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What does the US economic recession mean to Obama and McCain?

“This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with. The option of doing nothing is simply not an acceptable option,” McCain said. Obama said he was inclined to back it, “because I think Main Street is now at stake.”
Barack Obama and John McCain shake hands at the start of their first televised debate, a crucial step in the election process.
Barack Obama and John McCain shake hands at the start of their first televised debate, a crucial step in the election process.

“This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with. The option of doing nothing is simply not an acceptable option,” McCain said. Obama said he was inclined to back it, “because I think Main Street is now at stake.”

The USA financial market crisis is expected to dominate the on going presidential election campaign; especially that The House of Representatives has rejected the, USD 700 billion dollar emergency bail out plan – expected to go for another vote on Friday.

The two presidential candidates Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator Barack Obama; faced each other recently in their first live television debate that was meant to address pressing issues among them those to do with foreign policy.

They were however, forced to talk on the real burning economic problem in the US today in their 90 minutes debate.

The fact that they turned immediately to discuss economic issues, shows how significant the economic recession is in the 2008 race (the worst since Black Tuesday in the early 90’s).

Is the recession affecting Obama or McCain Campaign or both? Both are actually affected as they are put to task top explain how they will turn around a distorted economy, as financial markets collapse.

The reality proved some economic critics in the US wrong, when they said that debates on economic issues could not give any of the candidates, credit.

They claimed that since none of the two (Obama and McCain) is an economist, it makes little sense for them to debate on matters pertaining to the US economy.

The economist instead advised them to highlight the economic advisors and official they would nominate, so that a judgment is based on that the electorate makes kind of selection.

Though the above argument holds enough water, we can’t rule out the need for the candidates themselves to prove to the American people, that as the final authority, they will have to address the financial crisis.

The debate between Obama and McCain indeed showed their innate characters, for it is from what one says and does that a ‘good guess’ of who is who can be made.

The way one communicates either verbally or non-verbally tells a lot to listeners.

Furthermore debates help to reveal where a candidate is indeed strong and where he is weak, hence helping the electorate to make an informed choice.

From what we saw McCain was very well versed with matters to do with the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, occasionally, setting some difficult questions, which were meant to challenge Obama.

A typical challenge was put across to Obama when he was told by McCain that, “the problem you have is that you do not get the difference between a strategy and a technique”.

This was a strong challenge and had it not been the intelligent Obama, another man or woman would have sweated, owing to the fact that the challenge was from a Vietnam War veteran.

The Senator was also very strong in using non-verbal communication to laugh off sarcastically, whatever his rival said in defence.

He wore a sarcastic smile all the time, his opponent talked. This is strong weapon that helps you to attack or belittle whatever your rival says, even when you are not allowed to talk.

McCain however, for reasons well known to him, never wanted to face Obama in the eyes, a thing that left many observers in suspense.

Concerned American critics asked how he could face their enemies if he could not face his opponent. Many people asked themselves why the man never wanted to look right into his rivals face.

Was it a tactic or strategy? We do not have any answer. Some people watching from far were disturbed, as they watched McCain talk while facing the ‘chairperson’ of the debate for 90 minutes.

On the other hand, Obama a good command on matters concerning military operations – unexpected to many. He even had the guts to mention the number of extra troops, he would send to Afghanistan to cool down the Taliban fighters.

He also strongly supported his position in opposing the Iraq war by saying that, though the violence is subsiding in Iraq; the operation was done at an unnecessary great expense in terms of cash and kind.

He went on to disqualify the war as one that was based on lies, since no nuclear weapons were ever found. “It is a war in which we have lost hundreds of men, had others maimed and spent millions of dollars every month”, he said.

The US occupation of Iraq is costing $1bn every three days, with the total spent so far being $800bn.

The manner, in which he manages to group the Iraq war into unjustifiable ones, shows his level of departure from the Republicans trigger happy mentality.

Speculation is rife that with the financial crisis; the huge costs of fighting both in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated in 2007 at a combined cost of $2.4 trillion over the next decade, the Americans could be forced to retreat.

Unlike his rival, Obama faced him in the face throughout the debate. This behaviour shows a clear distinction between the two men. We cannot however, be able to tell it at this particular time-it is just too early.

Obama finally stole the show when he showed care for the middle class, who are suffering rising unemployment and mortgage repayment crisis as a result of the crisis.

This is the one we might call the deprived group, in our developing nations. No wonder after the debate, he accused McCain of not caring about the middle class.

At some point after the elections, he heavily challenged John that he cannot do what he failed to in 26 years in 26 days. He further quickly adds in his popular rhetoric that, “we can’t continue to talk the talk but walk the walk”.

The two candidates proved the clear ideological dichotomy between the Democrats and the Republicans – with the former seemingly inward looking (domestic policy) and the latter outward looking (foreign policy).

McCain too, never stopped to highlight his rival’s inexperience, by showing more concern on debates on the 700bn bill. He actually wanted to abandon his and Obama’s, before he was warned that it would continue in his absentia.

Nonetheless, the race is still at the beginning of the end, and the two aspiring vice-presidents, will add more soup to the campaign.

It is therefore too early to say who is gaining from the US economic crisis. Biden and Palin are expected to tussle it out in another 90 minutes debate on Friday.


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