Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 26, 2008
By: Hilzoy

Debate: Liveblogging

I will try to liveblog this, even though I have no idea whether I'll be any good at it.

9:03: Where do they stand on recovery plans?

9:06: Obama: I think he looks good: collected, forceful. States principles; ties current problems to Republican philosophy.

9:07: Though on reflection, he didn't say where he stands on the specific packages; just principles.

9:08: McCain seems to me more rambling, but folksy. I don't like this, but some people seem to. And why was it McCain who mentioned Kennedy first?

9:10: McCain apparently commits to voting for the plan.

9:12: McCain talks about Eisenhower, and the need to hold people accountable. Obama agrees. But says: not just when there's a crisis.

9:14: Lehrer: are there fundamental differences about what McCain would do vs. what Obama would do to get us out of this crisis?

9:15: McCain: his answer goes on about earmarks and pork-barrel spending. I have no idea what this has to do with the present crisis.

9:17: Obama: earmarks are a pretty small part of domestic spending. McCain's tax cuts for the rich are much, much bigger. His own tax cuts, for the middle class, would do more for economic growth.

9:20: McCain goes on and on about Obama's earmarks, and the corruption of the system. Obama: eliminating earmarks alone will not get the economy back on track. It's a continuation of the past eight years.

9:21: McCain: Business taxes: too high. Now he's back on earmarks. Again.

9:22: Obama: I will cut taxes on everyone making $250,000. Business taxes: low on paper, but there are so many loopholes that it's actually lower. McCain doesn't want to eliminate these loopholes; just shovel more tax cuts to people.

9:24: McCain: Obama has voted for bills that have earmarks. Plus, he has voted to raise taxes on people making $42,000/year. Sigh.

9:26: New question: what will you have to give up because of financial rescue plan?

9:28: I'm going to stop summarizing for a moment. I think Obama is being basically clear; if he has a weakness, it's moving through too many points. It's as though he's reading a very crisp outline, very quickly.

McCain, by contrast, is rambling, but in an aggrieved sort of way.

9:30: McCain, unlike Obama, promises an actual cut: ethanol subsidies. Also, reforming defense spending. He's in his element there, although I have no idea how his use of defense spending jargon will go over with people.

9:34: McCain: a spending freeze on everything but veterans, defense, and -- darn, I missed it. Obama: no, some programs are underfunded. Somehow or other, McCain has gotten onto nuclear power. How is a mystery.

9:36: Out of nowhere, McCain says that Obama's plans will hand control of health care over to the federal government. (Huh?) Talks about cutting spending.

9:38: McCain has been consistently saying: look at our records. Obama: look, all this spending has occurred under a President you agreed with 90% of the time. You have voted for his budgets. McCain: people know me.

9:39: Question: what are the lessons of Iraq? McCain: the war was mishandled; now we are succeeding. Had we lost, the consequences would have been dire.

9:42: Obama: the question is whether we should have gone in there at all. I said no, for various reasons, including the fact that we had not finished the job in Afghanistan. Now, things are bad. We took our eye off the ball. Lesson: we should not hesitate to use military force to keep us safe, but we should use it wisely.

9:44: McCain: The surge has worked. And "incredibly -- incredibly -- ", Obama did not go to Iraq.

9:44: Obama: "John likes to pretend the war started in 2007." Cites McCain's mistakes. I think this was quite effective.

9:46: McCain: Obama doesn't know the difference between strategy and tactics. Also: he will not acknowledge the success of the surge.

9:47: McCain says Obama voted to cut funding for troops. Obama says: we both voted against funding bills that had things we disagreed with.

9:48: I think McCain came close to losing his temper.

9:50: New question: more troops to Afghanistan? Obama: yes.

9:51: Obama brings up Pakistan.

9:53: McCain says he will not repeat mistake of abandoning Afghanistan. (Me: I thought he did that. In 2003.)

9:56: Back and forth about what Obama said about Pakistan. Obama brings up various threats McCain has made.

9:57: Obama talks Pakistan. In my judgment, he's quite astute.

9:59: McCain says Obama doesn't understand Pakistan. Them for some reason, he goes over his entire history of war votes. He sounds earnest and sober. I have no idea what the point is.

Telling story of bracelet of dead soldier. She promised his mother her son's death would not be in vain.

10:01: Obama: President must make strategic judgments, and make them wisely. We took our eyes off the ball in Afghanistan. You have not consistently been concerned with Afghanistan.

10:02: I think Obama has gotten under McCain's skin.

10:04: Question: Iran?

McCain: Threat to Israel, to the region. "League of Democracies". It would help us to impose new sanctions. (How?)

10:06: Obama: The single thing that has strengthened Iran most recently is the war in Iraq. (Good.)

10:08: Obama says he doesn't think we can do sanctions without engaging countries who are not democracies. Also, we need negotiations.

10:09: McCain: Obama wants to negotiate with Ahmedinejad, whose name he has trouble with. This somehow legitimizes them, and even implies that they're doing the right thing.

10:10: Obama has a nice, sharp response. Brings up Kissinger's call for negotiations without preconditions. Explains what preconditions are. Pointed.

10:12: Obama brings up Spain. (*giggles*)

10:13: I am clearly, undeniably biassed. So I cannot assess how McCain's repeated "what Senator Obama doesn't understand" stuff would go over with an undecided voter.

10:15: Testy, testy...

10:17: New question: Russia. Obama: Russia's actions in Georgia are unacceptable. We should make that clear. But no return to the Cold War. We need to cooperate on e.g. loose nukes.

10:19: McCain harps on Obama's naivete again. Energy. Pipelines. Places "where I have spent significant amounts of time."

10:20: McCain really is a lot more coherent on foreign policy than on other topics. I really disagree with him, but he's pretty clear.

10:24: Obama brings it round to energy, and says that you have to "walk the walk, not just talk the talk" on alternative energy.

10:26: Question: what are the odds of another 9/11?

McCain: much less. 9/11 commission, and his role in creating it. (Bipartisan, reaching across the aisle...)

We have to have trained interrogators, so that we never torture a prisoner ever again.

Good for McCain.

10:28: Obama: we have done some things, but not enough on hardening chemical plants, on ports, etc.

Obama said we need missile defense. Ugh.

We need to focus on al Qaeda, not Iraq.

Also: how we are perceived matters for fight against terrorism. He wants to restore our image abroad. Gives McCain credit on torture.

10:31: Obama, who has (I think) been needling McCain, was just quite gracious. McCain responded with another 'Senator Obama doesn't get it.'

10:33: Obama: we are still too focussed on Iraq, and it was weakened us. Plus, it costs money we need elsewhere.

10:34: McCain, somewhat out of the blue, says that Obama lacks the experience and judgment he needs. "We have seen this stubbornness before, in this administration."

10:35: Obama: his father, who thought of America as a beacon when he was in Kenya. He wants to restore that.

10:37: McCain: when he came back from Vietnam, he worked to get POWs back. He knows how to heal the wounds of war.

McCain had a stronger close, I think.

***

I thought it was close. A lot, I think, will depend on how McCain struck people: to me, he was annoying and dismissive. Will it work? It didn't on me, but I'm not, um, normal.

Chris Matthews just made the same point, which makes me want to rethink it: "will his obvious contempt" turn voters off?

Signing off...

***

Actually, not quite signing off: on reflection, I think that the "story" out of this (and I haven't read around yet) is likely to be McCain's saying that Obama doesn't have the experience or the judgment to be President. I suspect that was a mistake, not just because it was (imho) over the line into incivility, but also because it just begs for commentary about McCain's having voted for the war in Iraq in the first place.

