A follow-up to last evening's entry – it looks like I'm not the only one who noticed that McCain and Cindy took off immediately after the debate:
Both women, as well as the third audience member, were especially emphatic about their feelings on the two men’s performance after the debate. All three said that Mr. McCain shook hands with several audience members and then left fairly quickly. Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, stuck around to shake far more hands, pose for pictures, sign autographs, and answer more questions, including from people who had been on stage but did not get a chance to ask their questions. Only when Secret Service agents told them it was time to go did the couple leave (upon which they headed for a post-debate fundraiser at Al and Tipper Gore’s house nearby).
“McCain leaving right afterward was pretty shocking to me – even some of the big McCain fans among us were really surprised he did that,” Ms. Jackson said. “I thought the Obamas came off like real people much more in the end.”
Ms. Trella added: for, “I was very impressed that the Obamas stayed til the very end, shook everyone’s hand, and just seemed very accessible. I think they won some people over by just sticking around and seeming happy to talk more.”
An excerpt from "Debate Audience Members Talk About Candidates"
- NY Times Caucus Blog, 10/8/08
John Dickerson from Slate also noticed this and points to it as a big reason Obama won in the end:
After their second debate, both Barack Obama and John McCain shook hands with the Nashville audience of 80 uncommitted voters. Both were well-received. But Obama stayed longer, and with McCain out of the room, the affection from the swing voters increased. He was mobbed, patted, beamed at, embraced. One woman wiggled up next to him. At one point, about 15 voters posed for a group picture like it was the last day of camp. The "Nashville '08 Debate" T-shirts are in the mail.
These uncommitted voters wanted to be next to Barack Obama, and the adulation from the audience helps explain why he won the debate. In the post-debate polls on CNN and CBS, he was the clear winner, and he also won Fox's focus group.
I wonder how much not taking an extra 10 minutes to hang out might have cost McCain...