Chicago Sun-Times
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McCain attacks Obama, but no game changing debate

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y -- John McCain's job at the final presidential debate was to throw Barack Obama off stride because he has a lot of catching up to do in the 19 days left in the campaign, with Obama surging ahead.

But Obama, Mr. Cool -- sometimes too cool, especially when he ignored at first McCain's request to repudiate charges that he and Sarah Palin were promoting racism and violence -- did nothing that handed McCain the game-changing debate he needed

.

McCain aggressively attacked Obama, invoking Bill Ayers, ACORN, Obama's inflated claims of standing up to his party leadership and "Joe the Plumber," the Ohio man who told Obama his tax plans worried him.

"The whole premise behind Sen. Obama's plans are class warfare, let's spread the wealth around," McCain said.

He tore into Obama for Velcro-ing him to the unpopular president, declaring, "I am not President Bush," while he ridiculed Obama for never traveling south of the border, suggesting his understanding of foreign affairs was lacking.


"Actually I understand it pretty well," Obama shot back.

This third debate, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS, was a 90-minute short course on the fight between McCain and Obama, dramatizing their policy differences on taxes, abortion and health care and their plans for dealing with the terrible economic crisis.

But Schieffer, turning to presidential leadership, prodded McCain and Obama to say to each other's face all the nasty things their ads and staffers have been saying.

McCain used the opening to bring up Obama's associations with Bill Ayers -- the former terrorist now Chicago university professor specializing in urban education.

"Mr. Ayers, I don't care about an old, washed-up terrorist. But as Senator Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship," McCain said. He brought up ACORN, the activist group Obama has been friendly with -- now in big trouble over its voter registration drive.

"Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of Senator McCain's campaign over the last two or three weeks," Obama said, not adding much to what he's said.

McCain was wrong when he said Obama launched his political career at Ayers' home. I talked to Hyde Parkers around when Obama first ran for the state senate in 1995 and Ayers was but one of many who showed early support for Obama.

In all, a lot said, a lot not changed.

2 Comments

Lynn - Greatly enjoy your work and have no issue with your column today. I do have an issue, though, with the Sun-Times use of the MSNBC and Drudge "polls" on the banner of the politics page. Those were entirely unscientific and played into a "he said she said" mentality that refuses to acknowledge that, well, someone is winning. The paper did not refer to the "snap" polls that were conducted by CNN and CBS last night under the auspices of reputable polling organizations. As you well know those results demonstrated that Obama carried the night, handily. These were not "right leaning" or "left leaning" but entirely mainstream. While the validity of the snap polls may have been questioned in the past, I think that in this cycle they have been accurate predictors of where public opinion would be headed on the debates. Omitting any mention of them, in favor of the call-in "polling" information, does a disservice to your readership.

MCCAIN COULDN'T THROW A MULE OFF STRIDE!
HE IS SLOW ON THE TRIGGER AND HE'S VERY LUCKY
THAT OBAMA IS VERY RESPECTFUL, OBAMA CAN CHEW HIM
UP AND SPIT HIM OUT ANY TIME HE WANTS!
BARACK OBAMA IS THE SMARTER OF THE TWO CANDIDATES
AND WE ALL KNOW IT!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 15, 2008 11:15 PM.

McCain snaps at Obama, "I am not President Bush" was the previous entry in this blog.

Barack Obama John McCain debate. Oct. 15, 2008 transcript. is the next entry in this blog.

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