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Obama-McCain Town Hall Debate Reaction: HuffPost Bloggers Weigh In

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Arianna Huffington: The Winner of Debate II? "That One":

In Debate II, John McCain twice laid out the criteria for how the American people should judge the candidates: In tough times, we need someone with a steady hand on the tiller. By that measure, Obama was the clear winner. He was centered where McCain was scattered. Forceful where McCain was forced. Presidential where McCain was petulant. READ MORE

Nora Ephron: Life in the Shallow End:

By the time tonight's debate was minutes old, I had decided that Obama had won. His shirt looked great, and his suit fit beautifully. This seemed important. He sat down in a chair that was basically unsittable and he looked fantastic. He loped around the stage, holding the microphone as if he'd been born with a silver one in his hand.READ MORE

Paul Reiser: Not a Whole Lot of "Town," and Other Town Hall Debate Reactions:

Not sure what the much-ballyhooed format does for us. Having the candidates begin their answers with "Thank you, Fiona" and "Why, that's a very nice question, Oliver" doesn't seem like such a huge plus to me. Although getting to stretch their legs did seem to agree with the two senators. Certainly McCain. Walking around seems to have helped diffuse the rage.READ MORE

Robert Shrum: McCain's Mudslide Continues:

If the question of the first debate was whether Obama would pass the threshold on national security (he did), the reality of this debate is that McCain didn't pass the threshold on the economy. He can't get there with blather about earmarks; the voters aren't dumb. The big story tonight: Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of President Obama. The "other," as the Republicans labored to paint him, now comes across as reassuring, a strong and steady hand in a crisis, possessed of that grace under pressure that Americans prize in a president. Obama had it again tonight. READ MORE

Erica Jong: Is John McCain Really Our Friend?:

Why are these debates so incredibly boring? Is it the questions framed by committee? Is it Tom Brokaw trying to exude gravitas? Is it John McCain telling us constantly he is our friend while he grimaces in a way that is friendly to no one? Or is it Barack Obama keeping his cool despite all the idiotic lies and provocations? READ MORE

Bob Cesca: That One?!:

McCain seems to think his strong support of nuclear power is a big political winner for him, since he has brought it up three times in the first hour. But every time he talks about nuclear, he flatlines with both men and women. They simply are unenthused about nuclear power, which is no surprise. READ MORE

Mitchell Bard: The Second Debate Revealed a Fatal Flaw in McCain's Candidacy:

It's easy to take a position in a campaign. But the promises are empty if the candidate has a record opposing those very positions. READ MORE

Howard Schweber: The Answer We Needed to Hear:

Obama's answer to the first question of the night was fine -- anodyne, uninspiring, reasonable, and utterly uninspiring. READ MORE

Cenk Uygur: Worse Than "That One":

For me, the more worrisome moment of the debate came when McCain told a young, black questioner, "You've probably never heard of Fannie Mae." READ MORE

Leah McElrath Renna: "That One": McCain's Use of Dehumanization as Hate-Speech:

When McCain refuses to look at Barack Obama and refuses to use his name, he is employing modified versions of a military technique -- a strategy of dehumanization." READ MORE

Timothy Karr: Citizens Panel Mixed on 'Town Hall' Format, Wanted Brokaw to Do More to Challenge the Spin:

John McCain's supporters seemed happy with the ground rules of the second presidential debate in Nashville. Barack Obama's supporters seemed happy with the results. But many were troubled by the debate organizers' claim of true public participation in Tuesday's forum. READ MORE

Joseph A. Palermo: "My Friends," It's Over:

It was clear tonight that Barack Obama has a far superior understanding of the moving parts of government and American society than John McCain ever had. READ MORE

Steven G. Brant: From "The One" To "That One": John McCain And (Not) Reaching Across Party Lines:

In tonight's presidential debate, Senator McCain failed big time in that most basic principle of bipartisan leadership: attributing inherent worth to his equal from the opposite side of the political spectrum. READ MORE

Joseph Romm: Note to McCain: Uncommitted Ohio Voters Just Aren't Into Nuclear Power:

McCain seems to think his strong support of nuclear power is a big political winner for him, since he has brought it up three times in the first hour. But every time he talks about nuclear, he flatlines with both men and women. They simply are unenthused about nuclear power, which is no surprise. READ MORE

James Love: The Debate: Round Two to Obama:

Despite the hype, tonight's debate covered familiar ground, with less tension than the last debate. If this was McCain's night to change the conversation, he changed nothing, or lost ground, looking more tired and less competent than the last debate. READ MORE

Ari Melber: McCain's Failed Debate Offensive:

John McCain did not have the debate he needed on Tuesday night. McCain's style was aggressive, disciplined and occasionally punchy. He heaped criticism on Barack Obama, blasting his record on taxes, health care and earmarks, and at one point derisively called the Democratic nominee "That One." READ MORE

Linda Bergthold: Men are from Mars Women are from Venus in the Presidential Debate:

If you watched the presidential debate on CNN, you could watch the green and orange lines of the focus group reacting to everything each candidate said. What is quite amazing is that men reacted more slowly than women and men tended to react less to McCain's tough rhetoric than women. READ MORE

Max Bergmann: Another McCain Dispute with Kissinger -- Now on Russia:

McCain said Ukraine was "in Russia's sights" and repeated his oft-repeated line that when he sees Putin he sees the letters "K.G.B." This is a good line if you are pundit, not if you are a president. READ MORE

Jeff Schweitzer: My Friends, I'm Going to Lie About Everything:

The concept of a debate typically involves two sides presenting opposing ideas reflecting different world views. Tonight was not a debate. What the American people saw instead was Senator Obama presenting coherent answers to difficult questions, while his opponent perpetuated old lies, often unrelated to the subject at hand. READ MORE