Professor gives his take on candidates’ debate

National polls say that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama gained a slim win over Republican Candidate John McCain in the first debate, but a Northern Kentucky University communications professor says different.

“Overall, I have to give the slight advantage to McCain,” Steven Weiss, a debate professor in the Department of Communications, said. “He didn’t make any mistakes.”

Obama and McCain faced off in the first debate Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi. The pair began by discussing the controversial banking bailout plan, then moved on to foreign policy questions.

Weiss said that while McCain was more focused and deliberate than he was expecting. But Obama’s tendency “to meander” hurt his points,as did his lack of forcefulness.

Nevertheless, both displayed weaknesses. The very first question, Weiss said, they both tried to avoid.

“Neither gave a strong or decisive answer,” Weiss said. “They both immediately slipped into campaign mode.”

Obama, he said, focused on middle-class issues, while his Republican rival tip-toed around the issue as well.

“McCain immediately got into issues of spending and earmarks when he was supposed to talk about the issues,” Weiss said. “I didn’t hear any of them talk about the bailout proposal