Friday, September 26, 2008
I'll be live-blogging the debate here until I cannot take it any more.
The first question is on the "financial recovery plan." We will learn whether my fantasy comes true.
Obama leads with the "main street" focus: We have to move swiftly, and wisely. We have to make sure we have oversight. We have to make sure taxpayers have the possibility of getting their money back and getting gains. We have to make sure none of that money goes to "pad CEO bank accounts". We have to deal with the root cause, homeowners.
We also have to recognize that this is the final culmination of eight years of failed policies of George Bush supported by John McCain. A strong answer, closing with an attack.
McCain: A tender moment for Ted Kennedy, a segue into a bit about the bipartisan work going on to solve the problem. "The point is we are finally seeing Republicans and Democrats sitting down together and coming down with a package." Long speech about how he "met with the House Republicans," and now they are part of the solution. Gotta create jobs, and that involves eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. Seriously?
I'm notoriously tone deaf about this sort of thing, but I think Obama won the first exchange.
In the rebuttal phase, Obama says "last year I wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury" to make sure he "understood" the problem. That was pretty damned condescending, but maybe will play well. McCain calls him on it -- "I, too, warned about all this stuff" -- and then lapses into a discussion of Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day, and the letter of resignation he drafted in the event of his failure, and the lack of accountability in today's political climate.
McCain is now decrying "excesses and greed," which may be effective but is absolutely annoying. We corporate tools need somebody to represent our interests. Where's my candidate?
I love, however, the veto pen schtick, "and you will know their names."
Obama says that he suspended requests from "my home state until we cleaned it up"? Somebody has cleaned up Illinois? That would be impressive.
Obama with the "CEOs" again, this time in a discussion about tax policy. What happened to the foreign policy debate?
McCain is Mr. Fiscal Conservative tonight, which I suppose he has to be with his party's president proposing a $700 billion, even if we all know it is not real spending.
Obama, meanwhile, closes "corporate" loopholes, abuses "corporations" that "ship jobs overseas," and generally wants to blame corporations for all that ails us. Obama's scorn for "corporations" is such one is forced to wonder whether he wants to power the modern economy with proprietorships and partnerships.
McCain just used the word "festooned" (with reference to earmarks). That was the TigerHawk Father's single favorite word. He is smiling down on us tonight.
Mrs. TigerHawk: "Jim Lehrer has totally lost control of this. Does anybody remember the question?"
But I’ll give Obama this much credit: “Loopholes” is usually a Republican complaint. He’s taken that one away. But now he’s talking health care and against free markets and this is a foreign policy debate?
McCain: Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left." Obama smiles, apparently genuinely. It was a nice line, and good for Obama to get in the game. Al Gore would have sighed heavily.
I'm falling behind here, but I agree with the commenters that McCain needs to cut more deeply here. He has had a number of good shots, including (as one commenter points out) Obama's ties to Fannie and Freddie.
Does McCain need to keep saying "many, many, years"? It seems to me that this is a double-edged sword.
McCain would freeze spending on everything but defense and such. Obama says, “yes, but…” Which has been his entire performance so far tonight. That’s playing defense. That’s playing to lose.
But McCain has passed up gutting him on several opportunities. Now here comes Obama: "It was your president who presided over this orgy of spending." Right, and that is McCain's biggest vulnerability. McCain: "It is well known that I have not been elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate or with this administration."
Forty minutes in, an actual foreign policy question: What are the lessons of Iraq.
McCain: "The war was very badly mishandled." He traces his history of opposing the administration policy, the final triumph of his strategy, and the prospect of "victory and honor." Weak, though, in his articulation of the consequences of defeat.
Obama was, sadly, stronger in his response, focusing on the decision to go into the war. McCain, however, scored a big hit with the "no hearings" point, though, and Obama fell back on a lame legalism -- "they do not go through my subcommittee". Then this: "John, you like to pretend that the war started in 2007!" Nice hit.
