September 27th, 2008
09:11 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Both men beat expectations - but Obama had the edge

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(AP Photo)

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – A national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top.

Fifty-one percent of those polled in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey of Americans who viewed the debate say that Obama won. Thirty-eight percent of those polled say that John McCain did the best job.

“According to our CNN survey, McCain and Obama both exceeded debate viewers’ expectations tonight,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “It can be reasonably concluded, especially after accounting for the slight Democratic bias in the survey, that we witnessed a tie in Mississippi tonight. But given the direction of the campaign over the last couple of weeks, a tie translates to a win for Obama. McCain is trailing right now; he needed a game changer. There are no indications he got that tonight.

Men were nearly evenly split between the two candidates, with 46 percent giving the win to McCain, and 43 percent to Obama. But women voters tended to give Obama higher marks: 59 percent thought he was the night’s winner, while just 31 percent said the same of McCain.

Both men did better than expected, according to those surveyed: 57 percent say Obama exceeded their expectations, and 60 percent said the same of McCain. One in five voters thought each man under-performed.

FULL POST

September 26th, 2008
10:46 PM ET
6 years ago

Did you miss part of the debate?

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Watch part one of the first presidential debate: Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama debate the financial crisis and foreign policy. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

September 26th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Who played Obama in McCain's debate prep?

Rob Portman played the part of Obama in McCain's debate prep.
Rob Portman played the part of Obama in McCain's debate prep.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - After days and days of denials that they had anyone playing Obama in debate prep sessions, two McCain campaign aides admitted to CNN they were using a stand-in for the Democratic nominee: former GOP congressman and OMB director Rob Portman.

Portman has been playing Obama in mock debates, including a two-hour session Thursday night in McCain's Virginia apartment, and one at an Oxford high school hours before tonight's debate.

Ironically, in 2000, Portman played Joe Lieberman in mock debates for then VP candidate Dick Cheney.

Now Lieberman is a close friend and supporter of McCain's, and a regular on the road with him.

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!

September 26th, 2008
10:30 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain: 'New 9/11' less likely now than after attacks

McCain said another attack like 9/11 is unlikely.
McCain said another attack like 9/11 is unlikely.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – John McCain said Friday another attack on the scale of the September 11, 2001, hijackings is "much less likely" now than it was the day after 9/11.

Watch: Is the U.S. vulnerable?

"America is safer now than it was on 9/11," he said, "But we have a long way to go before we can
declare America safe."

Watch: Candidates discuss broader impact of fighting in Iraq

Barack Obama, his Democratic rival for the White House, agreed that the United States is "safer in some ways," but said the country needed to focus more on issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and restoring America's image in the world.

Full story


September 26th, 2008
10:21 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: U.S. must reevaluate relations with Moscow

Obama wants the U.S. to reevaluate relations with Moscow.
Obama wants the U.S. to reevaluate relations with Moscow.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama called Friday for reevaluating the United States approach to Russia in light of the country's recent military action in the Caucaus.

Watch: Candidates discuss military strategy

"You cannot be a 21st-century superpower and act like a 20th-century dictatorship," he said at his first presidential debate against Sen. John McCain.

September 26th, 2008
10:12 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain, Obama tangle over Iran nuclear weapons program

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(AP Photo)

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - Iranian nuclear weapons would be an "existential threat to the state of Israel" and would encourage other countries in the Middle East to seek nuclear weapons as well, Sen. John McCain said Friday at his first presidential debate against Sen. Barack Obama.

"We cannot allow another Holocaust," he said.

Obama agreed that the United States "cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran," calling for tougher sanctions from a range of countries including Russia and China.

McCain called for a new "league of democracies" to stand firm against Iran.

He blasted Obama for being willing to meet "without preconditions" with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeated threatened Israel.

But Obama defended his stance, saying: "I reserve the right as president of the United States to meet with anyone at the time and place of my choosing if I think it's going to keep the American people safe."

September 26th, 2008
10:08 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain warns against Iranian nuclear weapons

McCain has taken a tough stance on Iran.
McCain has taken a tough stance on Iran.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – Iranian nuclear weapons would be an "existential threat to the state of Israel" and would encourage other countries in the Middle East to seek nuclear weapons as well, Sen. John McCain said Friday at his first presidential debate against Sen. Barack Obama.

"We cannot allow another Holocaust," he said.

September 26th, 2008
09:52 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain, Obama trade attacks over Iraq

McCain and Obama trade attacks over Iraq.
McCain and Obama trade attacks over Iraq.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama disagreed sharply over Iraq at their first presidential debate on Friday, drawing starkly different lessons from the controversial war.

"We should never hesitate to use military force ... to keep the American people safe," McCain, an Arizona Republican, argued. "But we have to use our military wisely and we did not use our military wisely in Iraq."

The next president will have to decide when and how to leave Iraq and what the United States will leave behind, McCain said.

But he said the United States was now winning thanks to a great general and a new strategy.

"Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq,"McCain said of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama.Obama responded: "That's not true, that's not true."

He blasted McCain as having been wrong about the initial phase of the war, saying McCain had failed to anticipate the uprising against U.S. forces and violence between rival religious groups in the country.

"At the time when the war started, you said it was quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were," Obama said, citing the key White House policy justifying the 2003 invasion.

"You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong," he said.

September 26th, 2008
09:42 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain would consider sweeping spending freeze

McCain wants to freeze government spending.
McCain wants to freeze government spending.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, said Friday he would seriously consider freezing all government spending except for defense and care of veterans.

Sen. Barack Obama, his Democratic opponent, said that would be "using a hatchet where you need a scalpel."

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