7.42 Ben Cohen: Maybe I was too cynical? Here's Andrew Sullivan's take:
It strikes me as a mistake for McCain to end the debate on his
commitment to staying in Iraq indefinitely. Obama's emphasis on the
broader global conflict and our broader responsibilities will reach
more people. His vision seems broader, wiser, and more focused on
ordinary people. A masterful performance tonight, I think. Obama's best
ever debate performance. McCain was fine, but it's wrong for him to
attack his opponent at the end. And then he gave a slightly rambing
defense of his experience. I give Obama an A - and I give mcCain a B.
7.37 Ben Cohen: I think McCain won that pretty handily - not on substance, but on aggression. His closing statement was more forceful, more direct than Obama's.
7.35 Peter Bauer: Is he really trying to tie Obama to Bush?
7.31 Ben Cohen: McCain keeps saying "Senator Obama doesn't understand". Obama CANNOT let this slide! And he keeps agreeing with him!
7.29 Ben Cohen: Obama is making more sense on foreign policy, but he is allowing McCain to bully and bluster. McCain just stands and smirks whenever Obama speaks, and he's adopting an air of superiority.
7.27 Ari Rutenberg: McCain isnt making much sense, but he keeping Obama on the defensive Obama cannot let him get away with anything
7.21 Ari Rutenberg: Actually Sakaashvili admitted that he had provoked Russia today
7.17 Ben Cohen: Just a quick thought - this is quite high level foreign policy debate - what on earth is Sarah Palin going to do when facing Joe Biden? It's going to be very, very scary for her.
The same reader writes in again: Scratch that. He's doing quite well on Iran at this point.
A reader writes: Unfortunately, you're right Ben. At this point McCain appears effective and Obama much less so.
7.11 Ari Rutenberg: Whats the difference between a precondition and condition?
7.10 Peter Bauer: Obama: "We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran"
7.08 Peter Bauer: I like how Obama puts the focus on Afg, but Iraq is swallowing up some much of our money and troops that I think he needs to address that issue too.
A reader writes: "Ben I agree with you and it worries me. The goal of this debate to me was to pull independents to obama. I don think obama is succeeding in that goal"
6.58 Obama is fighting back hard against McCain, slamming him for singing 'Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran' and threatening North Korea with extinction. He needs to do A LOT more of that.
6.54 Peter Bauer: Obama: We have four times more troops in Iraq than Afg...and Gates said we need more troops in Afg. and Pak. who's making all the money off the poppy trade?
6.53 Ben Cohen: I think Obama is a bit long winded on his plan for Afghanistan (and fundamentally wrong), whereas McCain is direct and simplistic (and even more wrong). Don't know how this will play with voters
6.50 Ari Rutenberg: All McCain has is the surge...I wonder how far he can take it
6.45 Ari Rutenberg: he needs to keep saying you were wrong and he's doing it
6.43 pm Peter Bauer: Obama: "We should never hesitate to use military force".... what does that leave open for Iran?
6.42 pm Ari: Obama needs to keep tying McCain to Bush and his record..and he needs to call out McCain on Iraq. Petraeus has said that there is no victory in Iraq. Look at McCain looking at the floor
6.41pm - Ben: Obama is outlining his differences on Iraq - this is where he can score some major points.
We're changing the format on this and doing individual posts.
I think McCain is being very effective in this debate, not because he is right, but because he is attacking. Obama needs to get back to attacking him.