Obama Speaks to “Joe the Plumber” TooPublished by Pamela Gentry on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12:41 pm.
By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Producer
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Oct. 16, 2008 ) – Another Joe showed up at the third and final presidential debate, but we’re not sure if the newly introduced “Joe the plumber” is related to “Joe Six-pack.” But “Joe” was center stage for Sen. John McCain economic plan and even addressed by Sen. Barack Obama when explaining his tax plan.
Regardless of the plights of either “Joe” the debate at Hofstra University was the final opportunity for McCain and Obama to face off on the issues with only 19 days remaining in the race.
From where I’m was sitting in the media filing center with more than 200 flat-screen televisions and 3,000 journalists – neither candidate delivered a knock-out blow, but both defended their policies. But following the debate, two television network polls confirmed what pundits were speculating: Obama won this debate too. And the new muse for McCain, “Joe Plumber,” didn’t really score that high with voters.
McCain came to this debate ready to rumble with a list of issues questioning Obama’s ability to lead. McCain touched on Obama’s association will Bill Ayers, as well as on the recent ACORN scandal. Obama came to the debate to discuss the “fundamental differences” between him and McCain and to avoid losing any ground with voters.
The CNN poll found: 58 percent of those who watched the debate gave Obama the win. Following the debate, Obama’s favorable rating went up to 66 percent and McCain’s declined to 49 percent. Eighty percent of the debate watchers saw McCain as on the attack.
The CBS News poll mirrored some of the same findings; in addition, more uncommitted voters trusted Obama more than McCain to make the right decisions on health care, compared with 27 percent who trusted McCain.
Former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, speaking on behalf of the McCain campaign told me after the debate, “I think he proved he’s a fighter and showed his fighting sprit tonight.”
But that’s wasn’t Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs’ take on it. “I think John McCain looked angry and aggitated, and I don’t think it was a good night for him. “Only one campaign is going to help Joe the plumber, and that’s Barack Obama’s.”
Whom do you think won the debate?