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Obama Shows Grace Under Pressure as McCain Strikes a Bitter, Whiny Tone

Breaking down the third and final debate.
 
 
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John McCain was in a tough spot tonight. He's tanking in the polls as he ramps up the personal attacks on Barack Obama, yet the base was clamoring for a knock-out punch . He had to throw them some red meat, even if it meant alienating the non-insane. There were landmines everywhere and McCain stepped in all of them. His smirking, snarky tone was decidedly un-presidential, and his bitter, whiny complaining performance probably satisfied no one.
On the other hand, it was Obama's best showing yet. His answers were poised, direct and sincere -- especially when he dealt with the difficult subjects of Ayers, John Lewis and the ugly mob that Sarah Palin has been stirring up at her public events. He addressed the accusations of being a terrorist head on, and didn't try to dismiss the ugliness of it. It's the first time I've heard him speak quite so unflinchingly about something so personal and vicious, and he did it in a way that was grounded and made him appear totally confident and calm in his conviction. It inspired a lot of confidence that he has the maturity and the gravitas to address really complex and difficult situations. He definitely showed grace under pressure.

But the most memorable moment of the debate -- the one that should come back to haunt McCain -- was when he sneeringly dismissed concerns for women's "health" with regard to abortion. Contempt for women just oozed out of every pore of his being, and it was no stretch to imagine the same man turning to his wife and saying "at least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c**t."

I guess at some point that China doll down in Old Hong Kong turns into just another annoying slut, eh?

David Plouffe wrapped it up afterwards by saying "we came into the debate with two thirds of the American people thinking that John McCain is running a negative campaign, and Senator McCain spent 90 minutes trying to convince the other third."

McCain was a nasty, vicious glass of sour milk who can barely contain his temper and can't quite fathom what is happening to him.
Anybody who still thinks McCain isn't running a negative campaign is either in denial or wasn't watching.

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by its writers are their own.

Jane Hamsher is the founder of FireDogLake. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect.

 
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