On the Iraq exchange, what do you guys think? Are either of these guys persuading anybody? The consensus in this room is that neither of them are changing any minds.
Obama is getting irritated, and the interrupting thing will not help him. I should know, being one of the world's worst interrupters.
Why does Obama say "Tall-ee-bon"? Is it really pronounced that way? At least he does not say "meal worker". And "Pawkistan"?
Obama: "And I've said this to President Karzai". Has apparently been saying lots of things to lots of people.
McCain: "On this issue of aiding Pakistan: If you are going to aim a gun at somebody, you had better be prepared to pull the trigger. ... "we've got to get the support of the people of Pakistan, not launch strikes against it. You don't say that out loud."
I think McCain is crushing Obama on the Pakistan argument. McCain's best riff yet.
Another commenter is noting that McCain actually appears less irritated and more cool than Obama. I agree. McCain is getting under his skin, and staying calm himself. Has he even once given us the creepy smile and said "my friends"? If so, I missed it.
Dueling bracelets? Goddamn. Mrs. TH: "And I also have an ankle bracelet!" Please, we need a new debate rule. If one guy says he has a bracelet, the other guy moves on to another punch line.
Althouse notices the weird pronunciation thing. Mrs. TH: "Obama's been pronouncing it that way since he got back from Berlin."
The question of nuclear weapons in Iran.
McCain is strong on the threat, but then moves too quickly into the "league of democracies." The linkage between McCain's view of the Iranian threat and his proposed solution is too tenuous. If Iran is as bad as he says, we need to be willing to do a lot more.
Obama swings to the right of McCain on Iraq! Look at all those centrifuges! The policy of the last eight years has been ineffective! Time to do more "tough negotiation." What, pray tell, will we do to gain leverage in those negotiations? Obama does not say.
Losing interest during Obama's rambling point about nuclear weapons in Korea. Completely lost track of the point. Any of you guys get it? Spain!
OK, McCain's also getting lost in Korea. I got the point about the South Koreans being "three inches taller," but did everybody else?
I am, however, enjoying the race to demonize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If Obama calls him "vile" again he will miss his chance to negotiate with him without preconditions.
McCain needs to go a little easier on the "he doesn't understand" stuff. One more time and it will be annoying to the average guy. That said, McCain took the outlier position on the invasion of Georgia from the start, and gradually the rest of the world came around to his point of view. True, and I'd give you a link to my post on the subject if I had the energy.
At 10:15 (9:15 her time), Ann Althouse notices a "my friend."
Don’t get me wrong — McCain is hardly my dream candidate. Unfortunately for me, and the nation, Cal Coolidge has been dead for quite some time now.
What, no mention of Warren Harding, (possibly) our first African-American president?
The "another 9/11" question: What is the likelihood of another attack?
McCain: "A lot less than it was the day after 9/11." Takes credit for the 9/11 Commission, which is a big move to the center. Strong move on torture, too, and "working closely with our allies." His base secure -- or just in love with Sarah Palin -- McCain moves for the center.
Sidebar: I've gotten a couple of emails that observe that these are two pretty strong candidates. At the risk of irritating my loyal readers, I do think that our choices this year are better, all candidates considered, than they have been in a very long time.
The TigerHawk Cousin, here tonight sharing the joy, is tiring of the Ronald Reagan references. I think that is right -- he left office twenty years ago, and lots of Americans do not really remember him.
Obama takes the position that "al Qaeda is stronger than ever before," more or less. First, the weight of evidence is against him. Second, why is that an argument that helps Obama? And now he is talking about veterans care. Not against that, just as I am not against apple pie, but how does veterans care help us deal with al Qaeda?
Wow! McCain just said that Obama was "stubborn," just like George Bush! I am speechless, and even Obama thought that was a good 'un.
McCain closes: "I guarantee you that as president I will heal the wounds of war." Strong. John McCain, the man's candidate.
