McCain: we're losing in Afghanistan.
Senator McCain emphasized his experience but talking about events that occurred during the Reagan administration, and even referring to Teddy Roosevelt, made him look out of touch with the current economic crisis. Senator Obama made a point of emphasizing the need for a lead it to be able to "look around the corner" and think about what's going to happen next as opposed to always being in a reactive state. While Senator McCain appeared to be more cordial at first, he clearly has disdain for the younger man who is now increasingly being seen as a good more commanding leader despite his lesser experience. McCain fails to see that experience by itself is not a recommendation for leadership.
While Senator McCain saw the provision of health care as responsibility, Senator Obama saw it as a right of all Americans. Senator McCain's emphasis on turning to the private sector for health care seems ill chosen when the financial private sector has collapsed and the health-care private sector is best known for its attempts to deny or limit to policyholders. A woman in the audience had a good question when she wondered if we should make health care more like a public utility. Unfortunately neither senator chose to address this issue.
When Senator McCain referred to Senator Obama as, "That one," he lapsed to a level of disrespect heretofore not seen in presidential debates. Senator McCain's one attempt at a "new initiative" whereby the government would buy up mortgages, turns out to be in the plan that was passed by Congress last week. If Senator McCain can't be bothered to read, then he ought to have better staff members who read what he should and remind him of what he should know. This was an evening Senator McCain needed to win in a fashion that would turn around the campaign. Unfortunately for Senator McCain, the evening turned out the exact opposite of what he needed.