Politics & Media
Sep 26, 2008, 02:28PM

Live-blogging tonight's debate

Here we go...

9:01—Talking heads are talking. They also have heads. And we have 40s (typos will be fixed later).

Here we go...

9:05—"Where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?"

Obama: Worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; how will this affect the average American. Oversight over this whole process. Taxpayers have the possibility of getting that money back. None of the money is going to pad CEO bank accounts. Help. Home. Owners. Foreclosures are the root of the problem. Tying it back into Bush. Attacking Bush and McCain for deregulation. Middle class as the measuring stick,

McCain: Thoughts and prayers go out to Sen. Ted Kennedy. (Nice.) Not talking about a failure of institutions on Wall St., we're talking about failures on Main St. Nod to bipartisan bargaining. Agreeing on oversight and accountability. This is the end of the beginning of the crisis. We've got to create jobs and address our dependence on foreign oil.

9:08: Are you in favor of the current bailout plan?

Obama: We haven't seen the language yet. How did we get here? We are going to have to intervene, but how do we set up a 21st century regulatory system?

McCain: I also warned about corporate greed and excess. The issue of responsibility. Addressing call to fire Cox. Greed and excess are rewarded, but we need to hold people accountable. (ridiculous)

Obama: McCain is right with resposiblity, but not only in a crisis. We need accountability "day in and day out."

McCain: Hitting earmark spending again. It's tripled in 5 years. (Good point.)

(As you can tell, this all meat, right from the get-go.)

McCain: We got to fix this system. (He won't outright disagree with Obama, because there's nothing to really disagree over) Goes back to the American worker meme. (We are not the most productive country in the world.)

9:14—What will you actually do to change the financial system?

McCain: Get spending under control. Excess spending. Will vetoe every excess spending bill that comes across my desk. Hitting Obama for over $900 million in pork-barrel spending.

Obama: Agrees that earmark spending is abused. Comparing $300 billion in tax cuts (from McCain) to some $20 billion in earmarks. We have to grow the economy from the bottom up. Plug my tax cut for 95% for the public.

McCain: Hitting Obama for earmarks.

Obama: Closing corporate loopholes; not dismissing earmarks. The fact is, eliminating earmarks alone will not get the middle class back on track. Tying McCain to Bush, in terms of tax policies.

McCain: US pays the second highest corporate business tax in the world, at 35%. Connecting tax cuts with pork barrel spending?

Obame: 95% of you will get a tax cut. If you make less than $250,000 a year, you will not pay any more in taxes. Because of loopholes, our businesses pay one of the lowest corp. tax rates in the world. Going after McCain for taxing health benefits. The market solves everything. (This is tricky, because McCain will get money back to families for health insurance).

McCain: Fighting to simplify tax code. Hitting Obama for increasing taxes for people earning $42,000 a year.

Obama: That is a lie. Going back at McCain for supporting tax breaks for oil companies.

9:26—What will you give up, given the crisis? What priorities will you compromise?

Obama: We don't yet know what our tax revenues will be, so it's difficult to anticipate. Have to have energy independence in 10 years time. Solar. Wind. Biodiesel. We have to fix our health care system. The avg. deduct. went up 30% on American families. Education; infrastructure.

McCain: We've got to cut spending. I oppose ethanol spending. Hitting overspening on defense (nice). We need to fix those defense contracts. Defense spending is vital, but we have to get these costs under control. Implying spending oversight.

Obama: Investment in energy. Not willing to give up the need to do it, but there will be small cuts and comprimises. Addressing private contractors in health care.

9:32—How is the crisis going to affect you in major ways?

McCain: Spending freeze.

Obama: Hell, no. Early childhood education? Yes. $10 billion/month in Iraq? Hell, no.

McCain: Off-shore drilling and nuclear power.

9:34—How will this crisis affect your presidency?

Obama: there's no doubt it will affect us. We have to know where ourt values are. $300 billion in tax cuts; leaving out health care and education

McCain: Doesn't want to hand health care to the Fed. Families need to make these decisions. Again. Cut. Spending. Cut. Spending.

Obama: Your president presided over this increase in spending, and you voted for almost all of his budgets. Hypocritical.

