AND IT BEGINS. . .

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Glad Jim Lehrer started with Eisenhower and the missive that national security is a strong economy. . .
Obama: And. . .and. . .and. He was halting, ineffective, and stumbling in his response on the economy.
McCain: Shouts out to Kennedy. Odd, but OK… McCain mentions “accountability and oversight” — but where is the accountability and oversight for what has happened?
Obama says when asked whether he supports a plan. . .”we haven’t seen the language yet. . .” Weak answer….and now he’s moving to the question of accountability. His response is falling into the same grooves of how he normally responds to his early opposition to the Iraq invasion — now he’s saying that he’s been on the case of this economic crisis for a long time as well.
McCain is doing some “I warned too” stuff. . .on Freddie and Fannie. But McCain has now leaped back to Eisenhower. And he repeats the call for the resignation of Chris Cox. Of course he didn’t call for Cox’s resignation last week; rather McCain said that if he was President he would fire Chris Cox.
Why is Obama so nervous? So halting in his speaking?
I don’t like it when Obama takes a swipe at lobbyists. I know some do, but it just seems so insincere to me. Obama’s team is surrounded by lobbyists.
McCain is not really answering the questions.
LOL….McCain says we have to get spending under control. And it’s his team that has built the massive spending machine that we have — and it’s his team that has initiated and presided over a war without raising taxes.
Obama is hard to listen to tonight. I’m surprised. He’s usually smoother. He’s nervous, rough — halting. He is speaking in Hemingway sentences with a lot of And and Uh tying his staccato thoughts together.
McCain sounds smoother and is selling better even though their substance differs.
My definition of rich?? McCain asks about Obama’s definition of rich?
Ugh…I am hating this debate. They are not connecting with us, with real people, while the economic and national security portfolios of the nation are badly deflating. They are spouting talking points that are oddly disconnected from what is going on in the real world.
Both are guilty of a disconnection from the real world — at least I think they are because Obama is hard to follow with his extremely hiccuppy delivery. . .
Lehrer takes us back to the rescue package and what Obama and McCain will have to give up.
Obama is fudging it by saying he doesn’t know what the revenues will be. His priorities are energy independence — a ten year plan to get independent from foreign oil. That appears to be mission one.
Secondly, Obama said health care is his next priority. Third, competitiveness — education in science, math, engineering. And lastly, rebuilding infrastructure — roads bridges, broadband, and more.
Obama’s speaking cadence is getting better — and he’s absolutely right on infrastructure.
McCain’s response — cut spending….just cut spending. He wants to do away with ethanol subsidies and wants to do away with cost plus contracts in defense system contracts. McCain didn’t mention what Obama did: energy investment, education, health care, and infrastructure.
Wow. McCain only talked about cutting — mentioned ZILCH about new investment or adjusted priorities.
Lehrer challenges both saying that McCain and Obama are essentially just ignoring the impact of the economic crisis and just digging into embedded views on their policy plans that they had before the economic crisis.
McCain is pushing nuclear power. I don’t happen to be opposed to nuclear energy — but someone needs to push McCain on what kind of regulatory regime he would support on nuclear energy plant development. Hopefully, he’s moved beyond his previous flamboyant support for the minimalist regulatory stance he had on the financial industry as a model for other industries.
Obama is finally getting a little smoother….finally.
How is John McCain going to support a financial bail-out bill of any kind given what he’s saying on spending? How can McCain be for supporting providing a massive cash injection to the financial sector and not be for supporting any other of America’s public goods challenges for regular people?
LOL. . .I just noticed that Barack Obama is wearing a flag on his lapel and McCain must have forgotten his. But let’s not go down the flag lapel road again. . .
Obama is back to his weird speaking cadence again. Help?!!? I just don’t get it. Speak in sentences. . . smooth ones. He’s trying to pack in too many cliches.
McCain, talking about Iraq, is resolute, confident, clear. Even though I think he’s wrong, McCain can communicate.
Obama is having a tough time communicating.
Yikes. McCain just mentioned the factoid that Senator Obama had never held a hearing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This has been overplayed, but nonetheless — that little item was first written about on The Washington Note.
Damn it! McCain just accused Obama of not knowing the difference between a tactic and a strategy. That’s one of my lines — but applied to McCain!
The embrace of the surge, of David Petraeus, is all about tactics — not strategy!! That is what Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry and others have repeatedly said when Petraeus and Crocker testified.
That line should have been used by Obama against McCain. My head hurts.
Obama is getting defensive. He’s not on offense. . .not enough. McCain is getting the clever lines, even if they aren’t truthful.
Obama tries to tie McCain to Bush, with whom he has voted more than 90% of the time. McCain says he’s not “Miss Congeniality” and that he’s battled the administration.
Nearly nothing from this debate is memorable yet.
If Obama had spent any quality time lately with General Wesley Clark, Clark would have told Obama to say: “John McCain, stop hiding behind David Petraeus!”
But alas, Clark was on the periphery of exile from Obama Land. Big mistake.
Obama says we need more troops in Afghanistan. Maybe so. That’s the conventional, predictable wisdom. But it worries me that Obama thinks that victory in Afghanistan is securable through military means. It’s not. We need to bribe people, invest, and link Afghanistan’s economy and job base to other patrons. More troops will not win that war.
Regrettably, Obama will not say this. He’s in McCain-lite mode right now, and he is better than that.
McCain is making a good point that came at the end of Charlie Wilson’s War. He says we shouldn’t have walked way and washed our hands from Afghanistan after the end of the Cold War and what was essentially our proxy war with the Russians there.
Did I just hear McCain rap Obama for saying he might bomb inside Pakistan to get bin Laden? And McCain was the guy singing about bombing Iran? McCain is making my blood boil with some of this stuff, but there is no doubt that his delivery is better than Obama. And unlike Obama, McCain is on the offense. He’s setting the pace of the debate and framing things.
Obama is reacting, not leading.
Now Obama is defending is Pakistan statement. No one would remember what McCain just said if Obama just went after McCain for his Petraeus-hugging and his own intoxication with tactics and not strategy.
I’ve watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates many times and know that Kennedy’s looks, poise, and articulateness beat Nixon’s superior intellectual grasp of issues, his frumpiness, and his clammy, sweaty look. Tonight, neither McCain nor Obama are sweating or frumpy — but McCain is selling, and he looks stable and sounds clear. Obama, I hate to say, is defensive, speaking in halting ways, seems uncomfortable, using too many cliches, and is tilting towards amateurism on the dial.
I hope his team is reading this — as I’m hopeful that they will take this constructive, honest commentary and help Obama improve next round. He’s not selling well. He has no lines.
By Judd Legum’s terms on how to judge a debate, McCain is winning — not by a lot, not necessarily in memorable ways — but enough perhaps to matter.
Ok. The Iran question.
McCain, talking about the possibility of Iran getting the bomb, says we can’t allow a second Holocaust. McCain is pushing the fear button, and it disgusts me.
And now McCain is pushing the biggest new neocon Trojan Horse: the concert of democracies. Obama has to blast this to pieces. Will he? Or will he play McCain-lite here too?
Obama plays defense again on whether or not the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization. And now he’s just agreeing with McCain on the impossibility of letting Iran get nuclear weapons capacity.
But Obama did give a good response. . .finally. He said we need Russia and China, two nations that are not democracies — and that he supports direct engagement with Iran. That is the right answer. But he needs to work on selling it better. It left nothing memorable.
McCain is now hitting Obama for his willingness to engage America’s enemies. Obama is right to embrace an engagement strategy.
On this issue, for the first time in this debate, Obama is speaking confidently, smoothly, clearly. Finally. On the issue of meeting world leaders without pre-conditions. And Obama cited McCain advisor Henry Kissinger for helping to make this kind of approach the standard way America has dealt with problem nations in the world.
John McCain just said that Henry Kissinger has been his friend for 35 years.
When a journalist friend of mine and I recently asked Henry Kissinger at an Atlantic Council dinner why he was supporting John McCain, Kissinger said “because John McCain has been my friend for 20 years.”
Bunk. Debunk.
WHY ISN’T JIM LEHRER ASKING OBAMA AND McCAIN WHETHER IT IS WISE TO WAGE WARS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES TO PAY FOR THEM?
These Russia-Georgia exchanges are making me frustrated. How given the state of the American economy and the national security position America is in do we have any ability to pontificate about Russia’s global behavior? We need to change the game in order to have influence on other big global players.
But Georgia shot first. Neither has the guts to say this. It turns my stomach that Obama is defending Saakashvili.
No one is going to remember that McCain tried to duck this debate.
Now Obama is doing a lot of Pentagon-hugging. He wants missile defense. Likes it. Gotta have it. Right up there next to energy, infrastructure, health care, and education.
John McCain does not look at Obama – he just doesn’t look at him. He sort of just keeps looking at Lehrer, the camera and the audience.
Obama keeps looking at McCain. . .constantly!
Obama looks like he wants approval, acceptance — and McCain gives the impression that he doesn’t give a damn and he’s going to do all he can to run Obama into the ground.
I am so frustrated with this debate. I don’t like McCain’s policy answers and positions, but he’s controlling this exchange. Obama has had his moments — particularly when talking about meeting foreign leaders. . .but the rest of the time has been dominated by John McCain saying “Senator Obama doesn’t understand. . .” or “Senator Obama doesn’t get it. . .”
McCain has said this over and over and over again. Obama has played defense.
John McCain: “I don’t need on the job training.” My view is that McCain knows how to drive an older vehicle — but not the America we have today.
Obama — My dad came from Kenya. I had a tough life. We put it together in America.
McCain: I know how to heal the wounds of war. I know how to deal with our adversaries. I know how to deal with friends.
Over the mic, we hear both say “good job” to the other.
McCain won the debate in my view — but I don’t think it was a definitive slaughter. Obama held his own on a number of fronts, but he wasn’t in control.
McCain set the pace, cadence. He provoked Obama and kept saying Obama didn’t understand what was going on. Obama hardly attacked McCain with anything memorable at all.
Others will spin as they will — but this was a really surprising encounter as far as I’m concerned. I thought Obama would trounce McCain, and it didn’t come near to that.
— Steve Clemons

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Comments

104 comments on “AND IT BEGINS. . .

  1. Boo Boo says:

    Some pretty funny commentary here. Judging by the remarks of Clemons, Tahoe Editor, et al one would think Obama lost the debate rather than winning handily. Looking at the internals of the snap polls, however, tells another story. Obama killed McCain with undecided voters—which are the only voters that matter.
    Want to know why?
    Because McCain is creepy old man that sounds an awful lot like George Bush when he talks about policy. Because every time he says “Senator Obama doesn’t understand” it simply doesn’t jibe with what is plain for anybody to see: Obama is smart enough and sane enough to understand just about anything. It reminds people of George Bush.
    When forced to explain/defend himself, Bush always falls back on his self-proclaimed understanding of a scary dangerous world that the Democrats just don’t understand. Just look where that’s gotten us. A lot of people in the mush middle simply aren’t buying it anymore.
    Undecided voters want the opposite of George Bush, and that’s not John McCain.
    John McCain is past is sell-by date.

