I’m not going to say who won, or who lost the first presidential debate. I think it’s silly to pretend that someone can “win” a debate. So, here are my thoughts on foreign policy only (the economy will be center stage next debate):
- McCain IS very experienced in foreign policy. This is his strength. He did best when he talked about all the places he’s been as a senator. He did well to relate himself to Reagan and the Cold War and the fall of the USSR.
- McCain did well in talking about how much he cares for the returning veterans.
- However, McCain gave the same ol’ first term Bush foreign policies of we’re right and the rest of the world is wrong. McCain followed the same ol’ neocon tough talk that put us in this mess.
- McCain made a calculated error in saying that his “experience” in foreign policy is what makes him qualified to be president.
- McCain forgot tonight that Americans know that people around the world really dislike what the Bush foreign policy has done to the image of the country around the world.
- The war in Iraq has really taken some of the moral legitimacy that the US used to have.
- Barack Obama’s new foreign policy (or the return to engagement), the idea of meeting with the leaders of troublesome nations like Iran and North Korea instead of ignoring them, is what will appeal to the American people.
- In addition, just the idea that Barack might be the president of the United States has the rest of the world excited.
As a result, I don’t think the “experience” ploy that McCain tried to use didn’t play well. People want something different than the Bush policies, which is what John McCain is offering. And the polls show this with 39 percent of CBS’s undecideds say Obama won, while 25 percent say McCain won. On CNN’s poll, Obama won by an even wider margin: 59-31.