Finished. Your take?
McCain debates like a pussy
He needs to mention Obama has benefited from the fat contributions of those leaders of Fannie and Freddie, and mention that Wall Street's failure goes back to Main Street, where loans were made to people who were not credit worthy.
He's letting Obama swipe at him, without mentioning how full of crap Obama is.
Obama looks pompous, mean and angry whenever they they show him on the split screen "listening" to McCain's comments. And that moderator needs to stop trying to push them to talk directly to each other. Just let them debate, don't try to control everything.
OMG, I'm just a semi-casual political observer, but I could toast Obama with cheese in this debate. He's just talking so much bilge. Why can't Republicans just turn to Democrat and say "you filty liar." Because that's what Obama is.
Five minutes in and I think McCain is done. Somebody slip him a drink.
Calm down, everybody.
Gallup: "Gallup election polling trends since the advent of televised presidential debates a nearly a half-century ago reveal few instances in which the debates may have had a substantive impact on election outcomes."
I love it when Obama says "I stood up six years ago and opposed going into Iraq".
Well, six years ago, he was in the Illinois senate... His standing up there was completely non-binding to what the US government did. It took no courage to do that there. Big man.
I'm glad we're not seeing "angry McCain." We're seeing calm, measured, intelligent, experienced and "Presidential" McCain. Obama looks like an angry, spoilied and petulant child whenever they show him on the split screen. I think it's time for Obama to go back to IL and write his 3rd memoir. What a joke.
Yeah, guys, let's "do" Iraq. Obambi is way out of his league here. So hard to see him a Commander in Chief--he would make Bubba look like Patton. Now he's talking defeat in Afghanistan. Stumbling, groping, confabulating, inexperienced, weak.
I particularly like hearing all the sound clips - they're starting to flow across the web. Here's an example of all of the Sound Bites from the Debate
I like the fact McCain sang the song about bombing Iran. Maybe if the madmen there where worried about someone bombing them they would stop trying to make nukes and threathening their neighbors with them.
McCain keeps saying, "I don't think Senator Obama understands...." and then speaks with the calm voice of experience. He's talking now about his record on Lebanon, Somalia, Desert Storm, etc.--all the way up to the present. Obambi was smoking weed back then. Now he's back to "getting Bin Laden"--talk about fighting the last war.
McCain came out on the first bell as the guy reaching across the isle for a bipartisan resolution. That's the role he is playing. I agree with everyone who WANTS him to shove stuff down BO's throat, but then Mac would be the "angry old man."
Now, he is the reasonable seasoned pro to BO's trash talking "zinger" persona.
In the end, it is NOT scored on points, but on emotion. UNLIKE most of the gun toating napalm smellers on this blog (me included) MUCH of the public would rather have "seasoned pro" to "bomb thrower".
It isn't a failure in tactics, it is a deliberate strategy.
Can somebody please explain to me how the hell Obama has honored the fallen who have served? He says none of them die in vain because they are carrying out the orders of the Commander in Chief (the President) after having just said the war in Iraq was wrong. Hypocrisy-much?
Obama is just rude. He keeps interrupting and talking under his breath. He reminds me of Al Gore from that first debate in 2000. He comes off like an arrogant ass. And McCain is right - Obama is not just naive, he's dangerous.
Not to give Obama any credit, since this is America, but in the east (India, Pakistan et al, it is pronounced Pahk'-ee-stan.
Here in the states it is Pack'is-tan.
It is a bit of affectation though, since BO has never lived there and doesn't speak Urdu or Hindustani. ffect
I agree with the prior poster that McCain is starting to sound a little condescending. But I'm not sure it will be received badly (not by independents or conservatives, at least). It would be received badly if he started out that way, but he didn't. I think this comes off as Obama "earning" that condescending attitude because he has been quite rude and disrepectful (and sophomore'ish, really) for much of this exchange.
