October 15, 2008
LiveBlog of Presidential Debate

5:31pm I'm about to go eat some dinner with my family, and then we'll all settle down to watch the last presidential debate. Oofta, I'm actually nervous for McCain. I'm praying he's been listening to talk radio the last couple days. He needs to paint the striking contrast that exists between him and Obama, especially on economic issues. He needs to call Obama out on the "spread the wealth" comment, tie that in to the fact that every time spreading the wealth becomes the main economic policy, no one is left wealthy, and most are left hungry. As Michele, a commenter from Sound Politics, noted, no one's really flocking to China or Cuba for economic freedom.

6:00pm Just about to start... Looks like the candidates might be sitting a bit too close for comfort. The debate is supposed to be focused on economy and public policy. Let's see how focused they stay. Bob Schieffer of CBS news is the debate moderator.

6:02pm Comfy chairs! So far, I like Schieffer's personality. I honestly don't know much about him at all. Starting out on economic plans/policies.

6:03pm I'm not going to lie, I hate it when people say "Warshington". Oh, McCain. McCain explains his plan to buy out bad mortgages, be pro-homeowners.

6:06pm Obama is very articulate with his plan, although it would not be a good idea. Giving tax breaks to employers for hiring more employees is simply not worth the cost for a business to create new jobs. Ridiculous.

6:07pm BOOYAH. McCain bringing Obama out on his "spread the wealth" comment to "Joe the Plumber". McCain explains that cutting taxes would HELP small businesses.

6:09pm There goes Obama again with his "95% of working families" "tax cut". Balogna. He forgets, or doesn't know, or chooses to ignore the fact that 40% of working Americans don't even PAY income taxes--they get it back every year.

6:11pm McCain fighting back, not letting Obama's socialist comment to Joe the Plumber go. "We're not gonna DO that in my administration." Good come back, McCain.

6:12pm Obama bringing up Exxon Mobile's record $12 billion dollar profits. They have more then enough to give a little more up, he says. That makes OUR gas prices go up...corporations pass their costs down into their products.

6:15pm Obama wants to CUT programs? Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention, but I don't remember him talking about cutting programs, ever. Then again, I haven't seen the other two debates. I LOVE McCain's facial expression during Obama's answer on this one. His eyes all wide, almost a "haha...SURE you'll cut programs" kind of look.

6:16pm McCain driving home the point that we must be energy independent, stop sending billions of dollars over sea to "countries that don't like us". "We'll get out a hatchet, and then a scalpel"...love that line. Threatens line-item veto on earmarks and pork-barrel spending. Across the board spending freeze. Obama smiling smugly during McCain's answer.

6:19pm Obama comparing McCain to Bush indirectly on spending. McCain may have voted 4 out of 5 of Bush's budget plans, but McCain is no Bush, that's for sure.

6:20pm McCain really fighting back. He's getting more comfortable and confident. Challenging Obama on standing up against leaders of his own party.

6:22pm Obama and his "reaching across the aisles record"...they were bills that already had overwhelming bipartisan support.

6:24pm McCain painting the contrast between Bush and himself. "I have a long record of reform, and fighting through the floor of the Senate. Senator Obama, your argument...is unconvincing."

6:25pm Taking the high-road question...why has it gotten ugly? McCain answers first. Townhall meeting proposals--Obama didn't follow through with his "anytime, anywhere". McCain says he was hurt by the comments from Rep. John Lewis. Obama didn't repudiate those comments, but McCain says he repudiated all of the negative comments by Republicans. A little mushy, McCain, but good point.

6:28pm Obama claims that 100% of McCain's ads have been negative. McCain: Not true. Obama: Absolutely true. Ha...no, not true. Obama comparing to Bush again without actually saying "Bush"...anyone playing a drinking game? How about everytime he says "more of the same"?

6:30pm McCain: Obama has spent unprecedented amount of negative attack ads on McCain. I want to let Joe the Plumber KEEP his wealth.

6:34pm Discussion about "kill him" and "terrorist" comments at a McCain-Palin rally. McCain retorts that people have said some stuff at Obama rallies that weren't so hot, either.

6:35pm Obama: disagree without being disagreeable. Uh-huh.

6:36pm What a schmuck. McCain calling out Obama on Ayers and ACORN, we need to know those associations. McCain MUST have been listening to talk radio!

6:38pm Obama defending his associations. Said Ayers never part of campaign, never will be, and won't be a part of his administration. Said nothing about even really knowing him. Used ACORN's talking points to defend them. McCain brought it back to the economy...good move.

6:41pm STRANGE QUESTION... Cue the Office theme song. Joe "It's A Gaffe!" Biden is practically a real-life Michael Scott. I find it humorous that Biden has been wrong, IMO, on every foreign policy point, so I don't know why he's such an expert.

6:43pm McCain boosting Palin. She's a reformer, she understands the needs of families with special needs. Has united the GOP.

6:44pm Obama: Helping autism requires more funding. McCain: Why do we always have to spend more? That's Obama's answer to everything. McCain hounding home the point that Obama will raise taxes.

6:46pm Bob: Let's change the subject...reducing oil imports. McCain: We can be independent of Middle East and Venezuelan oil within 7-10 years through a variety of things. Obama turning to the camera on his answer...smooth. Obama actually promoting "looking at" off-shore drilling and letting oil companies drill on the land they have? Someone hand me a Pander Bear.

6:51pm McCain: I admire Obama's eloquence, but you have to pay attention to words..."look at", "look at" off-shore drilling. Yep, McCain is definitely gaining more and more confidence. Obama didn't support Columbia free-trade agreement. Claims Obama never traveled south of our border, doesn't know much about what's going on down there.

