September 26th, 2008
10:41 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: No Clear Winner

CNN

Watch: McCain and Obama's differing viewpoints on the conflict in Iraq.

New York (CNN)–My bet is that Democrats will see this as an Obama victory and Republicans will say that McCain won - it was that kind of debate where there was no clear winner.

Watch: Sen. Joe Biden reacts to the debate

I would give each of the candidates an A- for the night. McCain started slow and sluggish on economic issues and then became steadily stronger as it moved into foreign affairs. He clearly has superior experience in international affairs. But Obama came strongly out of the gate, providing especially crisp answers on the bailout package, and I thought he held his own on foreign affairs.

The real question now is how undecided voters will come out. Stay tuned!

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Tb

    The first thing I would like to say the debates are exciting, energetic and informative. No clear winner tonite .Obama is like Ali and wears his opponents over a number a rounds.

    In my view, McCain uses the pork barrell card and you will know their name line .The American people are so much smarter than to fall for an old son.

    By the way, Gov. Palin uses too much makeup like Paris Hilton.

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  2. David

    McCain is clearly the loser. If he is the foreign policy expert, then he is no where near ready to be President. It is clear that those who support McCain do not understand complex thought, nor peace, nor a sense of fairness for your neighbor.

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. Amy

    I think Obama was the stronger candidate in this debate. He was confident but not cocky and had his facts straight. He also had the presence of mind to challenge McCain when McCain was purposely misrepresenting Obama's positions.

    I also found it very interesting the Biden was able to speak with the NBC team after the debate, but Palin declined their offer and instead they had to settle for Giuliani. I can't wait for the VP debate next Thursday!

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  4. will

    what ever.. McCain won and all you Obamabots know it.... Get over it your guy lost... just like he will in Nov

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. Rock-E

    Thomas...why do you think McCain won?

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. Kubrom Wolderufail

    John McCaine stand tall tonight !!
    Barack Obama defeated by himself by using the word " AGREE" seven times.

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  7. Bill

    I lean Democrat but McCain was the definite winner. But, these two are going to be a lot closer than Biden and Palin next week.

    September 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. Edwin, Fayetteville, NC

    McCain said a lot but never answered one of the questions asked. Obama clearly won by a landslide.

    What we need to start 09 off right is Obama/Biden.

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  9. Brett

    Obama won in the fancy word and rhetoric department

    McCain clearly won in the substance department

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  10. disgruntled voter

    I wish I had a dollar for everytime Obama went," uh..uh..". That along with the childish snickering Obama injected is enough to prove to me that he is definately not prepared to lead our country. The media has been giving Palin a hard time for her nerves on camera, well what's their excuse for Obama? EVERYTIME he speaks he says "uh" about a hundred times. Let's call it what it is, indecision, stalling and grasping for answers because he doesn't have a teleprompter rolling words someone else wrote for him. Pathetic.

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. canada

    McCain always gives the impression of bridled anger....
    not a good feeling emanating from him

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  12. ZANE

    McCain looked more and more confused as the debate went on. He tried to sway the issues back to his days of glory as a veteran and P.O.W. He doesn't really have a clue what to do with our economy.

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  13. JD in NC

    I'd disagree on McCain's advantage in foreign policy. He seems to view visting countries as the end-all credential for making policy. If travel equals knowledge, he shouldn't have chosen Palin.

    September 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    The winner is clearly Barack. Even though he could have been a bit more clear, you realize how close to four more years of this horrible economy and wars that we're going to go through. Freeze spending? Puhlease, if you take economy 101 you learn that you have to spend in order to profit. Clearly, he's Mr. Stuck-in-the-mud.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. Karim Samara

    I dont understand? Why would it be so wrong for an American President to meet with a leader of an "enemy" country like Iran. Isnt it the duty of a President to exhaust all options of diplomacy to try to preserve peace?

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  16. Kimberly

    I saw an angry, rattled Obama and very calm McCain. I think McCain clearly won BUT I guess it matters which news channel you watch. If it is CNN it is always for Obama. I am one of the many registered Democrats voting for McCain.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  17. Jhon

    Obama all the way! It's just the beginning and McCain will not compare to obama!

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. Decided

    McCain seemed disconnected and unintelligent, like he was just barreling along without pausing to think or analyze the situation. Ungraciously taking more than his allotted time, ignoring protocol, and generally coming across as a self-centered bulldozer whose facts were sometimes a little shaky and who didn't care that his allegations were often off the mark. He seemed contemptuous of his rival, and a little scared to look him in the eye, and he was utterly without humor or warmth.

    I want a smarter president, and a better listener, with more respect for organized and coherent processes.

    "Maverick" can be another word for "non-team player." It's not always a compliment or something to be proud of.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Cari

    I was frustrated Senator McCain would not answer questions asked of him, but went off in directions without answering. He seemed very scripted and the "you don't understand" got old fast. I think Obama has shown he speaks thoughtfully, strongly, not an old guard struck in the same rut of the past.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Beverly, NYC

    The debate did not live up to expectations. My mind has not been changed. One thing what is up with McCain's tongue, he must have slirped and stuck his tongue out like 200 times, very off putting.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. Kara

    WAY TO GO OBAMA!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. TL

    The first thing I would like to say the debates are exciting, energetic and informative. No clear winner tonite .Obama is like Ali and wears out his opponents over a number a rounds.

    In my view, McCain uses the pork barrell card and you will know their name line like a baby likes ice cream . The American people are so much smarter than to fall for an old song. Either McCain is misguided or a fraud.

    By the way, Gov. Palin uses too much makeup like Paris Hilton.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. Tim

    It is future vs. the past!!

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  24. O for Pres

    Mccain talked more about what he has done and mentioned NIXON and REAGAN omg! I need him to stop living in the past and show more concern for the well bing of our veterns, our counrty our families.People who are on medicade (and these people are not just Democrates) will suffer with Mccains plans. the GOP is full of selfish, stuffy,greedy whinebags! CHOOSE CHANGE

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. Mitch

    COnsidering foreign policy is not the critical issue of this election, I doubt McCain will gain from a decent showing in that area. But Obama also did very well. And what seems to bother the right wing is that they don't want to make friends. They want America to be the alpha country....like us or we dont' like you. Well, right now, the world isn't very fond of the US. The outdated view McCain expressed tonight is almost cold war mentality.

    The world also sees a vulnerable and ailing US economy and to borrow and hack up a phrase from Scar Face...first you get the money, then you get the power. Right now, the US needs some cash.

    September 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5