You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Liveblogging the 2nd Presidential Debate

Posted in 2008 Election by Stacy McMahon on October 7, 2008

10:34 – That’s all, folks! Next debate, October 16th (?) Didn’t quite catch that. McCain and Obama both doing what they do best – glad-handing the audience. And wow, McCain comes up and pats Obama on the back, Obama turns and …ignores McCain while giving McCain’s wife a quick hello and then walking briskly away. Unsportsmanlike conduct? Anyway, goodnight all!

10:27 – Obama thinks the question is about Iran getting nukes, which in some sense it is. Then he says we can starve Iran by cutting our energy consumption. As far as I know, we don’t buy Iranian oil. But he says these talks are “understanding that we’re not taking military options off the table”.

10:26 – McCain wouldn’t wait for the UN to approve a US response if Iran attacks Israel. And he brings up the “no preconditions” canard about Obama again. Even if it wasn’t a canard, seriously, it’s just old at this point.

10:24 – Is Russia a new evil empire? Obama: no, but they’ve done evil things. McCain: this is a trick question! He thinks we can do business with the Russians. I wouldn’t have expected Obama to have the better answer on this one…

10:23 – Oops, Obama slips and says the last 8 years “have actually made us more safe”. More?

10:22 – Ignoring the repetitive, uninteresting discussion on Iraq. How to pressure Russia without starting a new cold war? McCain repeats his “I looked in his eyes and saw three letters” (K-G-B) and vaguely states that Russia needs to know we’re serious. Fair enough – right now Putin knows damn well we’re not serious. Obama suggests …moral support. Did he really say that?

10:15 – Obama says he’ll have a more coherent voice for the US government in the world when he’s president. He probably will; his campaign has been very good at putting on a unified face.

10:11 – Obama promises to kill bin Laden, crush Al Qaeda. McCain’s ideas are better (more nuanced) in this area, but Obama can articulate himself better, so he sounds relatively more like he’s got the answers.

10:04 – Brokaw adds in the Darfur questions e.g. do we intervene for strictly humanitarian reasons? Obama says it would have been nice if we’d intervened in Rwanda, but since all the world’s people love to murder each other and we can’t be everywhere, we need to restore our foreign alliances so they can take care of some of the problem children for us. McCain says, in effect, only if we’re sure we’ll win.

9:59 – Last (?) question – how will the financial crisis affect “U.S. ability to achieve peace in the world”? McCain doesn’t answer by saying only someone with military experience can judge when to intervene or not. Obama repeats all his talking points about McCain and Iraq, and says “we need that ten billion dollars a month here in the United States”. That’s a strong point, even if you support the Iraq war. My answer: we’ll be just as unable to “achieve peace in the world” when we’re broke as when we had a surplus.

9:57 – Too late, but the best debate drinking game would have been to take a shot anytime either candidate says “what he doesn’t mention is…”

9:55 – Direct question; is healthcare a right or a responsibility. Huh? Well we know what he means. McCain says responsibility. Obama says right. I watch the debate so you don’t have to…

9:54 – Apparently neither McCain nor Obama have heard of Google Health “let’s put health records on the computer!”

9:50 – One of the dumber things the candidates are arguing about is whether expanded oil drilling is worthwhile. Of course it is, but as nobody is denying, it’s not an answer by itself.

9:46 – Obama reminds me of a former coworker who had the gift of simplifying an explanation and casting it in a comedic light so that it entertains you and also gets through.

9:44 – I think McCain plays best when he plays as a curmudgeonly old grandpa. “we forced votes [on increasing environmental protection] – that’s the good news … the bad news is, we lost!”

9:41 – McCain suggests a BRAC-like approach to reforming Medicare. Not a bad idea, but is he just making this up off the cuff? He’s also giving an inspiring speech comparing his reforming record to Obama’s alleged many votes in favor of tax increases.

9:40 – Obama is beating on the tax cuts for the rich theme, while saying his plan only hits “a few percent” of small businesses with higher taxes. So have fun, few percent!

9:37 – Tom Brokaw cuts Obama off to go to the next question because “you guys agreed to the rules”, then immediately makes up a new rule himself and adds in his own question!

9:35 – Finally a good question: how do we break the habit of spending and easy credit? Obama sensibly interprets it as referring to government spending. There’s probably no way to break the public’s habit of living above their means. McCain meanwhile calls Obama a tax-and-spend liberal.

9:31 – Obama: “that includes telling the oil companies that currently have 68 million acres [of oil rights] they’re not using, that either you use them or you lose them”. That’s the second time tonight he’s suggested expropriation. Double-plus Ungood.

9:29 – McCain is talking about cutting not just Obama’s planetarium projector, but some good and nice programs too, because we just can’t afford it. You don’t hear that everyday, and we haven’t heard it sofar from Obama. But Obama does have a tendency to respond to things like that…

9:25 – McCain is really pushing nuclear power, but I didn’t and don’t think it’s realistic to “build a whole bunch of” nuclear plants. The NIMBYs haven’t gone away, and oil prices are drifting downward again.

9:21 – McCain: “the system in Washington is broken”. And he uses McCain-Feingold as an example of his bipartisan cred. Ugh. Interestingly, he’s naming several center-right government watchdog groups and suggesting people check them out. Now the Obama earmark total (per McCain) is up to $1 billion.

9:19 – The questions aren’t very interesting sofar. “How can we trust either of you with our money, when both parties got us into this global financial crisis?” Huh? Obama reminds the audience that Bill Clinton left office with a surplus, therefore the Democrats aren’t at fault…

9:18 – McCain wrote to people about the impending crisis too!

9:16 – The list of big names liveblogging the debate (via Instapundit)

9:13 – Obama does a good job of connecting credit markets to main street (no commercial paper = no payroll) He’s also making a lot out of his letters to Paulson and others saying the housing market was in a bubble, and that McCain was in favor of deregulation all this time.

9:12 – McCain blames Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on “Senator Obama and his cronies”. By all accounts, that’s a fair shot.

9:10 – McCain wants to name Meg Whitman (eBay) as SecTreas; Obama isn’t sure who he wants.

9:08 – McCain wants to fix the economy by stopping “the spending spree that’s going on in Washington”, but doesn’t mention that most of that is for the war he supports. He wants the government to buy the worst mortgages and hold them into the eventual recovery, which is at least more reasonable than sending the government after rich CEOs.

9:06 – Obama is blaming the financial crisis on deregulation, and deregulation on Bush. Executives should be fired and their bonuses and golden parachutes confiscated, apparently by the government. And uh, tax cuts for the middle class. Wait, what?

9:03 – First question: where’s my (senior citizen) bailout??

9:02 – I like the Town Hall format, but the burning question …will anyone ask what kind of undies they wear?

And here we go…

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