Debate countdown

McCain’s done nothing so far but (potentially) gum up the works of the bailout package, and now he’s going to be heading to Mississippi after all. His dashing back and forth (along with his fake campaign suspension) may look like a far cry from statemanship, but that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of winning the debate tonight and regaining the momentum his campaign was enjoying only a couple of weeks back.  Here’s what to look for when the two candidates get in the ring:

Soundbites beat speeches:  Obama is going to have to curtail his tendency to come across as pedantic, and that’s not going to be easy for him.  McCain is definitely more likely to say the line that wins (or loses) the debate, particularly because:

Debates tend to turn on (often unscripted) moments:  something that Reagan knew all about (“I’m paying for this mike”).  An off the cuff response (or what looks like it) can be all that people remember twenty minutes (or twenty years) later.

Watch the emotion: Obama has the edge on this one.  If he can get McCain angry, he’s won.

What the hell are they discussing?: No debate has ever been held under stranger circumstances.  Obstensibly this is a foreign policy debate, but how far will moderator Jim Lehrer tilt the entire thing toward the economy?  (And yet, Pakistan and the U.S. were #$# SHOOTING at each other yesterday. . . proof that the prez will indeed have to worry about multiple things.)  And to what extent will the debate reference McCain’s actions across the last few days?

Keep an eye on Capitol Hill:  It’s still entirely conceivable that McCain can show up tonight able to “claim” credit for a bailout deal.  And if it doesn’t happen that way, it won’t be because he didn’t do everything in his power to ensure it.

Bottom line: it’s highly likely McCain will attempt some kind of surprise maneuver/ambush.  His campaign has been full of them so far, and tonight won’t be an exception.  This is gonna be interesting.

2 Responses to “Debate countdown”

  1. xxnapoleonsolo Says:

    Obama should wipe the floor with him – he has been preparing all week whereas McCain has been showboating for the media. It is funny to think as well that the debate on McCain’s biggest strength – foreign policy – is happening when no-one gives a damn about foreign policy.

  2. meesh Says:

    i agree that the only way obama can ‘get’ mc cain is by angering the maverick.

    i kind of hope jim keeps to foreign policy talk.
    a girl can dream.