I also think that McCain's calling Obama inflexible was a mistake: I don't think Obama comes off that way, and it seemed like enough of a stretch that it might have undermined McCain's credibility more generally.

Obama, I thought, missed a few opportunities. The most important, I thought, was when McCain said he would never repeat the mistake of abandoning Afghanistan. The response "But John, you did: back in 2003, when you voted to take our focus away from Afghanistan in order to wage a war of choice against a country that had not attacked us" was just begging and pleading to be made. He was also, I thought, a bit tense.

As I said, close. But this was supposed to be McCain's strong debate, remember.

Hilzoy 8:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (255)

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Comments

I'll happily watch and read with you

Posted by: John on September 26, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone have predictions?

Posted by: kidogo on September 26, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

i have no idea what to expect at this point

Posted by: John on September 26, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

You are dueling against Kevin Drum. Good luck, Hilzoy.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I predict McCain won't do well enough to recover from his campaign lag, that the right wing spin doctors will harp on something Obama says or does, and that the so-called "liberal media" will go "look! A shiny thing!" and make that the topic. The public goes "meh" and McCain fails to get a bounce.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Leher managed to make the ecomony a 'foreign policy' matter.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

McCain doesn't feel too great... hmm

Posted by: John Cross on September 26, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

McCain said the House Republicans became part of the solution to the financial crisis? Only after they threw a wrench into the works...

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Not the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning."

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is so proud of the Democrats and Republicans coming together to solve it.

Of course, for some reason he failed to mention it only took him to swoop in and dissolve it.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

CNN has an interesting audience reaction graph on screen

Posted by: John Cross on September 26, 2008 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Called for resignation does not equal I would fire.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

The graph is sort of 'flatlined'. How do you suppose it's generated? Jeopardy-style clickers?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

McCain complaining about corruption being rewarded? Sure, that's what Republicanism is all about. I guess the "maverick" is back.

He also didn't call for Cox's resignation, he called for his firing. Lie #1 of the night.

C-SPAN's feed is breaking up, too.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Leher managed to make the ecomony a 'foreign policy' matter.
Posted by: wishIwuz2

It is given that foreign countries buy our debt thru treasury bonds.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

since the great society?

Posted by: John on September 26, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

I like what Jim is trying to do - stop the soapboxing and get them to talk to each other.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is trying to be a populist on this and Obama needs to call him on his bullshitting.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Earmarks are, what, 2% of the budget? McCain blaming earmarks for overspending is lie #2 for the night.

Veto every spending bill? Lotsa luck with that.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Who picked out McCain's tie? Those stripes look awful.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe McCain used the $3 mil "Montana bear DNA study" earmark story again, when Palin requested $3.2 mil for "Alaska sea lion DNA" studies.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Illinois gets less money back per tax dollar than almost all other states.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Did McCain just say Obama proposed 800 billion in new spending? What the hell is he smoking?

Is he counting the bailout?

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I wasn't Miss Congeniality" -- you got something against beauty contest winners?

Also, earmarks put people in jail because they can't help themselves. You understand.

Posted by: DonBoy on September 26, 2008 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

He's citing his tax credit for health care -- sure, after taxing company health benefits.

Obama called him on it. Good.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Obama just took him to task on corporate taxes and McCain's bullshit health care credit. Nice.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

**Leher managed to make the ecomony a 'foreign policy' matter. - Posted by: wishIwuz2 **

*It is given that foreign countries buy our debt thru treasury bonds. - Jet *

I agree. But Leher essentially reframed the basic theme of the debate for the general audience.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is getting crushed.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

As others have pointed out in other places tonight, Obama has his flag pin, McCain not. Sigh.

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

So far, I think this format is great! Good interaction, both holding their own so far.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is getting crushed. -grinning cat

Nope.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just repeated the lie about Obama increasing taxes on people making $40,000/yr.

Posted by: Padou on September 26, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

I do not like Obama's wording of responses that starts by first saying "John is right" (on this and that) and then going on with what he disagrees..

Why the need to agree with him so emphatically? It plants the thought that he likes what McCain is saying...

Uh, oh--McCain just used the L word on Obama...

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's going to cut earmarks to cover the bailout?

Cool, it'll only take 39 years to cover it.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is getting crushed.

Nah. Obama's ahead in the polls; McCain isn't doing anything to catch up.

Obama just talked about infrastructure spending. McCain just said we have to cut spending (and claimed Obama has the most liberal voting record, yawn). Obama needs to say, no, we need to increase spending on things America needs.

McCain's complaining about military contracts now....now that, I admit, is interesting.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Don't like the way this is going so far. McCain seems at ease and seems to have Obama on the defensive. Obama interrupting McCain is not going to play well in middle America either. Can here them saying "elitist" while McCain seems to be a "normal" guy. Except for the weird grins, laughing by himself at things he thinks are funny and the blinking!

McCain cannot read a canned speech with teleprompters and printed speech in front of him, how is he pulling this off?

Posted by: JoeD on September 26, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Stop it with the John's right !!!!!

Attack him Obama !!!!

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Third time now Obama has said "John is right..."

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Heh...Obama said he got his liberal reputation by opposing Bush's wrongheaded policies. Nice.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Has McCain looked at Obama once yet during this?

Posted by: JoeD on September 26, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, let's save money by ending the war in Iraq. Nice one, Obama.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Hilzoy--Obama is squeezing too much info in at once rather than develop the emotional side of a thought that shows how deeply he cares about how folks are hurting..

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just proposed a spending freeze on everything but defense, veterans benefits and entitlements....what is he, going to stop interest payments on the debt? Because throw that in and that's what, 90% of the budget?

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't like the way this is going so far. McCain seems at ease and seems to have Obama on the defensive. "

Yeah, gotta agree. McCain's picked one point (cut spending) and Obama's much less focused. Let's hope that changes, or that McCain tells a whopper that Obama can catch him on.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on September 26, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO, McCain is right about nuclear power. Maybe not 45 plants, but it must be a part of new energy policy.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is repeating the same facts over and over. Blah..I hope Obama breaks a leg.

Posted by: Moon on September 26, 2008 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody else noticing McCain's blink rate? He doesn't believe a single word he's saying! He also won't directly engage Obama, despit Lehrer's and Obama's attempt to do so.

Posted by: Michigoose on September 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama needs to defend his Healthcare policy

Tell it like it is.... call him on his shit

Posted by: cirak on September 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Zing. Nailed him with the 'You've voted for all [Bush's] budgets."

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

They're following their styles.

John talks folksy: "Hi, buddy."
Barack makes declarations: "Hi". "Buddy".

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm stoned and paranoid right now.

TALK ME DOWN!

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Who wants to join me for an ... umm ... "spending orgy?"

Anyway, Obama's tying Johnny to Bush, and he looks pissed.

Posted by: ArtB on September 26, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ask McCain why he hasn't made cuts in his 26 plus years, will you!

Also, how can you let McCain talk about vets and not hitting him for constantly voting AGAINST veteran bills. He was against the new GI Bill, until it was going to obviously pass. He's was against health care for returning vets, and on and on and on! That was the hole in the armor to attack him with!

