A man now known to many as “Joe the Plumber” spent a few minutes talking to Obama at a campaign event recently and ended up being referenced numerous times in tonight’s third and final presidential debate, which took place at Hofstra University. The Final Debate had the two candidates sitting face to face at a desk as moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS news questioned them about various domestic issues.

The simple format for the debate, which had the candidates sit across from one another, going back and forth on their policies was a lot more comfortable to watch than the awkward staginess that was the town hall-style second debate. Schieffer seemed to have a much easier time keeping the discussion relatively on track than Brokaw did and only had to cut the candidates off one or two times during the event. Schieffer also addressed some things a bit more head-on than Brokaw. For example, he asked the candidates to give a specific number of how much we can reduce our foreign oil imports during their first term. While the questions were very direct, the answers were predictably less so.

Throughout the debate, both Obama and McCain used Joe the Plumber as an example of the typical American small businessman, explaining how he might be affected by each of their tax-related policies. Also discussed were their policies on the energy crisis, abortion, education, and healthcare. While both candidates were fairly civil towards one another, there were a couple of moments that brought a reaction from the crowd.

Early on in the debate, Obama referenced something from the Bush administration, to which McCain responded that he isn’t Bush and if Obama wanted to run against Bush, he should have done so four years ago. Things also got a bit tense when Schieffer brought up the negative campaigning on both sides, which resulted in a lot of finger pointing from both candidates and didn’t really go anywhere.

Out of the three debates that have aired, this one felt the most solid in terms of both Obama and McCain explaining certain things that have been said, re-addressing policies that are important to them and challenging one another on the plans they have for their administration, should the voters elect them. Whether or not either will pull ahead in the polls as a result of this debate remains to be seen but it’s likely that the hour and a half long political throw-down will give voters plenty to think about, especially if they haven’t already made up their minds yet.

Who Won The Debate?

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