Obama vs. McCain: Round One

By: Melva N. Lloyd

The nation’s most historic presidential election to date has given American citizens more than enough to discuss at the dinner table. Both Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Pailn have dealt with numerous questions about their experience to lead, while many are left wondering if Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, should even consider running the country at his age. With more drama surrounding this election than an episode of The Hills, it came as no surprise when Senator McCain made the decision only two days before his first presidential debate with Senator Obama to postpone the event so he could focus on the nation’s economic crisis. McCain’s decision left most people questioning his motives and wondering if a lack of preparedness was the real reason he chose to delay his debate with Senator Obama. Just like many of those concerned citizens, twenty-one year old Corin Wells was not buying Senator McCain’s excuse.

I just think he wanted to make it seem as though he was doing the right thing by focusing on the economy and turning all of the attention towards him.” Although Senator McCain wanted to push his political rival to do the same, Obama refused and even said that he would show up to the venue with or without the Republican senator.

When September 26th did come around, both presidential nominees were in attendance on the campus of the University of Mississippi, ready for any question that moderator Jim Lehrer would throw at them during the scheduled 90 minutes.

The debate, which was supposed to focused on foreign policy, veered off topic during the first 30 minutes and it was made clear that because of the country’s trying times, many of the questions would deal with the turmoil on Wall Street, and the proposed 700 billion dollar bailout plan; all topics that hit close to home for much of the country. Senator McCain made it a point to display his emotions stating that he was “heartened to see Democrats and Republicans working together on the plan.”

Senator Obama holds special sentiment about the fiscal crisis as well, saying that once this is resolved he hopes that American homeowners will receive assistance to avoid foreclosure and if the market returns, taxpayers will get their money back. The Democratic nominee also pointed out that this economic catastrophe will more than likely affect the nations’ young people, ultimately making it harder for college graduates to find jobs because of the slowing economy.

Most voters are looking towards either candidate to make their specific financial situations a lot less stressful.

Glenn Lloyd, a sales associate for Brooks Brothers in Greenwich, Connecticut, just wants to be able to relate to the next president of the United States. He watched the debate to get his own views on the nominees’ policies.

I just wanted to watch it so that I could see for myself what the media would try to spin in terms of where [Barack] Obama stands. I’m not too much of a political person, but I know how much this election is going to affect me and my children.”

Obama, who referred to his opponent as ‘John’ during much of the debate, did his best to prove critics wrong by seeming more forceful and less laid back when answering the tough questions. Even after Lehrer pushed the candidates to direct their answers towards one another, Obama remained stern and repeatedly brought up the fact that McCain has agreed with the Bush Administration’s tactics over 90 percent of the time. Wells, who is a first time voter, felt that both Obama and McCain did not direct their answers towards one another simply because they wanted to please their viewing audience.

Before I even sat down to watch this debate I was hoping for some back-and-forth action between both candidates. Obama seemed more personable, which ultimately makes him more relatable and that’s what I want in a president.”

After the “testy” debate was over, the main point was made clear: the nation is ready for change and Senator Obama is hoping that his message will resonate amongst his supporters, “John McCain has promoted the same policies of George Bush, and people know they’re not working. They understand we can’t continue four more years of doing the same thing.”