Citizen, one of the voices on CitizenSugar, is a pragmatic conservative, small-town farm-girl-turned vegan, not afraid to shoot straight. Here’s what she thought of the debate:

Wearing each other’s “team” ties in what I hoped was a nod toward cooperation, the economy was ripped open right at the start. Both candidates spoke straight at the camera, directly it seemed to me. It was eerie and wildly effective, with Joe the Plumber becoming an instantaneous celebrity, the cornerstone of their duel over small business taxes. Earmarks and pork barrel and budget overruns, oh my. I do like Obama’s line of needing a “scalpel, not a hatchet,” if only because it comforts me that he intends to cut spending as well.

When Schieffer pinned the candidates down on the negative aspects of the campaign I was breathless. It was baldly frank (seeming, I mean it is politics) talk, and when McCain whipped out the stat that Obama had spent the most money on negative campaign ads, it hit home — but was parried well by Obama’s stat that six in 10 perceive McCain as negative. Then, the politest knock down-drag out on Ayers and ACORN. We knew it was coming all day, but when it did it was all the more potent.

When Roe v. Wade popped up, I was actually heartened to hear civilized talk of the difference between choosing judges for their ideologies, and choosing judges for their adherence to the Constitution — it could be the most cogent debate on the issue we’ve had thus far.

As for the “Gore sighs” the nonverbals that will kill a performance: both were guilty of the smirk, if only perhaps to relieve the tension. I know I could barely handle it, it stands to reason it had to express itself somewhere, so to speak.

In all, the debate was like a floaty butterfly fairy tale meets a brick wall. The second you got caught up in the story Obama was spinning, then came McCain with his smack down of reality. Even 20 months in, it was confusing and captivating and perfectly encapsulated these diametrically opposed yet unflinching campaigns — and illuminated the very choice we all have to make in 20 short days.

Now as Bob Schieffer’s mother says, “Go vote now. It will make you feel big and strong.”

Article cross-posted on CitizenSugar.

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