If you are wondering to yourself, who is Joe the Plumber and why does John McCain seem obsessed with him, join the club. Both candidates had a good debate performance, the difference is that Obama talked about the economy for the middle class while McCain talked about a guy who wants to buy a business.
The one thing we learned about John McCain tonight is that he can’t think on his feet. Twice during the debate, McCain raised a question that Obama had just answered. The first time was when Obama mentioned that offshore drilling was not an answer because America only has 3%-4% of the world’s oil, but we use 25% of the world’s oil. McCain then made the case for America being able to provide its own supply of oil with offshore drilling.
The second situation occurred when McCain said that Obama’s health care plan would mean that Joe the Plumber could not afford health care for his employees, but if Joe didn’t provide health care the Obama plan would fine him. Obama explained that small businesses are exempt from the fine, and said that the fine would be nothing for Joe the Plumber. McCain seemed surprised that there would be no fine. It seems that he doesn’t know the details of Obama’s health plan.
McCain had a better night then in the previous two debates, but he still spent too much time talking about tax cuts, and not enough time talking about people who are hurting. He mentioned them, but he didn’t really say how he would help them. McCain took the bait on Ayers and ACORN and gave Obama a platform to give a full explanation. McCain still seemed scattered and did not offer a coherent plan for the future. I don’t think that McCain did enough to change the momentum of this race.
The debate was entertaining and a bit nasty, but McCain still did not look as presidential as Obama. I think Barack Obama had a slight edge tonight. McCain tried to land some lines, but he could not make anything stick. McCain made the big mistake of the night while talking about the abortion question. Neither candidate blew the other one out, but even if you viewed this debate as a tie, the tie benefits Obama. I don’t think that McCain was able to score the big blow or reinvent himself tonight. I think this race stays about where it has been.