The presidential candidates knocked out their second debate last night in Nashville, Tennesee. The town hall-style format gave undecided voters a chance to engage the contenders as millions watched. Obama stood more firm this debate, not conceding any points to McCain. The Arizona senator took a few jabs at Obama’s inexperience and reassured the nation he is no Miss Congeniality when it comes to getting the job done in Congress.
Here is what the pundits and press had to say about the debates:
Politico.com: By night’s end, while McCain knocked Obama back on his heels at times, Democrats felt their nominee had made no misstep and that a playing field utterly focused on economic issues still strongly favors the Illinois senator.
BBC News: Obama offered a performance reminiscent of a great boxer who knows he is ahead on points and only has to keep dancing backwards around the ring avoiding trouble to win. He didn’t land many scoring punches, but then he didn’t have to.
FoxNews.com: The candidates spoke within a few feet of each other, pacing on the floor at the center of a semi-circle of undecided voters. The two were mostly polite, but the strain of the campaign showed. At one point, McCain referred to Obama as “that one.”
Chicago Tribune: In an hour-and-a-half of shuffling around a red-carpeted stage, Sen. John McCain waved a red cape at rival Sen. Barack Obama more than once, but it took a good hour and 15 minutes for the Republican to get under the Democrat’s skin.
Slate: Foreign policy didn’t come up much in tonight’s presidential debate; but when it did, Sen. John McCain–whose strengths lie in this realm–seemed surprisingly unsteady while Sen. Barack Obama came off as more sure-footed than he did in the first contest.
The Arizona Republic: McCain, who drew some criticism for coming across as too abrasive during the first debate on Sept. 26, was more subdued and conversational but never really went in for the kill, either. He did appear at home in the setting, walking with the microphone and speaking directly to the questioners in the crowd.
Salon.com: Never before in the 48-year history of presidential debates has a candidate begun his substantive remarks, as Obama did, by starkly declaring, “I think everybody knows now we are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Yet as a first-term senator … Obama did a masterly job of coming across as the candidate of economic reassurance.
Philly.com: In the end, Obama didn’t seal the deal and McCain didn’t have a game-changing moment.
The HuffingtonPost: …Obama was the clear winner. He was centered where McCain was scattered. Forceful where McCain was forced. Presidential where McCain was petulant.
The Wall Street Journal: Sen. McCain made the most of the “town hall” format, striding the