On MSNBC this morning, an exchange between Pat Buchanan and Tom Brokaw:

BUCHANAN: Tom, in the first debate McCain was criticized as being too tough or too mean. Did you get the sense he was trying to be tough at the same time last night and he was trying to be a nice guy and do it with a smile as you suggested he was on the offensive all night long?

BROKAW: I do think that, Pat. You could almost read what was going through [McCain’s] mind when he was talking about national security especially. I just can’t believe that I can’t sell this case to the American public. This guy was in the Illinois State Senate and has not served a full term in the United States Senate and he’s only been to Afghanistan once, here I am trailing him when we’re at war in two different countries. That’s what it appeared to be that he was thinking and that was part of his style last night. He was trying to be the mischievous imp he’s been in the past but at he same time the serious commander in chief….


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.