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Obama-McCain Hofstra Presidential Debate Reaction: HuffPost Bloggers Weigh In

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Arianna Huffington: McCain's Losing Strategy: Double Down on the Anger:

McCain scored the zinger of the night with, "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." But his performance was, in fact, incredibly Bush-like, mirroring Bush's signature stubbornness -- especially on Iraq -- by doubling down on a failed strategy. McCain's reliance on angry attacks on Obama has been an unequivocal failure. But instead of course-correcting, he doubled down -- coming across as angrier and meaner than ever before. This debate was won on the reaction shots. Every time Obama spoke, McCain grimaced, sneered, or rolled his eyes. By contrast, every time McCain was on the attack, Obama smiled. It was like watching a split-screen double feature -- Grumpy Old Men playing side by side with Cool Hand Luke.READ MORE

Nora Ephron: Off the Meds:

As he smirked and blinked and raised his eyebrows, I couldn't help wondering what tonight's McCain seemed like to all those conservative pundits who'd been hoping a different McCain would show up. Is this what they meant? Is this the John McCain of Bill Kristol's dreams? Whichever McCain shows up, some things stay the same. He's a towel-snapper. He can't land a joke. He seems old. READ MORE

Cecile Richards: McCain Says Women's Health is "Extreme":

Since when did women's health become extreme? What's really extreme here is that John McCain doesn't understand that women's health matters.What John McCain said last night, in front of millions of viewers, was belittling to women. He not only mocked Barack Obama for supporting women's health, he mocked women across the country. The debate last night was just the most vivid example of what we've known all along: John McCain is out of touch on women's health. READ MORE

Robert Shrum: Put McCain Out of His Misery:

For McCain, the urgent need tonight was not for McCarthyism on Ayers or ACORN (this one will not grow into a mighty campaign oak), but for sounding empathetic, informed and authoritative on the economy -- a daunting objective for someone who unforgettably, irretrievably said he doesn't know much about economics and the "fundamentals" are sound anyway. McCain had to be presidential but wasn't, maybe because he knows that's now catch-up ball for him, not a game changer.READ MORE

Steven Waldman: Sacred Sex and Common Ground: How Obama Won Abortion Part of the Debate:

The key point to remember is that in a debate like this, at this late date in a campaign, the political goal is to position oneself as sensible and mainstream. McCain scored points that would appeal to pro-life activists, while Obama kept relentlessly focused on the ambivalent middle. McCain went after Obama; Obama went after undecided voters. READ MORE

Marty Kaplan: The Faces of John McCain:

Ninety minutes of John McCain making faces was more than enough for a lifetime. It's hard to imagine anyone willingly inviting that antic lemon-sucking grinfest into their homes for the next four years.READ MORE

Hilary Rosen: Counting Chickens, Joe the Plumber and the Republican Closing Strategy:

John McCain lost his final opportunity to convince 30 million people to change their mind about their support for Barack. Since most polls are showing support for Obama has crossed over 50%, McCain has to actually change minds now for him to win. There simply are not enough undecided voters in the key battleground states. Ahh but that sounds too much like I am counting the proverbial chickens before they are hatched. So what are we left with in the final few weeks? READ MORE

Mitchell Bard: "I'm Not President Bush": Uh, Senator, Sorry, But Your Voting Record Says You Are:

But when McCain said, "I'm not President Bush," I couldn't help but think that he was wrestling with the inescapable fact that his Faustian bargain -- moving to the right and backing Bush for most of the last eight years so he could win the GOP nomination for the presidency -- was now exacting its toll, making him unpalatable to too many voters in the general election. McCain can't change history now. It's too late. The numbers are there, mocking his claim of separation from Bush.READ MORE

Ari Melber: Obama T.K.O.s McCain in Last Debate:

Barack Obama never delivered a knockout punch during the final presidential debate, but it did not matter. Obama won a T.K.O. -- defeating his opponent without ever knocking him out. John McCain hit hard and sometimes wildly, accusing Obama of links to terrorism, voter fraud and racially divisive politics. It was the first time McCain played the Ayers card in a debate, of course, after Obama had taunted McCain for failing to level the charge to Obama's "face." READ MORE

Greg Mitchell: Obama Glides, McCain Pinches -- Big Winner Is Joe the Plumber!:

Four and out? A sweep for the Democrats? I expected to sit down tonight and write the same script from the past three encounters: Obama or Biden easily win on points and demeanor, pundits call it a draw anyway, polls mock the pundits by showing an easy win for the Dem. Ho-hum.READ MORE

Cenk Uygur: An Old Boxer Who Has Been in One Too Many Fights:

McCain looked like an old boxer who had been in one too many fights. You wanted to pull him from the ring. The whole time I was thinking, "Who let him get into this fight?" Don't you have a conscience? Throw the towel. Throw the towel!READ MORE

James Love: Not Boring, Substantive, and Obama Dominates:

I watched on CNN, which had the squiggly lines from the uncommitted Ohio voters, and often showed both candidates at the same time. McCain seamed smirking and aggressive when he was not speaking. He blinked a lot. But as these things have gone, he did not disgrace himself. He was energetic and tough, even though he often came across as a jerk.READ MORE

Nancy Snow: Joe the Plumber, Obama and McCain:

Wow, I never thought a presidential discussion would get me thinking so much about my toilet. It's safe to say that Joe the Plumber is the BFF of this third and final presidential debate, the best of the three and very well moderated. John McCain will soon shut down his operations and head back to the U.S. Senate while Barack Obama will be moving in January 2009 from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.READ MORE

Andy Ostroy: Who the F**k is Joe the Plumber? That and Other Questions for John McCain:

All three presidential debates are now history. With just 20 days left until the election, judging from the polls and Sen. John McCain's overall sub par performance Wednesday night in which he needed a knockout but failed to get one, it looks as though Sen. Barack Obama is well on his way to becoming the 44th President of the United States.READ MORE

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