I really wanted to catch the debate last night, but I was stuck at work. I did manage to catch public radio’s streaming of the event, though, and think I got the gist of it around interruptions. A few observations:
- It was extremely immature at the opening, when the 6’1″ Obama offered to “high-five” the 5’6″ McCain, who can’t raise his arms above his head.
- Likewise, it was very inappropriate for McCain to respond by kicking Obama in the shins.
- I don’t think Obama knew his mike was live when he offered McCain a five-minute break so he could have a smoke while McCain hit the men’s room.
- I thought the event could have been more professional — I’d never heard of a debate with “ring girls” in bikinis in between each question. On the other hand, I thought it showed good sportsmanship for Hillary Clinton to participate.
- I originally thought it was cheating, but after reviewing the debate rules, it appears that John McCain simply exploited a loophole — there is no specific rule against having staffers in the back of the auditorium with semaphore flags. McCain, a Navy vet, was confident that Obama wouldn’t be intercepting the messages. I expect that loophole to be closed for future debates.
- On the other hand, Obama’s “pull the fire alarm when asked a tough question” was a clear attempt at cheating. I was very glad that the prescribed penalty was promptly enforced, and wish I could have been watching to see Obama finish the debate thoroughly drenched in firefighting foam.
- The addition of chainsaws in the spin room made the post-debate far more entertaining than usual.
- I was glad to see that the much shorter McCain’s request for a stepstool was granted, but I was glad the debate committee wouldn’t let him use his first choice. Senator Biden has been humiliated enough.
All in all, I hope they hold the other debates on some other night than a Friday. I really think I’m missing something by relying only on the radio.