'Obama just needs more experience'

Edgar Thornton III, Director of a college department, Iowa city (Republican)

The First Presidential Debate tonight really had substance. I was very impressed with both candidates in this very spirited discussion which really addressed key issues of importance to Americans.

However, once again, Senator McCain showed us why we possibly need his leadership and experience. The Democrat nominee simply does not have what it takes to help the United States move in a new direction.

I am sorry but Senator Obama just needs more experience and seasoning. After two years of running his national campaign, I would have thought Obama would have more command of the issues. I vote McCain the winner of this round.

'The same old Republican nonsense'

Ernesto Haibi, Iraq war veteran, Copperas Cove, TX (former Republican - now Democrat)

McCain mentioned fewer economic points than Obama did. The same old Republican nonsense about tax cuts and refunds.

As for energy, McCain did mention more good points than Obama. He spoke of energy bridges like nuclear and wind energy.

It is true that McCain has fought corruption in Washington but the reality is that he did vote with Bush 90% of the time versus Obama's 40%. When you ally yourself with the group you are supposedly fighting it eats away at your credibility.

I must mention that bogus Iraq re-enlisting story. Soldiers who's contract ends while they're in Iraq don't come home. They remain there until their unit redeploys home. They didn't re-enlist to stay in Iraq, they re-enlisted to stay in the Army. More on that another time.

Overall the format was better than in past debates and we will see how they fare in the next one.

I am waiting to see Palin get slaughtered by Biden.

This is all coming from a lifelong atheist Republican who swore he would NEVER vote Democrat.

'Obama too arrogant to accept help'

Jim Wilkinson, Business owner, Mercedes TX (Republican)

It was a very spirited debate and I enjoyed seeing the candidates under pressure.

McCain showed his experience.Obama says ‘trust me’ but McCain says ‘trust me and you can check my record’.

What I hate about Obama is that he never admits that he doesn’t have an answer to a question and never needs anyone’s help, unlike McCain.

As for the financial crisis, neither of the two candidates has the ability to solve it. McCain’s move to call off the debate is sure to have worked for him because as a senator he is expected to put the country first.

They both are senators and are on duty so they have to do what is best for their country. I’d rather see them skip the presidential debate and resolve the crisis.

'McCain is obsessed with victory in Iraq'

Julissa Reynoso, attorney, New York (Democrat)

I watched the debate in Harlem NY at the La Pregunta Cafe on Amsterdam Ave.

We were a group of abt 50-60 people.



There are clear philosophical differences between the candidates and it's obvious in this debate.

McCain has suggested a spending freeze in everything except the military. Obama suggests spending for programs that are currently underfunded - including early childhood education.

There are also clear differences about strategy and Iraq. McCain is obsessed with victory in Iraq - however defined. Obama looks at whether the US should have got into the war in the first place - while arguing that we should have focused on Afghanistan in the first place.

Regarding the issue of meeting controversial leaders, Obama says he is ready to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions. McCain thinks such action is naïve.

McCain keeps focusing on Obama's "lack of understanding" and "naïveté".

That has been the main entry point for McCain. I think overall both candidates presented their positions in such a way that the American public will get who they are and stand for.

I do think that many thought Obama was going to be overwhelmed by McCain's foreign policy talk. That just didn't happen. Obama was clearly prepared and confident. He knew the material. Many here are relieved I think! We are on our way.

'Obama is clueless'

Alexander Stone Dale, Taxi driver, Manhattan NY (Republican)

John McCain is ready to be president and Barack Obama is absolutely clueless. My favourite line in the debate was when McCain said that Obama doesn’t know the difference between strategy and tactics.

Honestly, Obama should watch Star Wars - in the ‘Bar room Scene,’ an old acquaintance of Hans Solo corners Hans at a table. There’s going to be trouble. Hans Solo smiles, grins, and most importantly, keeps talking until he can pull his gun out from under the table and shoot his nemesis through the table.

Even while Iranian President Ahmadinejad is smiling, grinning, and most importantly keeps talking, he’s getting his gun out under the table.

And Sen. Barack Obama is too damn naïve to have figured that out YET! And he wants to be president in a month. I think Obama won’t even make a good taxi driver. Obama’s policy is, “Hey! They all want me.” He only understands people being attracted to him – they’re not. Obama just doesn’t get it.

