Saddleback II: Was there a "Cone of Silence"?

09/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My post earlier today drew a sharp distinction between how Barack Obama and John McCain presented in an encounter on Saturday at the Saddleback Church in California. Essentially, Obama answered questions posed at him haltingly, while McCain responded crisply.

The format of the encounter was to have each man spend an hour responding to the same set of questions. Obama went first by coin toss. To level the playing field, McCain was ostensibly kept in what moderator Rick Warren called a "cone of silence."

Now it turns out that McCain was not in that cone. According to Kathrine Seelye's report in the New York Times, McCain was not in the church during Obama's section, but on his way in a motorcade. A spokeswoman for McCain denied that the candidate had heard Obama's section, but McCain's quick-on-the-draw, succinct responses to Warren's questions raise their own questions.

The formal debates, scheduled for September 26th, October 7th, and 15th , will be face-to-face and more controlled. May the best man win.