Debate Liveblogging (OR Out in public)

Once again, nothing groundbreaking here…   I can’t imagine any sort of significant shift as a result of tonight. There was a decent amount of re-hash (which is to be expected). My biased perspective says that Obama did a much better job of tying various strands of an issue together, and relating them to things that voters can understand.

For his part, McCain did well, but not nearly well enough to put a dent in Obama’s increasing lead. So, the status quo should continue tomorrow.

8:30 – And it’s over….   phew.  That seemed really long, and rather boring.

8:29 – McCain: We’ll be talking about countries in the future that we don’t know where to find on a map now…  you mean, like Pakistan bordering Iraq?

8:28 – Obama’s final statement draws a smattering of applause from the crowd here.

8:25 – Last question! “What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?”  Interesting.

8:21 – McCain: “If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, all the other countries would acquire them” … really? Iran wouldn’t want to retain their superiority in the region?

8:20 – McCain jumps on the energy aspect…  but appears to not finish his thought.

8:19 – Obama ties the distant Russia issue to something we can understand: oil.

8:15 – McCain thinks advocating for Ukraine and Georgia to be in NATO will discourage Russia. I read somewhere that Russians feel threatened by NATO encroaching on their borders.

8:14 – Stop the presses!!! McCain just agreed with Obama…  didn’t specify on what, though.

8:11 – “Telegraphing punches” …  I really don’t quite see how what Obama is saying is “telegraphing punches” …

8:10 – Obama hits McCain with the “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” thing…  a couple women perform a “terrorist fist jab” in celebration.

8:07 – McCain endorses the politics of secrecy…  don’t tell anyone anything… keep everything to yourself… lie to people, etc…  don’t be open and honest. It might make sense in a foreign policy forum (although I doubt it), but I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for in a president.

8:06 – Is McCain going to say that Obama doesn’t understand?

8:04 – A question on Pakistan gives Obama a chance to tie Iraq policies to our struggles in Pakistan.

8:03 – The timbre of McCain’s voice is much different in this setting… he speaks quietly and urgently. Still, it feels somewhat condescending to me.

8:03 – McCain makes the case for Obama again… it “requires a cool hand at the tiller” …  Do we really think McCain is a “cool hand”?

8:02 – The “my friends” line is really rubbing this crowd the wrong way…  there’s at least one groan every time McCain says it.

8:00 – Brokaw wants to talk about the use of force in the absence of national security threats. This seems like an obscure line of questioning…  I’m not sure that this is anywhere near the forefront of most voters’ minds.

7:58 – Obama promptly throws Iraq in McCain’s face…  the crowd here loves it.

7:56 – McCain says that the use of our strength needs to rely on the judgment of when to intervene and when not to…  when listing those “right” things he’s supported, he didn’t list Iraq (part 2).

7:54 – Taking a breath to look around the room. Many more engaged faces…  given the noises, they seem ready to jump on the next goofy thing out of McCain’s mouth.

7:53 – Obama immediately discredits McCain’s claims about Obama’s plan…  McCain’s constant attacks seem less and less grounded in reality.

7:52 – Brokaw wants to know if health care is a right, privilege, or responsibility. McCain: responsibility. Obama: Right. Hmm….

7:48 – McCain puts a nice shiny coat on his terrible health care plan by avoiding the question. He avoids it because he wants to treat health care as a commodity.

7:48 – The crowd here likes Obama’s answer.

7:47 – Obama takes the opportunity to lay out his health plan. Personally, I can’t wait for the opportunity to use Federal health benefits.

7:46 – Do you believe health care should be treated as a commodity? What a great question.

7:45 – The guy next to me says “He [McCain] has spent half the debate pointing the finger”

7:44 – Brokaw is a rule monger…  he actually wants the candidates to stay within their time limits.

7:43 – Obama finally ties “Drill, baby, drill” to climate change.

7:40 – McCain comes back to nuclear power as the “ultimate solution” to climate change…  He was on nuclear subs, I guess he wants nuclear cars. Beyond that he has trouble listing what the “alternative energies” are.

7:40 – At what point does working with Sen. Lieberman stop being “working across the aisle” for McCain.

7:39 – And we have our first minority asking about moving fast in resolving environmental issues.

7:37 – McCain thinks solving Medicare is going to be hard to fix. I don’t know, it seems directly related to the increasing costs of health care. Obama has a plan to correct that, McCain’s plan promises to make it worse.