    Reply

  2. Calypso says:

    wgg…let’s take it point by point…
    WGG: The people I mentioned, the Ashkenazi Jews who run
    Israel, do hide their original names.
    Let me do a spot poll on this site — people, until I mentioned it,
    did anyone know Ariel Sharon’s real surname?
    calypso: they do not hide their “real” surname. they have
    changed their names. many americans have done the same
    thing. how many americans know tony bennetts “real” name?
    how many know rock hudson’s “real” name? how many know
    jack benny’s real name?
    wgg: Genetic studies of Ashkenazi Jews were used to try to trace
    the genes that predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer.
    That was because they were a closed society with a high level of
    intermarriage. Jews who never left “the Holy Land” were not part
    of the studies and do not carry the genes. Look it up — the
    studies were and are in medical journals. The first time I read
    about the studies was in the Wall St. Journal, hardly an “anti-
    semitic” rag.
    calypso: jews have always intermarried, according to my reading.
    jews from different regions are likely to have different genetic
    makeups. but the notion that european jews have no genetic
    tie-backs to the middle east has been disproven.
    wgg: There was also an article in New York magazine a few years
    ago that detailed a study done on European Jews. They are
    indeed smarter than average. You can look that up too.
    calypso: they are? are oriental jews less smart? and, pray tell,
    what is the point of this statement? i thought we were
    discussing whether european jews had any genetic tie-back to
    the middle east. whether they are smart, dumb or inbetween
    has no bearing on this question that I can see.
    In case you forgot basic genetics, blue eyes, fair skin, blond hair
    are recessive, yet look at the Ashkenazi — many are very fair,
    with very pale skin and some with blue eyes. Until lately, Jews
    did not intermarry so where did those recessive genes come
    from — you’re telling me that they were transferred through
    generations from the Crusaders’ genes in the “Holy Land” back
    to Europe? Makes no sense.
    calypso: first, your statement that jews didn’t intermarry is
    simply wrong. in fact, if one were to accept the khazar theory,
    one would have to allow for massive intermarrying, perhaps
    before, but certainly after conversion. as to the crusades, I’m
    telling you that many people you would consider genuinely
    middle eastern have blond hair and blue eyes–syrians,
    lebanese, jordanians. the son of one of syria’s generals had red
    hair and light eyes. I know because I lived next door to him and
    we were friends. i assume these traits came down from the time
    of the crusades, but who knows…
    And there is a hierarchy in Israel, as anyone who has been there,
    or who has even read about it, knows. European (Ashkenazi)
    Jews are first class citizens and it goes down from there, finally
    ending with the Arab Israelis. The Palestinians don’t count,
    because they’re just vermin in the eyes of many Israelis.
    calypso: so? what’s your point?
    But the bottom line is this: most Americans have genes coming
    from all over the place — does that allow us to claim the land
    that any one of our ancestors lived on 2-5000 years ago?
    calypso: zionism, if that’s what you’re talking about, doesn’t rest
    on a genetic argument. if you’re actually interested in the topic,
    there is a lot written about it.
    I personally have genes coming from Burma, India, Scotland,
    England, Ireland — and those are the gene pools that I know
    about. Does that give me the right to lie my country, the U.S.,
    into attacking any of those countries’ enemies?
    calypso: ah, i guess not, but that’s not what anyone argues. you
    are really going off the deep edge here…
    Israel has no “right” to exist. Yet Israel, and the Zionists in this
    country, will destroy us, if not the world.
    calypso: israel has as much “right” to exist as any other country
    in the world. i’m not a zionist, jewish or otherwise, but this is
    just a fact. fact is, i suppose, america doesn’t have a “right” to
    exist; it exists only 100% stolen land and its original inhabitants
    have never been reimbursed apart from 26 dollars for
    manhattan.
    An attack on Iran will
    be the final nail in the coffin of the U.S., and it will be the
    Zionists, with their control of the U.S. government and media,
    and huge portions of our financial institutions, who are behind
    it.
    calypso: this is just good old-fashioned anti-semitism, i’m
    afraid. there is no evidence that zionists, jewish or otherwise,
    control this country. if you have the evidence–something more
    than lists of jewish names–then show it. prove it.

    Reply

  3. What Grief Is Good? says:

    The people I mentioned, the Ashkenazi Jews who run Israel, do
    hide their original names.
    Let me do a spot poll on this site — people, until I mentioned it,
    did anyone know Ariel Sharon’s real surname?
    Genetic studies of Ashkenazi Jews were used to try to trace the
    genes that predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer.
    That was because they were a closed society with a high level of
    intermarriage. Jews who never left “the Holy Land” were not part
    of the studies and do not carry the genes. Look it up — the
    studies were and are in medical journals. The first time I read
    about the studies was in the Wall St. Journal, hardly an “anti-
    semitic” rag.
    There was also an article in New York magazine a few years ago
    that detailed a study done on European Jews. They are indeed
    smarter than average. You can look that up too.
    In case you forgot basic genetics, blue eyes, fair skin, blond hair
    are recessive, yet look at the Ashkenazi — many are very fair,
    with very pale skin and some with blue eyes. Until lately, Jews
    did not intermarry so where did those recessive genes come
    from — you’re telling me that they were transferred through
    generations from the Crusaders’ genes in the “Holy Land” back
    to Europe? Makes no sense.
    And there is a hierarchy in Israel, as anyone who has been there,
    or who has even read about it, knows. European (Ashkenazi)
    Jews are first class citizens and it goes down from there, finally
    ending with the Arab Israelis. The Palestinians don’t count,
    because they’re just vermin in the eyes of many Israelis.
    But the bottom line is this: most Americans have genes coming
    from all over the place — does that allow us to claim the land
    that any one of our ancestors lived on 2-5000 years ago?
    I personally have genes coming from Burma, India, Scotland,
    England, Ireland — and those are the gene pools that I know
    about. Does that give me the right to lie my country, the U.S.,
    into attacking any of those countries’ enemies?
    Israel has no “right” to exist. Yet Israel, and the Zionists in this
    country, will destroy us, if not the world. An attack on Iran will
    be the final nail in the coffin of the U.S., and it will be the
    Zionists, with their control of the U.S. government and media,
    and huge portions of our financial institutions, who are behind
    it.

    Reply

  4. Tahoe Editor says:

    BACK ON TOPIC … STEVE, MAUREEN DOWD IS CHANNELING YOU …
    MAUREEN DOWD: Sound, but No Fury
    Given the past week, the debate should have been a cinch for Obama. But, just as in the primaries, he willfully refuses to accept what debates are about. It’s not a lecture hall; it’s a joust. It’s not how cerebral you are. It’s how visceral you are. You need memorable, sharp, forceful and witty lines.
    Even when McCain sneered, “I don’t need any on-the-job training, I’m ready to go at it right now,” Obama didn’t directly respond, but veered off into a story about his father being from Kenya and how he got his name. (Thanks, Barack, we got that from your book. It’s great for a memoir, but not a debate.)
    Obama did a poor job of getting under McCain’s skin. Or maybe McCain did an exceptional job of not letting Obama get under his skin. McCain nattered about earmarks and Obama ran out of gas.
    We’re left waiting for a knockout debate. On to Palin-Biden.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/opinion/28dowd.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

    Reply

  5. Calypso says:

    “Oh please: Peres, Sharon, Livni, Lieberman, Olmert and just
    about
    every other person in real power in Israel is of European descent.
    They are Ashkenazi Jews, the descendants of Kharzars, Eastern
    Europeans who converted to Judaism.
    Find a blue-eyed, blond-haired, white-skinned Palestinian, the
    real inhabitants of “The Holy Land”, and get back to me.
    In the meantime, why don’t you get Sharon (real name
    Scheinermann — that’s a real Arabic name) to take a DNA test.
    He’s prostrate at the moment so you might be able to do it
    without
    him using Mossad to destroy your family for the temerity of you
    asking why he’s a German Jew.”
    i have to agree with tintin here…lots of genetic tests have been
    done even on american jews and a clear genitic link to middle
    eastern peoples has been found among european and other
    jews. the khazar thesis has been soundly disproven and the
    information is easy to find if you look for it. in fact you can find
    plenty of blond-haired and blue eyed middle easterners
    …descendants of the crusades. i’ve known personally many
    syrians and lebanese who could pass for europeans. as I
    understand it, jews and judaism don’t make a claim for racial
    purity…people convert and marry in all the time and have for
    centuries…this is typical of a nomadic people that has, in fact,
    mingled with host country peoples so they are going to look like
    a lot of different people…think about it: scheinermann isn’t a
    khazari name either. and finally, none of the people you
    mention hide where their families come from or what their
    names were previously…uri avnery has a hebraicized name too
    and hasn’t bothered to change it back to the “real” name…

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    David from PA…you’re right…people do vote for emotional reasons…a small percentage of voters are well informed but even then, if you don’t like the person, it’s going to impact your choice….
    I think a lot of people go for someone who seems ordinary because they want to believe in the Abe Lincoln, Log Cabin theory, that anyone can become President, even them, if they so desired…that to me is the danger of Palin….
    Churlish hits the nail on the head…

    Reply

  7. rich says:

    Fascinating account of Dem maneuvering in the Bush-Congress-CAndidate summit on the bailout.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220359.php
    Apparently, the Dems led by Obama tried to force John McCain to choose between Bush and the House Republicans. To no avail.
    Tried to get the maverick to take a stand. No luck.
    Explains McCain’s body language in the debate.

    Reply

  8. David from PA says:

    During the last presidential election cycle, I spent untold hours talking to voters while canvassing my precinct, making phone bank calls from the local Democratic Committee office, and talking to colleagues at work. I could talk about all sorts of facts regarding the candidates’ domestic and foreign policy positions, voting records, political appointments and stated political philosophy.
    The partisans on each side either agreed or disagreed with me and went their merry way. No surprise in that. More surprising to me was the reaction of the undecided voters. They weren’t particularly interested in or swayed by rational discussion either. In the end, voting for them was an emotional decision. They would vote for whichever candidate they just felt better about.
    Aside from party line voters, voting for many people is an emotional decision. OK, feel free to call me naive.
    Watching the debate, from my partisan perspective and believing that I am more rational than emotional, I came away with the perception that Obama ended up more often than not playing defense and responding to questions rather than leading. Like Steve, I felt that the debate ended up being a narrow positive for McCain. It appears that what I and other partisans thought really doesn’t matter. Many news reports from sources across the political spectrum concerning what undecided voters thought, or more importantly *felt,* is the real story. They apparently didn’t like McCain so much, and not because of facts (whether you believe them to be true or false). They didn’t like him because of their perception of him as being contemptuous, patronizing, condescending, churlish, disrespectful or grumpy. McCain wouldn’t look at Obama and seemed as though he could hardly stand being on the same stage as him, despite the fact that Obama has earned the right to be there having endured a grueling, bruising primary fight. This might be cheered by the Republican base (who will vote for McCain, no matter what) and reviled by the Democratic base (who will vote for Obama, no matter what), but the majority of undecided voters seem to have had an emotional reaction that didn’t favor McCain. If McCain generates the same reaction during the next two debates, facts aside, his numbers will slide and Obama will face an easy victory. But, perhaps I’m just being emotional?