They're both doing pretty well with their pronounciations of foreign names. Reminds me of SNL Debate in 2000 where Bush referred to "Guy #3. I will not pronounce his name because it wouldn't be in the national interest." Oh Bush, we miss ya, man.
these guys have done so many things right (just ask them, they'll tell ya), and not to mention all the other candidates who have been "fighting for change for 30 years" it is amazing we have any sort of crisis going on!
McCain looks like the cat batting around the mouse. McCain is cleverly recounting his experience of historical events, from Lebanon to Waziristan, or working with Sen. Lieberman after 9/11--most of which occurred before Obama was even on the scene. McCain's using the advantage of experience without seeming old or stale--and he seems more upbeat and tuned in to the future.
I liked this debate format. Lehrer mildly guided it and let them talk at length. Very nice.
Obama gives a nice speech but boy he stammers when he's pushed on his soundbites. McCain clearly believes what he believes, popular or not.
I tried to track down the correct pronunciation of "taliban" without too much luck. It is generally rendered as "taleban" in Urdu, and probably Hindi. The closest I could get was an unsubstantiated claim that stress is largely less important in Hindi than in English, and that if a word is not stressed on the final syllable, then it is stressed on the next-to-last syllable. This is no doubt complicated by the fact that "taliban" is the plural of "talib". I'd guess that "ta-LIB-an" is somewhat closer to the correct (i.e. native) pronunciation than "TAL-i-ban".
On a more serious note, I'd like to opine that Jim Lehrer is the fairest person in the establishment media. Actually, I'd pay him the ultimate honor of saying that he's not establishment at all, he's just good.
My final take? Liberals will think Obama did great and won. COnservatives will think McCain did great and won. It's the true Independents that matter, and I think McCain gets the win from most of them. He was more professional, more confident and also more likeable. Who wants to be lectured to by Obama for four more years? Shudder.
I think McCain took it. But next time I want to see him be a pitbull. I want to see him go after Obama's obvious lies and half-truths. I want to see a man that isn't afraid to go on the attack. Measured and calm is good, but I want to see the man that is also willing to pull out the big guns and use them.
I, too, wish he could have stuffed some of those ridiculous lines down Obama's throat. (Does he even know what the proliferation bill he co-sponsored with Coburn was about?!?)
But, you're right -- he needs to be the elder statesman to win this.
I agree with TH comment that we have a better match than many previous races. I was a bit put off by McCain's condocending tone and claims of naivate. Obama is the first african american presidential nominee from a major party and McCain comes across as an old white guy dissin' a highly educated fellow senator.The tone and the attitude were wrong. Obama frequently agreed with McCain and at least had a venier of respect. McCain sorta acted like Obama should be shining his shoes.
Disagree with the suggestion that there was any hint of racism coming off of McCain. The only person in this campaign who ever raises the race issue is Obama. Have we noticed he is black? Yes we have. We have also noticed that he is the most liberal member of the US Senate and is entirely lacking in experience necessary to be POTUS.
I noticed that there are three places you can look if you're a presidential candidate debating another one: 1) You can look at the moderator when you answer the question. This seems most natural, and it seems to be what candidates do most often.
2) You can look at the camera, talking directly to the people. This however, comes off as unnatural and contrived, i.e. you're looking at us on purpose because you want to seem like everybody's candidate. We know you're doing it, therefore it has no effect.
3) You can look at your opponent, and address him specifically. This is excessively confrontational, like you're picking a fight (which, as it happens, is exactly what's going on). This is not good, because it makes you look like a jerk, or at least disrespectful.
McCain principally seemed to be using tactic #1, while Obama used all 3. He tried talking to the camera, especially for the first bit, and probably realized the downsides to doing it, or changed tactics unconsciously. He also used pronouns and first names, and looked directly at McCain. This doesn't seem disrespectful, it just seems colloquial, but perhaps since Obama is so new and doesn't know McCain very well, perhaps this comes off as disrespect.
