Live blogging the debate

2100 hrs

This is a bit of an experiment for me. First, I haven't done a lot of live blogging. Second, I don't know whether science will play any part in tonight's debate.


Lehrer is introducing. Looks like McCain showed up...

Lehrer: quoting Eisenhower, re military and econ strength.

Obama: poised, confident. Acknowledges poor economy and personalizes it for average American. Wants oversight of bailout. Wants return on investment. Wants to help homeowners. States "final verdict on 8 years of Bush/McCain deregulation." Calls out to middle class.

McCain: distracts to Ted Kennedy. Looks serious and competent. Acknowledges crisis. Sounds same as Obama. Trying to justify going to DC. Emphasizes crisis is just beginning and repubs have solution.

Lerher tries to get them to actually answer the original question.


Obama says he was warning people 2 yrs ago. Still not answering question.

McCain: I hope to vote for the plan, maybe. A lot of us saw it coming. Distracts by switching to Eisenhower. Talks about accountability. Tries to justify Cox mess.

Bemoans greed, excess, bad stuff. More accountability.

Obama: McCain is right, but don't just need responsibility in crisis, also rest of time. Dig at admin. Same policies are responsible for everything bad. "I just fundamentally disagree [with McCain]." Shout out to working folks again.


McCain: Mainstreet is paying for excesses in DC and Wall St. Regulators didn't do their job. American worker best thing since lawn jockeys (not a quote).

McCain: Get spending under control. Repubs failed. Earmarking is gateway drug. (no mention of war spending). Mad about bears---talking to colbert???? M. says he's better than obama re earmarks.

Obama: Agrees that earmarks are teh suxxorz. Reminds audience that he suspended earmarks from IL, and reminds us all that earmarks are much smaller amount than tax cuts to rich. thats gotta leave a mark.

"Grow economy from bottom up"


McCain: Obama only stopped earmarks when he started campaign. Ducks issue of comparison of earmarks to other spending. Doesn't look old.

"I wanna cut spending, keep taxes low"

Obama:(interrupting) I close corporate loopholes, etc, change topic to health care, and comes back to earmarks and comparison to other spending. Gets back to middle class , attacks McCain plan and links him to bush.


McCain complaining about business taxes. Says we should move to Ireland or something.

Baby crying...mine, not theirs..

Tries to pin earmarks on Obama again, wants to give families tax credits for health ins.

Obama complains that "effective" business tax is actually quite low. Says McCains health credit will also mean taxing your health benefits, which is new. Open market is bad for individ.


McCain trying to pin repub policy on obama. Now suddenly talking tax code.

Obama: "you're a lying cracker" or some such. McCain has jowls.

Lerher: redirects to bailout--what do you have to give up for plan

Obama: must delay some things b/c economy sux. We can't do everything i want, but we have to have energy independence---discusses his plan. (total change of subject but artfully done.) Mentions bunch of other desired policies that won't be given up.

McCain: no matter what we have to cut spending, Obama has most liberal voting record in senate, hard to reach that far left. I oppose ethanol subs (bye, Iowa). Defense spending overruns are bad. I know how to do it. Give example of doing it once.


Obama: must invest in energy, im not willing to give up need to do it, but some parts of plan may have to go. Changes topic to health care spending, and waste there. "I'm not wildly liberal, i just oppose bush bc he's wrong"

Lerher reminding them of topic.

McCain: Spending freeze except vets, defense and some entitlements

Obama: Freeze is a hatchet when you need a scalpel. Brings up Iraq spending.

McCain: plays terrorist card. GOes to nuke power and offshore drilling, dings O for opposing storage of waste or something.

Lehrer tries redirecting them again to original question.

O agrees bailout will affect budget.

Baby now sound asleep.

M: need to cut spending, O will spend more. Healthy economy is best thing for economy---WTF?

M: Ive fought spending my whole career.

O: It's your president who increased "orgy of spending" FTW! "You voted for almost all of his bugets."

M: Im not miss congeniality, i've opposed admin about a lot of stuff. AMerican people know. I'm a Maverick, and palin is too. (She may be under podium, i dont know).

M: Iraq, started good, then mishandled, I went there and kicked some ass and took names and found Petreus and fixed Iraq with super surge. WE will have stable ally in region now (more neocon verbiage...)

M:We are winning in Iraq

O: We have fundamental difference. I said we shouldn't go to Iraq in first place when everyone said go. Hadn't yet found bin Laden (Snap!), Bush and M got it wrong, spent shit load of money and lives and strategically weaker viz al Queda.