Posted by: Joe D on September 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

nice touch
getting his
name wrong
twice

Posted by: est on September 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Obama didn't WANT another Vietnam

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should have mentioned withdrawl

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. But Leher essentially reframed the basic theme of the debate for the general audience.
Posted by: wishIwuz2

I dont watch tv. What Leher said, or reframed is moot to me. That he 'reframed' is no surprise.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

You said we knew where the WMD were?

You were wrong.

You were wrong! Nice.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's strange strained smile when Obama is attacking him creeps me out.

Posted by: Padou on September 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is harping on winning in Iraq. I don't think anyone but die-hard republicans believe that any more.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

"It's well known I've not been voted Miss Congeniality and I'm a Maverick of the senate"
says McCain..

Obama is so brilliant, but he is lecturing too much and speaking too quickly and too long winded--now he says "We did not use our military wisely in Iraq"--Finally--it took him way too long to get there.

"I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't realize the difference between a tactic and a strategy"

McCain's is really lashing in now...

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama hammered McCain on his voting-against-funding-the-troops bullshit. Seems more in stride talking about nat'l security -- probably a matter of prep.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

The audience reaction graph needs to go.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Barack's setting him up for the tantrum.

McCain's finally stopped with that shit-eating grin so expect it soon.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

The difference between "strategy" and "tactic"...well, there is none. They're synonyms!

btw, why is McCain such a prick?

Posted by: Katie on September 26, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Obama has to call him a liar

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

"explextion" Nice one Blinky!

Posted by: Joe D on September 26, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Heh...Obama hit the word "strategic" in saying that the lack of troops for Afghanistan is a strategic mistake.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM

What is the difference between a tactic and a strategy?


Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

I honestly think people focus too often on whoever is speaking. In every split screen, Obama looks like he's paying attention. McCain grins like a condescending jackass. This will matter.

Posted by: Ian on September 26, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Obama still can't refrain from making speeches. He needs to treat this like a playground fight.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Obama needs to keep directly addressing McCain because it's making McCain uncomfortable. And McCain's inability to look Obama in the face is making McCain look childish and rude.

Posted by: scruncher on September 26, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

If you have to do things you have to do things???

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey? Are both candidates left-handed? I've been drinking copious amounts of red wine in preparation for this event, so I could be mistaken.

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just said Kadari was the new leader of Pakistan.

That's Zardari, dill weed.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

How is a strategy designed to pacify Baghdad going to help us in Afghanistan?

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Tali-pawn??

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

btw, why is McCain such a prick?
Posted by: Katie

Pilot ego. I worked with many of these pricks umm egotistical folk. They defy being wrong. Its scary how hard headed they are.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

those were weird looks by McCain !!!!

Bombing Iran

stop saying John is right !!!

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is he straining to look at?? LMAO

He's looking like he's ready to blow.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I've been drinking copious amounts of red wine...

Guinness for me, but I'm right there with ya.

Obama JUST NAILED McCain for Bomb bomb bomb Iran.

Game. Set. Match.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Does Obama's agreeing with McCain make him look more diplomatic and bipartisan, or does it make McCain look like a stronger leader?

Posted by: Ben on September 26, 2008 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

mccain is such a smug douche.

Posted by: matt on September 26, 2008 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just said there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf took power...did he just justify a dictatorship?

Yeah, jackoff, 300 marines died, and your hero Reagan cut and ran.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

jagrmeister & gatorade. Cupboards are low.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is speaking like an authority, he is very like he absolutely knows what will happen, what we have to do, walking through details of what he anticipates like he is in command already and it's happening now...

Obama is a bit too stilted and lecturing and argh! ..he just said John, you are absolutely right" two more times...

McCain just said again "I don't think Senator Obama understands..."

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ben I think it makes him look like he's willing to hear all proposals, even if he thinks you're wrong.

Whoa where's he going from the bomb Iran business?

NOWHERE!

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Rambling Grampa

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

McCain did not support our efforts in Bosnia.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

trading sob stories. Yuck

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

if anything mccain is winning, barely...but you have to think of this as if you're some slackjawed yokel from mississippi...then he's winning.

wait what

Posted by: matt on September 26, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's getting killed. Thank god for Palin and McCain wanting to crash his airplane.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I've got a bracelet too - yes! Go, Barack!

Posted by: Wooden T's on September 26, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I can see I'm going to have to read the experts tomorrow. I'm happy with Obama, but he stumbles sometimes, and he can't be angry black guy.
McCain is a douche, but he's just trying to get the votes of the least informed populace

It's very close

Posted by: Presto on September 26, 2008 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's coming, Kids. He's grinding his teeth.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

If you know what we need in Afghanistan, John, why arent you seeing we get it?

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid this will convince people that McC is 'presidential' -- the rule of debates always is that the person willing to say the most simple nonsense with most conviction wins.

Obama needs crisper rejoinders and needs to be goading McC more.

Posted by: JohnN on September 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

mccain almost lost it while delivering subcommittee line.

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

grinning cat,

Justify you assertion. We don't agree, and I've been commenting about the positive gains Obama's been making.

This is the second time you've baselessly asserted McCain was winning.

I think you're full of shit. McCain's been nothing but a rambling liar.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is nasty. I am happy that Obama is not dropping to his level of disrespect and meanness.

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for your effort, hilzoy.
Every liveblog comes out similar in the end. Well, except ThinkProgress, but they're fact checking their supercomputer database of flip floppables

Posted by: Presto on September 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy hit in on the head--McCain sounds earnest and sober and that is what folks hear....

He said 'Senator Obama doesn't understand' for the third time..

Now McCain brought up the Holocaust word--I give up.

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

McCain wants a league of nations full of idiotic Palin wannabes.

We have the UN you fucking idiot.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is a bit too stilted and lecturing and argh! ..he just said John, you are absolutely right" two more times...McCain just said again "I don't think Senator Obama understands..."

Actually, Obama agreed with Johns misunderstanding.

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why is McCain looking off to his right rather than straight ahead? Weird. The moderator is centered between them, is he looking at himself on a monitor? He does not know what to do when Barack talks. Smirk, look stern, puff cheeks, or just drool a little.

Speaking of that, kudos to his make up artist, many of the wrinkles you could see when he gave his "suspended" campaign press conference are well hidden. He looked like he was 90 the other day, tonight he looks a younger.

Posted by: Joe D on September 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

If McCain's so-called "league of democracies" imposes sanctions on Iran, and Russia and China aren't involved, what good are they? Especially China -- they'll happily buy up Iranian oil.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

We did not lose the war. We destroyed their military, captured their leader, held the war crimes trials, convicted and executed the criminals. Where did we lose the war? We won the war! The Bush administration had no plan for the peace and have let their cronies lead the orgy of graft and coruption that cost us $10 billion a month.

Posted by: Flee on September 26, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's been nothing but a rambling liar.

Drink!

Posted by: Joshua Norton on September 26, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful: are you considering who is winning based on what you think or what the american people will think?

Posted by: matt on September 26, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Obama pointed out that Iran's expanding power is because the US attacked Iraq. Point there.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the comments that Obama needs to hit McCain as he is being hit by McCain. Also, enough with the "John is right"

Posted by: TuiMel on September 26, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

"grinning cat,

Justify you assertion. We don't agree, and I've been commenting about the positive gains Obama's been making.

This is the second time you've baselessly asserted McCain was winning.

I think you're full of shit. McCain's been nothing but a rambling liar."

I too had too much wine and the events since the Republican convention have me shaking of the thought of McCain/Palin. I'm just nervous that McCain is getting up off the mat and people will be dumb enough to believe this shit.

