We covered the debates live on our website, as we always do, so we had instant analysis of many of the moments of the debate. The one moment that was jarring for most was McCain's "that one" comment. Some questioned if it had racial implications.
Honestly, I felt it was just more awkward than anything else. And that if you're going to read anything into it, it should be his general disdain of Senator Obama, rather than an assumption of a racially loaded term. He seems to have the attitude of "How can this young whipper-snapper who is just a first-term Senator dare to challenge me for the presidency?!" As in, "Get a load of that one!"
For me, the more worrisome moment of the debate came when McCain told a young, black questioner, "You've probably never heard of Fannie Mae." We were doing play-by-play of the debate on our website and I shouted out, "Why not? Why wouldn't he have heard of Fannie Mae?"
Would McCain really have said the same thing to an older, white questioner? It seems unlikely. Of course, it's nearly impossible to separate out age, race and whatever else is going through McCain's head at that moment. Can I say definitively that McCain said that because of the person's race? No, I definitely can't. But that was a moment for me that was more loaded with racial possibility than his reference to "that one."
I think McCain has to at least be savvy enough not to tell someone in the audience that they don't know elementary things that are in the news, no matter what their race is. Chalk up yet another awkward moment brought to you by Grandpa McCain.
PS - I'd like to thank our viewer "stanski" of reminding me of this on our blog after the debate. It might have slipped under the radar if he hadn't brought it up again.