Liveblogging The Debate

Just the salient points.

McCain does not want to spread the wealth around.

Obama wants to cut the 15 billion dollar subsidy to insurance companies.

Obama wants to invest in higher education.

McCain is taking copious notes as Obama speaks. Maybe he'll pick something up.

McCain is having a hard time finishing a sentence. But Obama is having a hard time not smirking.

McCain is taking credit again for stopping the DOD aircraft manufacturing deal, and he's talking about the planetarium projector again. But he's still not really finishing his sentences.

McCain is getting mad. Staring to blow steam.

Obama is staying cool, just talking about what needs to happen, explaining how McCain's across the budget freeze is a hatchet, while he (Obama) would prefer to use a scalpel.

OOOOO... Mccain says "Obama, I'm not President Bush... if you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago" That would have been a clean hit if he didn't have this crazy-eyed look on his face.

But Obama is smirking a little too much....

Basically, the two candidates are slamming each other on their Senatorial voting records. McCain has listed a bunch of complaints against Obama.

Obama is not running down the list of complaints and noting various complains and putting each one pretty much back up McCain's butt where they came from, one after the other.

As McCain takes copious notes.

McCain just said that he vigorously opposed the War in Iraq. That's a new one.

OK, the moderator is bringing up the "high road / low road" issue, calling both candidates on the various negative ads. "Are each of you willing to say these things to each other's faces?"

McCain's answer: "I wanted to do town hall debates but .... And I regret some of the negative aspects .... it has taken many turns that I have not expected .... " Now he is bringing up John Lewis' remarks linking Wallace to McCain, and accusing Obama of not repudiating those remarks.

McCain brings up the shift by Obama in campaign funding.

Obama's turn: noting the polls show that people think McCain is more negative, and pointing out that 100 percent of McCain's campaigns are negative (McCain interjecting that this is not true).

Obama is trying to raise the discussion above this back and forth and calls McCain on the "no town hall meeting = I can be an asshole" claim.

Obama: "I don't mind being attacked over the next few weeks. But the American People deserve..... etc. etc."

McCain is grinning like a beat-up baboon as Obama speaks.

McCain returns to the petty accusation, asks again for repudiation of Lewis, and brings up Joe the Plumber.

Now Obama: Discusses Lewis (a war hero, etc.) comments. Lewis was troubled by people shouting "kill him" and "terrorist" etc.... Lewis' point was to point this out, and in so doing made an inappropriate comparison. "We immediately put out a statement saying that this was not appropriate" ..

.. so, what is McCain looking for?

Obama: The American People are getting tired of this tit for tat

McCain, inturrupting: "tit for tat tit for tat" etc .etc.

McCain: "I'm proud of the people who come to our rallies."

McCain, again with the insistence that Obama repudiate. Amanda and Julia are sitting here going: "This is getting old"

Obama says: Whatever whatever, John. Let's try solving the bigger problem: Two wars, the biggest financial crisis since the American Depression, etc. etc. We need to disagree without being disagreeable"

John McCain has stopped taking notes. He's waving his arms around and blowing air . He is now calling for details of the relationship with both Ayers and Acorn.

Obama now addresses Ayers. He gives the basic story, noting the link between Ayers and Reagan, the presidents of various universities, etc. etc. Well described, well done.

Obama now addresses Acorn: Acorn was involved in some improper practices in registering voters. Obama was not involved in this, though he had earlier associations with Acorn.

Obama moves on to noting McCain's obsession with "associations" are misguided, and lists a bunch of people that he IS associated with. Obama kills McCain.

McCain comes back with further accusations about Acorn and Ayers. McCain is pulling out all the stops making more detailed accusations and saying that the American People will make a judgment. McCain is doing a Sarah Palin now, bringing up taxes, etc.

Obama is ROFL.

Now I'm Rolling on the Floor Lagging with the moderator's next question: Gentlemen, why would we be better off if YOUR veep became president than if HIS veep became president.


So, Obama basically reads Biden's resume in short form. Well done, can't lose with that one.

McCain: Well, Palin is a role model for women all over America


She's a role model for reformers.


OMG this is one of those defining moment of the campaign..

We need a bresh of freth air. He said that . Bresh of freth air.

Oh, and she knows about special needs families.

She has ignited our party and people all over america, bla bla bla.

Barack: Do you think she's qualified to be president"

Answer: Well, that's up to the American People. Then a few platitudes. Changing topic to autism. Autism will need more funding, but an across the board spending freeze will not allow that

John: Do you think Biden is qualified?

Answer: Well, sure, but .... then a litany of reasons why he's not. Really slamming Biden. Change the topic to spending and taxes. What a Maverick.

New Topic: Energy and stuff.

Give a number as to how much we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

McCain: Bla bla bla dig on Obama. bla bla bla dig on Obama. bla bla dig on Obama. Samo samo.

Obama: In ten years we can reduce by (then I missed the answer.. whoops). Need to expand domestic production . Tell the oil companies regarding the leased average: Use 'em or lose 'em. .. but we can't drill our way out of the problem.

Wants the US to build a highly efficient car. McCain is looking rather dyspeptic. Obama is looking rather Presidential.

Obama slams McCain on free trade. McCain is now accusing Obama of lies. "He sounds good but you've got to pay attention to the actual words...."

McCain is whining about the Columbia Free Trade Agreement and Obama's opposition to it. McCain accuses Obama of not understanding the situation because he has not gone south of the border. He smirks and hands it back to Obama.

Obama: "Acutely, I do understand the situation" ... then he explains the situation. McCain is taking copious notes.

McCain: Stutter mumble... no preconditions ... terrorist organizations.... bla bla bla.... stutter .... Obama wants to raise taxes .... herbert hoover... depression.... not when I'm president.

New topic: Health care.

Question by the moderator: bla bla bla

Obama: Describes his health care plan clearly and convincingly, explains how his plan will improve everything for everybody but the wealthy insurance company owners. Make everything more efficient, etc.

McCain is not taking notes. He's just staring at Obama like a dog waiting for a treat.

McCain: Well, it is a painful bla bla bla, whining, costs too much, pain, stutter, rise of obesity must be stemmed. More gym classes. bla bla bla ... go to the gym .... bla bla bla. .. Joe the plumber ..... Obama will ruin your plan ... taxes ... Joe the plumber, Obama is going to fine you. Joe does not want to pay the fine. Obama wants to take over health care of america and fine Joe, you'd love Canada and England.

Obama: Well, I just described the plan, and that wasn't it . Here's your fine, Joe, ... zero .... (makes zero with his fingers). Now Obama is explaining how Joe the Plumber is getting screwed now and how he will be better off with the Obama plan.

McCain is now taking copious notes.

Obama is now explaining how McCain's plan totally sucks. McCain is nodding hishead and twitching.

Obama is wearing a US flag, McCain is NOT. TRAITOR!!!!

McCain is now being utterly inarticulate. Bla bla bla. Obama mandates. bla bla bla. big governemtn. taxes. bla bla bla

Ooooooo McCain just called Barack: "Senator Government" not because it was funny, but because he slipped up.

Obama replies; "You'all just heard my plan." Explains again.

New Question: R v W ... What are you going to do about the supreme court?

McCain: I don't believe in litmus tests. Accuses Obama of doing it wrong. McCain forced to sort of say that he would not be opposed to a pro-choice judge, but if there was a pro choice judge he would oppose them. I think that is what he said.

Obama: Also no litmus test, but RvW is rightly decided. Obama makes firm pro-choice statement, and invokes right to privacy that is not subject to state referendum.

Obama brings up the ledbetter (sp?) case. As an example of wanting to appoint judges that have a clue about people's problems.

McCain brings up state senate law regarding late term abortion. McCain is now explaining what Obama will say in answer to this and dismissing it.

Obama: If it sounds incredible that I did (a specific vote McCain mentioned) that is because it is not true. Obama explains the nature of the vote against a bill that even Republicans voted against. Obama supports ban on late term with life and health (of mother) exceptions.

Obama talks about finding common ground regarding abortion (which there is) regarding sex education, etc. etc. ... the stuff that is in the democratic platform.

McCain: Again, Obama speaks well but you have to listen to the words. WTF.

Final question: Education.

Obama: Reform vs. funding: we need both. New higher paid better trained teachers. College must be affordable. $4K tuition credit. Teacher here on the couch: "Yes! Yes!"

McCain: Choice and competition among schools has been proven and is what we must do. (what a fucking moron). Charter schools. bla bla bla. Throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Bla bla bla. Get volunteer teachers who do not have certification like from the military. bla bla bla. college: more student loans! more student loans!

Question: Does the federal gov need to spend more in the schools?

Obama: Our tradition is local control, but the feds can help. No child left behind was a try at this but unfortunately they left the money behind. Same with special needs legislation. Focus on early childhood education, etc. Obama also likes charter schools, and getting rid of bad teachers.

McCain takes Obama to task over Washing DC Vouchers. I guess he saw the same episode of West Wing that I saw. Notes that Palin knows about Autism. Notes that the US education system is the most expensive in the world, and this has to be cut. Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers. Proven.

Obama: Regarding DC vouchers: Right. The DC school system sucks, the vouchers were better than shit. McCain interrupting looking like howdy doody. Obama points out that vouchers do not work. McCain's policy is to increase vouchers in DC. The rest of the country is fucked.

McCain coughs out a closing comment that makes him look even more like Howdy Doody.

Closing Statements

McCain first.

bla bla bla friends bla bla bla difficult times bla challenges for america bla bla bla new direction bla bla bla i have a record bla bla maverick bla bla bla taxes bla bla make health care abortable ... I mean affordable bla bla bla stutter stutter america needs to be bla bla safe bla bla my entire life, a long line of McCains bla bla proud bla bla.

Obama: A clear overview of the current dire economic situation and what we need to avoid doing, and what we need to do instead. A statement that we need fundamental change. Optimistic statement about the future, but call for investment now. ... lift wages, green economy, etc. etc. I will work tirelessly for your vote, etc.

Obama wins, McCain ... does not.

McCain did better than his previous performances for the first half, which fell apart into the crazy old man bit. but it was not enough.

Rachel Maddow notes that McCain's ridicule of the importance of the life of the mother in relation to the abortion issue will be the most remembered part of this debate in the long run. Chris Matthews agrees, and is driving that nail into McCain's coffin quite vigorously.

It is rather strange to see Rachel sitting at the same desk as Pat Buchanan. Pat Buchanan makes me sick. Isn't he supposed to be in prison?

OK, what am I doing here, live blogging the post debate? Well, not ... stopping now.

Good night.


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On my TV McCain looks very pink. Is he having a blood pressure problem?

What with the back and forth on screen, and my switching my focus between tv and monitor, I haven't really kept track of the debate. So a look at the transcript is necessary here. That said, my impression is that both men are missing so many opportunities to go outside the box it aint even funny. And now Obama is leaving out so much about how he became head of a foundation before he entered politics it's not even funny. The same lying by omission went on where ACORN is concerned.

Obama is the better speaker. McCain is more reliable from all I know of the two men. Neither is the best choice for the job.

Obama would do well to be honest about the people he knows, and whom he works with. McCain would do well to stop being so damn conciliatory with everybody he talks to. Both need to stop being so damn socialist. As Ronald Reagan put it all those years ago; government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem. Time and time again we have seen top down initiatives have failed, while bottom up initiatives regarding the same subject have succeeded. Socialism is about top down programs, and McCain is as much about top down programs as Obama is. We need a president who is willing to let people try bottom up programs.

But my real complaint about both men is, they're boring. Maybe if we let them talk to each other, have a conversation, things would be different; but as long as they're talking to an audience, they're boring.

Alan, do you have the debate on at all? They've been talking back and forth the whole time, interruptions and all. If you want to post an ideological screed, at least make an effort to stay on topic.

A further note.

If Obama would open up about his relationships with Ayers, Dohrn, and ACORN, respond to the questions honestly, openly, and completely, he would do so much good for his campaign it would amaze people.

It's his top down policies that bother me. Who he has associated with and is associating with is not part of the picture, except where such association negatively impacts his potential effectiveness as President of the United States. Barack Obama shows his association with Bill Ayers does not, and will not, negatively affect his fitness as President, he could insure his election.

Stephanie Z,

What have they been talking about? That's what I have been addressing.

And a question for McCain. If you love Joe the Plumber so much, why don't you marry him?

Is it just me or is Schiffer giving McCain the last word?

I don't think he's giving him the last word. I think he's being fairly even and the vast difference opening up between these candidates is something the candidates are doing.

Alan, Obama would be well-justified to dig in about McCain's past involvements with the Annenbergs and fucking ACORN. But he doesn't really need to because it is so goddamned irrelevant it is silly for McCain to harp on it.

It's just as important as the birth certificate issue, meaning "not."

Clearly, the concept of Sarah Palin being a model for women was the low point of the debate.

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 16 Oct 2008 #permalink

Allen: Both need to stop being so damn socialist.

My god, do you even have a CLUE? What one policy suggested by either is socialistic?

Time and time again we have seen top down initiatives have failed, while bottom up initiatives regarding the same subject have succeeded.


If Obama would open up about his relationships with Ayers, Dohrn, and ACORN, respond to the questions honestly, openly, and completely, he would do so much good for his campaign it would amaze people.

Facts About ACORN and Alleged Voter Fraud

By Virgil Samms (not verified) on 16 Oct 2008 #permalink