Here it comes McCain is bugging out!!!

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Obama has an opportunity now to point out that McCain's "without precondition" yawp is nonsense.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of that, kudos to his make up artist...

Well, she IS the American Idol makeup artist. Who's the celebrity now, John?

Haha, coot can't pronounce Ahmadinejad.

And WTF is a precondidtion and how is it different than a condition? Damn, McCain is effing stupid.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

So has Powel, Albright and Kissinger agreed to sit down across the table from them

Obama is losing because he keeps saying "John's right"
If John is "right" then why vote for Obama


Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone watching now thinks that Obama is an empty suit who can only give a good speech, or will roll over against the terrorists, or doesn't understand foreign policy, they are not listening.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's hitting his stride and McCain is stuttering.

Uppercut!

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Hilzoy, I think you are doing a marvelous job at live-blogging ...

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Flee on September 26, 2008 at 10:05 PM

It never was a war. It was a UN/US police action. Remember that Bush/Condi declared Iraq sovereign and the Iraqi people held an election.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I too had too much wine... -grinning cat

Haha, I've had too much beer. Sorry for the 'full of shit' thing.

My bad.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is hitting hard now. Keep it up.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

obama much better now--it's like he woke up with this pre-condition talk.

Go Obama!!

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Heh...Obama just said McCain wont meet with the leader of Spain.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

"doubtful: are you considering who is winning based on what you think or what the american people will think?"

No I think McCain is winning. Obama's staying close though.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

God I hate McPain. He can't win just because I won't be able to look at his smirk for 4 years without wanting to smash the screen of my TV.

Posted by: The sister on September 26, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

On this last response to the question of meetings with Iran, etc., Obama's response has been very strong, direct, forceful, and smart.

And there is McCain again (who has not looked at Obama once) saying, with a smirk, "What Obama does not understand..." Not an honorable man, that Mr. McCain.

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

If McCain doesn't stop being condescending (Senator Obama doesn't understand) I might throw something at my TV. But I can't afford a new one (the tv is about 8 years old) so if I do it will be a wadded up pieces of paper.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, you tell them at the table, 'No you're not going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth."

What's so hard for McNuggets to understand about that?

What a disingenuous bastard.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's breaking down.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is losing because he keeps saying "John's right" If John is "right" then why vote for Obama
Posted by: coral

Hes agreeing that John is wrong.

Lets say you said, "I can jump my motorcycle across this canyon"

I would say. "Your right."

And then you fail.

I agreed that your statement is false. =)

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is rude and Leher is allowing it as is Obama. McCain is sneering and interupting. But I fear sum will see this as "strong" and decisive. Obama needs to call McCain what he is - a warmonger who sees the solution of every problem as military force.

Posted by: TuiMel on September 26, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's answers are better, but longwinded. McCain has been better coached for the American audience.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

oohhhh, grandpa is getting a little grumpy!!! I LOVE how Barrack is just letting McCain look like a douche and not stooping to his level. Obama has been backing up everything he says as well as countering everything McCain has said, I'm really proud of Mr. Obama.

Posted by: Pekemo on September 26, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful: are you considering who is winning based on what you think or what the american people will think?

Doesn't matter. According to polls directly afterwards, Al Gore won all of his debates with George W. Bush in 2000. But the media talked so hard about Gore's "sighs" and "eyerolls" that it changed peoples' minds in retrospect.

What matters is who the media says won and how often they say it over the next few days. Period.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 26, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone want to guess what these two men's blood pressure readings are right now?

My guess: McCain 205/140, Obama 130/100

I am waiting for Obama to make McCain blow. Just waiting...

Posted by: Cindy McCant on September 26, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Matt,

I'm basing it on the number of lies versus the number of hits.

Yeah, I hate it when Obama says McCain is right, but that's his post partisan attitude.

He's gotten in many fact based zings.

McCain's zings have been nothing but lies. The Enough Club will hear them out.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

No I think McCain is winning. -Grinning Cat

Your right.

Heh

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

First throw at McCain's face has been completed.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's being very belligerent toward Russia, including calling Obama's call for restraint naive. Obama should point out how reckless and irresponsible McCain's response was....

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that bothered me about Obama was the first five minutes. He should have been all over McCain with charges against Rick Davis, lobbyists, etc. etc.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Name dropping McCain

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

And McCain just did a fleeting "Heil Hitler" sign. Let that one spread over the internets.

Posted by: Cindy McCant on September 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if Russia was waiting for the opportunity to invade Georgia, it's telling that they thought that opportunity on George W. Bush's watch!

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

McCain IS coming off as a warmonger. Jesus he's even bringing up the KGB. And no he is not winning, he's not even making sense. No one wants another war. No one!

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is using the 'there he goes again strategy', and it is working, arghh. McCain is the all war all the time candidate. He thinks he can conquer or at least intimidate the whole world; War is the only acceptable activity for the federal government.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

It would be super cool to see a timeline of google searches and debate quotes. I wonder what factchecking people are doing real time?

Posted by: Ben on September 26, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

No, McCain's not making a lot of sense. But he's presenting himself as needed to the audience he's after.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Barack - get in there

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else watching on CNN? The conservatives (Bennett, Castellanos) are rating this as a tie.
For those thinking Obama is losing, you are wrong.

Posted by: msw on September 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

I like how earlier Obama clarified earlier that "Liberal" is simply differing from Bush.

Jim Leher says nothing and does nothing really but keep time and throw out the questions

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

McCain looks like a child not letting Obama speak. What an immature asshole.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

McCain voted against alternative energy 26 times. Bam!

McCain has a LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG record. ooooooohhhh.

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Goddamit, Jim brought up 9-11 and the likelihood of another one.

Waiting for Rove 2.0 here.

Posted by: Keori on September 26, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

No I think McCain is winning. -Grinning Cat

And if this was a game of table tennis, we could give them medals and stuff. That would be really fun.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape on September 26, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

The conservatives (Bennett, Castellanos) are rating this as a tie.

Yep, if they say it's a tie, they're losing.

If they say it's not time to point fingers, they're to blame.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Before we all jump off a bridge because McCain looks good (ok, better then expected) tonight, remember this was the debate that was expected to be his strongest because of foreign policy. As people thought, including on this site, McCain's suspension of his campaign could have been panic over this becoming a economic debate instead.

I have to say though, with all the problems over the last two weeks I expected more questions on the economy then the three or so that were asked.

Posted by: Joe D on September 26, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

No, McCain's not making a lot of sense. But he's presenting himself as needed to the audience he's after. Posted by: wishIwuz2

The people he is after hate him and pray for his demise.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

i think that all of mccain's name-dropping and story-telling is annoying. wonder if indies will agree? also, does sarah palin look bad in comparison, when she doesn't know anybody's name?

Posted by: FLDem on September 26, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is calmly talking Obama down. Not sure how Obama can stop it without appearing like the 'angry' one. McCain must be on some goods drugs tonite. Doing better than he has for a long time.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

another thought. . .obama needs to put out a "that's just not true, john" document or ad TOMORROW morning. he has said that a lot.

Posted by: FLDem on September 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

As I said earlier, Obama is proving his foreign policy chops BIG TIME. If conservatives are rating this a tie, then it's a win for Barack.

NOOOOO, Obama didn't say that McCain reversed himself on torture. NOOOOOOO!!!

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just said we are safer today than we were on 9/11.

No shit. No one flew planes into any of our buildings today, Sherlock.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

McCain was for torture before he was against it....

