September 27, 2008
JOHN PODHORETZ: "But it seems to me, based on what has actually been happening in this country over the past 96 hours, the only person who was really at risk in this debate was McCain. Since he said he wouldn’t leave Washington until there was a bailout deal, and then he did, and since his presence on Thursday itself became a controversial subject, a bad night for him — especially on the economy — might have been fatal. Instead, he put on a credible performance on the economy, and a powerful and commanding one on foreign policy. . . . In this respect, doing well in this debate was actually far more important for McCain than it was for Obama; his campaign was on the line, and Obama’s wasn’t."
And don't miss these aesthetic points:
In the end, I'd say, McCain made more good points and got in more punches, but Obama stood his ground and maintained his stature on stage next to McCain, even as McCain repeatedly tried to portray him as a lightweight. I should add that McCain never seemed too old, short, or lacking in vigor, even on HDTV. Obama looked fine too, and I never saw that upturned face, with the eyes gazing downward, that made him seem supercilious in those old debates with Hillary Clinton.
You used to have to be ready for prime time. Now you have to be ready for HD.