Barack Obama made strides toward easing voters’ concerns about his candidacy in Tuesday night’s debate.
John McCain, despite raising pointed questions about his rival’s readiness, didn’t create the game-changing moment he’ll need between now and Election Day.
There are still four weeks to go, but time is running out on McCain.
Poised and confident, Obama directly confronted his greatest hurdle — and did it by turning the tables on McCain during a foreign policy question.
“Now Senator McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I’m green behind the ears and I’m just spouting off, and he’s somber and responsible,” Obama said as McCain laughed and said: “Thank you very much.”
Obama then bluntly challenged McCain’s steadiness: “This is a guy who sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, who called for the annihilation of North Korea — that I don’t think is an example of speaking softly.”
Needing a big moment — he trails in key state polling — McCain tried to stage one by saying he would order the Treasury Department to enact a sweeping $300 billion program to shield homeowners from mortgage foreclosure. The drama was lost in part because he didn’t provide details, leaving those to his aides to deliver in a news release.
Said McCain: “It’s my proposal. It’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal.”
True, though Obama said last month that such a plan should be considered.
Later, McCain seemed unwilling to utter Obama’s name, referring to him as “That one” while debating a vote on an energy bill.
The debate boiled down to two questions: Could Obama close the sale? Could McCain change the game? The answer to both is no, but Obama may have helped himself the most — if only because he came into the debate ahead and with a political landscape dramatically in the Democrats’ favor.
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*Meanwhile, speaking of McCain’s snarky, if not insulting, “That one” reference of Obama … if you didn’t see the debate and missed it, here it is: