On his PBS talk show after the debate Tuesday night, Charlie Rose devoted most of the first 20 minutes of the show to top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. He claimed "We also invited a representative from the McCain campaign, but they were unable to do so this evening." Neither Rose nor the McCain campaign could find a person to match 20 minutes for Obama?
As for the pundits, New Yorker magazine editor (and former Washington Post reporter) David Remnick blasted Sarah Palin for going "negative in the lowest way possible," and said her slection "really is turning out to be a great misery." He said the race is turning strongly to Obama, "and deservedly so."
Remnick pulled no punches:
McCain began the debate in a sarcastic and frustrated mood. He used the phrase ‘he and his cronies,’ ‘that guy over there’ – you can tell there was a real antipathy there that lasted from beginning to end. Obama was collected. He was eloquent. He was clear. He was unfazed by attacks. He gave the message that he wouldn’t brook attacks that would go personal. So I think he won this debate in dramatic fashion.
In a miserable, miserable economic week, and in a week that began with Sarah Palin. We can’t forget Sarah Palin’s performance in the debate, and then her performance on the stump, in which she went negative in the lowest way possible. It was a relief, I suppose, that McCain didn’t go that direction himself tonight, but I think the damage had already been done. This is a terrible week for John McCain and it could well be that the race has moved in a really decisive direction, in the direction of Obama, and deservedly so, considering the performances in the debates and the campaign itself.
Remnick thought the old 1999-2000 liberal McCain, the one that lost the nomination, would so disdain McCain 2.0 in 2008:
I think the McCain of eight years ago would look upon his campaign now with real disappointment and derision, considering his policy flips and the way that his performance and his rhetoric, and his behavior on the stump – and by his choice of Sarah Palin, which really is turning out to be a great misery.
Doris Kearns Goodwin disagreed on McCain’s restraint. She suggested that bringing in the personal attacks in this town hall format would have been a disaster, so "I’m not sure he deserves credit for not doing it."