McCain: (What's with this Ms. Congeniality bs?)

9:39—Lessons of Iraq

McCain: War handled badly. Knew this in 2003. Plugging what we're doing right now. Defeat = Iranian power gain. We are winning, we will come home, not in defeat.

Obama: Shouldn't have gone there in the first place. We ignored Afghanistan and bin Laden. Plugs the numbers. Al Qaeda is stronger; we took our eye off the ball. $10 billion a month. Not really addressing the question. But making sure he's down with military force, but wisely.

McCain: Not about whether we went there or not. It's about how we get out. Hitting Obama over the surge. (McCain is winning this point.)

Obama: Calling up Biden ("Senate inside baseball" hah); praises the surge. It was a tactic designed to contain the damage. The war started in 2007, John. (nice). Hitting McCain over the war being quick and easy, that we would win easily, that McCain thought there was no history of violence between Shiites and Sunnis.


McCain: Obama refuses to admit the surge is working, that we are winning.

Obama: McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation with a timetable.  (I didn't know McCain was left handed) Not about the troops, it's about the decision. Bringing it all back to Afghanistan. End the Iraq war in phases. And capture. Bin. Laden.

McCain: Ref. bin Laden and Petraeus saying Iraq is the central battleground. More troops and more money is always good.

(debate viewing buddy says, "Leher is cuddly.")

9:50–More troops in Afg?

Obama: Been saying that for over a year. We have higher casualties in Iraq since 2002. We don't have enough troops; I'd send 2 additional brigades to Afg. Hitting the mis-link between Iraq and 9/11.

McCain: Not prepared to go after Pakistan. Hitting Obama for condoning attacks. You don't say that out loud (isnt that...an admission...). 

Obama: Only saying that we'd go into Pakistan if there is blatant evidence in regard to bin Laden and terrorists. Mentions the "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" gaffe. Referencing the current attacks across the Afg-Pak border. We coddled Musharraf, lost legitimacy.

McCain: Obama doesn't understand that Pakistan was a failed state.(not good) References standing up to Reagan with sending marines into Lebanon. (good) Backed Kosovo and Somalia. Record of being involved in several major national security issues.

Obama: Bringing it back to good judgements. We took our eye off the ball in Afg. Hitting McCain for losing sight of the bigger issue.

Mcain: Obama never went to Afg. (He's owning this...). If we withdrawal, like Obama wants, shit. will. go. down.


McCain: If Iran gets the bomb, it is an existential threat. We cannot allow a second Holocaust. Plugs his "League of Democracies." Iranians are trying to get that bomb. Iranians are funding and supplying the insurgency in Iraq.

Obama: Agreeing that Iran is funding all sorts of bad shit throughout the Middle East. Opening up the direct diplomacy card. (He's just not hard hitting enough)

McCain: Here we go with preconditions. Connects that with Iran espousing the extermination of the state of Israel. (McCain is pushing Obama all over the floor on this)

Obama: Reserves the right to meet with anyone he wants to. McCain's own advisors want talks with Iran. Plugging how the Bush administration is agreeing with him.

McCain: Still plugging how Iran wants to destroy Israel.

Obama: McCain is misrepresenting me. Trying to bring it back to policies of the Bush admin.

McCain: (Completely mopping the floor with Obama...)


Obama: You cannot be a 21st century superpower with a 20th century dictatorship. Russia has a lot of nuclear warheads, and we need to address that. You don't deal with Russia in terms of eye-staring.

McCain: Obama is naive over Russia. Russia is basically an unhinged superpower. Yet we want to work with them, but they need to behave. Watch Ukraine.


Obama: (Way too timid) Russia instigated an illegal attack. Russia intended to weaken the Georgian economy. Plugging foresight (comes off weak). Brings in energy issue. Putin is feelin' powerful because of petrodollars. US can't drill out of the problem. Energy is interconnected in terms of national security (I fear this is too soft).


10:26—Another 9/11?

McCain: We have a safer nation. Bipartisan record. Goes against torture. (this is a serious admission that we torture)

Obama: Of course we're safer. We still have a long way to go. Transit and ports are weaknesses. Nuclear proliferation is our biggest threat (no shit). Get back to Al Qaeda. They're in 60 countries, and the crux is not Iraq. We need to restore America's standing. Hits the torture issue.