7:37 – McCain thinks that Social Security isn’t that hard to fix… that’s true… it’s not that broken.

7:36 – By the way, the crowd here gets vociferous and angry just about every time McCain opens his mouth.

7:35 – Obama takes a moment to correct McCain’s falsehoods.

7:34 – Brokaw says entitlement reform is ticking time bomb that everyone can agree on…  I don’t agree!

7:32 – McCain says that Obama’s tax plan will increase taxes on 50% of small business… he also says it’s a secret. The reason it’s a secret is because it’s not true.

7:29 – The crowd goes wild as Obama discusses personal responsibility to using less energy… I know that’s what people can connect to, but the biggest improvement will be made in the private sector, we need to focus there. As a side note, I hope Obama consults with Al Gore after he’s inaugurated. It’s politically untenable (due to the bad flavor from 2000), but his We Can Solve It group has mapped the way.

7:27 – Obama seems to be moving closer and closer to the “All of the above” approach that McCain keeps advocating…  he won’t say those words, but I’m a little distraught that he’s talking about expanded drilling and clean coal.

7:26 – McCain says that people without health insurance won’t have to wait…  in reality, people with health insurance won’t have to wait to lose it.

7:24 – A great email question on sacrifices, and what we, the people, will need to sacrifice some programs. The crowd continues to notice that McCain isn’t really answering any questions.

7:22 – Obama actually answers the prioritization question by prioritizing. He tacitly denies Brokaw’s premise that entitlements need reform by saying that priority #3 is education.

7:21 – I think there needs to be a rule that candidates can no longer refer to their record in vague terms… they need to quote bills and votes to support their claims, not just “I’ve reached across the aisle.”

7:20 – Brokaw serves one up for McCain, implying that our entitlement programs need reform. McCain returns to “I know how”…

7:19 – The crowd is starting to heat up. McCain is repeating his “I know how…” trope…

7:17 – McCain calls himself a proven reformer…  the crowd here boos. McCain, again, prides himself on fighting against his party’s leadership while Obama never has.

7:15 – One questioner believes that both parties “got us into this mess”  …  Obama rightly points out that the Republicans, led by Pres. Bush, were in charge for most of the last eight years while the Clinton surpluses were wasted.

7:13 – McCain wants to eliminate cronyism in Washington…  what does it say that his campaign staff is made up of a bunch of his cronies?

7:11 – Obama works to discredit the Fannie/Freddie culprit idea…  one woman applauds briefly.

7:10 – Chuckles around the room that Obama has to “not surprisingly” correct McCain.

7:08 – McCain points the finger at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…   like everyone wasn’t selling subprime mortgages. And then he implies that Fannie and Freddie bought Obama…  I begin to think that McCain still believes that everyone gets their information solely through the TV.

7:06 – A quick glance around the room shows me a bunch of blank, but engaged faces.

7:05 – McCain says treasury secretary needs to be someone we identify with…  is that hit on the “Obama is an outsider” meme?

7:02 – Energy independence, tax cuts everywhere, cutting spending, and stabilizing home prices by spending money are the solution to our financial ills, says McCain.

7:02 – McCain digs at Obama for not joining him at other town hall meetings.

7:00 – Every time I hear “failed economic policies of the last eight years” I think to myself “or 30”.

7:00 – Is someone keeping a tally of the number of minorities who get to ask questions?

6:59 – Well, McCain looked at Obama as they shook hands…  that’s something, I suppose.

6:57 – Just about 15 people here…  and we’re off…

I was called last night by the Obama campaign looking for volunteers…  not being nearly as gregarious as my illustrious co-blogger, and being distinctly more irritated/agitated/pissed at Republicans and the new lows to which the McCain campaign has sunk, I don’t really think I’d be a good image for the campaign. Add my increasing inability to reconcile how the other half lives/thinks, and I can’t imagine that I’d be a good surrogate for the campaign.

The upshot is that the kind person on the phone told me that they were organizing a group viewing the debate tonight at a coffee shop just down the street from my house.

So, I’m at that coffee shop to watch the debate, blog on what the TV says, and, perhaps, on the reaction of this decent sized group of Obama supporters.

I really am curious to know how other people out in the world react to this stuff…  the only downside is that I won’t be able to pause the TV and vent…

Let’s see how this goes… :)

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