Posted by: Coral on September 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Rumor is the McCain camp agreed to send John tonight only if the moderator went back to the "all foreign policy" theme. Hence my first comments at the top.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 26, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

We are less secure now than we ever were--why isn't Obama saying this--this is critical!!

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Why would I be watching CNN when I have FOX

Posted by: RR1980 on September 26, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but don't give McCain on torture without pointing out he wound up voting for it.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

This debate won't change minds already set. The VP one will.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Put everything through the lens of Palin and McCain is done. He'll have to dump her. The internet and humorshpere is going to kill McCain. Thank god McCain pulled that stuid shit fit.

Independents are out drinking by now or asleep. It's only partisans watching this bullshit.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

oh, okay..he's hitting on it now...Finally!! Go Obama!!

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, bad move for Obama to talk about China. No one in America outside the policy and defense sphere knows anything about China except what they saw on NBC during the Olympics.

Now he's rambling. Goddamit.

Posted by: Keori on September 26, 2008 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is not ripping McCain enough. He's had openings and he has walked past them. I am listening and not watching. McCain's comments are emotional and button pushing. Obama comes across as bland and following.

I am sorry to say this, but I do not think Obama is doing as well as I hoped. McCain is being McCain.

Posted by: TuiMel on September 26, 2008 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

"This debate won't change minds already set. The VP one will."

totally.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

McCain: We need more flexibility in a President.

Obama should say: Well, John, you've had more than one position on lots of issues...

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

McCain calls out Obama as stubborn and inflexible?!? This has officially passed into an alternative universe.

Posted by: scruncher on September 26, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

McCain: "We are at war in Iraq. We have always been at war with Iraq. Where I have been. We must have victory, victory, victory, or all national existance is futile."

(Jesus, he looks old.)

Okay, granddad. Okay, granddad. We'll see you next week. Next week. Good bye. Good bye. Next week.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 26, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.

Anybody think McCain would be pushing Hillary around like this?

McCain's getting the last word. What a surprise.

Obama - FAIL

Posted by: colonpowwow on September 26, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

McCain played the POW card. If you're drinking, finish the bottle.

Posted by: Keori on September 26, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

No!!!!! I was a POW so I know how to deal with our adversaries....

Posted by: Heather on September 26, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, now we'll find out what to think! :)

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Jim, when I came home from prison," I promised that I would do all I could for vets, as long as it didn't require actually voting for any funding for them.

McCain is such a fraud.

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Again Obama is missing the "I am for vets" comments by McCain! ARGH! Hit him on being against GI Bill and other veteran affairs bills!!

Oh my god, he did it, he got in a reference to being a prisoner. I thought he was going to forget! He said prisoner though, not POW, how many people are going to hear that and think he was in Jail?

Posted by: Joe D on September 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

what was Obama's last comments about? Bad ending

Obama told McCain - good job

Obama let McCain have the upper hand

Posted by: coral on September 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lehrer had to give McCain the last word...

McCain repeated a lot of his talking points, but they didnt work against Obama in the primary and I don't think they'll move a lot of opinion. McCain needed a breakthru and didn't get it.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2008 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it took John until the end of the debate to mention POW.

I wish Obama had mentioned McCain's POOR record on veterans issues:
Obama/Biden 75-80% to McCain's 20%
Obama/Biden B+ to McCain's D

(one is the Disabled veterans, one is the Iraq-Afghanistan veterans)

Posted by: Hannah on September 26, 2008 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!! MCCAIN HAD NO FLAG PIN!!!

Posted by: Katie on September 26, 2008 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's getting the last word. What a surprise.

Obama spoke first. I bet they were within a minute or two of each other in total time.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Pundit Prediction:
McCain is back, Baby! Johnny Mac is back, and we can again be his base!

Ok, talk me down.

Posted by: TuiMel on September 26, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is not the McCain of the past months. He is crisp (for McCain), he's answering the questions as much as Obama, he answers are coharent, and he is stretching the truth, but he is not lying like we are accustomed to.

Did John McCain suspend the campaign to get some rest ? Obama looks a little beat, and at first not on target. But he has warmed up and is really putting some well put together points. McCain is coming across as a man who cares and even though we know he cares, Obama is distant

This debate is meaningful. Kudos to Leher. A debate in which we, as the public, are getting something meaningful and some meat to chew on. Maybe the god damn press will for get about haircuts and Reagan Democrats and look at what was discussed.

Posted by: Scottw714 on September 26, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks tons, Hilzoy...

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful,

My reference was to McCain bullying himself effectively into getting the last work on EVERY question.

This was not a good night for Obama.

Posted by: colonpowwow on September 26, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Did McCain really refer to himself as 'The Maverick', ya he did. I guess the press needed reminding.

Posted by: Scottw714 on September 26, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, thanks, Hilzoy -- as always.

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

"annoying and dismissive" sums mccain up.

and petulant, childish and rude.

Posted by: karen marie on September 26, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Uncle Fester vs. Tuvok

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 26, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Obama missed a lot of opportunities in this debate.

Posted by: mackin' it on September 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

McCain needed to hit it out of the park. He didn't. Obama needed to turn in a credible performance and he almost did.

Posted by: Dennis - SGMM on September 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

This was not a good night for Obama.

Maybe.

But I've already heard Obama described as a nice guy and McCain as mean, and that was from Pat Buchanan.

I think one of Obama's goal was meant to connect with people and seem like a nice, likable guy.

So even if people think McCain won, his bellicose, belligerent manner won't make him likable.

I know I'm looking at this through partisan, beer addled eyes, but I don't think McCain got the major hit he needed tonight.

He may have succeeded only in changing the subject from his previous changing the subject.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't watch the debate because Mrs. Biobrain wanted to watch Snakes on a Plane instead, but based upon a few liveblogs I've been reading, I'd say Obama definitely won. Because McCain is behind and needed a big win and Obama shouldn't be able to go toe-to-toe with such a manly man like McCain.

In this case, a draw is a win for Obama. That's the same reason why McCain's campaign keeps going for gimmicks, because when you're behind, you need to go big. It doesn't sound like McCain did that. Obama has the issues on his side and all McCain has is his personality. If he can't establish that he's significantly more informed and presidential than Obama, then Obama wins.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on September 26, 2008 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know McCain scored a few points tonight. But mosre importantly he kept the fact ceckers fully employed, I'm sure Obama gave the Reps a few ads in his "McCain is right" statements. But the Dems got many more ads from McCain's lies and his disengenuousness. I'm biased. I've learned to loathe McCain the last few months, a few times tonight I shouted "I hate john McCain!" I still think Obama won. Pat Buchanan says McCain won 10-5. Pat's almost alwats wrong. So I'm betting my impression was more correct.

Posted by: Dee Loralei on September 26, 2008 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

After this debate, I am convinced every town needs a liquor store that delivers.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

This was not a good night for Obama.
Posted by: colonpowwow

It was not a good night for McCain. The Rovian BS didnt fly.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Sullivan: A for Obama.

He was cool, generous, and stern when he had to be.
Very impressive. Very presidential.

Posted by: koreyel on September 26, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

AAAAAAARGH!!! I can't believe Obama managed to lose a debate with McCadaver!

Obama needs to learn how to talk in bumper sticker-ese. It's okay to be smart and nuanced, but when you're dealing with a man who is neither you have to hit him in the head with a baseball bat.

