Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 05:39 | SYDNEY
Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 05:39 | SYDNEY

Presidential debate: And the winner is...Jim Lehrer!


Sam Roggeveen


27 September 2008 13:09

The folksy but razor sharp debate moderator embarrassed both candidates by exposing the unreality of their domestic spending commitments. It seemed neither McCain nor Obama had taken the trouble to consider how the $700 billion bailout might affect their bottom lines! When pressed, McCain seemed to propose a new policy (a spending freeze) on the spot* — his advisers are probably working out the details as we speak. As for Obama, he answered Lehrer's persistent queries about possible cuts by reeling off a massive shopping list of new spending.

If that was unedifying, the foreign policy section of the debate was unelevating. For the most part, we saw a pretty stale recitation of established positions, and I couldn't pick a clear winner. McCain got in a nice jab about Obama's position on negotiating with Iran, but his tone was also pretty condescending, often saying Obama 'didn't understand' the issues.

Overall, I thought the standard of debate was low, with neither man particularly fluent or persuasive. I'd score it a draw for the candidates, a win for the moderator, and a loss for the voters.

* Apparently, it's long standing McCain policy.