The First Presidential Debate

By Ashli Lincoln


Debate or not to debate? Was the question on most people’s minds Friday night. Just days before the first presidential debate, Senator John McCain announced that he was canceling his campaign to join President Bush in hopes of fixing the financial crisis that the country is facing. For a while, it seemed like the debate might not even take place, because McCain said he would not show up unless Congress came to an agreement on the government’s proposed $700 billion bailout plan. Many individuals felt uneasy about McCain’s decision before the debate. Ashlee Pickeet, a senior psychology major states that, “I think that John McCain made this decision simply because he is not prepared to debate against Senator Obama. I also feel like this is just another publicity stunt for him to gain attention.” While some feel like this was a publicity stunt, others felt like this was a clear sign at the similar tactics Bush and McCain have in common. “I think that McCain made this decision expecting for Obama to just give in, he expected Obama to follow his lead and go along with the cancellation of the debate and when Obama didn’t McCain was the one who had to give in” senior Shana Pope. Although many individuals were disturbed by McCain’s decision the debate went on. Many individuals anticipated that Barack Obama would be the one to come out on top, and according to polls he did just that. According to, a national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top, but there was overwhelming agreement that both Obama and John McCain would be able to handle the job as president if elected. Many individuals expected many of the issues regarding the economy to get answered. “My main reason for watching the debate tonight is to see exactly where each candidate is standing on their different views, I want to know exactly how they plan on reversing the terrible situation that we are in now into a positive one”, senior Catherine Richardson. During the debate Senator John McCain criticized Senator Barack Obama as a candidate who “doesn’t understand” the key issues the country faces, and Obama linked McCain to President Bush on several issues. Throughout the debate McCain continued to draw on his experiences overseas as he tried to portray himself as the more qualified candidate. “During the debate I was paying a lot of attention to McCain’s body language and I felt like whenever he would address a statement toward Obama he would never make eye contact, as for Obama he would look directly at McCain and address the question. For me that shows a sign of weakness on McCain’s half.” Senior, Ashlee Pickett. During the first 30 minutes of the debate, the candidates focused on the economy, even though the debate was supposed to be centered on foreign policy. “Even though they veered off topic I enjoyed hearing the debate about the economy because that is the main issue at hand right now” Shana Pope.