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AFTER THE DEBATE – McCain, on offense, seemed more aggressive

Joe Biden, Joe Six Pack and, now, Joe the plumber. It’s a good political season for people named Joe, I guess, with the last presidential debate dragging out the latter Joe for his time in the limelight.
Held at Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y., the candidates sat together, along with Bob Schieffer of ‘CBS News,’ for perhaps the most interesting, though not the most relevant, 90 minutes the American electorate has seen thus far.
The topic was mainly the economy and there was great verbal sparring regarding Barack Obama’s tax plan and what John McCain sees as inherent problems, hence bringing in the newest Joe celebrity. This Joe had been approached by Obama during a door-to-door stump in Ohio, and he’d asked the senator if his tax plan will increase his taxes. At the time, Obama said his plan was to help ‘spread the wealth.’
Both candidates used Joe the plumber as an every-man sort of ideal, though McCain’s mention of him 21 times (as opposed to Obama’s four) seemed excessive. Apparently it did to Joe himself, who was quoted as saying he’d hoped they would have spent more time on the issues. I have to agree with you there, Joe.
Besides the issues ‘ and a lot of them that were avoided, as in all the debates previously ‘ one thing this debate was clear in presenting was a more aggressive, opinionated McCain. He was on the offense, knowing he needed a ‘game changer’ to help turn the tide of undecided voters to cast their ballots for the McCain/Palin ticket. He obviously has a temper and he’s letting us all see now how close it’s been to bubbling up. That could be a good thing and a bad thing. I respect someone who makes decisions off the cuff and shoots from the hip, but losing his temper in foreign policy negotiations with other heads of state, friendly or not, has the potential to become disastrous for our country.
Obama, in turn, was ice cold and restrained, unlike the first couple of debates. Both men seem tired, and the toll the campaign has taken is physically evident with both of them. Not only that, but with both camps running increasingly negative campaigns, the toll on their own consciences surely has to be growing, as well. I know I’m not the only voter tired of hearing half-truths and mudslinging. It’s easy to cherry-pick quotes from your opponent and ascribe them to something different or fudge a timeline to make certain circumstances carry more weight than they do, but it’s my hope the majority of Americans are too bright to fall for it anymore.
The last debate reached 55 million or so households, and surely the majority of the voters who are still undecided tuned in, as well. I know I am not the only one who is happy to see these last few days of October roll around, knowing the election, on Nov. 4, isn’t far away.