    Reply

  9. What Grief Is Good? says:

    The fact that both presidential candidates have to kowtow to
    ONE country, Israel, and its lobby, is just indicative of how low
    the U.S. has sunk.
    We’re losing EVERYTHING and yet McCain and Obama, and their
    parties, are promising more wars for Israel.
    And yet, purportedly because of the deaths of a disputed
    amount of people 60 years ago, and that stupid ass phrase
    “Never again.” (Unless you’re Palestinian, Lebanese, Afghan,
    Iraqi, Iranian, any Muslim or any citizen of a country that stands
    in Israel’s way) the whole world must go to war again, but this
    time with nuclear weapons on many sides, including on Israel’s.
    My fellow citizens of the United States of America, why aren’t
    you rising-up and DEMANDING that both major parties take care
    of us and our needs first, rather than promising endless war and
    more economic collapse for another country, ISRAEL, that has
    betrayed us time and time again?
    Obama and McCain are threatening Iran, a country that does not
    threaten the U.S., FOR ISRAEL.
    This while your kids might STARVE very soon, and you and your
    kids and your elderly parents might lose their health insurance,
    and you might not be able to afford to heat your house this
    winter.
    WAKE THE HELL-UP.
    WE DO NOT HAVE A SENATE-RATIFIED DEFENSE TREATY WITH
    ISRAEL BY ISRAEL’S CHOICE.
    And yet both Obama and McCain had to genuflect before Israel
    last night. Not Russia or China, both of which could truly do
    damage to us, but our client state of Israel, a rogue, terrorist,
    apartheid nation.
    We are truly F-cked.

    Reply

  10. arthurdecco says:

    Senator Obama’s statement on President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN General Assembly…
    “I strongly condemn President Ahmadinejad’s outrageous remarks at the United Nations, and am disappointed that he had a platform to air his hateful and anti-Semitic views. The threat from Iran’s nuclear program is grave. Now is the time for Americans to unite on behalf of the strong sanctions that are needed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime.”
    “Once again, I call upon Senator McCain to join me in supporting a bipartisan bill to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by allowing states and private companies to divest from companies doing business in Iran. The security of our ally Israel is too important to play partisan politics, and it is deeply disappointing that Senator McCain and a few of his allies in Congress feel otherwise.”
    What a load of stinking horse poo.
    For a bracing shot of Reality and Truth rather than more of the same dangerous delusional Lies written by AIPAC and mouthed by their politikal puppets, I invite you to read the actual words spoken by President Ahmadinejad in his speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. (Please wade your way through the always-present religious doctrine in his long-winded, but necessary introduction – his speech gets very interesting once he settles down to talk Truth to Power):
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s 2008 UN Address
    By President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Islamic Republic of Iran
    Note: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the 63rd annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2008. The following is the full text of his address, courtesy the Presidency of The Islamic Republic of Iran:
    In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful “All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, and peace and blessing be upon our Master and Prophet, Mohammad, and his pure household, and his noble companions.”
    “Oh God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.”
    Mr. President, Excellencies, I am grateful to the Almighty for granting me another opportunity to be present in this world Assembly.
    In the last three years, I have talked to you about great hopes in the bright future of human society, and some solutions for achieving sustainable peace and expanding love, compassion, and cooperation. I have also talked about unjust systems governing the world; pressures exerted by some powers seeking to trample the rights of other nations, oppression imposed on the majority of the global community, especially on the people of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Africa, Latin America, and Asia; about challenges we are faced with, such as efforts to shatter the sanctity of families, destroy cultures, humiliate lofty values, neglect commitments, expand the shadow of threats, as well as about the arms race and the unfairness and inability of the systems governing world affairs in reforming the status quo.
    With the occurrence of various new developments, the debility of existing mechanisms has been revealed even more. However, at the same time, an encouraging trend, which has originated in the thoughts and beliefs of peoples, has blossomed and become stronger. Posed against the despairs caused by the new developments, this trend has ignited the ray of hope for a brilliant, desirable and beautiful future in the hearts of men.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues, Today I would like to talk to you about the main reasons behind the conditions ruling the world and the means to tackle them. Of course, you are already aware of what I am talking about, but I think it is necessary to remind ourselves.
    It seems that the roots of problems lie in the way one views and perceives the world and humankind, as well as in the important issues of freedom, obeisance to God, and justice. The world, humankind, freedom and obeisance to God, and justice, have been of utmost importance to humans throughout history.
    1. The World:
    God Almighty purposefully created the world. This world is the bedrock for the evolution and growth of a creature called man, and the laws governing the world and all other creatures are at the service of man’s quest for loftiness. The world should provide the needed opportunities for the fulfillment of the purpose behind man’s creation. No phenomenon, creature, or indeed anything has been created in vain. Together they all pave the ground for the flourishing of mankind in a complex and purposeful system, and they are, each, one of the signs of God Almighty. All are His creations and He is the sole creator and ruler of the world. All existence including power, knowledge and wealth come from Him.
    2. Humankind:
    God created the world for humans and humans for Himself. He created humans from mud and in the soil, but He did not want them to remain in the soil and with animal instincts. He kindled the light of guidance in their souls and asked them to rise from the soil to the heavens and to Him with the help of wisdom, prophets and perfect men.
    The world will ultimately disappear, but God has created man for eternity and has made them a manifestation of Himself. Creativity, mercifulness, kindness, knowledge, wisdom, zeal, concealment of sins, splendor, justice, bounteousness, generosity, greatness, love, glory, dignity, forgiveness, insight, kingship and all other goodness and beauty are attributes of God.
    God has not created humans for aggression, bloodshed, rancor, selfishness and destruction. He made humans His vicegerents on earth and has asked them to, on the one hand, make earth prosper by using their God-given potentials and to prepare the ground for the growth of divine attributes in all humans, and to provide all with a life full of beauty, amity, freedom, justice and goodness; and on the other hand in pursuance of this path, to prepare for a prosperous, everlasting life endowed by God’s mercy.
    God has obligated humans to live divinely and socially, for it is only through social life and interactions with others that divine attributes may emerge.
    3. Obeisance to God:
    God Almighty has tied their perfection and true freedom of humans to their devotion and obedience to Himself. True freedom and obedience to God are in balance and in fact are two sides of the same coin.
    Obeisance to God means confessing to monotheism and obeying His commands, and to be free from ungodly worship.
    Obeisance to God means the acceptance of the absolute truth, the absolute light, and the absolute beauty.
    Obeisance to God means abandoning selfishness and animal instincts, power-seeking and aggression, surrendering to righteousness, justice, love, and perfection.
    And in this way, humans can achieve their true freedom and flourish, they can grow and manifest divine attributes, have affection for others, stand up for justice, and fear no power or threat, and defend the oppressed. In such an environment, one’s freedom will not impinge on any others’. Contention and conflict are characteristic of materialistic freedom and animal instinct. The essence of all divine religions and obeisance to God and true freedom is disassociating from oppressors and instead obeying and worshiping God, for:
    – God is omniscient and knows all that is revealed or kept secret, and He is kind and merciful.
    – All creatures are humble before Him and resign to His will.
    – God is alive and is the Creator of the universe and all life.
    – God loves His creatures and desires nothing but goodness, blessings, and perfection for them, and is against bullying, injustice, selfishness and domination.
    4. Justice:
    Justice is the foundation of the creation of humankind and the whole universe. Justice is tantamount to placing every phenomenon in its own place, and providing humans with opportunities to actualize all their divine capabilities. Without it, the order of the universe will collapse and the opportunity for perfection will fade away. Without justice, it would be impossible for human society to taste real peace, beauty, joy and happiness. Justice is the main pillar of social life and without it, social life cannot continue or grow.
    Humans need to know God in order to realize a prosperous society in this world as well as to strive for a beautiful eternal life, and to this end they first have to know themselves and strive for loftiness in themselves and their societies.
    However:
    – as long as the world is construed as closed, limited and aimless,
    – as long as eternal life is considered imaginary and illusory and afterlife and the Judgment Day as well as reward and punishment are thought of as fictional and unreal,
    – as long as morals and commitment to them are called backwardness, and immorality, lies, deceit and selfishness are considered desirable, and humans are limited to a materialistic life in this world,
    – as long as attempts are made to replace obedience to God and following His prophets and true freedom with servitude to materialistic tendencies and animal instincts and servitude to oppressing human beings, and contention reaches its pinnacle,
    – as long as the aggressors, because of their financial, political and propaganda powers, not only escape punishment but even claim righteousness,
    – and as long wars are started and nations are enslaved in order to win votes in elections, not only will the problems of the global community remain unsolved, but they will be increasingly exacerbated.
    Friends and Colleagues,
    Let’s look at the situation of the world today:
    Iraq was attacked under the false pretext of uncovering weapons of mass destruction and overthrowing a dictator. The dictator is toppled and WMDs are not uncovered. A democratic government is established by the votes of the people but, after 6 years, the occupiers are still there. They insist on imposing colonial agreements on the people of Iraq by keeping them under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Millions of people have been killed or displaced, and the occupiers, without a sense of shame, are still seeking to solidify their position in the political geography of the region and to dominate oil resources.
    They have no respect for the people of Iraq and disregard any dignity, rights or status for them. The UN is not capable enough to solve the problems and to remove aggression, occupation and imposition.
    In Palestine, 60 years of carnage and invasion is still ongoing at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists. They have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people’s land by displacing, detaining, and killing the true owners of that land. With advance notice, they invade, assassinate, and maintain food and medicine blockades, while some hegemonic and bullying powers support them. The Security Council cannot do anything and sometimes, under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murderers. It is natural that some UN resolutions that have addressed the plight of the Palestinian people have been relegated to the archives unnoticed.
    In Afghanistan, production of narcotics has multiplied since the presence of NATO forces. Domestic conflicts continue. Terrorism is spreading. And innocent people are bombarded on a daily basis in streets, markets, schools and wedding ceremonies. The people of Afghanistan are the victims of the willingness of NATO member states to dominate the regions surrounding India, China, and South Asia. The Security Council cannot do anything about it because some of these NATO members also happen to be the major decision makers in the Security Council.
    In Africa, efforts are made to reestablish the relationships of the colonial era. By starting civil wars in large countries including Sudan, disintegration of those countries is planned in order to serve the interests of some corrupt powers. In case there is a national resistance, the leaders of the resistance are put under pressure by legal mechanisms created by the very same powers.
    In Latin America, people find their security, national interests and cultures to be seriously endangered by the menacing shadow of alien domineering governments, and even by the embassies of some empires.
    The lives, properties and rights of the people of Georgia and Ossetia and Abkhazia are victims of the tendencies and provocations of NATO and certain western powers, and the underhanded actions of the Zionists.
    The never-ending arms race and the proliferation and stockpiling of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and the threats to use them, and the establishment of missile defense systems, have made the situation unstable.
    With regard to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, despite the inalienable right of all nations including the Iranian nation, in producing nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, and despite such facts as the transparency of all Iranian activities and our country’s full cooperation with the inspectors of the IAEA and the Agency’s repeated confirmation of the fact that Iran’s activities are peaceful, a few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian nation by exerting political and economic pressures against Iran, and also through threatening and pressuring the IAEA. These are the same powers that produce new generations of lethal nuclear arms and possess stockpiles of nuclear weapons that no international organization is monitoring; and, the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were perpetrated by one of them.
    Indeed, they are not against weapons, but they oppose other nations’ progress, and tend to monopolize technologies and to use those monopolies in order to impose their will on other nations. But it is very natural that the great Iranian people, with their trust in God, and with determination and steadfastness and with the support of its friends, will resist the bullying and has defended and will continue to defend its rights. The Iranian nation is for dialogue. But it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands. The time has come for the IAEA to present a clear report to the international community on its monitoring of the disarmament of these nuclear powers and their nuclear activities, and for a disarmament committee to be established by independent states to monitor the disarmament of these nuclear powers.
    The theories of development that are in line with the hegemonic system and not in accordance with the true needs of humankind and human societies, have turned into repetitive and bland tools for assimilation of economies, expanding hegemonic domination, destroying the environment and destroying the social solidarity of nations.
    There is no end in sight to this. Poverty, hunger and deprivation are hurting more than one billion of the world’s population and have dashed their hopes for a decent life.
    The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support.
    This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will.
    Friends and Colleagues,
    All these are due to the manner in which the immoral and the powerful view the world, humankind, freedom, obeisance to God, and justice.
    The thoughts and deeds of those who think they are superior to others and consider others as second-class and inferior; who intend to remain out of the divine circle, to be the absolute slaves of their materialistic and selfish desires, who intend to expand their aggressive and domineering natures, constitute the roots of today’s problems in human societies. They are the great hindrances to the actualization of material and spiritual prosperity and to security, peace and brotherhood among nations. I explicitly state that the Iranian people and the overwhelming majority of peoples and governments are against those deeds and perspectives of the world- domineering powers. Establishment of justice requires people who have achieved moderation and justice inside themselves, and have restrained their domineering attitudes and actualized their attributes of self-sacrifice and are at the service of humanity. The complete and full-scale manifestation of such characteristics can happen only under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being who is obedient to God and who is promised by the divine Prophets.
    Dear Colleagues,
    Of course with the grace of God Almighty a hopeful trend is flourishing in the heart and soul of human societies. The universal eagerness for justice, purity, and love for others, monotheism and the quest for perfection is clearly and increasingly on the rise. A universal resistance against the acquisitiveness, aggression and selfishness of the bullying powers is being formed. Today, the bullying powers’ thoughts, practices and strategies are rejected by nations and governments, and all are seeking to establish new human relations based on justice with a view to attain prosperity, perfection, security, and sustainable welfare. This is the very auspicious phenomenon that all the traditions of creation and the ruling laws of the universe emphasize and support.
    Today, the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while fully respecting the resistance of the oppressed people of Palestine and expressing its all-out support for it, submits its humane solution based on a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands to the distinguished Secretary General of the UN.
    American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders. Today, the thought of hegemony quickly becomes a demerit.
    And now a few words with the expansionist governments ruling global relations:
    Be aware that living with obedience to God and carrying out His orders, compassion for people and striving for the fulfillment of justice is to your advantage too. I invite you to return to the path of God, the Prophets and to the path of the people of the world and to the truth and justice.
    The only route to salvation is a divine straight path. Otherwise, God’s hand of power will emerge from the sleeve of oppressed nations and will make your life difficult, and will put an end to your hegemony.
    Let’s love the people of the world and respect their rights. Rectify past behavior. This will benefit you and the human community. The Iranian people are prepared, along with other nations, to help you be rescued from your current situation and to establish peace and prosperity.
    My Friends,
    Fortuitously, opportunities are accessible. With the grace of God Almighty, the existing pillars of the oppressive system are crumbling. Great developments in favor of humankind as well as its true and real rights are on the way. A golden and brilliant future is awaiting mankind.
    A global community filled with justice, friendship, brotherhood and welfare is at hand, as I have elaborated. A community which will tread the path of beauty and love under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being, the One promised by all divine prophets and the One who is the true lover of humanity. A community that will be devoid of any fear, despair and privation. Such a community will soon be ours. The community promised by the great divine Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and Mohammad (PBUH) is about to materialize.
    Let us, hand in hand, expand the thought of resistance against evil and the minority of those who are ill-wishers. Let’s support goodness and the majority of people who are good and the embodiment of absolute good that is the Imam of Time, The Promised One who will come accompanied by Jesus Christ, and accordingly design and implement the just and humanistic mechanisms for regulating the constructive relationships between nations and governments.
    Oh great Almighty, deliver the savior of nations and put an end to the sufferings of mankind and bring forth justice, beauty, and love.
    Friends;
    Let’s have a proper share in the establishment of that illuminated and promised divine age.
    Now, compare the speech of Dr. President Mahmoud with that of the Israeli war criminal, Shimon Peres, who proclaims in his speech:
    “Their leader (Ahmadinejad) is a danger to his people, the region and the world………..
    He (Ahmadinejad) is a disgrace to the ancient Iranian people. He is a disgrace to the values of Islam……..
    He (Ahmadinejad) is a disgrace to this very house, the United Nations, its basic principles and values. His appearance here is already a shame”
    http://palestinethinktank.com/20…er-peres-apart/

