And that’s it. If McCain pulls this out, he’ll have Joe the Plumber to thank.
I think this was by far the best debate, both in format, in McCain’s performance, and in moderator performace. I’m fired back up, but still unsure if a victory is possible at this point. The next few weeks will decide.
It’s unfortunate that these debates aren’t parsed like I parse them here. It allows style over substance to reign.
Bottom line, again, I think McCain won. He came closest to covering the spread that he has yet. Let’s just hope he actually made it over the top.
7:28: McCain just looks younger and healthier today. Mor energetic, better rested, ready to fight. I love his phrase about being a “careful steward of your money.” I’m much more energized and hopeful than I was just a few hours ago.
Obama: Starts out with the sentence, “Well.” Is this the worst economy since the great depression? When inflation hits double digits two years in a row and intewrest rates are 18% (Jimmy Carter), come talk to me. Obama talks about more spending. He also talks about service, which seems very tinny compared to McCain’s similar theme.
7:26: Obama notes the edcucation system in DC is a mess. Which party has been in charge of DC, like, forever? Obama praises the new superintendant making a difference. McCain points out that’s because he supports vouchers. Then he ends it with, “I got it – you don’t want to continue to do what’s already working.”
7:16: Education. Bring up the Annenberg Challenge, McCain – $100 million dollars Obama was responsible for wasted on Afro-centric programs that had NO effect on anything in Chicago public schools.
There is nothing wrong with taking on debt to fund college. Or you can work. Or you can join the Navy.
Obama attacks parents. I don’t necessarily disagree, but an odd tone and an odd tactic.
McCain talks about school choice, and points out that Obama sends his kids to private schools. He should mention Palin started out on the PTA. He DOES mention that failing schools already are some of the best funded in the country.
College enrollment is at historic levels. Why is this a crisis?
Obama says he believes in local control for schools. Will he disband the Federal Dept of Education? NCLB is Bush’s plan, not Ted Kennedy’s. Dishonest.
Obama doesn’t think “vouchers” will solve the problem, because it takes money away. Well, it also takes students away, which limits expenses. I’d love to see inner city schools close because the students are going to better private schools. McCain points out the early success with vouchers in DC. “Spending more money isn’t always the answer.” Finally a little conservatism. I like this McCain much better than the one who started this thing off.
7:10: Why the hell does an appeallate judge need to “know what regular folks are going through?” Not their job. The judiciary is undemocratic for a reason!
And the Born Alive Act DOES come up! Excellent!
Obama denies it. Again, this is a lie that’s easily disputed, but don’t expect it in the press.
Obama supported a ban on late term abortions? Because of the mother’s “health” (which includes mental health, which McCain rightly says means almost anything)? I can understand the agnosticism about this issue when it’s a blob of cells. but when you have to pierce a skull of a baby that could survive in an incubater, no way.
McCain gets in that he’s an adoptive parent. Awesome.
7:07: Abortion rears its head! Good. Will the born alive act Obama argued against in Illinois come up?
Judges! Yay!! Talks about the Democratic obstructionism WRT judicial appointments. McCain notes that he gave Obama a chance to join in his bi-partisanship, and he turned it down. And he also makes the point that qualified candidsates should be voted for.
Scheiffert doesn’t understand the difference between policy prefewrences and legal decisions based on the language of the Constitution. Neither does Obama.
“Abortion is a moral issue.” No kidding.
7:02: Taxing health benefits. THis is the ad I’ve seen the most here, and it hasn’t rung true. But McCain needs to blow this away.
More “cherry picking” from Obama. How do insurance companies make any money to pay their opwn employees if they have to cover EVERY malady for ALL comers?
“Congrats, Joe – you’re rich.” I love this rhetorical device of hanging this all on a real person.
6:58: My wife notes that bankruptcy isn’t the worst thing in the world. No one can say that, but still. it’s not what it used to be.
Obama, if you don’t let insurance companies “discriminate,” they will go out of business. They aren’t charities. They have to make risk assessments.
McCain’s health plan is to have fitness programs to reduce fat people? Gross.
But I LOVE how McCain is using Joe the Plumber again to talk about how Obama will fine small businesses if they don’t buy extravagant health care plans. Because that’s a GREAT way to incentivise insurance companies to lower costs….
6:55: “We can retool these plants.” What does he mean, “we”? What is this, WWII? Why is the government retooling plants?
McCain compares Obama to Hoover. Sweet. And he notes that Obama wants to hang with Chavez, who is funding the terrorists in Columbia in the first place.
6:54: Gah. This computer is absurd. Switching to cutting and pasting with Notepad. The upside is that I have time to get more beers.
6:50: McCain hits NAFTA. He should have hit Obama’s secret flip flop on that issue. “I admire Obama’s eloquence – it makes it easy for him to lie to you.”
Why does Obama think the federal government should be in the auto manufacturing business? That’s just scary.
I love the free trade talk. “Maybe you ought to travel down there, and then maybe you’ll understand.” Sweet. Obama complains about “labor leaders” (leftist geurillas?) being targeted without prosecutions. Maybe they haven’t been read their Miranda rights, though…
6:43: McCain is making a much better case for Palin than Obama did for Biden. Obama is asked if she’s qualified. He responds by praising her work in Alaska. Dems must be going crazy. Obama gets in a good hit using the special needs family thing to hit McCain’s spending freeze.
McCain gets to talk about Biden’s consistent wrong headed foreign policy notions. He calls them “cockamaimy.” Awesome old man word, but the downside is that it’s an old man word. Should have talked about the surge.
