As non-citizen, I cannot vote in the US elections, but I still follow the campaign, and today I watched the first presidential debate between Obama and McCain.
McCain's messages were few and frequently repeated. Now I know that he "has not won Ms. Congeniality in the U.S. Senate," that he will "cut spending," and that he will "win in Iraq." No details were given, even when his statements were challenged head-on by Obama, and he sounded like he was working hard on repeating the sound bites prepared by his team.
Though this left a shallow impression with me, I am afraid McCain might have the upper hand with his messaging strategy, knowing that the average voter's attention span is about 30 seconds.
Obama was clear and to the point, however he had fewer sound bites and I did not notice any recurring litanies like his opponent's "Ms. Congeniality." He did well at ignoring McCain's derisive smirks and passive-aggressive body language, so I will give him plus points for that.
In general I have to say that this election year I am much less engaged that I usually would be. After volunteering locally a few times for one of the candidates who did not win their party's nomination early in the campaign, I lost interest to a large extent.