    Reply

  11. susan kiwi says:

    I think many posters here and at other blogs are male — and that makes sense according to blog/inernet demographics.
    What you guys are talking about as weak looks a lot to me like manners. What seems to pass as strong looks a lot to me like aggression and posturing. I don’t know about drinking a beer with either of them, but I wouldn’t want to be in a room alone or with a small group of friends with the John McCain of the debates. I think I would enjoy it very much with Obama. He is attentive and makes his point clearly. He addresses your point without belittling it.
    That last bit may be a male/female communication thing (and Bill Clinton wa superb at this): according to at least some researchers and psychologists and populists (think Deborah Tannen and the Men are from Mars guy, as well as more academic studies), women tend to avoid or shut down during a negatively confrontative disagreement. Men, however, often seem to thrive.
    Since half of the population is women, and since many men don’t believe that negatively confrontative disagreements in political theater and other venues are the best way forward, I am not surprised that Obama seems to have done a better job of impressing viewers of the debate.

    Reply

  12. WigWag says:

    Tahoe, you’re great! And you are a refreshing voice at a site where 90 percent of the people who comment about the Presidential campaign agree with each other most of the time.
    Your willingness to go toe to toe with so many folks who disagree with you and call you names, shows courage, tenacity and grit.
    In my opinion, you provide a great counter perspective. I look forward to all of your comments.
    Keep it up! And thanks!

    Reply

  13. Walt H says:

    I like when McCain asked Lehrer if he could have a break to unload his Depends and Leherer would not allow it because he knew McCain used Heavy Duty and there was no need. McCain was trying to break Obama’s rhythm. Good that Lehrer knew what McCain was up to.

    Reply

  14. ToddinHB says:

    Tahoo – You’re pathetic.
    Arun – Thank you for pointing that out.
    This debate (as many often do) ultimately was style over substance. Neither man is going to say anything remotely newsworthy or counterproductive to their campaigns. But after eight years of a lying, bumbling fool like Bush, I yearn for someone who is both judicious, well-spoken and contemplative. Obama certainly fit that bill, while McCain brought back memories of my grandfather yelling at the damn teenagers on the lawn.
    Obama blew some ideal opportunities to blast McCain, and those were frustrating moments, but I believe he alleviated the apprehensions of a few undecideds.

    Reply

  15. Tahoe Editor says:

    Barack To The Future
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/8e612caa-1d59-447c-a31b-e756ca40d974.html
    McCain said “I don’t need on-the-job training.” Instead of countering the experience argument, Obama went into his “My father was from Kenya” IP spiel again.
    After a dozen “John McCain is absolutely right”s, now Obama is back on the stump saying, “McCain doesn’t get it.” Gee, where’d he get that line?
    DRUDGE POLL: Who won?
    30% Obama
    68% McCain

    Mickey Kaus is the best MSNDC antidote:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2200580/
    NEWSWEEK: McCain wins the undecideds
    http://www.blog.newsweek.com/blogs/stumper/archive/2008/09/26/mccain-won-but-will-it-matter.aspx
    Obama’s Emotional Deficit
    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_stump/archive/2008/09/26/obama-s-emotional-deficit.aspx
    RCP: Mac wins
    http://time-blog.com/real_clear_politics/2008/09/2_cents_time.html

    The next time McCain and Obama meet in debate, on October 7 in Nashville, start a drinking game in which you take a big swig every time Obama says, �John is absolutely right.� I�ll bet you get to the end of the debate without ever lifting a glass.
    When McCain pointed out that Obama had asked for $932 million in earmarks � �nearly a million dollars a day for every day that he�s been in the United States Senate� � Obama answered weakly that yes, the process has been abused, �which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up.� Not his best moment.
    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=M2E4MmYxZjMxMDgwMDI0NzJhMWM2NDY0ZjRmMWMxODU

    Reply

  16. Arun says:

    greenrose2 on dailykos notes:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/27/11751/6583/851/612394
    Quote:
    “And it was in watching the replay that I picked up my absolute favorite unsung moment of the debate.
    It came when Senator McCain was stumbling with Ahmadinejad’s name. He was stumbling hard, almost unable to get the name or any semblance of it pronounced. Very quietly, but audibly Senator Obama can be heard saying something. In the first viewing, I knew he had said something there, but was unable to decipher exactly what he had said. In listening to the replay it’s easy to hear his comment.
    He quietly acknowledged to Senator McCain “That’s a tough one.” When I heard his remark, his gracious nod to the Senator’s struggle to pronounce a very difficult name, his compassion for the man, I choked up. It humbled me. It made me briefly look inward, and feel lesser for originally maybe hoping that it was some cutting barb. And it showed him as a man greater than politics, greater for inspiring empathy and compassion for a fellow man.
    Senator McCain’s demeaning, belittling style in the debate has drawn criticism. Rightly so in my opinion. Some has been said of Senator Obama’s gracious and respectful style, some even criticizing his style for not being more vicious, more attacking. But to me, the real measure of the man, not his “style”, but who he is, came in that comment.
    It was a very quiet statement. But what it said about Barack Obama is loud and clear.
    This man is not only a great leader, he is a very good man.”

    Reply

  17. Arun says:

    If speech patterns were the qualification for President, then Dubya would never have won.
    Obama did what he needed to – held his own, avoided falling into the “angry black man” trap that Republicans would have gleefully exploited; and reached out successfully to the undecided voters.
    ( http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/09/why-voters-thought-obama-won.html )

    Reply

  18. Chris Brown says:

    “They are not connecting with us, with real people,”
    That is a very curious line. Just who are “real people”. Are those polled real people? Are those who exist in the rarefied inside the Beltway atmosphere real people?
    The snap polling indicates the public at large, presumably composed of real people, believe that Obama did the better job.

    Reply

  19. pauline says:

    Steve,
    I’m more anti-McCain than pro-O, and while McC may have “won” this flat debate, as it went on I sensed O got stronger. He hit a stride making his points bolder, actually looked McC right in the eye as he spoke (where McC never looked directly at O)in bringing out the many questionable McC senatorial statements and decisions.
    To me O appeared more presidential with his cooler, more controlled demeanor after his initial nervousness wore off. I think O may have scored the bigger victory outside this debate in convincing more un-decideds that he is real presidential material and that he can multi-task in today’s complex world much better than McC.
    O quickly countered McC on foreign policy and didn’t repeat the same tired lines over and over like the Arizona senior did. McC seemed to lack energy like he’d been traveling and doing too much for his age. Also, imo the senior forced in his “loving words about veterans”, yet there are many veterans and veteran groups that are very upset with him. It was like McC was campaigning right in the middle of a debate. Maybe he momentarily forgot where he was?
    Any inside word on McC’s VP choice dropping off the ticket soon? Several Repub conservatives are calling for her to, “do the country a favor and step down. . .now”.

    Reply

  20. bob h says:

    That Obama would be a little halting and nervous in this first debate is no surprise, but the consensus of the post-debate polls is that he won anyway. I think he effectively exploded the McCain shtick on earmarks, and got in some good licks on Iraq, which hit McCain where he lives.
    For the next two debates, Obama will be more confident and on more familiar policy ground. I would not want to be McCain, and would not be surprised if he invents some excuse to duck more debate.
    I have really come to detest McCain, who is revealing grave character defects as this thing goes on.