6:38: Obama defends ACORN!!!! He denies the association, dand “ignores the fact that he gave them tons of money. McCain keeps hitting this. And ties ACRON, Obama, and Ayers together. Good. McCain misses a chance to talk about his economic associates all being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs. Obama has the chutzpah to deny that he launched his political career in in Ayers living room. Can even the pro-Obama MSM ignore this?
6:33: “I’m proud of the people who come to our rallies.” Obama complains about the “palling around with terrorists thing.” Weak – bring up Bill Ayers, McCain! You promised! Hey! He brought up the T-shirts, though. Obama is at a loss for words. He still hasn ‘t repubdiated the comment McCain asked him to repubidate – indeed, he embraced it. The Wife points out that in retrospect, McCain’s frustrating comity this weekend may be paying off.
Finally, Bill Ayers! And ACORN! Sweet! And he cites Hillary to boot. Obama is responding to the Ayers thing. McCain is setting the agenda. That’s awesome.
6:30: McCain brings up Joe the Plumber again. Maybe Joe will be the game changer. He looks Obama in the eye, and tells him what he just said isn’t true. The “kill him” thing has been discredited – but Obama, what about the T-shirts that show up at your rallies that say, “Sarah Palin is a C***”?
6:27: I hate this negative campaigning question. But I guess I kind of liked the final answer – “would you say it to each other’s faces?” I wish McCain would have just said, “yeah.” McCain uses this as a way to hit him on not taking public financing, and using it to buy more negative ads in history. Good.
“100% of your ads, John, are negative.” That’s not true! I’ve seen them myself. And in the age of Youtube, that’s a STUPID lie. Too bad he’ll get away with that, too.
6:22: YES! Finally! “I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him, you should have run 4 years ago.” He points out Obama voted for BIGGER budgets than Bush. EXCELLENT!
“Even Fox News disputes it.” Oh, please.
How in the hell is an accross the board spending freeze and cutting spending identical to Bush?!? That’s the dumbest, most dishonest thing he could have said.
6:19: “I know how to save billions.” I like it. Hitting Obama on his spending again. All talking points. C’mon!!!! Mix it up!!!
Obama, we know cutting earmarks won’t solve the problem, but it’s a good start.
6:15: “If the bailout is structured properly, the American people will get their money back.” Riiiiiight. That’s an AWFULLY big if.
Obama is talking about “pay as you go.” What he really means is “tax as you spend.” And does anyone think Obama will cut a single spending line item a Democratic Congressman has porked into a bill? If he really felt this way, he’s had plenty of opportunity to lead by example in the Senate, and didn’t.
6:12: Finally, he hits on the socialism. Obama compares Joe the Plumber to Warren Buffet!!! Obama: “I don’t mind paying more taxes.” You wouldn’t know it from his record of charitable contributions. If you don’t mind it, Obama, give 3 of the 4 million bucks you made last year directly to your constiuents. Obam just said, in essence, “I’m going to hit successful people hard so other people can take their place.” This guy has NO clue.
6:09: Obama basically says McCain isn’t honest about Obama raising the taxes on the plumber. But Obama said himself he’d do it!!! It was caught on tape!!! I can’t believe he gets away with this naked lying.
6:08: Obama calls the bailout “a good start.” Halloween must be early, because I’m terrified by that, given its effect so far. Obam agrees with McCain again about homeowners. Obama likes it, but not if those greedy capitalist pigs get it.
McCain brings up the plumber right away, though. Excellent. Except he misses hitting him on the “spread the wealth around” line, which was the most egregious. Obama is smirking. McCain talks directly to the plumber. Cool.
6:05: Scheiffert begins by characterizing both their economic policies. He characterized Obama’s primarily as a tax cutting one, which just isn’t the case. In the tank much? McCain goes back to greed. Damnit, STOP!!! That’s a hippy line, and you don’t wear it well.
Oh, so now he’s going to bailout my deadbeat neighbor for my benefit? Not a good start, McCain.
6:01: And it begins. Scheiffer promises to ask follow up questions if the candidates do not. Ugh. Stay out of it! Let them fight!
I din’t realize this one was a sit-down. Good – I much prefer that style.
5:59: Forgive the delays. This computer is REALLY slow.
5:55: If McCain doesn’t REALLY bring it today, he’s going to lose a lot of volunteers. It’s hard to get motivated to knock on doors when McCain doesn’t seem all that motivated himself. He’s not going to lose me, but I don’t think I’m enough.
5:50: Brit Hume is talking about the dullness of the debates thus far. he correctly blames it on the formats, created by the campaigns to avoid gaffes. I also blame the moderators. I wish the candidates moderated themselves, and asked questions of each other. I’d rather have McCain and Obama both pick a few questions that allow the moderator to do it. Especially when the moderator probably has a preference, and the question choices allow the moderator to shape the debate to one candidate’s strengths over the other.
5:43: The Dow was down another 733 points today. Investors are seeing the future and don’t want any part of it. McCain was part of the problem. Oh, how I wish he had adhered to conservative principles and voted against the bailout, and then wrapped this market around Obama’s neck! This is the problem when Republicans abandon principles for some third-way “bi-partisanship” that makes us all feel lovey dovey but doesn’t actually solve anything. Now, it’s all about minor details, all of which carry some tinge of socialism. If McCain wins the economy will still be better off than if Obnama wins, but it will still be a slow recovery (slower than it needs to be). It kills me that this would be blamed on “conservative” economic policies. Oh, well. He’s still the far better choice, and I don’t approve of letting things tank so I can say “I told you so.”
5:41: Man – this pig computer is loading slow. I hope this works tonight.
5:39: I’m starting early today. I’m using a loaner laptop, so my typing may be slower and less typographically pure. But the show must go on, so I’ll sally forth!