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30 minutes in--McCain's still on talking points

By Dontre Conerly

Going into this debate, both McCain and Obama HAVE to step up to the plate and answer the questions in a manner that is not only general enough for ALL Americans, but with enough specifics that each and every one listening knows EXACTLY how their candidate (and their prospective candidate) will alleviate their economic worries and assuage the social ills of our country.

Over the course of the three debates, I have watched McCain take his place and immediately begin to write, before prompted by a question. It not only reinforces the idea that he has a specific set of talking points from which he won't waver, but it also gives the image that he attempts to get it all down before he forgets.

It was, perhaps, Sarah Palin who raised the bar in these debates with regards to addressing the American public: looking into the camera, addressing them by name, and even stating that she was talking directly to them. Both candidates tonight have taken those cues, not only looking into the camera and calling their constituents by name ("Joe, the plumber"), but they are incorporating their personal conversations with these constituents and addressing their unanswered questions. As they both argued over who best serves "Joe, the plumber," they did address everyone else who was watching---the American public.

Not only is Senator McCain rambling about, telling us that he "knows" how to save us money, he blatantly refuses to answer the question, such that Schieffer had to ask him more than once, "what programs," and "how." As he sticks to his talking points and refuses to waver, he also shows that he can't answer the tough questions, nor can he (like Palin) offer any specifics about his own economic plan!

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