On Iraq: Sen. McCain's position is that things are going well so we need to leave our troops there. But he also says we have to leave our troops there when things are going badly and when things are staying the same.

On Negotiating: Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing but expecting to get different results. Things got worse when we refused to talk with North Korea and with Iran. Things aren't going to get better by not talking some more.

On Russia: Russia is an economic power because they have oil. They will continue to be a power while the world has an oil-based economy. The way to reduce the threat of Russia is for the United States to build wind and solar generators and sell them to Russia's oil customers.

There . . . was that so fucking hard?

Posted by: SteveT on September 26, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

If this had been the last debate, I would have been worried. But it's not. It's the first of three. And though McCain was good, he didn't hit it out of the park. Obama definitely held his own.

One of Obama's strengths is that he learns and he grows. His campaign is going to be watching the tapes of this debate like football coaches to figure out how to be more effective.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 26, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

It was a draw. McCain needed a win.

Posted by: M.B. on September 26, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

McCain had a better night than I expected. However it wasn't a victory for him so he can take that stupid sign down. And I agree with Biobrain: a tie is a win for Obama.

Speaking of ties, I nearly had a seizure looking at McCain's.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

McCain needed to hit some homers tonight to change the game going forward. He held his own, but at most simply reassured those already supporting him that he's not completely losing it. But he looked twenty years out of date, referred to a lot of stuff nobody under 40 really has any idea about -- glasnost, e.g. -- and drove home the point that he wants to stay in Iraq forever if that's what it takes. Again, die hard wingers should come away relieved, but this isn't going to move any independents into his column.

Posted by: jonas on September 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

And frankly, agreeing with your opponent on a few things will look good to independent voters. I think Obama disagreed with McCain on enough to show he is a significant alternative, but agreed enough to show he's not a liberal ideologue.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Obama gave the Reps a few ads in his "McCain is right" statements


Lets say you wantd to jump off a cliff because you were sure you could fly.

After tiring of your belief, I say "Your right, jump off that cliff."

And you do, and you crash and burn.

Was I right? No. I agreed knowing you would fail

Is McCain right? When has he been right?
And know he claims to be right, again.

Your right John.

Now jump off that cliff.

Damn, John was wrong.

Posted by: Jet on September 26, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Michael at 10:49,

The key is to stock up early. Over at the Shakesville Virtual Debate Pub we had drinking games. Good times.

Posted by: Keori on September 26, 2008 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Americans admire bellicose posturing. There is no getting around it. Lots of repair work needs to be done by Obama & staff. There should be no sleeping for Obama's people tonight. Let Barack sleep, but have a plan in place for how to attack McCain's militarism at the expense of the American people, when he wakes up. Obama always bounces back. He needs to and be ready for McCain's approach in the next debates. I suspect McCain will make everything about security and military action or the threat of it, a prerequisite to every discussion. 'We won't need health care if everybody in the world doesn't act the way we want!'

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 26, 2008 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Haha.

Olbermann nailed McCain.

McCain called Pakistan a failed state and got their new leader's name wrong.

He admitted we tortured people.

Some age on this, and I think Obama will be the winner.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

My biggest fear is that what I heard from Obama in the first 5 minutes was "taxes, taxes, taxes."

my hope is that independents are steadfast and won't make up their minds on this but rather on the cultural detritus type stuff that McCain has already lost the election on.

It all depends on how many people watch that Katie Couric video of Palin. That was the "game changer" for McCain that he might never recover from as well as canceling the debate flip flop.

Posted by: grinning cat on September 26, 2008 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to say it, but I think McCain won. Not but a lot. But he won it. Obama missed a big bet by letting McCain go on "the surge". He should have brought up the fact that the surge was just one factor in the reduction of violence. The success of ethnic cleansing, Sadr's decision to stand down, and the choice (prior to the surge) of the Sunnis to go against Al Queda.

Also, he should have made it quite clear that our departure would not give Al Queda Iraq. They simply don't have the numbers to even remotely threaten them. There might be all of 1500 Al Queda forces in Iraq. No way on earth could that small group take over Iraq, especially when Iraqis hate them.

He also has to stop being nice to McCain. Stop agreeing with him!!!

I think he'll do better in Round Two.

Posted by: Cuchulain on September 26, 2008 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Let me just add that, as someone upthread mentioned, McCain refrained from asserting many of the outright lies his campaign has run off of the past few weeks. Most of his attacks were, IMHO, well within the bounds of debate sparring (nitpicking votes, taking statements out of context for effect...)

Most hilarious moment: when McCain accused Obama of "parsing" the meaning of "without preconditions". As Inigo Montoya said: You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Posted by: jonas on September 26, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

How are you going to "get" McCain, when all you can say is "Senator McCain is right on this." "We agree on this." - Obama must have done this twenty times!

McCain started every response on the attack. "Incredibly, Senator Obama . . . " "Senator Obama is naive . . . "

Obama should have started out by saying (with a smile), "I'm glad Senator McCain took time out from his political grandstanding of the last few days and showed up tonight. See, Senator, it's possible for presidents to address more than one issue at a time."

That would have set the tone and thrown McCain on the defensive. Maybe even pissed him off to the point of flashing his famous temper. Instead, Obama was defensive all night and never once led with an effective attack.

Pitiful.

He looked like a weaker Al Gore out there. At least he didn't look like an escapee from Rocky Horror Picture Show like Gore did LOL (if I wasn't crying).

Posted by: colonpowwow on September 26, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

He also could have mentioned, when McCain was going on and on about earmarks, that just five weeks in Iraq cost as much as all the earmarks combined for a year.

Obama needs to be more forceful.

Posted by: Cuchulain on September 26, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Quick comments -- and my tv is in another room and I don't have a laptop, so i couldn't follow the comments here, or take the time to read them.

I think Obama won the debate, but barely instead of as powerfully as he should have. I don't agree with those who question his agreeing with McCain in spots. i DO agree that there were times when he should have hit hard and he didn't.

McCain was far better than i've ever seen him in some areas, have to give him a B, Obama a B+ when it should have been an A. He didn't exploit McCain's weaknesses enough, didn't ram his points home.

Both of them completely ducked Lehrer's repeated comments on 'how will the financial crisis affect your priorities.' It was a DAMN good question, and one which I wish Obama had answered.

And one minor point -- but one I know something about -- as far as the political situation in Pakistan and particularly in the Northwest Fronteir Territories, McCain knew what he was talking about more than Obama did, pointing out they haven't been giverned by anyone since Alexander the Great (also true in Afghanistan, it's not going to be as easy as Obama thinks) and rightly saying that Pakistan was a failed state when Musharraf took power.

On the other hand, I wish Obama had been much more forceful on how we have lost prestige in the world since Bush -- especially after the love feast we received after 9/11 -- how our allies are afraid of a McCain Presidency, and had called McCain on Davis and lobbying directly and pointed out how frequently McCain's expressed sentiments don't match his votes.

To use Buchanan's prize fight analogy, Obama 8, McCain 7 -- but it should have been much more. But extra points to Obama for 'appearing Presidential' as several people have commented on.

On to the Biden-Palin massacre.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 26, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Residual Effect:

McCain left a whimpery whiny after image.

Obama has a more comprehensive vision.

McCain has a narrower vision based on conflict.

McCain claimed to know the difference between tactic and strategy and proceeded to confuse them, referring to tactics (in military decisions) mistakenly as strategy. Obama recognized the distinction clearly, and maybe could have emphasized it more.

