Round Three

McCain summoned old-fashioned antigovernment outrage in the final debate. But this is a different year

Jim Bourg / Reuters

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama debate during the final presidential debate at Hofstra University October 15, 2008

"This really gets down to the fundamental difference in our philosophies," John McCain said, quite accurately, in the heat of the third presidential debate. "If you notice ... Senator Obama wants government to do the job. He wants government to do the job. I want you, Joe, to do the job," referring to a plumber Barack Obama had met on the campaign trail. The job, in this case, was finding health insurance. And in years past, McCain would have had the better of this argument — it is the classic division between liberals and conservatives. But 2008 has proved...

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