6:54pm Obama bringing it back to energy. Need to get more fuel-efficient cars of the future. Wind and solar energy. McCain: Brings it back to the free-trade with Columbia. Obama against free-trade with one of our best allies in South America, but will sit down without preconditions with Chavez. McCain compares Obama to Herbert Hoover. Someone, grab some icy-hot, that one's got to hurt!

6:57pm Now to health care. Obama turning to the camera, again..."here's what we're going to do", proceeds to outline his ambitious, socialist-leaning health care plan. Get rid of preconditions for health insurance? Whaaa? So I get insurance only when I get cancer or am pregnant?

7:00pm Now McCain talking directly to Joe the Plumber: here's what Obama'll do to you, here's what I'll do. Obama decides he can talk to Joe, too.

7:01pm Where the hoo-hah is all this money supposed to come from, I ask?

7:03pm McCain: Joe, you're rich, congratulations. If you don't provide Obama-mandated health insurance for your employees, you'll have to pay a fine. Take $5000 to take to whatever health insurance provider you want to go to. "Senator Government, er, Senator Obama." I like that slip!

7:05pm McCain: By the way, Democrats have been in control of Congress for the past two years!

7:06pm New question: Ooo...Roe v. Wade. Would you ever appoint someone to the SCOTUS if they disagreed with you on that? McCain: Shouldn't be litmus test on that, but it wasn't a good decision. They should be judged on their qualifications, not ideologies. Accused Obama voting against SCOTUS nominees because of their opposing ideologies.

7:08pm Obama: Judges jobs are to provide "fairness and justice to the American people." Um, I'm pretty sure their job is to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Says he won't impose litmus test, BUT Roe v. Wade was right, and that certainly "hangs in the balance". So...he WILL impose a litmus test...?

7:11pm McCain: "Trial lawyers dream." Haha! Ah, he's bringing up Obama's Illinois State Senate vote against the Child Born Alive Protection Act. "I don't know how you vote 'present' on some of that." Another smug Obama smirk.

7:12pm Obama denying his vote? Oh, explaining it... "Already law on the books...would have undermined Roe v. Wade." I still don't understand that vote--he was the ONLY one who voted against it. How does he justify that otherwise unanimous vote by the Illinois State Senate?

7:15pm Discussion on adoption, etc. McCain pro-adoption, but also cares about protecting the lives of unborn children.

7:18pm Last question: education, why are we behind? I missed most of Obama's answer (liveblogging his harder than it looks!). Obama did talk about his college credit plan in exchange for community service--peace corps, et al. McCain: Throwing money at the problem is not the solution. We need to reward good teachers, make it easier for vets to come home and slide into a teaching job.

7:20pm More federal money into the school system? Obama: Traditionally local, but sometimes fed should step in. Never followed through with NCLB. Basically throw more money at the problem. My dad's pithy comment: "No wallet left behind, more like."

7:23pm Short discussion on charter schools and vouchers. Couldn't really hear due to noisy family. McCain: Let's reform and fund these programs...not just fund them.

7:25pm McCain seems to be ending strong. Good pithy last comment before closing statements.

7:27pm McCain closing statement, paraphrased: Difficult times and changes for America. We need a new direction, we cannot be satisfied with the direction of the last 8 years. Clean up campaign finance system, etc. Health care affordable and available, quality education for everyone, we HAVE to stop the spending. We're asking you to trust us, to be careful stewards of your tax dollars. Put country first. Proud to serve for this country, proud to serve again, honored, humbled.

7:29pm Obama closing statement, paraphrased: Economy is bad. Can't have more of the same politics and policies of the past eight years. We need change. Brighter days are still ahead. Invest in American people again--tax cuts for middle class, college for young Americans, policies to lift wages, grow middle class. Policies I've fought for my whole career. We all have to come together to renew a spirit of sacrifice, service, and responsibility. We can do it. I ask for your vote. As president, I will work every single day tirelessly on your behalf and the future of your children.

Ending thoughts: McCain came out swinging and landing those punches. He seemed unsure at first, but seemed to gain confidence as the debate wore on. Definitely made a point of reminding the American people that Obama would be raising taxes if he became president. Joe the Plumber was definitely a big hit with McCain tonight (should have had a drinking game on that one!), and he did not think twice about attacking Obama on the "spread the wealth" comment. The best moment was, "Senator Obama, I am not president Bush; you should have run four years ago if you wanted to run against him." As for Obama, he did fine, although it seems that McCain might have gotten under his skin a wee bit, but I'm sure he was expecting McCain to be way on the offensive tonight. Obama's snickering was downright annoying and a major turn-off for me.

I may have some more thoughts to post on this later, but for now, I'm done.


Cross-posted on The Celebrity.

Posted by Cydney at October 15, 2008 07:54 PM | Email This
1. I agree with your analysis Cydney. At first I was worried that McCain was sinking fast tonight, but then he found some solid footing and started punching back hard with subjects that would not have come up had Bob Schieffer had control of the debate like the previous moderators. Kudos to Schieffer for not going "ego" on us ala Tom Brokaw. All in all a good showing for McCain but, unfortunately, I don't have much faith in an informed electorate in this country these days...and both parties are sending us quickly down the road to socialism in my view (especially with these two lessors vying for the position).

Posted by: Rick D. on October 15, 2008 08:43 PM
2. If McCain's elected, he ought to make Joe the Plumber his Secretary of Labor... because he'll sure owe him a big one.

Posted by: hinton on October 16, 2008 01:53 PM
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