If it was the first debate…

If this was the first debate, John McCain would have won. Here’s why:

  • McCain tended to be direct, confrontational, looked (more or less) calmly at Obama when he was talking, and was in control – not passive. Actually he was effectively on the attack in the middle of the ‘debate.’ But that is very much offset by the fact most people don’t LIKE the attack. Force can be weak, although appearing strong.
  • Obama tended to be professorial, began most answers with “Well,” or “Well look,” was mostly looking down, had a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘uhs,’ and tended to smirk with disdain as McCain talked. And he talked details in a lecture mode. Yet offsetting this was the important fact that he was perceived as more likable 70% to 20% – a critical indicator. He didn’t alienate, as McCain did to many.
  • My problem with both of them was – where’s the leadership, where’s the conviction, where’s the power of communication? Neither of them captivated us.
  • They both did fine with the issues, such as they were, but we don’t remember issues, we remember being inspired and motivated…

So if this was the first debate, this election might be a horse race. But it’s the end, not the beginning.

For this to be a debate, John McCain would have to have dramatically changed the direction of a losing campaign, or Barack Obama would have to have fallen on his face. Neither happened – it was not so much a debate as a discussion of issues.

So it probably had no impact on those who have already decided how they are going to vote (most everybody,) and little impact on the few undecided’s left.

Since we emphasize the behavior that creates a communication experience in this blog, there’s not much more to talk about, now. (Although we learned more from seeing them standing in the first debate, and moving around in Town Hall in the second one. Here, seated, both McCain and Obama were restricted, and thus muted.)


It’s fascinating to see what we CAN learn from watching ALL of the debates, including Biden-Palin, and later on, (after a much needed debate break,) I’ll have a post on…

  • The major difference of formal ‘speaking’ vs. interviewing
  • Importance of facial expression -both smirk and smile
  • Reading vs. thinking on your feet
  • The amazing speed which you can change people’s opinions (feelings) when speaking
  • Why where you look counts so much
  • How people buy (vote) on emotion and justify with fact

Obama McCain – Who won the debate

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The Best Debate since Kennedy-Nixon

The First Debate – Rick Warren with Obama and McCain OK, it wasn’t a debate, it was better! It was historic and was what a debate should actually be – insightful, candid, conversational – where we can see the character and personality of the candidates as well as their views. … Continue reading

The Speaking Style of Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King’s Speaking Style, and Obama and McCain and Jobs As we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, we are reminded what a great man he was, and what a great communicator. I have posted before on his speaking style and the use of the great rhetorical and oratorical devices … Continue reading

Communication Wins Again

The Presidential Primaries are great cauldrons to see communications impact in action. We can learn a lot, as the public platform emphasizes positives and negatives that relate to our everyday speaking. And NOW the newscasters are talking about the importance of likability and authenticity. It’s ALWAYS about likability and authenticity, … Continue reading