Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 09:49 UK

Voters' Views: Geoffrey Nolan

White House hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain have clashed over foreign policy and the economy in their first debate.

Here Republican and Democratic voters from across the US reflect on how the candidates performed.

Geoffrey Nolan Salesman | Republican

McCain just seemed to have a firmer, clearer grasp of the topics

Geoffrey Nolan
Age: 62
Lives: Miami, Florida
Occupation: Canvas awning salesman
Last election voted:
In 10 words or fewer: Political duellist - fencing with relish but not without pity

"The general feeling I'm left with is that McCain is a bi-partisan statesman who seeks a growing, healthy economy. Obama just wants to hand out benefits.

It is as though Obama is offering anyone hurt by the present economic conditions a chance to get even with the guilty parties.

When asked where he'd have to cut spending due to the financial mess, Obama launched into a laundry list of benefits that he would not cut. The moderator repeatedly pressed on this to no avail.

Obama parried well and avoided serious gaffs but didn't show me that he would offer real change. McCain just seemed to have a firmer, clearer grasp of the topics, the history and geography.

When asked about our Iran policy, Obama seemed to be making the point that we would all be better off with Saddam still in power as a buffer against that country.

McCain was much more articulate regarding the Georgia-Russia conflict, and deftly explained Putin's thirst for the energy pipeline there so as to increase his country's influence on an energy-dependant Europe.

To this analysis Obama simply agreed and spoke about folks in America dreading the coming winter - as if that were the perfect tie-in.

It was a definite win for McCain."

You can add your comments and questions on Geoffrey 's views using the form below:

Your comments:

McCain's debate was carried by a largely emotional standpoint - before even beginning the debate, he gave his regards to Kennedy. He also closed on his trademark trump card of "I was a prisoner of war..."

I don't understand how you missed Obama's points and counterpoints which gave a pretty good understanding of his strategies. In regards to taxes, most American's don't make more than $250,000 a year, so I don't see how McCain's tax plan that benefits this class will help struggling middle-America

Once you can see past McCain's obfuscation, it is clear that Obama presents the best platform for a stronger, more educated, better-respected and more financially sound American future.
Chris Toscano, Charlotte, NC USA

I disagree with Geoffrey. I felt Obama had the upper hand on the economy and held his own on foreign relations. Clearly McCain's idea of a spending freeze on everything except the military and entitlements is essentially a freeze on nothing since those are the largest chunks of our budget. McCain's view of our relations with Russia and Iran sounds like more of the same that clearly has completely failed.
KC, Denville NJ, USA

McCain served in the senate with Kennedy for many years where the two developed a mutual respect. Republican Senator Orin Hatch of Utah is a close and proven friend of Kennedy. Hatch personally intervened to help him conquer alcohol addiction. Honourable people can have an honest difference of opinion and remain friends. I don't think wishing Kennedy well in his dire hour was merely a cynical emotional ploy.

Democrat General Wesley Clark (retired) disparaged McCain's captivity and torture and was promptly dumped as a possibility for the number two spot on the ticket and disinvited to the convention. Even highly partisan democrats know enough to leave it alone.

Obama proposes a massive expansion of programs and benefits and expects us to believe that those making more than $250,000 will be able to pay for it all. It is a sure-fire way to get some votes but the numbers just don't add up. Having given birth to the industrial revolution Great Britain became known as the sick man of Europe after she decided to impose massive taxes on the rich.

Those who disagree with my opinion have expressed themselves well and I take heart that civil discourse lives on. .
Geoffrey Nolan, Florida

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The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.

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