McCain will appeal more to old fashioned, them-and-us attitudes. He repeatedly used the formula "..what Obama doesn't understand..", which was a clever tactic, though Obama mostly countered it well and smoothly.

Very interesting. Obama is the better candidate by a long shot, though many Americans may fail to recognize it.

Posted by: Goldilocks on September 26, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

I just sent more money to the Obama campaign so they can put out the ads that use clips from tonight to show McCain's lies and contradictions. (And watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report in the next days will be a good chaser.)

Posted by: mossie on September 26, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Biden was on NBC after the debate. Where was Governor Palin?

McCain brought in Guiliani for the follow-up interviews instead of Palin. Not a good sign.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 26, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Obama hopefully will be showing more strength in next debate. Too many times when he and McCain talk at the same time its McCain who ends up finishing and getting his point across. That may have been polite, but I think the body language was that McCain was the stronger of the two, and that probably matters. Also, Obama keeps letting McCain get away with saying "Obama just doesn't understand ..." I think he's got to cut that out or he's done for.

Posted by: MB on September 26, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way I would vote for McCain over Obama.

Nonetheless, if Democrats in general and Obama in particular don't grow some balls and learn how to rip McCain a new asshole soon in front of a primetime national audience, they are going to blow another election. McCain never said a nice word about Obama, while Obama seemed to make a point of speaking nice of McCain whenever possible. The swayable voters don't give a shit about China or anything else, but they do like some swagger and bravado.

Posted by: AJB on September 26, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Next time Obama needs to bring a hankie. Was that snot under his nose or was it sweat? I thought he gave a very disappointing performance tonight.

Posted by: Helen on September 26, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why couldn't McCain look at Obama? I don't know if that distain will play.

Posted by: bNeato on September 26, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to say it, but I think McCain won. Not but a lot. But he won it. Obama missed a big bet by letting McCain go on "the surge". He should have brought up the fact that the surge was just one factor in the reduction of violence. The success of ethnic cleansing, Sadr's decision to stand down, and the choice (prior to the surge) of the Sunnis to go against Al Queda.

AND.. Look at how the surge was sold to the public...Breathing room for political reconciliation

By that standard: The surge has failed.

Obama needed to point out that you can always change the goal posts to fit your desired outcome.

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

If he'd hit hard, he would've been perceived as taunting an old guy. He walked a thin line on attacks.

McCain never once even looked him in the eye. Even as they shook hands. To me he came off as an condescending ass. Had Barack assumed the same demeanor, he would've been pegged as uppity.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

for those concerned about obama not hitting hard enough. . .i am wondering what your race/ethnicity is? i do not know whether it is conscious or not (something he learned along the way) but i would bet on the fact that as a man of color, obama needs to be tempered for fear of being perceived as an "angry black man."

Posted by: on September 26, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

As teh galloping trollop I must say, JFC look at all these comments! Anyway, my take is Barack came off as collected, McLame came off as same as it ever was; full of finger pointing, pandering and POW'ing. I'm in the choir so I know a pile of shit when I hear one but who knows what goes on in the mind of Repugnic#nts? I sure as hell don't.

Posted by: Teh Galloping Trollop on September 26, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK
while Obama seemed to make a point of speaking nice of McCain whenever possible

Obama was being nice to a senior. Tomorrow the surrogates can nail McCain's talking points.

As mentioned by others: The "enough club" will pick McCain apart, as well as the Fact checkers.

Posted by: bruno on September 26, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

McCain came off as snide and snarky, preachy and condescending.

His repeated use of the phrase "What Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand..." bordered on racist. The first time McCain used it, I didn't notice, but the repeated use of it made the tactic obvious. He was certainly coached to use the phrase.

Posted by: JWK on September 26, 2008 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

You know, we democrats worry too much. Obama won this debate because he didn't loose it. Republicans will feel like we did when Gore won but lost. I am telling you. Barack won this despite our collective misgivings. McCain lost big.

Posted by: Scott F. on September 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

You know the one comeback I wish Obama had come back with is that the surge has amounted to 15ft. concrete barriers between Sunni and Shia neighborhoods. That's it! The splurge was spent on paying off Sunnis and Shia and constructing 15ft. concrete walls between neighborhoods. That never was and will never be a solution!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on September 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK
--i do not know whether it is conscious or not (something he learned along the way) but i would bet on the fact that as a man of color, obama needs to be tempered for fear of being perceived as an "angry black man."--

Actually, Obama talks about that in his book; how he had to learn to be nice towards people, in order to not being stereotyped.

Yes it is a learned behavior, and a commendable one in my opinion. If McCain was half as nice as Obama is in general, we wouldn't be talking about all this trivial stuff and rude behavior on McCain's part. McCain is a disgrace to the 'white' race, and an embarrassment to all Americans.

Posted by: bruno on September 26, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Prup: ...extra points to Obama for 'appearing Presidential' as several people have commented on.

It can't be emphasized enough: appearing Presidential. That is the essential message that wanted delivering tonight. And it got sent home smartly and suavely.

Those upthread arguing that Obama should have ripped the old man a new one are kneejerking with the partisan sides of their brains. The last thing Barack needed was to play a stooge in a food fight.

He was cool. He was articulate.
That'll do. And: Thank you very much.

That first edition t-shirt is looking super-duper hip right now.

Posted by: koreyel on September 26, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, JWK, his blatant avoidance of eye contact reeked of racism. It's a distinct mannerism used to deny someone's existence.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 26, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

McCain looked and sounded better than usual, and got in some attacks that will probably have a small effect. He lied less outrageously and less frequently than usual, but indulged in quite a few stretchings of the truth. His answer to budgetary problems of "cut spending, cut spending" was simple and consistent (notwithstanding the problem of the cost of his tax cuts).

Obama let many opportunities go by. He could have and should have absolutely nailed McCain on his votes against veterans and on his flip flops on torture and other issues. His rhetoric was professorial rather than lofty and inspiring.

However, Obama was calm and knowledgeable. He had to reassure people that he isn't just fancy talk and does know enough to be commander in chief. Contrary to McCain's constant refrain of "he doesn't understand", he showed that he did. I think Obama made himself more acceptable to any undecided voters who are looking for a calm and rational adult to take over from the last four years. If his rhetoric had been lofty, we'd be hearing complaints of "he's all fancy words". Also, if he attacked too aggressively, we'd be hearing about "scary black man": I just don't think such a charge is going to fly with anyone who watched the debate with an open mind (yeah, I know....).

Overall, I think this falls in Obama's general plan of calm and steady progress, consistently making his points, and advancing base by base, rather than reaching for a home run.

McCain made himself look much less of a fool than usual lately, but I don't think he did himself any longterm good.

In short, by my standards, Obama wins by a small but significant amount. However, let's see how much the media can spin for McCain tomorrow and Sunday.

It's now time for Obama partisans to press the attack regarding McCain's inconsistencies and failings.

Posted by: N.Wells on September 26, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

What struck me was the body language.


WHY CAN'T McCAIN LOOK AT OBAMA ???

He's like some retarded kid with autism. That's what is going to register with swing voters. McCain seemed... bizarre. It's like -- here's a guy that is very difficult to talk to when you disagree with him.

Obama's deference "I agree... " is taken as a negative -- like Obama should rip into him. Or... Obama is someone who LISTENS. He doesn't cast all Republicans as criminals. He can acknowledge the few particles of truth from the lies and seems like a guy who can gain the trust of enemies. He is the antithesis of Bush. He is not using the "with us or against us" mentality. Foreign leaders will want to meet with Obama. They will trust that he doesn't come in with his agenda and ram it down other people's throats.

