Friday, September 26, 2008

Live Blog: Debate Numero Uno

12 minutes to debate time. McCain chose to go forward with the debate, which was the right call. Regardless of what people think about the bailout -- and frankly I'm not completely onbaord with either position myself -- voters deserve to know what each of these guys think, especially in a challenging time such as the one we find ourselves in this week.

Tonight's live blog is sponsored by Wolaver's India Pale Ale. (I'm hoping that the Vermont brewers will see this plug and fill up my fridge accordingly.)

On a sobering note, Ted Kennedy was taken to a hospital tonight for a seizure related to his brain tumor. No matter the ideological differences people have with the man, he's one of the admirable figures of all time in politics.

One minute to go. The spinsters have already started. McCain's people saying he could be tired so don't expect much. Obama's people are tampering down expectations by admitting that their candidate rambles professorially.

Huge Jim Lehrer fan. He's a down the middle guy. Here we go!

Lehrer points out that the financial crisis is fair game tonight. Indeed.

It took Obama a minute to try to tie McCain into Bush's policies. McCain touts bi-partisanship.

Lehrer: "Let's go back to my question. Do you favor this plan?"

Just answer the @#%$ question.

McCain ties in Eisenhower (?!).

Ah, he's getting at accountability. Hard to argue with that. Yawner so far.

McCain recycles a stump line about pork barrel spending with the money for the study of DNA of bears. Interesting that a certain bridge to a certain island wasn't mentioned.

McCain points out that he didn't win Mr. Congeniality in the Senate. Amy points out that Sarah Palin won Ms. Congeniality in her beauty pageant days.

Obama attacks McCain directly for his tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans. Good move.

McCain jumps to the business tax & Ireland. Answer the #@%# question.

Obama, responding to the criticism that he wants to raise taxes: "95% of you will get a tax cut." This directness is exactly what he has to do. K-I-S-S, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Potential testy exchange over who is the bigger champion against wasteful spending. Bad night for oil companies. Both accuse the other of being in bed with them.

Obama doesn't address Lehrer's question about priorities given the cost of the buyout. He's also falling into the Al Gore sighing trap by laughing under his breath and mumbling catty comments towards McCain.

Lehrer tries to rope them back to commit to what each candidate will cut in the face of the financial crisis one of them will inherit in January.

Obama: Get out of Iraq.
McCain: Tries to tie pick on Obama re: offshore drilling in nuclear power.

Not sure what offshore drilling has to do with spending cuts.

Lehrer tries to ask the effect of the bailout question for a third time. He's persistent.

Obama: "It's your President that presided over this orgy of spending." Bam.

Sarah Palin is going to be pissed if McCain keeps dissing Miss Congeniality awards.

Amy just points out (via Chuckie Todd) that Obama is wearing a flag pin on his lapel; McCain is not. Funny.

Obama: $600B in Iraq, 4,000 lives, "we took our eye off the ball." He's doing better on his long-winded tendencies.

Good line from McCain: "The next president is not going to have to make the decision of whether or not to go into Iraq."

Obama just hammered McCain on judgment -- 2003 vs. 2007.

McCain: Obama cut off funding for the troops.

Lehrer can't get it off this back and forth.

Iraq is just a cesspool of debate....moving to Afghanistan. In theory this one should not be as contentious.

BTW, when bathing the boys tonight I asked them who we wanted to be President. Knowing that I like Obama, they shouted in unison, "John McCain!!" So I did what any responsible father would do.

I explained to the boys that John McCain wants to take their gummy fish and chocolate away.

I have twin three year-old Obama supporters now.

The body language is noticeably different between these two. Obama seems to be addressing McCain more when he speaks. McCain is looking away toward the moderator more.

The problem with foreign policy debates is that at the core, this is re-fighting Vietnam.

Both of them have bracelets from family members of soldiers. I hate this "Who loves America more" garbage.

McCain's temper is visually showing.

Moving to Iran....

McCain: No nukes. No argument there. A "League of Democracies?"

Obama: Policy on Iraq contributed to Iran's rise.

McCain hammers Obama on meeting with dictators (Iran, Cuba, Venezuela) without preconditions.

Obama completely fumbles this answer away. I agree with his premise that you have to keep diplomacy at the forefront. But Obama has GOT to be able to net his arguments out.

The "preconditions" argument is a complete difference of world views. Do you talk to your enemies or does giving them an audience legitimize their positions just by entertaining the discussion?

I agree with Obama, but he has to be able to explain this in a clear, concise manner for the average voter.

On to Russia....

Obama is really backed into a corner b/c unfortunately for him he can't see Russia from his house.

This debate spiraled downward. He said, he said.

Last question....

Chance for another 9/11-type attack on the United States....

McCain: America is safer than it was on 9/11, but we have a long way to go.

Obama: Safe, but a long way to go. Biggest threat is nuclear threat in a suitcase, not a missile.

I don't think either McCain or Obama tanked it. No major gaffes. Some good lines and points from both men. But so much of which one of these two appeals to voters depends on a person sees the world.

For me the nutshell of the two candidate's foreign policies is that McCain favors a stronger, more aggressive approach to dealing with those countries that have differences with the United States. Show them our might first, discuss with them second.

Obama on the other hand favors a more subtle approach where diplomacy is the first and second option, choosing to try to shore up America's image in the world as the best foreign policy tool to guarantee security.

Next Thursday, JoeBi and Tina Fey.

Cheers everyone!


Roamin' said...

love Jim Lehrer too!

Roamin' said...

Who favors deregulation???

Roamin' said...

McCain has a fundamental belief in America-sound much like fundamentals of the economy are strong?

Derek said...

Good line about how much earmarks actually account for -- drop in the bucket comparatively.

Darrin said...

I love it. McCain sounds like an old senile man in a nursing home rambling on!

Roamin' said...

you're using a hatchert where you need a scalpel-LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Derek said...

"Senate inside baseball" -- good line.

McCain smirking & looking down a lot.

Derek said...

McCain's closing argument: Plays the Vietnam card. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

NBC has Biden talking about the debate for the Democrats; Guiliani representing the GOP.

Where is Sarah Palin? Disgraceful that she can't even put a sentence together for their candidate.

Rudy: Noun, verb, 9/11.

Scott P said...

I don't think either candidate really shined last night. I thought they both seemed a little off their game. But then, I also feel that Presidential Debates are fairly meaningless too. Some interesting reading on the subject of such debates:
Presidential Debates Rarely Game Changers