The final presidential debate of this election is over. Initially, I was overjoyed that the two candidates actually followed a true debate format (well, as close as they get in real politics.) They (sometimes) answered the moderator’s questions and often responded directly to each other. The thing that put me off on the whole thing was how much of it was spent discussing things that have NO bearing on things that matter.

This should be a discussion about fixing things, changing things, proceeding – you name it. What we got was a large percentage of the actual talk time spent on the silliness of politics – who said what bad thing about the other, who believes what about the other… nearly half of the screen time was spent on these non-issues. Although both of the last two debates lasted an hour and a half the number of substantive comments make (true, false, or spin) was dramatically different. In the last debate, the two candidates combined for 243 substantive comments. In this one – only 133. We are talking 55% less ‘real talk’ and a whole lot more jibber-jabber about nothing.

Alright, lets break down the results. Again, the criteria for grading is purely based on my opinion.

Every time a candidate says the right thing (i.e. something I agree with) he gets a check in the “Right” column. Every time something wrong is said, a check in the “Wrong” column. Also, every time there is an attempt to spin or dodge the question, there was a check in the “Spin/Dodge” column.

The most positive thing to come out of this final debate was that the overall percentage of Right answers climbed – and it climbed for both candidates. Again, Obama led the way.
70% Right (up from 64% last debate) – Obama again seemed most in touch with at least paying lip service to the changes that are needed.
40% Right (up from 28% last debate) – John McCain showed huge improvement. This seems to signal that he is starting to pay attention to the public.

Another positive impact of this debate is that Spin dropped across the board as well. The two tallied a combined 36% Spin last time while knocking that number down to only 22% this go-round.
27% Spin (down from 47% last debate) – McCain makes dramatic progress in dropping the [email protected] and getting down to business.
17% Spin (down from 25% last debate) – Barack Obama also cut down on the spin a great deal.

A couple of the more surprising numbers – The percentage of comments about Domestic Affairs skyrocketed from 8% last time around to a whopping 38% this time. Even comments about the Economy dropped off from 37% of the discussion last time to only 22% in this last debate.

The biggest improvement by either candidate was clearly McCain’s comments surrounding the economy. He scored a dismal 29% on Economy last time and a huge 63% this time around. I attribute his increase in saying the right things about Economy to actually starting to flesh out a plan.

Overall, Obama once again wiped the floor with McCain on this report card. I just want to remind you that this is based on “saying” the right thing – and has no bearing on following through and actually “doing’ the right thing.