Both camps summarize the first 08 debate

Literally, one minute after the debate ends, McCain’s campaign was out with a statement:

“There was one man who was presidential tonight, that man was John McCain. There was another who was political, that was Barack Obama. John McCain won this debate and controlled the dialogue throughout, whether it was the economy, taxes, spending, Iraq or Iran. There was a leadership gap, a judgment gap, and a boldness gap on display tonight, a fact Barack Obama acknowledged when he said John McCain was right at least five times. Tonight’s debate showed John McCain in command of the issues and presenting a clear agenda for America’s future.” –Jill Hazelbaker, McCain-Palin 2008 Communications Director

The Obama campaign response:

“This was a clear victory for Barack Obama on John McCain’s home turf. Senator McCain offered nothing but more of the same failed Bush policies, and Barack Obama made a forceful case for change in our economy and our foreign policy. While Senator McCain wants to keep giving huge tax cuts to corporations and said nothing about the challenges Americans are facing in their daily lives, Barack Obama will be a fierce advocate for tax cuts for the middle class, affordable health care, and a new energy economy that creates millions of jobs. While foreign policy was supposed to be John McCain’s top issue, Barack Obama commanded that part of the debate with a clear call to responsibly end a misguided war in Iraq so that we can finish the fight against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. John McCain needed a game-changer tonight, and by any measure he didn’t get it,” said Obama-Biden campaign manager David Plouffe.

Obama goofs on McCain’s inability to use a computer (due to POW torture wounds)

The Obama camp recently released this commercial, which basically amounts to “the old man can’t even use a computer!” as its sole source of criticism.

The attack angle is super weak (can you imagine any swing voter anywhere saying “well, i was considering John McCain but after finding out that he’s not good with computers!? Nooooo thank you!), as well as risks needlessly offending a large voter block who might be in the same non-technical area (senior citizens are known for high vote turnout).

But far worse is the allegation that McCain’s war injuries limit his ability to use a computer. Yikes! If true, that would make this line of attack incredibly tasteless, not to mention misleading.

The Huffington post says no way Jose, citing that McCain told the New York Times in July:

I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need.

Huffpo adds 2 similar follow ups to that and includes this picture twice on the page:

Seeee? He’s holding a phone. IN A CAR! So clearly he can use electronics just fine. Not to mention that the awkward way the Senator is holding the phone in that picture doesn’t help the Huffpo’s claim, but that’s besides the point.

Maybe they were relying on this answer he gave to Yahoo News 7 months ago? ….ya. probably not. It basically says the same thing said in the Times quote.

Whatever the Obama camps excuse is, Jake Tapper of ABC News confirms:

Assuredly McCain isn’t comfortable talking about this — and the McCain campaign discouraged me from writing about this — but the reason the aged Arizonan doesn’t use a computer or send email is because of his war wounds.

I realize some of the nastier liberals in the blogosphere will see this as McCain once again “playing the POW card,” but it’s simply a fact: typing on a regular keyboard for any sustained period of time bothers McCain physically.

He can type, he occasionally does type, but in general the injuries he sustained as a POW — ones that make it impossible for him to raise his arms high enough to comb his hair — mean that small tasks make his shoulders ache, so he tries to avoid any repetitive exercise.

Again, it’s not that he can’t type, he just by habit avoids when he can repetitive exercise involving his arms. He does if he has to, as with handshaking or autographs.

Conservative blogger Allahpundit comments:

Making fun of a war hero’s severe injuries — smooth move, Team O.  Talk about computer illiteracy!  Doesn’t anyone on the Obama campaign know what they’re doing?  Didn’t it ever occur to them that a man who can’t raise his arms above his head might have a physical barrier to using a computer?

And matters were not made better when an Obama spokesman, appearing on Fox News, won’t deny he knew McCain’s injuries limited his computer use…

So what happened here? Allahpundit hypothesizes: Sounds like what happened is they did their research, stumbled across the Globe piece from 2000 claiming McCain couldn’t use a keyboard because of his wounds, then stumbled across the NYT interview from this summer where he talks about using a computer and learning to go online and assumed the problem must have been resolved through some sort of technological advance in the eight-year interim. Clearly a risk worth taking for a line of attack this dorktastic.

Jonah Goldberg makes this killer observation about the thesis of the ad:

Lord knows I think the chicken-hawk arguments are stupid. And I don’t think the fact that Obama never served in the military should count against him in and of itself. But how stupid is it for the Obama campaign to claim that McCain is unqualified to be president because he can’t grasp cyber-security issues based on the fact he has never sent an email when the McCain campaign can just as easily say Obama can’t understand first order national security issues because he’s never fired a rife, flown a plane, commanded men in battle, or faced an enemy? I mean which prepares someone to be commander in chief better, hitting “send” on AOL or fighting a war?

Obama, by this 1982 ad, has made this point valid and fair. Whether the McCain camp is likely to take the opportunity is unlikely, but remains to be seen.

Scott Ott of Scrappleface produced this second ad for Team Obama:

Indeed if the Obama camp had shown some technical know-how themselves, finding The Boston Globe report that explained this 8 years ago, or when Forbes Magazine noted McCain’s disability in 2000 would have been smart moves to get out of the way before producing the ad.