Is a desperate Hail Mary pass enough? And what's up with ticking off the Dallas Cowboys fans?
My friend Ron Danner e-mailed me this afternoon asking if I thought tonight was "do or die for McCain?" I gave him my short and hard analysis: it's already over and the fat lady is about to sing.
This was, of course, before the debate.
I strongly criticized McCain's last performance (Debate 2: Not McCain's Night). Had he performed as admirably - albeit still not perfectly - in the previous debates as he did tonight, he wouldn't be down 10 points in the polls.
Yes, McCain showed some of his odd and quirky behaviors that don't look great on TV -- but they do show the "real McCain" so many Americans from both parties find attractive -- and on the whole he performed well.
This debate is another draw though, because "Senator Government" held his own. "Senator Government" by the way would be Barack Obama. In an apparent Freudian slip, that's what McCain called the junior senator from Illinois when he refuted Obama's statements about health care. McCain's line was the second of the debate to draw a laugh from the audience which otherwise minded the rules to keep quiet.
The other laugh line was also drawn by McCain when he told Obama, "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him you should have run four years ago." Finally! McCain said something he should be repeating over and over. Reminding voters you're not President Bush (and in fact far from being him) is a winning strategy for McCain.
The third and final debate was hands down the best of the three. Last week's "town hall" hosted by Tom "snooze" Brokaw being the worst. This debate was actually a debate, and the candidates were forced to actually answer questions in a somewhat substantive manner. Thank you Bob Schiefer!
Both candidates had their strengths and weaknesses in the debate.
McCain still appeared somewhat twitchy and his non-verbal communication (which is actually more significant that his verbal), was awkward. Obama remained cool, collected, and "eloquent" - as McCain put it - but he's almost too polished. Funny how all the liberals who criticized Ronald Reagan for being "Teflon" don't have the same criticism of Obama - a man who has accomplished next to nothing as a legislator.
The fact that McCain chose to engage Obama on the issue of Obama associate the terrorist Ayers and then get into a ridiculous argument about whose campaign rally supporters are worse than the others (he even brought up some "insulting T-shirts" at an Obama rally), shows McCain still doesn't understand that no one who can't pay their mortgage gives a shit about who wears or says what at either candidates' campaign rallies.
That example alone is enough to show how utterly clueless McCain has been the last eight weeks. What do you expect from a guy who is (wrongly) being handled by a bunch of Bush losers who don't have McCain's best interest in mind and are the very people who got us into the mess we're in that McCain would like to get us out of? Why they are there in the first place is a question McCain will have to answer after November 4th.
And what was up with that boneheaded reminder from McCain that he's an Arizona Cardinals fan - and certainly not a Dallas Cowboys fan - was it really a slap at W. and his gang of incompetent, out of touch bunch of phoney conservative losers who got us into the mess we're currently in? Certainly McCain didn't win any undecided voters from the state of Texas tonight, but they've probably got fresh poll numbers that show a lot of Americans hate the Cowboys.
Still, don't count the maverick out just yet. He has a history of beating the odds, and he doesn't like the Dallas Cowboys (or Obama supporters who are former terrorists for that matter). McCain's message in trashing 'the boys,' was, "I'm just like you - unless you're from Texas!"
And what does it say that some voters can be swayed by a candidate's support or non-support of a professional football team?
Only in America! It's no wonder we'll all be speaking Mandarin in 100 years.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.net.