    Reply

  21. talk says:

    And don’t forget what the response would be if Obama were too fluent and smooth:
    He’s too smooth. You can’t trust him. He’s just a smooth talker. Beware!
    Earlier in the campaign, the GOP was trying to paint Obama as just a smooth talker: sure, he can talk, but it’s all just show; he’s a celebrity and a performer, etc. It doesn’t really stick with more than the base because anyone who actually watches or listens to Obama is not impressed by the tenor or cadence of his speech, but by the coherence of his thought and his responses to questions. His halting manner helps him sound genuine because it’s clear he’s actually *thinking* about what he’s saying and not just parroting talking points. To be sure, Obama has talking points. He just incorporates them into more coherent responses.
    Think about that.
    A minimum requirement for any President should be deliberate thought and consideration at all times.

    Reply

  22. talk says:

    It’s easy to speak emphatically and without hesitation when all you do is spout memorized talking points. If you actually try to answer a question or address a complex topic, you have to pause. I’m very suspicious of people who speak too fluently because they are obviously giving an answer they have given before. If you’re saying that Obama should have memorized his talking points better, then I disagree. We need fewer talking point exchanges and more actual dialogue in Washington.

    Reply

  23. Judyc says:

    Steve,
    I feel that you are not talking about the same debate I watched. I have a couple of theories as to the reason for widely differing opinions I’ve read online:
    First, people who listened on radio, or were busy taking notes or blogging, tend to think that McCain won. Those who spent more time actually watching and observing demeanor, mannerisms, etc. thought Obama won.
    Obama looked more at ease, often looked directly at McCain as he spoke, and used appropriate expressions. McCain looked angry and uncomfortable. He would not look at Obama at all. Even when they shook hands, McCain looked away– as though he was cowering in Obama’s presence. If you watched, Obama appeared dominant.
    I suspect it is far harder to speak smoothly–much easier to lose your train of thought– when you have to look at your opponent and show some expression . I believe McCain has a difficult time doing both at once.
    Expectations had a lot to do with it. I had very high expectations for McCain, who has had so many more years of experience, and his mistakes (on Pakistan, Russia/Georgia, etc…) really stood out in my mind.
    Obama’s frequent agreements with McCain? Obama demonstrating his diplomatic skill; perhaps a debate is not the typical setting for diplomacy. But what other chance does Obama have to show us that he understands– in order to find common ground, you often have to express where you agree before you can disagree amicably. A good quality for a president.
    McCain won more attack points, but I suspect that Obama won the night.

    Reply

  24. disapointed says:

    Obama didn’t look all that young and vibrant to me. Anyway before this a colleague who had attended both conventions said to me problem with the Democratic approach is that they don’t take McCain head on. Basically try to be polite and say what a great guy and hero he is but that he is unfortunately “more of the same”. So …… if McCain can sell the argument that he is a maverick and not “ms. congeniality” then why in hell would someone not want to vote for him. On the other hand there are a lot of very good reasons why McCain would not make a good president above and beyond his support of Bush agenda, etc. and those need to be addressed. Not angrily but in a way in which they become more apparent.

    Reply

  25. Linda says:

    I’m thinking of debate more in sports strategy and tactics terms of two opponents meeting for the first time and sizing each other up.
    Some have used boxing (sport I hate because objective is to do temporary brain damage)terms. McCain threw a lot of punches and landed few for points while Obama jabbed a lot looking for soft spots.
    I think of this more as a triathalon. In these kinds of multiple events, each participant has his weak and strong events. Obama’s folks wanted foreign policy first because that’s his weakest event. Get that one out of the way and can be more confident going forward.
    So what does that make the VP debate? Probably just half or one-third time entertainment that I’m calling the Battle of the Centipedes, i.e., lots of feet to end up in mouths.

    Reply

  26. JamesL says:

    My take isn’t Steve’s. Obama’s “and, and” in the beginning faded away as content piled up, and his halting phrases also smoothed out as he warmed up. Speaking of halting, I saw Ike Eisenhower give a stump speech off the back of a hay wagon in an Iowa farm yard in I think ’56. Ike was NOT an extemporaneous speaker. There were more “uh’s” and “um’s” than you could shake a stick at, and they never quit. But people loved Ike for reasons other than his speech patterns. America is no longer what it was in 56, but speech patterns won’t determine this race.
    Obama’s voice was mostly strong and clear and his gaze direct. He too avoided looking at McCain–I noticed it in him before in McCain, and thought it intentional–but he did begin looking at McCain more after Lehrer’s suggestion that the two talk to each other.
    McCain rolled out his low volume, aw-shucks, “I just think….” delivery schtick that some love and others deride. But when he was not speaking he was also a cornucopia of strained, pained, and pasted-on facial expressions. If he’s mentally strained that much in a lil ol debate, how is he going to hold up against a Cheney, Rove, Stalin, or Putin. And his repetition of stock answers and phrases did nothing to prove he is on top of what is happening internationally or economically. The slogan that McCain and Palin would be 15th century answers to 21st century problems did come to mind.
    Obama passed up at least several huge chances to sink McCain’s ship and end this debate and probably the ones that remain, all set up by McCain, meaning McCain unknowingly left himself open and Obama would have caught him with a left hook coming in. One was on the surge, another was on Georgia, another on the true cost of the war in US and Iraqi dead, displaced, maimed, debilitated and wounded, and another on Iran. I disagree that the Russia/Georgia topic should be avoided in public because it is too complex. All it demands is the correct answer. RE the surge and Iran, Obama might have been trying to be too much of a gentleman, but I think after McCain’s rant on Iran, he should have responded by correcting McCain on the pronunciation of the name of Iran’s president, which is a feature of both Bush 1 and 2, and note that Bush’s policy toward Iran has produced Iranian oil deals with China and Russia, weapons deals with China and Russia, and a no cost increase of Iranian influence in Iraq. Why should we continue a policy whereby we paying in dollars and blood for increased Iranian influence in Iraq? Obama sadly reiterated the Pentagon’s dressed up 33,000 US wounded which really pisses me off because it is about half the correct number and public proof of the modern importance of propaganda. And he didn’t challenge the surge, or McCain’s “we are winning the war.” “It isn’t true” was a weak, weak, weak answer The correct answer should have been “John, we are not winning, we are losing. Most Americans recognize that now. And we have broken the bank doing it. We are losing and we have to change our policies before they get us into even more trouble than we are already in. More of the same is a road to certain disaster.”
    The neighbor with whom I watched the debate concluded succinctly: Obama was eloquent and expressive in his understanding of the issues. When McCain spoke on the economic situation he was vague.
    My synopsis: It’s simply the Old and the New. And the Old looked pretty old. This is as young, vibrant, and capable as McCain is going to get.

    Reply

  27. WigWag says:

    When questioned about the economy, John McCain responded with his usual boiler plate about earmarks. Anyone who thinks fixing earmarks is the solution to the financial and economic problems facing America today is either stupid or a liar and I don’t think McCain is stupid.
    If McCain is elected the economy will flouder for another four years because he advocates policies that ruined the economy in the first place. Deregulation, low taxes on the wealthy and a failure to invest in infrastructure are the hall marks of McCain’s economic policies; these policies are the problem not the solution.
    But McCain has said one thing that is smart that I would like to see Obama endorse. McCain is right the SEC Commissioner Christoper Cox should be fired.
    This is from today, NY Times:
    S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaws Fueled Collapse
    By STEPHEN LABATON
    Published: September 26, 2008
    “WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down…
    Also Friday, the S.E.C.’s inspector general released a report strongly criticizing the agency’s performance in monitoring Bear Stearns before it collapsed in March. Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning…”
    “The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.
    But the retreat on investment bank supervision is a heavy blow to a once-proud agency whose influence over Wall Street has steadily eroded as the financial crisis has exploded over the last year…
    The program Mr. Cox abolished was unanimously approved in 2004 by the commission under his predecessor, William H. Donaldson. Known by the clumsy title of “consolidated supervised entities,” the program allowed the S.E.C. to monitor the parent companies of major Wall Street firms, even though technically the agency had authority over only the firms’ brokerage firm components…
    The commission created the program after heavy lobbying for the plan from all five big investment banks. At the time, Mr. Paulson was the head of Goldman Sachs. He left two years later to become the Treasury secretary and has been the architect of the administration’s bailout plan..
    The investment banks favored the S.E.C. as their umbrella regulator because that let them avoid regulation of their fast-growing European operations by the European Union…
    The report found that the S.E.C. division that oversees trading and markets had failed to update the rules of the program and was “not fulfilling its obligations.” It said that nearly one-third of the firms under supervision had failed to file the required documents. And it found that the division had not adequately reviewed many of the filings made by other firms.
    The division’s “failure to carry out the purpose and goals of the broker-dealer risk assessment program hinders the commission’s ability to foresee or respond to weaknesses in the financial markets,” the report said…
    In 2002, the European Union threatened to impose its own rules on the foreign subsidiaries of the American investment banks. But there was a loophole: if the American companies were subject to the same kind of oversight as their European counterparts, then they would not be subject to the European rules. The loophole would require the commission to figure out a way to supervise the holding companies of the investment banks.
    In 2004, at the urging of the investment banks, the commission adopted a voluntary program. In exchange for the relaxation of capital requirements by the commission, the banks agreed to submit to supervision of their holding companies by the agency.”

    Reply

  28. pollyusa says:

    McCain lost the economic argument when he said spending freeze.
    Obama cut into McCain foriegn policy advantage when he said
    at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.
    You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.
    CNN Transcript

    Reply

  29. rich says:

    ON the other hand, speaking in complete sentences really has advantages.
    When Obama makes a direct hit on his oppoennt, it doesn’t seem to register, I think because Obama speaks accurately and responsibly, and uses measured language that doesn’t personalize the issue or demonize his opponent.
    It’s really easy to miss Obama’s very direct meaning and revealing positions, when we’re so used to hearing attackattackpersonalattack—and unexpectedly, Obama sticks to the isssue.
    Give a listen to the clip at the link. Senator Obama scores his hits. He responds forcefully. But he doesn’t go too far.
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/09/26/presidential-debate-obama-calls-out-mccains-judgment/

    Reply

  30. rich says:

