McCain triumphs in debate against nervous Bush - World - News - The Independent

McCain triumphs in debate against nervous Bush

REPUBLICAN RIVALS for the presidential nomination fanned out across the small New England state of New Hampshire yesterday, back on the campaign trail after a televised debate that had brought all six of them together on the same platform for the first time - and cost none his electoral chances.

Of the leading contenders, George W Bush, the Governor of Texas, avoided the twin pitfalls of gaffe and ignorance; Senator John McCain displayed his breadth of experience and quickness of wit; Steve Forbes, the millionaire publisher, capitalised on his sober-suited managerial competence; and Gary Bauer, the Christian conservative, was articulate and unswayed in defence of his principles.

Yet there was a clear winner in this carefully constructed question and answer session: Mr McCain, who impressed, charmed and amused by turns, rapidly shedding his uncharacteristic diffidence.

Mr Bush, in his first national television debate, seemed unsure whether to stand aloof as the front-runner or muck in as one of the boys, and he shifted uneasily between the two approaches, his discomfort palpable.

For both Mr McCain and Mr Bush, much was at stake. After a month-long surge in opinion polls during which he pulled ahead of Mr Bush in New Hampshire, Mr McCain was again losing ground. Mr Bush had planned not to take part in debates before the new year, but was forced by Mr McCain's rise in this key state to change his mind. The New Hampshire primary election, which will help to determine who wins the Republican nomination, is now less than two months away.

The candidates had rolled into the city of Manchester like minor heads of state in their limousines, slowing for the approach to the local broadcasting station to acknowledge the cheers of their supporters.

Just across the road, several hundred McCain supporters crammed into Jillian's, Manchester's premier sports bar, which had switched its giant screens from football to politics for the evening.

When the genial face of George Bush appeared on screen in his latest campaign advertisement - "Every child... should share in the American dream" - there were loud boos.

As Mr McCain was introduced, the second of the six candidates, the cheers rang out. There were tables of military veterans in their studded caps - a constituency for which Mr McCain as a Vietnam war hero has a special appeal - but ranks of young people, too, including a spectacular punk with a red Mohican hair-do, for whom Mr McCain's anti-establishment image is the chief draw.

Chatting amiably through the fiery rhetoric of the black conservative, Alan Keyes, and the languid explanations of the sixth candidate, Senator Orrin Hatch, the McCain fans called for a respectful silence whenever a question was directed at their candidate, and then dissolved into laughter when, in response to a question about his well known temper, he quipped: "A comment like that really makes me mad." Or, when asked about economic policy, he said that not only would he keep on the present chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, but that, if he died, he would want him propped up in a corner thereafter.

With his huge poll lead nationally, Mr Bush has no immediate cause for worry, but the race is not over. The candidates are back in the debating studio on Monday - in Mr McCain's home state of Arizona this time - for another round.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Corporate Communications Manager - London - up to £80,000

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Corporate Marketing Communications M...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week