"We have to use military wisely"

M: Next pres wont have to address issue of why we went to Iraq but how we get out. I was right about surge, O was wrong. (M doing well, but entirely on defensive)

O: Leans on BIden's experience. M is right about how well troops and Petreus have done, but is "tactic to contain damage from mismanagement"---war didn't start in 07, you said in 03 it would be quick and easy. "You were wrong" x4ish


M: Obama doesnt understand diff between tactic and strategy. Petreus invited me to Iraq and i talked to troops who said Let us Win. Obama refuses to acknowledge were winning. WEre winning and O doesn't get it. Peace and prosperity are coming out all over (unlike don't ask dont tell soldiers)

O: we both opposed troop funding at various times for various reasons---of course we were both going to fund troops. I do understand tactic v strategy. Bush can't spell either one (or something). Afghanistan. Again. Again. End war phased and responsibly

M: my guys say O is dangerous.

O: not true

M: Petreus again. Arguing about different war ideas. Obama's plan will give us wider war.


L: change topic to Afghanistan

O: Need more troops in Afghanistan. Getting worse there. Not enough troops in Afghan. McCain snarking. O reminding us we basically brought Quaeda to Iraq. O talking details of Afghan and Pak. Complaining about Pak performance.

M: I won't repeat my mistake of abandoning people we like. Don't mess with Pak, O wants to bomb Pak, i want to hug them. Talks about Waziristan, "I've been there", and same strategy of iraq should be used there along with Paks. Petreus is great, i still love him. Pak is important element and i wont publicly state i will attack them.

O: I didn't say that. If baddies are in our sights, and Paks can't get them, we should (hot pursuit argument). DOesn't think M is credible. Not easy situation. Choice is let our troops be on defensive or let them go after bad dudes. Need to change attitude to Pak people. Need to make friends with the real people.


M: Pak was failed state, musharraf was okeydokey. I loved Reagan. I voted against him. I was right. I was right about gulf war I, bosnia, etc. I'm right about lots of matters military. Details. I have a record and experience (by implication, O does not). Gives bracelet story again. Looks very serious about it. Goes to Nam example---it sucked.


O: I've got a bracelet too! (ugh). No US soldier ever dies in vain (FTW). Question is are we making good judgements. WE took our eye off afghan and qaeda. BLames M for abandoning afghan and qaeda.

M: I've been all these places so i know better. We will win everywhere all the time unless Obama is elected.


L: Time is even so far. New question---Iran.

M: If iran gets nukes, israel gonna die, can't allow second holocaust (don't worry john, israel has nukes too). I propose a League of Democracies impose significant sanctions on Iranians (but not indians, paks, israelis). Work with wimpy europeans even. Fries are french again. Oh, and Iranians are killing our kids in iraq. They are really really really bad. But general gist is diplomacy.

O: Agrees that iran has been very very bad. Last 8 yrs of policy hasn't worked, and i agree with mccain. Agrees with diplomacy, but says we have to include non-democratic folks, like china and russia. Need direct diplomacy as well with iran (said iraq, but meant iran).

M: Obama wants to negotiate with bad bad men without preconditions. Somehow back to nixon and reagan. Makes him seem old. I'll sit down with anyone, but must have preconditions. Obama said without preconditions (repeat).

O: As president i'll meet with anyone anywhere i want cuz IM DE MAN.

O: I'm not talking bout having tea with them (sounds wimpy), then gets into complicated details of diplomacy showing he knows what he's talking about, but losing all the hockey moms.

O gives examples of not talking---n korea---it didn't work there. When we did talk, it worked better. (What's with Kim's glasses anyway?) McCain is at odds with his advisors. Pulls out the spain card---

M: Doesn't respond to spain thing, just says that he hasn't set his meeting sched in white house yet. Arguing again about meeting bad guys, and keeps pulling it back to israel. Some of my friends may buy this shit. Keeps trying to bring it back to israel. "Obama will leave israel a smoking hunk of desert. And he's a muslim too. I didn't see him eat before sunset, did you?"

O: Youre an idiot to think that sitting down with bad guys means agreeing with them.

M: I know this shit more than you, and Henry would back me up.

2215 getting tired

L: New question--Russia

Running out of steam....

McCain doesn't look old, Obama doesn't look young. They both come off as smart, able, and presidential. Obama sometimes comes off as too smart and subtle. McCain seems to whine a bit. Obama has focused on failed policies of last 8 years, McCain has been on defensive emphasizing his independence of thought and action.

McCain has played up most successfully his foreign policy and military creds---his economic and domestic policy statements are a PHAIL.

Obama comes off very knowledgeable, but leaves himself open to McCains accusations of naivete.

This fight ain't over by a longshot (until Biden wipes the floor with Palin).

2120---still going, but i'm wearing out. Their stamina is admirable. G' night.

Wait, oh christ---mccain still talking about how he's been to every 'stan in the world. And it may be working.

Wait again! Obama brings long boring Russia discussion back to energy! FTW!!!!!!

(Is it just me or is Obama darker tonight and McCain less wrinkly?)

Thank FSM---last question.

McCain sums up that he is responsible for most good in the world, and will fix anything else.

Obama sums up that we haven't done a great job yet---long way to go to en-safen our country from terrorism, haven't even done basics since 911.

I'm not so sure this debate is going to change any minds---McCain performed at least as well as he should have, and Obama exceeded my expectations esp. re foreign policy.

OK, really, i can't take it anymore. Feel free to debate the debate below.

The thread is open

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My favorite line of the night:

Lessons of Iraq is you cant have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict

CNN has verified this statement as FACT.


O: I'm not talking bout having tea with them (sounds wimpy), then gets into complicated details of diplomacy showing he knows what he's talking about, but losing all the hockey moms.

Yeah, because the NASCAR dads have already fallen asleep in their La-Z-Boys, after consuming a few cans of Bud Light and half a pound of queso and Doritos.

Seriously, though, excellent job liveblogging the debate!

Is it just me, or does whingeing about too much government spending and interference on the one hand, combined with a massive government-funded bailout of greedhead corporations on the other, smack just a wee bit of hypocrisy? Cognitive dissonance, maybe?

I really like the way Obama pronounced Taleban and all those other Jihad words so perfectly.
I almost felt like they were code words he was using to let those terrorists know how well he could identify with them and speak their wonderful language. He is going to do so well engaging in direct negotiations with them. They might let him read their press release with his perfect accent before they chop his head off!!!!
Obama wins the debate!

what about McCain's comment about the commander in Iraq saying and we're going to lose? No one has commented or acknowledge that fast comment.

I was very uncomfortable when McCain suggested an alternative to the United Nations. Why can't he fix our relationships with the existing United Nations?

For the past 2 weeks,I've spent a great deal of time following the economic fiasco and was glad to hear the opening questions.My impression: McCain's gnarly, bickering style and raspy voice left me with a headache and watching the clock.Obama did about as well as I expected and also looked a bit irritated with McCain.Ooooo , now we get to see( and hear) Palin on Thursday. Bring on the acetaminophen!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 Sep 2008 #permalink

we get to see( and hear) Palin on Thursday. Bring on the acetaminophen!

I'd prefer fingernails on the chalkboard, if you don't mind. :-P

By themadlolscien… (not verified) on 27 Sep 2008 #permalink

McCain did respectably when talking foreign affairs. It's obvious he knows this stuff, but he's weak on the economy. Wall Street bad, m'kay.

Obama was better than I expected on foreign policy, kicked ass on the economy. He's much more "presidential" when speaking. He will intimidate the shit out of every foreign leader he talks to, as president.

Too much "he just doesn't get it" from McCain. He should really respect the man's intelligence, because Obama DOES get it, arguably better than McCain. I like the line "proudly witnessing the wrong decisions of the government since 1982." So true.

Obama would have been better off attacking McCain's record, instead of continually trying to link him with Bush's disaster. McCain may be a toady and a suck-up, but then so was everyone else. Enough blame to go around, as they say.

A draw, and it did nothing to change my mind. I wanted McCain in 2000, but Obama gets my vote now mainly because he's smart, and Palin is the next Dan Quayle. Ugh.

Thanks for the live update. Very interesting to follow and right on the money!

Obama was an excellent speaker in the debate and even though I don't expect perfection from any other human being, please answer this one question - WHY CAN'T MCCAIN LOOK OBAMA IN THE EYES? IS HE SCARE OF OBAMA? That really irritated me during the whole debate and I felt it was very rude since Jim L. asked them to speak to each other. At least Obama was man enough to look at his opponent while speaking.

Also, McCain indicated that he had not been voted Mr. Congeniality! Sarah Palin was voted Miss Congeniality in her beauty pageant 20 years ago! Was there a connection in that comment?

Palin makes Quayle look like a Sup-R-Genius.

But in all fairness, I don't actually think she's stupid. She's probably quite sharp, but not ready for prime time. Give her a few years of actual exposure to the Lower 48 and she might be ready for the big leagues. until then...


By keith dddd (not verified) on 07 Oct 2008 #permalink