    I’m very unhappy with Obama’s meandering thoughts, halting syntax, indirect messaging, and rope-a-dope defensive posture.
    My sense was Obama really needed to be crisp, direct and memorable, hammering home a few clear messages that staked a claim on his own position and defined McCain on a few key points.
    Steve nailed the dynamics—but I don’t agree McCain was persuasive. Some die-hard Repubs may be reassured, but I don’t think his attacks really worked. It’d be one thing if they had verbal zing or some connection to current reality or the sweep of history or political-cultural sentiment. Instead, McCain wasn’t just stable, he was stilted—limited to stale ideas and worn-out tactics, his delivery suffered.
    Against Obama’s rope-a-dope defense, McCain seemed to score points—in technical or conventional terms.
    Keith upthread is right. Sen. Obama couldn’t afford to go after easy accolades by impressing the likes of us.
    Keith: “I thought Obama achieved what he set out to do, which wasn’t to convince those of us that flock to . . . political blogs to argue the latest nuance, but to make his case to those voters who only vaguely pay attention. For them they saw a candidate that in NO WAY resembled the characterization portrayed by Republicans.”
    Establishing a safe, non-threatening, responsible persona among voters in the vast middle who are persuadable, or who’ve been hearing a lot of lies about Obama The Angry Black Man, had to be a priority in the first debate.
    That said, Obama did a HORrible job of getting in the memorable zinger that defines himself as likable, at McCain’s expense. Obama has taken the soft, meandering abstractions wayyy too far, and it’ll cost him before the debates are over.
    Steve’s right: Obama has to drive the debate dynamic, define is opponent, and crisply state what he’s for and do it in appealing terms.
    Dan Kervick,
    Obama is passing up multiple opportunities to nail McCain, on McCain’s work with Phil Gramm to ensure the deregulation of Wall Street, on the war, etc.—and even though I’m not sure going after McCain on Iraq will score points—I don’t like it.
    McCain’s body language isn’t what it seems. Submissive primates can’t look the dominant guy in the eye. Despite dissing Obama with cutting remarks (indicating what about his confidence?), McCain is subconsciously bent on avoiding confrontation. TPM commenter nails it:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220226.php
    (scroll)
    >
    “people really are missing the point about McCain’s failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear–look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior–low ranking monkeys don’t look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.”
    Dan Kervick: “McCain was much more aggressive, passionate and even arrogant tonight. One might even say “uppity.” He smirked, he grinned. He turned his shoulder to Obama when Obama was speaking, and listened disrespectfully and impatiently. He refused to make eye contact. He was openly and brazenly disdainful and condescending.”
    Whether hubris or a sense of entitlement, that arrogance will cost John McCain in a big way. It’ll backfire for two reasons: the country’s in no mood for “of course, I’m better”, and 2) sneering condescension won’t work when McCain’s been at the center of setting the stage for and then sparking the implosion of the economic crisis, as well as the crisis abroad (Iraq, Mid-East, & globally). Deregulation, Phil Gramm, Enron all happened on McCain’s watch, and for a maverick, he didn’t do a thing to clean things up.
    John McCain is no Teddy Roosevelt. And McCain really offered no viable solutions whatsoever to any of the crises Americ faces, domestic or international.
    Steve, I totally agree McCain outperformed expectations and Obama really has to overhaul his rhetorical style to hit a grand slam, or even work a stalemate.
    At the end of the day, McCain’s string of recent decisions play extremely poorly against against the backdrop of current/historical events. The past five days have just been brutal. He’s attempted a series of bold moves, and they’ve all failed.
    The ‘fundamentals of the economy are strong,’ Fire Chris Cox, ‘w’ere in such a crisis I have to suspend my campaign and cancel the debates’, and on and on.
    It’s gonna come down to who inspires confidence. And Obama’s gotta do much more.

    Reply

  31. Bill R. says:

    Generally people who blog regard debates as a boxing match. The viewing public, especially undecided, view debates as a sample of behavior, in who they like, who they connect with. In that regard Obama won hands down. And that’s what matters.
    People forget that on all the major issues the public disagreed with Ronald Reagan. Except they liked him and connected with him. And they saw him as presidential.
    Obama supporters want to see him as more aggressive, but that won’t win over the undecided, especially if he looks like the angry black man. He is a courteous, gentlemanly man, who nevertheless is in charge of the issues and can form consensus, and wins on who is most presidential. McNasty lost hands down and the formal and informal polling afterward confirms that. His “horseshit” comments muttered under his breath reveal how little self control he really has. McNasty’s obvious contempt and disrespect for Obama also reveal his lack of self control and his narcissism. That doesn’t sell well.
    Nope… this was a chance for Obama to meet the American people and for them to see him as their president in contrast to McCain. And he did quite well.

    Reply

  32. JohnH says:

    Hey, Tahoe, where was your chick last night?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/27/sara-palin-nowhere-to-be_n_129861.html
    Can’t wait for her to become a talking head. Only problem is that she doesn’t have anythng coherent to say…

    Reply

  33. disapointed says:

    I totally dispute that all Obama had to do was draw to come out on top and do think he was very defensive. I was quite disappointed. Main goal was to show that McCain is an out of it old man (and almost every action of the past week or two support that and he came into debate at risk of being pushed over) and is not the leader that America needs. Also that it is OK for middle americans to vote for a black man. As Bill Maher said to Chris Rock last night (to be a bit crude here) they have to come away thinking “maybe I wouldn’t sleep with a black woman but Halle Berry is OK” Anyway, Obama was all like “I warned this years ago or I wrote to the Treasury secy so he would know of the dangers” (when he was not at all in a sufficient position of responsibility to matter or be taken seriously). Instead he needed to be presidential and show vision and why it is ESSENTIAL that he become president because of all the things we need to do — where he would lead the country (rather than what programs he might cut — which is nonsense in an economic environment in which the govt. is almost certainly have to spend and stimulate more). Leher seemed to realize this and asked perhaps three times? how the current economic situation would change/guide their presidency giving Obama a chance to hit it out of the ballpark and he did not take that pitch. Was that an unexpected question? Was he thrown off by McCain “bipartisan” Kennedy reference. Amazing and not good at all — the people here and elsewhere who think Obama did well are already converted. He needs to attract additional people and do not think that happen.

    Reply

  34. Kathleen says:

    Phew…I’m glad I’m not alone on what to make of last night’s “debate”….it was like flat champagne….or better yet, canned ham …I agree, Steve, that Obama was halting…he’s been halting for a bit now…almost stuttering at the opening of a sentence…tentative…
    Getting wiped off the front page after his big sermon on the mount in Denver by the sassy lassy from Alaski seems to have dented his confidene…plus, I think he misses Hillary…her presence in the campaign energized him and shaprened up his game….
    On McPain, his stiff body language made me wonder when rigor mortis would set in…when I contemplate the McCain/Plain ticket and campaign, one word leaps to mind..”Ersatz”…
    Perhaps it’s my own lack of interest in this campaign, ever since that 3 a.m. text message head fake, but I thought the ‘debate” was mind-numbingly vaccuous…
    Where’s the beef. guys?

    Reply

  35. varanassi says:

    jim lehrer won the debate

    Reply

  36. Steve Clemons says:

    Mike, navarro — thanks!!! I won’t plead mental illness, but clearly there are folks who saw last night differently.
    I called it as I saw it — in real time. My opposition to John McCain’s foreign policy positions is strong — and my discomfort with Obama’s triangulation and uncertainty is strong.
    That said, we need to listen, process, respond. Did the best I could and tried to be real and fresh.
    On Obama’s speaking style — I thought it was awful in the beginning. I just rewatched it. I would recommend that you folks do it too. He was unable to articulate a position or view that sounded like it was his…just very halting.
    But I know it’s tough to debate on national television after the cram sessions these guys go through.
    But it’s not my job to give them a break. It’s important for us to analyze what we see.
    I had hoped McCain would lose in the foreign policy debate — and I don’t think he did. I’m part of the universe of perspectives, and others disagree.
    Onward and upward.
    But I loved the treatment for mental illness line…Maybe….maybe I will need it. 😉
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  37. Mike Claussen says:

    right on the mark, navarro. Steve’s leanings to the right belie his suggestion of centrist. Fortunately, mental illness is treatable. We can only hope that Obama’s victory leads ol’ Steve to seek help.

    Reply

  38. navarro says:

    there had to have been two debates last night because the one you watched bore no resemblance to the one i saw. i wouldn’t have described obama as being at the top of his game but neither would i have described him as halting or defensive. indeed there were many times during the program when obama “walked it to him.” all obama needed was a draw to come out on top last night and he did much better than that.

    Reply

  39. Spinarama says:

    Despite the musings of the pundits and the polls, Steve’s assessment is the only one which, IMO, hits the nail on the head throughout, objectively.
    No knockouts, some decent interchanges, but overall: superficial, more of the same, and disappointing, esp regarding Obama; McCain was off base many times, but came across much better than I personally expected in that despite all his faults, he wasn’t “doddering”, as this past week had led to to half-way expect. A low bar to surpass, but he surpassed it. Obama intelligent and cool, was too defensive, to vague at times, and while in control of the facts, not asserting control of the debate.

    Reply

  40. Farmington says:

    McCain won, hands down, and will definitely win the election.
    The biggest boon for McCain in this debate was his deliberate ploy of not looking at Obama and shrinking from him as if in fear, but a fear masked by anger and contempt. That image will ring true in Little White Man households across America; they will bond with McCain, the angry/fearful Little White Man, fighting for their virility with the strapping buck Negro who is trying to usurp their ruling position in the natural order. This overall image that dominated the debate throughout will be the one seared into the minds of Americans; the words did not matter, they will all be forgotten.
    The question going into the voting booth in November will be, Shall the angry little White Men retain the ultimate power in this country, or will virile Negro youth overthrow and dominate. The Whites confronted with this image will overwhelmingly vote McCain, although many white females will secretly vote Virility, but not enough to overcome those who will stand by their angry Little White Man.
    McCain only needs to keep up the overarching angry/fearful/aggressive Little White Man victim pose in the next two debates to conjure from the depths White America’s biggest fear, and he will easily become the next president.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    It would have made for lousy debate strategy, but I was half hoping that Obama would pull out from his pocket the map that shows a satellite image of electricity use at night around Baghdad and proves that ethnic cleansing is real (50% drop in electricity use in some areas– 50% loss of population therefore) — the surge has had little to do with the drop in violence. But since many many people still think the war was a mistake, it wouldn’t have done much anyway.
    Most pundits are making a big deal about lack of eye contact from McCain, his aggression and anger, his overuse of “Miss Congeniality”. Lots of suggestion that Obama “won”. Fact checking seems to hit both, but McC a little more.
    I think that if you were Obama-interested, you could come away reassured that he’s a safe choice. So in 3 days when the trackers are all post-debate, we will find Obama has picked up some undecided leaners. Given that McCain is behind 3-5 points nationally, I doubt he’s going to pick up support. He didn’t seem to break ground or surprise anyone.
    And Steve, since most people watching don’t know the policy issues well, it would have been a criminal waste for Obama to say things like, “Georgia attacked first” — he’d have to go against a lot of press reporting, divert energy from simple points to complex points — kind of like the ethnic cleansing map — you can’t do it in a debate or a sound bite. Don’t go there, man!
    I’m surprised that McC brought up the voting against funding for troops thing — it’s risky for any senator to critique another’s voting record because they all have bizarro voting records — it’s Senate procedure.
    “Spain” was beautiful, unrefuted, and probably really weird for people who didn’t get the reference. We all laughed!
    And, in closing, McCain was for the debate before he was against the debate before he was for the debate again. Set it to music and sing! (Could it fit with the tune to “Barbara Anne”?!!)

    Reply

  42. Tim B. says:

    To tell the truth, they are both strong candidates. On issues and talking points, neither candidate screwed up or pulled ahead really.
    As a viewer though, I wasn’t impressed with McCain’s demeanor and body language. Hard to put in words exactly, but arrogant and angry–kind of sneering…not too attractive. After being talked down to for 8 years by Bush–I have zero patience for spoiled, undiplomatic behavior like that. It’s dangerous.
    Obama is a man representing real Americans by the millions–basic respect demands that you LOOK HIM IN THE EYE LIKE A MAN.
    Especially in Mississippi, y’know? I found that revealing.

    Reply

  43. Keith says:

    Steve–I think you and I watched a totally different debate. Not
    going to go on a point by point refutation, but your overall
    characterization of the debate seems, well, off. Plus, you aren’t,
    I hate to break it to you, an average American. Sorry.
    Tahoe Editor:
    The CNN Poll being cited was not one of the online polls to which
    Move-on was directing people. So I’d abandon that argument.
    Frankly, I thought Obama achieved what he set out to do, which
    wasn’t to convince those of us that flock to online chat rooms
    and that search political blogs to argue the latest nuance, but to
    make his case to those voters who only vaguely pay attention to
    the back and forth. For them they saw a candidate that in NO
    WAY resembled the characterization portrayed by Republicans
    and his detractors or that of many in the media. He was more
    than McCain’s equal tonight. And that’s a win as demonstrated
    by the focus groups and three snap polls (CNN, CBS and
    Media(something)).

