The second U.S. Presidential debate last night gave a hint of the angrier side of John McCain. At the end of the debate when the candidates did their hand shakes with some people in the small community forum setting, McCain while busy with the wife at his side moving around, pointing/acknowledging people, chatting, etc., eventually crossed paths in the small floor setting, with Barack Obama again. He gave Obama a very quick pat on the back, seemed a little edgy, and did not reciprocate a hand shake Obama had clearly initiated. Prior to that in the debate, he referred to Obama as "that one" when discussing his own energy bill - "You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one," McCain said as he pointed toward Obama.
Soon after the debate a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey said that 54% felt that Obama won, while 30% gave it to McCain. The hand shake dismissal was noticed by pundits immediately, and the impression from their encounter was that McCain showed contempt for his opponent. One analyst said it was his contempt for having to share the stage with a younger, bright whipper-snapper.
Obama has been moving ahead in the polls, and this debate may seal the deal for him. If the legendary Nixon-Kennedy is remembered for Nixon's five o'clock shadow, the effect of McCain's comments and behaviour last night will amplify the negative impression viewers may consciously or subconsciously have had on him, and possibly be one of the more memorable debate moments.