Last night’s presidential debate was, on the whole, quite
substantive, offering the public a good sense of the fundamental
differences between McCain and Obama on issues ranging from health care
to foreign policy.  However, the single most poignant moment from my
perspective was when McCain disdainfully referred to Obama as “that
one,” pointing his index finger across his chest toward Obama, but never looking directly at him.

The comment and the gesture captured the deep level of contempt
McCain has for Obama. It seemed to express something  bitter and angry
at the core of McCain’s character. As my mother suggested at the time,
the phrase “that one” trades on an undercurrent of racism associated
with references to “those people.”

Although much more distasteful, I wonder if this gesture will have
the same effect on McCain’s ultimate quest for the White House that  George H.W. Bush’s impatient glance at his watch during the 1992 debate had on his quest for a second term.

This is also posted on the WPSU.org Vote2008 blog available here.

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