    Reply

  44. Tahoe Editor says:

    MOVEON:
    Can you go to our Debate Action Center immediately? There, you can vote in online polls that reporters are watching to judge who won.
    REALITY:
    McCain Wins Round One — David Yepsen, Des Moines Register
    It was one of the most substantive debates in recent presidential campaign history and John McCain won it.
    Obama did little to ease voter concerns that he’s experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy. That was his number one task Friday night and he failed.
    Instead he was often his old meandering self, unable to state a quick, forceful position. Polls taken in the coming days should show McCain holding on to his trump card in the race – the view that he’s better equipped to be commander in chief.
    The crabby, grumbling, hotheaded McCain was nowhere to be seen. Instead we saw a calm, seasoned commander in chief . If you looked at your television and squinted slightly, you could better picture him addressing the country during a time of national crisis than Obama. Obama was often left flashing his smile and shaking his head at McCain.
    Where he routed Obama was on economic and spending questions as he repeatedly accusing Obama of using earmarks and wanting to spend too much.
    When Obama tried his line about how McCain voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, McCain slapped back by ticking off a lit of issues where he has disagreed with Bush – like torture, conduct of the war in Iraq and federal spending and Guantanamo Bay. McCain never got rattled or flustered, he just constantly stayed focused on the attack.

    The Mac is Back — Roger Simon, The Politco
    John McCain was very lucky that he decided to show up for the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., Friday night. Because he gave one of his strongest debate performances ever.
    While Barack Obama repeatedly tried to link McCain to the very unpopular George W. Bush, Bush’s name will not be on the ballot in November and McCain’s will.
    And McCain not only found a central theme but hit on it repeatedly. Obama is inexperienced, naive, and just doesn’t understand things, McCain said.
    Sure, McCain is a pretty old guy for a presidential candidate, but he showed the old guy did not mind mixing it up. He stood behind a lectern for 90 minutes without a break — you try that when you are 72 — and he not only gave as good as he got, he seemed to relish it more.
    At least twice after sharp attacks by McCain, Obama seemed to look to moderator Jim Lehrer for help, saying to Lehrer, “Let’s move on.”

    Reply

  45. michael king says:

    You thought Obama would “trounce” MaCain?? Why?? This is a forensic exercise, and this night was McCain’s home turf. Much like Richard Nixon in the first debate in 1960, McCain needed to show his mastery AND to demonstrate that Obama was not up to the challenge of being president and commander in chief. If Obama matched him, this night was Obama’s. Obama did. Enough said.
    Michael King

    Reply

  46. MNPundit says:

    You are the only blogger I’ve read tonight who thought that. Definitely in the minority.
    We’ll see what the polls show. I didn’t watch the debate went out instead, my mind is already made up.

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “MoveOn launched a massive effort to sway the online polls”
    Really???
    Care to substantiate that assertion with something other than “because I said so”?
    Kinda like your “Wooten is a wife beater” crap, isn’t it, Tahoe?

    Reply

  48. Mr.Murder says:

    Obama never lead in debates before this one.
    “What she said”
    =
    “McCain is right”
    He didn’t even win most of the major primaries.
    He fell across the finish line losing several of the final races as well.
    He was never well spoken. He’s always been in the realm of “uhmmmm” and “ahhhhh” or “uhhhhh” but it was the most historical
    “uhhhhhh” ever uttered in a Presidential debate.
    McCain’s entire charade about not debating was to draw attention to it, because much of America is not paying attention.
    As for pointing out McCain’s war vote, Obama has no ground to stand upon, in selecting Biden. Remember, Hillary had bad judgment, but Biden’s judgment is good, at least credit worthy(MBNA).
    The largest bank failure in American history went down today.
    Did the One have time to mention it?
    As for someone who “doesn’t understand” that line comes from divorce court, three times over. If he had never even looked Hillary’s way in a debate the result would have been clear.
    “Obama has to learn.” Why could he not just lecture us? He talks down to Americans all the time, why not at the debate as well?
    The key point to me was McCain bringing up Beirut and his supposed vote against it. Rumsfeld ran that operation. It was about the “sister state” of Lebanon becoming a beacon for democracy in the Middle East. It actually had safer logistics for support than does Iraq, and it did not work.
    Of course Barack was too busy playing pick up hoops at the time to have been able to point it out in debate at this time.
    McCain opposing the Lebanon deployment and supporting the occupation of Iraq is a major flip flop.
    McCain sounded better to people listening here, lifelong Democrats. That’s scary.
    To me, Obama made more sense tracking to path of Burns at State(the most accomplished person there right now). He spoke to the point people could assume Barack was rooted within a realist policy and one that wasn’t too far from neoliberal intervention.
    But I’m more wonkish and listen for that kind of detail.
    McCain started playing the school coach at liberal arts subjects. Obama doesn’t know, has no idea, etc. There’s a certain ear that hears that and toasts Ronnie Reagan.
    Obama stayed on the defensive, he is timid and makes you think he isn’t ready to lead. He can run all he wants to at Bush policy, but the man lacks the same kind of tangible experience to be a great leader. He can lecture us and talk from his own world view, but Bush preached from a bully pulpit long enough already.
    As for Iran, he should have pointed out that preconditions are not ours. The preconditions we attach are for Israel, and it’s why talks never move forward and the Mid East stays in turmoil from our perspective.
    We are not going to make them endorse Israel’s policy as a precondition of meeting. It would not be a suitable precedent to them. That’s the elephant in the room.
    Let’s continually frame all debates on the war lobby’s own terms, and flip flop on several policies, as others note above, like missile defense?
    All Obama had to do on the Russia/Georgia crisis was parallel it to Iraq. We must respect sovereignty as an example. The example of our power has always been greater than the exercise of it, because it produces positive change without collateral result of blood and treasure lost. We have no moral ground to tell Russia about Georgia with the ongoing war we are in.
    Speak to humanity’s greater aspects, JFK did this in speeches, realizing Americans could embrace these concepts. Obama talks down to those points, like it’s the lecture circuit, that is in essence the flip side of the partisans on the right.
    In this new era, with much of the world watching more closely than ever, and business interactive as well, you must speak to human rights and economic equity as ways to advance ideals.

    Reply

  49. Tahoe Editor says:

    MoveOn launched a massive effort to sway the online polls. Cling to the results if you can believe them, but it looks a lot like flooding the caucus sites to win Obama the nomination. The poll that counts is Election Day. Don’t confuse media bias with authentic voter support.

    Obama is going to “tell” Russia that you “cannot be a 21st century superpower and act like a 20th century dictatorship”.
    When asked how he views Russia, Obama says our “relationship with Russia” must be “re-evaluated”. One assumes he has asked his staff to evaluate it and get him the language to look at.

    Reply

  50. Dan Kervick says:

    Eric, Here is a CNN poll of debate watchers:
    Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the best job in the debate — Barack Obama or John McCain?
    Obama 51%
    McCain 38%
    Did _______ do a better or worse job than you expected?
    Obama: Better 57%, Worse 20%, Same 23%
    McCain: Better 60%, Worse 20%, Same 18%
    Next, regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think Barack Obama or John McCain would better handle each of the following issues:
    • The war in Iraq: Obama 52%, McCain 47%
    • Terrorism: McCain 49%, Obama 45%
    • The economy: Obama 58%, McCain 37%
    • The current financial crisis: Obama 54%, McCain 36%
    Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one better described Barack Obama or John McCain during tonight’s debate:
    • Was more intelligent: Obama 55%, McCain 30%
    • Expressed his views more clearly: Obama 53%, McCain 36%
    • Spent more time attacking his opponent: McCain 60%, Obama 23%
    • Was more sincere and authentic: Obama 46%, McCain 38%
    • Seemed to be the stronger leader: Obama 49%, McCain 43%
    • Was more likeable: Obama 61%, McCain 26%
    • Was more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you: Obama 62%, McCain 32%
    Based on what _______ said and did in tonight’s debate, do you think he would be able to handle the job of president if he is elected?
    Obama 69%-29%
    McCain 68%-30%
    The most important number in there, to my way of seeing things, is the huge disparity in the “likeability” number. McCain made a big play to be aggressive and commanding, and it looks like many people saw a nasty, disdainful and insulting old ass.
    My guess is that a substantial majority of Americans have finally come to make a personal connection with Obama, and so they experienced McCain’s rude, uncivil and insulting treatment of Obama as *personally* insulting.
    It’s taken a while to break through the old McCain veneer. But a lot of Americans just plain *don’t like* John McCain anymore. There was a massive pro-Obama gender gap in the post-debate polls too.

    Reply

  51. Eric says:

    Steve is right on. McCain is co-opting the change and hope messages. Obama came off as more negative and defensive.
    Interesting tidbit — according to the preliminary transcript online at CNN, Obama used the word “can’t” 13 times in the debate. McCain used it 4 times. Not a good statistic if your campaign is based on hope and change, especially if your slogan is “Yes We Can!” Obama needs to get back on message.

    Reply

  52. Liz says:

    One more thing. We tend to sometimes think in terms of who won or lost a particular debate. I think the better evaluation would be who accomplished their goals in the debate. I think Obama managed to make some voters on the fence much more comfortable in his foreign policy expertise and ability to lead in that area.

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    I completely agree with Steve’s take on the debate.
    Obama has to learn to take control in these debates and not let McCain lead his responses.
    Maybe he needs to go on some comment boards and get some troll experience so he can handle McCain.
    And yea, the lies out of both their mouths about the Russia – Georgia deal makes me sick.

    Reply

  54. Liz says:

    If you are stuck in the 1980’s – John McCain won. If you have any interest in moving beyond the 1980’s and reclaiming America’s leadership role in the world and America’s economy – Barack Obama won.
    I am betting that the majority of Americans will be in the latter category. They have had enough.

    Reply

  55. David from PA says:

    POA and Tahoe… you two deserve each other. Perhaps you could just both go somewhere else and lob insults without taking up space on this blog.
    Steve – I don’t comment much, but would like to say that I think your blog is terrific. I have a feature request for the next website software update. It would be great to have the ability to create an ignore list that will hide comments for specified posters… I can think of a few right off the bat.

