From Where I Sit: The First Presidential Debate

I went into this debate worried that my new found excitement for my chosen candidate would be dimmed. I was not worried about Obama's skill as a debater; he was by far the most eloquent candidate this year. No, my worry was that he would rely on rhetoric and Republican bashing when what I wanted to hear was concrete, proactive plans for my country's future. And while there was some of that, it did not form the core of what he had to say. To my delight (and relief), Obama unfolded a concrete, decisive vision for the future that addressed areas of deep concern for me.

The two main areas of concern for me this election cycle are foreign policy and the economy, so I was particularly interested in what the candidates had to say in this
debate.

I was looking for specifics, so I was disappointed that McCain kept things vague and relied primarily on rhetoric. Amidst all his talk about cutting taxes and federal spending, it seems that John McCain feels that the only people that the federal government should concern themselves with are those who are part of the military complex. Not that we shouldn't take care of military personal and their families and take care of veterans, but they shouldn't be the only segment of society we take care of. And his comments about health care drove me crazy. McCain is fooling himself if he thinks that medical decisions are currently being made between families and their doctors. Medical decisions are being made by insurance companies for those lucky enough to have insurance, and by poverty for those who don't.

Obama, by contrast, spelled out his intentions towards the American public. I wanted specifics; he delivered specifics. Now I'm aware he won't be able to deliver on everything, but I do believe he's moving in the right direction. He recognizes that the strength of our economy lies not with the multi-millionaires but with the middle class, and he's proposing an economic plan that puts them at the center. I nearly cheered when Obama started talking about the need to rebuild the infrastructure of our nation.

I was especially interested to hear their thoughts on foreign policy. As an American living abroad, I have to face the world's poor opinion of my country. And to me it seems blatantly obvious that this poor opinion puts all Americans at risk. After listening to both candidates, I came away with a clear idea of Obama's intent and game plan to restore our image abroad. I'm still trying to sift out McCain's positions from his nostalgic ramblings. Frankly, I was surprised by how vague McCain was on such critical matters of foreign policy and national security. Who would have believed that Obama would come across as more decisive than McCain!

I think that one of McCain's biggest mistakes in the debate was to rest on his foreign policy credentials. McCain seemed to think that a list of his credentials was good enough. Not for me it wasn't. I want specifics about what the candidates intend to do. Obama delivered, McCain did not. Instead, I got the image of a hot-shot fighter pilot. And I can't say that I want that hot-shot as our
Commander-in-Chief. I prefer the candidate intent on restoring our good
name.

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