I never really saw McCain directly look at Obama, however. He seemed extremely focused on the moderator. (P.S. Lots of GS kids laughed when McCain couldn't say Achmadenijad's name correctly. I can't even spell it correctly, so I'm going to do what Glenn Beck does and call him President Tom.)
Gotta create jobs, and that involves eliminating our dependence on foreign oil.
That's seriously wrong. Not just because "eliminating our dependence on foreign oil" will destroy the economy, not just because the unemployment rate is low, but because it's not the government's, let alone the President's, job to "create jobs". Business does that all by itself, so long as it isn't taxed and regulated to death.
I am a resident of Barack Obama's state and currently an undecided voter. I want Obama to defend his failure in Southern Illinois and I can't get a response from him, perhaps, you can.
Southern Illinois is the rural and impoverished portion of the state. In short, 1) Ameren CIPS, basically an electricity providing monopoly in the area, increased their rates due to a lack of re-legislation. My personal bill as a medical student went from $70 dollars to $289., other’s peaked at $800 from $150. Not only was it shocking and unethical, there seemed to be no way to justify or estimate which homes got the highest rates. Some government officials fought for us, some even sent buses to bring the impoverished population to Springfield. From what I can tell Barack did nothing, furthering my fear that he is out of touch with the poor in this country. 2) He said in the debate tonight that he's concerned with Veterans affairs. Please, look into the VA Hospital in Marion, IL. Only after continual national coverage of the atrocities, (like unlicensed "Dr's" performing surgeries and vets dying), did Barack show up.
Both points 1 and 2 have not been resolved to this day. The VA is still a mess, he clearly doesn't care, and after lawmakers forced Ameren to partially back pay customers, it was not held accountable. I do not know a sole who received a dime, just another huge energy crisis affecting out economy deficit.
As a former Hillary democrat and a current undecided voter, I'm so upset frankly; I could see myself voting for McCain despite our disagreement on Iraq and women's issues. Based purely on the fact that caring about my population, everyone's energy costs (like electricity and gas) and taking care of the soldiers coming home from Iraq, simply out prioritize our differences.
Obama took the opening round on the financial crisis. McCain needs to prepare a little better for the debate on domestic issues, which will be primarily economic issues. McCain has better positions, he just needs to drive them home in a way that better resonates with voters, and that means dropping the "greed and corruption on wall street and in the board room" crap.
Tell them how lower taxes will mean more in their pockets to do as they wish. Tell them lower spending means less government in their lives. Tell them how much lower gasoline prices will be if we get a good law for oil drilling.
McCain showed a much deeper understanding of foreign policy in all of the subsequent rounds. The question of who won then boils down to this: How many Americans tuned out after the first question?
Fast Barky looked tired. Let's see. McCain won the Conventions, the VP picks, the Saddleback Forum, and Now the First Debate. That's 4 - 0.
And the Clintons - by George, they're the true bellweather of this thing - they're really unsupportive of Ali Barky; maybe they know he's gonna lose, no? I mean, if the Clintons thought Barky had it in the Tank, they would be saying how wonderful he is. THey think Barky is toast. THat's why he looked so shadowy in the First Debate - he knows he is going to lose and it bugs him.
McCain was always better than appearances; Obama was always worse than appearances. 'When a hunter goes after Big Game, he doesn't stop for Rabbit Tracks!'
Up front, I was a Huckabee fan and then Romney. Either of them would have eaten Obama Alive. Instead we get this humorless closet liberal who won't even look at his opponent.
Conservatives took a royal screwing with McCain's nomination, and his weak performance tonight has given us at least 4 years of liberal excesses
I dread the prospect that the liberals will take this election, but unless McCain comes up with better, he's toast. It's good to be optimistic, but anyone who thinks that Mac won this is kidding themselves. He just looked and sounded like an old man