By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Grown-ups on the stage

Tonight’s debate is remarkably civil and substantive. CNN’s Bill Schneider, who’s live-blogging it, calls it a “grown-up debate,” especially compared to the Republicans last night. He’s right. But doesn’t Obama, who’s behind in the polls in many states, need to throw a haymaker?

My guess is that Obama, not having any particularly good choices (check out these poll numbers), has decided that he has to hope voters are looking for a reason to vote against Clinton — and that, by coming off as presidential, he’ll give it to them.

The one-on-one format gives this an entirely different feel — it’s actually approaching a conversation about policy rather than a mindless recitation of soundbites. So far, no sign of Borat.

It looks like they’re going to close with Iraq. Obama just criticized “the mindset that got us into Iraq in the first place,” so we could get some heat.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve

    “But doesn’t Obama, who’s behind in the polls in many states, need to throw a haymaker?”I don’t think so. The polls are close enough and there are enough undecided Democratic voters out there for Obama to convince without going negative. And at the moment, given the results of recent campaign attacks, taking shots might damage the shooter.Notice that when the focus stayed on criticizing Republicans in general and Bush in particular, the crowd was most animated.Maybe there’s something in that 11th commandment thing. It’s a novelty for Democrats, in my experience, but it’s certainly refreshing.

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