McCain mostly seemed angry and weird. His points have all been heard before. Same one liners. "make their names known" Nobody cares about earmarks. He is not the voice of change.

Obama is going to rise in the polls. Guaranteed.

Posted by: jonno on September 26, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

High points: The Spain zinger, slid under McCain's guard, totally unexpectedly. The dueling bracelets (I have a bracelet too, John).
Low points: admitting that McCain was against torture, instead of pointing out that he *had been* against torture, until it came to an actual vote. A couple of other missed opportunities to nail McCain, traded in for making his own points.

All in all, McCain was better than expected but, if that's the best he can do on -- supposedly -- his strongest issue... Pfft. His only chance in the future debates will be to change the subject and obfuscate, instead of answering the question straightforwardly. Which he did a couple of times tonight and Lehrer never called him on it.

In some ways, I thought Obama was better than expected, too. Fewer ums than usual, only a couple of "look,"s, and less meandering in arriving at the point. I liked the little lists (1..., 2..., 3...), which sort-of summarised the whole, for easier digestion. And much less repetitive than McCain.

I'd judge it a draw more-or-less (maybe a teeny edge to Obama), which, given that McCain has nowhere to go but down, isn't half bad.

PS I watched on PBS (didn't stay to listen to the postmortem; Brooks' smug-idiot grin gives me the willies) and we had no split screns. The camera stayed on whoever was speaking about 90% of the time.

Posted by: exlibra on September 26, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

That may have been polite... -MB

It wasn't polite. It was a deliberate attempt to make John look like an overly aggressive bully.

koreyel,

Ah, you're lucky. Someone of my, um, girth has a hard time fitting in any of those shirts. (Curse your slim fitting cuts, American Apparel!)

Betcha don't have an Obama for Senate sign from 2004, though? ;)

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

I was disappointed that Obama didn't say, "The Iraqis themselves now agree to a withdrawal timetable similar to mine" etc. Also, when McCain was ridiculing sitting down with [Anutjob], the latter saying "I will wipe out Israel" and "What are you going to say, 'No'?" - that sounded like a smack by McCain but it was just crap. I mean, so what should someone say, what would *you* say McCain: "Duh" or "Sure" or "[wonkery]", well what?

As for spending, BHO didn't make the point enough, that government spending isn't just money down the hole, it gets things done and is worth something back later. He let McCain pump the meme that spending is just zero-sum, money that's "gone".

Best shot Obama could have made: About attacking *in* Pakistan not "attacking Pakistan":
"Senator McCain, so you'd have Osama bin Laden in your sights, and would just let him go because Pakistan wouldn't like it?" The military populists would go nuts.

Obama had opportunities to hit back harder sometimes and didn't. But overall, he looked good and McCain, peevish sometimes.

Posted by: Neil B on September 26, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

on the point that many have mentioned about mccain seeming more clear than he has in a long time, what happened? i still think that he rambled a lot and didn't really answer questions but at least he looked like he understood the question. given the shenanigans of the last few days, i expected him to be worse than usual.

Posted by: FLDem on September 26, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, JWK, his blatant avoidance of eye contact reeked of racism. It's a distinct mannerism used to deny someone's existence.

You nailed it. Reminds me of the meeting I had a long time ago with a manager along with a white colleague of mine during which the manager never for once looked straight at me.

You have to be non-white to understand what that means.

Posted by: gregor on September 26, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

On Pakistan, McCain tried to create the impression that Pakistan was an ally and Obama didn't understand the situation.

I don't think McCain knew that Pakistan fired on U.S. helicopters yesterday in Khost. Pakistan is unstable right now, and that instability is pouring over the western frontier and pressuring the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The Taliban is also resurgent in that area, and they were the enablers of al Qaeda. So far, Obama has been about the only voice in the entire campaign that's recognized the reality of that situation.

Then again, if McCain had realized Pakistan had fired on U.S. helicopters (warning shots), he might have called off the debate to parachute into Afghanistan and shake his tiny fists at the border.

Posted by: J on September 26, 2008 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Great point, J.

Was it a gaffe that McCain talked so glowingly about Pakistan as our ally when they've been firing on us repeatedly?

I think so.

Posted by: doubtful on September 26, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen anyone mention this on the four sites I'm tracking, but here's the biggest WTF moment of it all for me:

McCAIN (in the area of meeting leaders of not-so-friendly countries without preconditions): "As far as North Korea is concerned, our secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, went to North Korea. By the way, North Korea, most repressive and brutal regime probably on Earth. The average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean, a huge gulag."

So, let me get this straight here: repression makes you shorter. Got it.

Posted by: Bridger on September 26, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I hope that during the next debate Obama uses the following statement when McCain tries to or actually lies about his own record:

"John, I assumed that by now, you would have learned that people can google your record and watch you contradict yourself on YouTube."

Posted by: bruno on September 26, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

That may have been polite... -MB

It wasn't polite. It was a deliberate attempt to make John look like an overly aggressive bully.
------------------------------------------------
Mebbe, but I'm not sure it really it worked that way. I think it might have been more effective to (at least a couple of times) say "with all due respect Senator, I think that you are wrong on this, and here are the reasons why ..."

Posted by: MB on September 26, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I'm white gregor, but it's that avoidance behavior I saw all my young life in the South. I've also seen it when straight men are uncomfortable around gays. Like they're diseased. In reality, it reflects gross insecurity.

I was just re-watching the movie "Philadelphia". It was critical to the coloring of the characters who fired Beckett. Interesting how they reversed it, with Denzel Washington using the very same mannerisms when he meets Beckett.

I do know black people STILL have to play the game, which is just pathetic but that's what we saw in Barack tonight. Dancing that fine line. Slaying a dragon with a feather.

I am so hoping that my generation will be the last of the hateful. But I doubt it. Sadly, if McCain becomes president, we'll be busted back to the stone age.

Posted by: MissMudd on September 27, 2008 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Look at this video at Salon's broadsheet about Palin's swimsuit contest.

Looks like McCain got his "Buffalo Chip" contestant after all, just not Cindy at Sturges. :)

Posted by: bruno on September 27, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK
--In reality, it reflects gross insecurity. --

That would be an understatement when referring to McCain. Hence his need to continually bully.

I think that McCain was afraid to look at Obama as well. If he had looked at Obama, he would probably been unable to control his temper.

I think his handlers made sure to remind him NOT to look in Obama's direction at ANY time.

Regarding McCain's lack of eye contact. The blogosphere is talking about it. Now the MSM will 'have' to pick up on it. Right? right.

Posted by: bruno on September 27, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK
--There was never any likelihood that McCain would make any independent intellectual contribution to the discussion at the White House, or anywhere else--

Check out Joe Conason's article at Salon

and......and certainly by the time he appears in Oxford, Miss.[...] the former straight talker will probably have adopted some new stance, in his panting eagerness to appear presidential.

Posted by: bruno on September 27, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think it was a win/lose - zero sum deal. I saw 2 winners. Both candidates did what they needed to do to win their target audiences.

McCain gave his supporters adequate fight and rhetoric. Obama gave his audience adequate intelligence and authority. Independents got to see their differences.

There were no knock-outs that would draw partisans across the divide.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 27, 2008 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

No idea whether you're any good at it, Hilzoy? You were great! Thank you for doing it.

Posted by: Cervantes on September 27, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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