McCain: If we fail in Iraq we encourage Al Qaeda. Connecting withdrawal with less secutiry.

Obama: Admin. and McCain only focused on Iraq. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are resurgent. We have been weakened because of Iraq and because of our economy. Trying to tie this back into the economy. And where's the care for Vets?

McCain: Personal attack on Obama. Now tying Obama (sort of) to Bush admin in terms of stubborness.

Obama: We are, simply, less prestigious than we used to be. We need to send an issue to the world. Investing in education is important.


Some thoughts:

Obama kept calm. Looks like the pundits are giving him credit for it, but there were several times were McCain dominated the talking points, dominated the thread of discussion. Obama certainly hung with McCain throughout the various foreign policy points, and in that, at least, Dems can claim a victory. But the polls show a tight race. Obama is not breaking away from McCain regardless of how many time bombs McCain is harboring. This debate was, at the most, a draw, and for Obama that might have been just enough to "win." McCain made a few negligable statements in regard to naming the wrong president of Pakistan and calling that country a failed state. I hate to jump on the "Obama is too timid" bandwagon but there were a few times when I felt he could have brought it harder.

  • How does McCain know that studying the DNA of bears in Montana isn't important? Seriously. Some of these earmarks actually do good and I think that they have been unfairly targeted.

    Responses to this comment
  • I agree that maybe earmarks should be reduced, but really, veto every one? Good point Obama: 18B is nothing compared to 300B in tax cuts. Enough with going against earmarks. Some projects are inherently bad, transparent pork. Some are the most efficient ways to develop communities, fund non-profits and enrich lives. Leave it alone, it is NOT a fundamental issue of budgetary politics. Thanks for the live blogging Andrew

    Responses to this comment
  • McCain, The High business tax is somewhat over-exaggerated. A US company that realizes profits overseas still needs to pay taxes on those gains. There are certainly tax breaks to be had overseas, but they are not anywhere close to what most politicians would lead you to believe. Lowering the corporate tax rate would have a marginal effect at best.

    Responses to this comment
  • I've watched almost an hour of this "debate" and that's it. Back to baseball games. There's little enlightening in this event, little that hasn't been said before. They're both going through the motions.

    Responses to this comment
  • That's nice that McCain is saying prayers for Teddy. I wonder if he prayed for Mary Jo Kopechne after Teddy drowned her? Nice live blogging job, Andrew, especially the ending!

    Responses to this comment
  • Did anyone notice how McCain didn't look at Obama once during the entire debate? Not even when they went to go shake hands at the end. It added to some of the weird condescending tone that McCain had.

    Responses to this comment
  • Marty, if you actually read my blogging you'd see I gave more credit to McCain than Obama for dominating the debate. As for your completely irrelevant point about Kennedy, it doesn't require comment. And my ending? Yes, it was glib, but it doesn't change the fact that McCain relied on a tangential point as a closing argument.

    Responses to this comment
  • Andrew, if you actually read my comment you'd see I was complimenting you on your blog, I LIKED your ending. And yes my Kennedy point was irrelevant...I didn't realize this was a court of law...your honor. By the way, I don't comment on things I don't read, I read your blog and thought you did a good job on it. What do you do when someone actually insults you?

    Responses to this comment
  • Color me a testy, hot-headed blogger. My full apologies, Marty.

    Responses to this comment
  • Apology accepted. It's easy to read comments wrong sometimes. I look forward to more of your live blogs, Andrew.

    Responses to this comment
  • Many, many thanks for understanding. I'm finally unwinding. Now how bout I fix up all these frickin' typos?

    Responses to this comment
  • No problem, Andrew. If I were you I wouldn't worry about the typos and concentrate on the unwinding. Typos are like cockroaches, for every one you find, there's fifty more hiding behind the refrigerator.

    Responses to this comment
  • I thought I saw a clear winner in Obama, no matter what the pundits say. He did a great job holding his own and sticking it to the Man (McCain). Hopefully, Biden does a good job against the Lipstick Pitbull this Thursday.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment