The Debate on my Blackberry

  My Blackberry began buzzing 28 minutes into the debate.  By the time midnight rolled around, the tally of “spin” e-mails looked like this–

Mario Diaz (SE Regional Communications Dir. for the McCain Campaign)–15

Obama Campaign (sent from Chicago HQ)– 13

National Security Network (Obama-Supporting Interest Group)– 2

Republican Party of Florida– 1

  Mario Diaz (McCain) struck first, with a missive mysteriously entitled “Debate Fact #2” (I must have missed #1).  It was not his best effort, making the claim “Barack Obama said that he, too, supports cutting taxes for corporations”, though both of the quotes in the e-mail said only that Obama was “considering” or “studying” the idea.

  Within 10 minutes, though, the McCain folks had pretty good quotes from several commentators who feel Obama budget math doesn’t add up very convincingly, and by the end of the evening, had provided a tally of the number of times Obama had said McCain was right on something during the debate (8, according to Fox News).

  Obama folks were also keeping count– noting that McCain only mentioned “change” once, and never uttered the phrase “middle class”. And they claimed McCain– despite expressing support for alternative fuels- had voted against funding renewable energy investments 23 times.

  Both sides sent me emails proclaiming victory: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called it a “clear victory” for his guy– a shocker, every bit as surprising as McCain campaign spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker opining that her guy was “presidential” while Obama was “political”  For the record, FL GOP Chair Jim Greer lauded McCain, while the National Security Network (run by Democratic foreign-policy advisors) thought Obama won the night.

  When the campaigns quote journalists’ opinions, it pays to read carefully.  For instance, both sides cited Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder in their “What They’re Saying” emails.  Ambinder, saying McCain showed a “solid understanding of the region (Afghanistan)” at one point, but also observed “McCain sounds angry and passionate.  Obama sounds cool.” 

  Both could point to outside commentators who thought their guy carried the evening, though Obama also highlighted a couple of insta-polls showing the Illinois Senator impressed average folks.  A CBS/Knowledge Networks poll showed 40% of uncommitted voters who watched thought Obama was the winner, with 28% thinking McCain had the upper hand, and 38% judging the evening a draw. Obama folks also crowed about a CNN insta-poll favoring Obama, 51-38%.

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One Response

  1. Mr. B

    My name is John Powers. I am the Webmaster for ReportingfromNewYork.com. I have been granted access to live blog the final 2008 Presidential Debate, October 15, at Hofstra University on Long Island, NY. I plan on kicking off the site on October 14 with a story about the presidential campaign ad wars and I am contacting News Directors and staff in all of the major media markets.

    Your blackberry seems to be in the know. How many campaign spots have you received or announcements of counter ads in the form of a campaign press release over the course of the past two weeks? Most news agencies are reporting to me that the campaigns released approximately 25 new campaign ads to various media outlets and their news rooms through press releases in the last two weeks. Can you confirm this number, and if so, which snippets of ads, if any have you publicly commented on?
    Your answers are so important for my story. I appreciate any time you take to help me get the answers I need for a successful debut.

    Respectfully,

    John Powers

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