As for the solution for this financial crisis – McCain has been consistently talking about cutting spending, but Obama doesn’t understand cutting spending – he just knows how to spend other people’s money – that’s what Democrats do – spend other people’s money.

'McCain's less than presidential behaviour was not unique'

Linda Sharp, parenting writer, Austin TX (Independent)

Watching the phone poll results on CNN now, and reading various online boards, I see that the visceral reaction I had towards Senator McCain’s less than presidential behavior was not unique to me.

He oozed disrespect, contempt, rancor, anger, and condescended every time he spoke. Not just to Barack Obama, but to every person watching the debate.

Obama, on the other hand, demonstrated control, calm, reason, and rationale. His responses were fair – giving credit where it was due to his rival, he was measured and thoughtful, articulate, wise, and above all, reassuring.

I watched the debate actually hoping to come away with even a modicum of reassurance from McCain. I am a realist.

I know an election can go either way, and this one is still close. I needed to see, hear something from McCain that could make me feel better about the possibility that he may end up my President. I did not. Judging by the polls, neither did a lot of my fellow Americans.

Oddly, my favorite moment in the debate came at the very end. Both men went to separate sides of the audience to greet their wives, but it was Barack and Michelle Obama who graciously closed the space, walking the length of the stage to join the McCains and shake their hands.They have class.

In terms of discussing the financial crisis, both men convey the seriousness of the mess in which we are mired. Both men know that serious course corrections must be taken, and taken now. On foreign policy, McCain can throw names around and has been there long enough to have first hand knowledge of many a crisis in the world.

But Obama fought back by keeping the focus on how the USA threw all its efforts into Iraq when Afghanistan is where our post 9/11 attention should have stayed. McCain knows much, but his constant belittling of his opponent drowned out any point he tried to make. I'm glad McCain showed up for this debate.

The political theater he engaged in the past 36 hours was laughable. No one bought it, and Obama called his bluff by stating that if McCain did not show, they would continue anyway, simply turning the debate format into a town hall Q&A format.

VERDICT: As is being proved in the polls tonight, Barack Obama clearly came across as the man who can best lead this nation and help restore our seriously damaged image as well. God knows, like McCain, this country is currently perceived as a bunch of arrogant A**HOLES.

'McCain's hot temper made me queasy'

Tim Kenney, Branding consultant, Bethesda Maryland (Democrat)

McCain has the tough guy stance of a man who was short all his life. Typical of the mean-spirited controlling nature of the Republicans.

Obama was too nice. And perhaps too reasonable. Typical of the overly intellectual and willing-to-see-both-sides Democrats.

McCain tugged at heartstrings with clear emotional appeals, politically wise, but Obama led on presidential presence.


Tim is a Democrat, but has McCain supporter friends and one stubborn independent. The group felt strongly that the debate was close, with both candidates doing well on different topics


I felt like I was watching a well-bred horse in the barn with his eye on a hungry rat in the corner. McCain: very 20th Century in his posturing and tough “I’ve got plenty of Defense experience” messages. But he looked old, and tired.

And I felt like I was just hearing more of the same Bush Doctrine rehashed. I felt he was talking Politics, not Principles.

Obama: more 21st Century in his calm reasoned messages that we need to get our focus off Iraq, and start paying attention to the rest of the world, particularly Afghanistan. His values about the economy and domestic issues seemed more carefully considered and, I felt, showed leadership.

Obama had the edge on domestic issues, with McCain showing a strong presence when it came to foreign policy. But McCain’s war-like edge and hot temper made me a bit queasy.

With pressure from (the moderator Jim) Lehrer on the economy, Obama talked very positively about health care, investing in alternative energy and cutting the budget with a scalpel, not a hatchet. His clear message about getting control of the budget was to get us out of Iraq. And I agree. We have other more important issues in front of us.

McCain’s comment about freezing spending on the other hand seems to simply propagate the massive spending we are engaged in already in the Iraq War. And rather than clearly defining his position, seemed more interested in belittling Obama.

I was furious at McCain’s attempt to duck the debates. His “flight to Washington” felt like a transparent ploy. His job, right now, is to convince us why he would make a great President not go back home to commiserate with his colleagues.


Tim Kenney and his friends watched the US Presidential debate tonight with excitement. No one said a word until it was over.