Live blogging: McCain keeps swinging, but his punches aren't landing

If he's going to continue to attack, John McCain needs to get voters to connect with him, or he's in trouble.

Published October 8, 2008 1:28AM (EDT)

As always, I'm absolutely captivated by the chart CNN's running showing the real-time reactions of uncommitted Ohio voters to the debate. (What can I say? I like bright colors and shiny things.) And what I'm noticing right now, most of all -- Barack Obama is really connecting, and John McCain is not.

Most importantly for McCain, if he's going to continue to attack Obama, he really needs to land those attacks, he needs to make them stick. So far, voters aren't reacting all that positively to his criticisms of his opponent. And as long as this debate stays on the economy, that's going to be a problem for him, especially because the shots of him on the attack while Obama sits smiling comfortably are not helping.

One brief aside: If I were in the McCain camp, I'd be angry at the debate organizers over their furniture selection. The chairs are too high for the Republican nominee. Obviously, that's a little thing, but remember that during a debate, visuals really do matter. (See, e.g., Richard Nixon vs. John F. Kennedy.) And while Obama seems comfortable and natural perched on his chair, McCain looks awkward, uncomfortable and -- perhaps most important of all -- short.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.