Political analyst Dick Morris says Friday night's presidential debate was "a gain for Barack Obama," who was more impressive regarding economic issues, while McCain did better on foreign policy. Morris thinks the GOP nominee will take a hit in the polls and trail Obama.
Christopher Ruddy, on the other hand, felt McCain Won & here's why. (I took the liberty to abridge his key points):
There is little question that John McCain “won” the first debate. Perhaps he lost on points (arguments) and style (how could he beat Mr. Smooth?), but McCain “won” over the audience, the only victory that counts.
1. Any question that McCain is too old to run for office has been put to rest. He was sharp, on point and looked good, good enough, that is.
2. Obama was too smooth, too smart. Remember the “W. Factor.” Bush lost all the debates with John Kerry on style and substance. But Bush came across as more likeable. Ditto McCain.
3. Obama has a subtle, condescending speaking style. His hand gestures of constant pointing fingers, frequently raising his fingers to eye level, jabbing constantly, make’s one feel he’s lecturing us. Yes, Kennedy jabbed, but occasionally.
4. After, the debate I heard on a radio call in person say they listened to the debate on radio. Obama sounded like a professor. Bingo. Americans don’t elect professors president.
5. The debate opened on the economy. McCain should have scored much bigger points. He didn’t. He claimed Obama wanted to raise taxes. He should have rattled off specifics of Obama’s tax plan, including: removing the FICA tax cap, doubling the capital gains tax, increasing dividend taxes, letting the Bush tax cuts expire giving everyone an automatic tax increase, raising gasoline taxes, etc.
6. Obama also made some serious tactical mistakes. Twice in the debate he repeated the allegations of others, first saying he was “liberal” and later saying he was “naive.” Repeating labels is a no no.
7. McCain came across as authentic. This elusive quality is difficult to manufacture, and a key reason Obama can’t compete on this score...
8. Obama came across as slick trying to making himself sound more moderate than his record demonstrates. He says he doesn’t really want to spend $800 billion on new programs; he really isn’t the most liberal member of the Senate...
9. McCain demonstrated he doesn’t simply talk a good talk, but has walked the walk. He has been a long time enemy of earmarks...Obama simply has no such record.
10. On Iran, again one of the most contentious issues, McCain won because his comments grasped the gravity of the crisis.
11. Where McCain lost was on the Iraq war and the surge. Yes, McCain has been right on the surge and Obama has been wrong. But McCain came across as heavily invested in the idea of the war (creating a democracy in Iraq) and unwilling to flexibly respond to reality. Make no mistake about it: this is an unpopular war...
In sum, McCain had the most to lose from this debate. Obama is known as the great public speaker.
McCain did more than hold his own.