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    The interest in this debate for me was mostly in the interpersonal dynamics, since there was nothing really new in the policy positions.
    McCain was much more aggressive, passionate and even arrogant tonight. One might even say “uppity.” He smirked, he grinned. He turned his shoulder to Obama when Obama was speaking, and listened disrespectfully and impatiently. He refused to make eye contact. He was openly and brazenly disdainful and condescending. He said Obama is “naive”, and that he “doesn’t understand” over and over. It looked to me like he was intentionally trying to taunt and provoke Obama into an outburst of fury or righteous indignation, which the McCain campaign could then portray as haughty arrogance. Everything in McCain’s manner, tone and body language said, “Go sit down in the back of the bus sonny.”
    Obama showed the patience of Job in response to this presumptuous treatment, but he has a delicate task in finding the right balance between deference and challenge in dealing personally with the much older McCain, who many voters still find venerable. I found Obama’s tack very unsatisfying, since I personally wanted to grab McCain by his craggy old neck and slap him across his grinning teeth. But Obama is much more disciplined than that. We’ll have to see how the public responds to this. Part of me thinks that if your opponent is obviously trying to bend you into a submissive position on stage, at some point you have to punch back, turn the tables and assert yourself, even if you are dealing with a senior citizen. But no doubt a lot of voters would be turned off by aggressive displays of this kind.
    I do find it very frustrating that Obama continues to pass up chances to score more powerfully and viscerally on the Iraq war. Large percentages of the American people think Iraq was a horrible waste of human life and precious economic resources. Obama’s position on the war, which is tied almost entirely to it’s being a distraction from Afghanistan, is too nuanced and dispassionate. This is the most passionately debated issue of the decade. Many people are filled with holy, steaming outrage over the war. Obama’s position has to have a level of strength and passion that matches the public’s passion.
    Why won’t he champion the cause of all those frustrated Americans? We’re not asking him even to change his position, but just to fully embrace the position he already has. Because it actually is his position that the war should never have been fought. He should be saying something like this:
    “John, you and George Bush said we had to invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction. It turned out they didn’t exist. You said we had to invade Iraq to combat an Al Qaeda presence. It turned out that there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq, not until we created one through our invasion. We will end up spending over a trillion dollars on this foolish adventure. And thousands of American’s finest have lost there lives on account of your blundering. On YOUR watch. You have FAILED. And your FAILURE has cost thousands of LIVES and BUSTED our treasury. In an earlier generation you would be flogged; but we’ll just ask you to step aside. It’s time for you and George Bush to stand down and turn the country over to more capable leadership.”
    McCain related that anecdote about Eisenhower’s never used resignation letter in case the invasion of Normandy failed. Obama should have said,
    “Where is YOUR resignation letter John? Where is YOUR accountability? You recklessly threw away lives and treasure on a war that didn’t have to be fought. When will you take responsibility for your actions? Because from where I sit, you are unfit to be entrusted with the security of the American people and the command of America’s armed forces.”
    There is a hard-headed, principled and ethically realistic alternative to the old way of US foreign policy which is right out there for the taking. But Obama is still too much a captive, I’m afraid, of the false idealism of old-fashioned foreign policy liberals. He’s got too much Samantha Power and Peter Beinart going on, and and not enough Zbigniew Brzezinski and Anatol Lieven. Such liberals believe foreign policy is too refined and ideological to get dragged down by crass disputes about mere mere money and human lives. It’s about Democracy and Freedom and such. Obama is passing up the realistic alternative in favor of the same pieties, nostrums and established patterns of thinking that McCain, Bush, Bill Clinton, Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton and the whole preceding generation share. So Obama is allowing himself to become just a soft power version of the same old agenda and outlook.

    Reply

  57. G Hazeltine says:

    How about a limit on comments? Two or six or some relatively
    reasonable number per commenter. Otherwise it gets kind of
    boring, and personal, and irrelevant. Turns people off, I think, who
    might have something interesting to contribute.

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I can’t stand both parties”
    ROFLMAO!!!!

    Reply

  59. Tahoe Editor says:

    What is with your anal obsession, Piss? You’re all about excretion. Talk to someone (else) about it, please.
    I can’t stand both parties. Fvck ’em both. But I don’t run around screaming “we’re screwed” to anyone who will listen.
    I think Hillary could have made a decent, centrist, Democratic president.
    Instead we’ll have John McCain.

    Reply

  60. b says:

    I’d have to respectfully disagree. He’s down big when it comes to national security so Obama could only gain from this debate. I have a hard time believing voters became more skeptical about Obama and the commander in chief threshold after watching this debate. The more he showed some command of foreign policy the more McCain became dismissive and started talking up his experience. Hillary Clinton learned that the experience argument doesn’t work in this election. All that said, we’re going through one of the ugliest credit crises in our nation’s history and McCain kept talking about pork barrel spending. What? This was certainly not a game changer but I think Obama holds his lead or gains a few after this which is a big loss for McCain. I mean McCain said “prosperity is happening in Iraq right now.” That’s pretty obnoxious. Sure oil revenue is now flowing, but give me a break.

    Reply

  61. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, Tahoe, I’m quite happy.
    And yes, your kind of partisan shit is destroying this country. Take your head out of your ass, and look around.
    Hows that “my party right or wrong” ignorance working for us, Tahoe? Are you proud of being just another braying partisan jackass?

    Reply

  62. What Grief Is Good? says:

    Oh please: Peres, Sharon, Livni, Lieberman, Olmert and just about
    every other person in real power in Israel is of European descent.
    They are Ashkenazi Jews, the descendants of Kharzars, Eastern
    Europeans who converted to Judaism.
    Find a blue-eyed, blond-haired, white-skinned Palestinian, the
    real inhabitants of “The Holy Land”, and get back to me.
    In the meantime, why don’t you get Sharon (real name
    Scheinermann — that’s a real Arabic name) to take a DNA test.
    He’s prostrate at the moment so you might be able to do it without
    him using Mossad to destroy your family for the temerity of you
    asking why he’s a German Jew.

    Reply

  63. Raclare Kanal says:

    I am surprised that so many of you found Obama very halting and weak. I was very much afraid that he would speak haltingly because I have heard him do so in other interviews. But I was pleasantly surprised. It does get boring before 90 minutes pass, because neither candidate is going to say anything to upset a significant block of voters. There is going to be an election – so, what do we expect?? I thought that McCain showed defensiveness when he kept falling back on the line that “Senator Obama just doesn’t understand”. You can get away with that once, but he was ridiculous!

    Reply

  64. Tahoe Editor says:

    Piss assigns me blame for “destroying the nation.”
    Piss, you’re a real kick.
    Enjoy being screwed — you talk about it way too much not to.

    Reply

  65. varanassi says:

    couldn’t disagree more, tahoe… and either can any pundit that i’m tuning into tonight. will see how the public makes sense of it.
    but, poa is right. your posting habits remind me of the crazy guy on the subway who won’t shut up. talking to yourself as everyone else does their best to ignore you. don;t you have any freiends or loved ones that you can emote with?
    but, in the end, i believe this debate means nothing next to the insanity that maccain demonstrated this week and when he picked palin. face it, tahoe, the old man is off his rocker. palin is the least competent candidate for office in the history of our union and his “suspension” scam this week was downright frightening. public opinion is clearly trending in that direction and the rest (including these debates) may only be commentary.

    Reply

  66. WigWag says:

    CNN Snap Telephone poll says Obama won the debate 51 percent to 38 percent. (For whatever it’s worth)

    Reply

  67. Tintin says:

    WGG?
    “un by European Jews with no genetic ties to “the
    Holy Land” to achieve regional, if not global, hegemony”
    A small point, perhaps, but this is factually INCORRECT.

    Reply

  68. ... says:

    tahoe editor posts are just like junk mail.. i don’t bother to read them..they are advertisements and nothing more.. i am surprised steve allows someone to litter the comments section with junk posts..

    Reply

  69. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Piss, you’re whole worldview is “We’re screwed.””
    I realize you live in this scripted horseshit fantasy world, where even this ignorant clownette Palin is leadership material, but don’t expect the rest of us to live our lives endorsing insanity just because its RW or LW insanity.
    Neither of these candidates lit any fires tonight. And yes, if this is the best these two pathetic losers have, then we ARE screwed.
    At least one of them could have pointed out the one minute and twenty six seconds this asshole Bush devoted to telling the American people that it is haaaaard work fixing the looted American economy. Does he think we are all fuckin’ idiots? Is that all the regard these three posturing out-of-touch elitists have for the American people?
    And you? You’re a joke, Tahoe, a blathering script reading characterless mouthpiece, who would slander his own mother if it was in the RW script. You and your lying scheming ilk, spouting your partisan talking points, (on BOTH sides of the aisle), are the problem, and you are destroying this nation.

    Reply

  70. Vik says:

    G Hazeltine said ti perfectly. Bravo.
    That’s EXACTLY IT.

    Reply

  71. What Grief Is Good? says:

    Why should we care about a second (and imaginary) Holocaust? We
    are possibly going to slaughter tens of millions of Iranians,
    Pakistanis, more Iraqis, more Afghans, more Palestinians, more
    Lebanese, more Syrians, to enable the rogue, terrorist, apartheid
    state of Israel, run by European Jews with no genetic ties to “the
    Holy Land” to achieve regional, if not global, hegemony.
    And lose what’s left of our republic and our wealth in order to do
    so?
    Screw both candidates. Get Israel and her fan club out of U.S.
    foreign policy NOW.

    Reply

  72. Andreas says:

    TAHOE you’re like a talking parrot, robotically regurgitating predictable drivel. You’re a decent spin doctor, nothing more.

    Reply

  73. WigWag says:

    John McCain demonstrated tonight that he is a funtional illiterate when it comes to economics. He said he would consider a spending freeze (except for entitlements, the military and veterans affairs). At a time when the economy is getting ready to collapse, a spending cut would make things dramatically worse not better.
    Any first year economics major knows that when the economy is faced with a recession, the proper policy is to increase aggregate demand. Reducing federal spending reduces aggregate demand; just the opposite of what needs to be done. McCain’s position would make the economy worse not better.
    It is mind boggling that a person running for President is so ignorant that he doesn’t know this. Maybe Steve Clemons is right and McCain won the debate. McCain comes across like a regular guy and Obama comes across like a professor. That’s one reason I have always thought Obama is a weaker candidate than Clinton or even some of the others.
    But it is unambiguous that when it comes to economics, McCain doesn’t know what he is talking about and Obama does.
    Tonight, McCain proved that he is an economic ignoramus.

    Reply

  74. G Hazeltine says:

    There are ‘methane chimney’ in the Arctic. We don’t have time to
    screw around.
    McCain is scum, the product of scum, the distillation of scum.
    You debate scum by beating the shit out of them, calling their
    lies lies, again and again. Mocking their stupidity, and pounding
    them, pounding them. Or you go to Jennings Bryan, Luther King.
    You bring down the wrath of god on their miserable lying tiny
    souls.
    I worked in a reform school in Massachusetts once. It was an
    Outward Bound program, testing a longer term program inside
    the reform school. I was used to taking reform school kids into
    the North Cascades. Off trail, high, steep, cold. I could always
    find an angle of slope that would get their attention. My turf.
    The reform school was not my turf. Two of us in the program,
    where under normal circumstances violence ruled, had the
    complete respect of 25 kids. The director, a sort of Jesus figure,
    a total pacifist. Older, tall, articulate, beautifuly voiced, biblical –
    a riveting speaker. And a black former colleague of Malcom X
    from Harlem who in a fury offered at one point to beat the shit
    out of all 25, one at a time or all at once. He meant it. They
    knew he meant it, and would.
    Obama already has has the ‘high information’ voters. This isn’t
    Harvard. From here it’s the reform school. Rhetorically, biblical,
    or take no prisoners.
    He doesn’t get it.

    Reply

  75. JP Carter says:

    Nobody won this debate tonight. I think that Obama better get meaner and more critical with McCain if he wants to move voters over to him. He needs to zing McCain more often. Kill him with kindness but stick the knife in and twist it. Act like the 2007 Patriots – go for the jugular. McCain seemed robotic in the same way Bush is. Obama needs to attack more and stop staying I agree with McCain. Obama did not do anything to hurt himself. McCain did not do anything to push himself further down or up. Overall it was like being in your first real job interview. You know the answers you wanted each to give but their brains/prep got in the way. You could see the rote answers spill out. You could predict what they were going to say.
    I noticed that McCain says stuff to Cindy after the debate and with the same face as after the convention speech. He is talking through clenched teeth – I wish I could read lips. Both times he seems to be showing his tense/angry self. Obama seems more relaxed, not too relaxed. Big point – McCain would not look Obama in the eye. Big one.
    Remember this, we are going to see so little of the winner after he becomes president. Based on the first debate, I am more inclined to put my chips in with Obama at this time.

    Reply

  76. Linda says:

    It was a draw pretty much. Everyone sees it through their own eyes and perspective–very apparent from your running comments, Steve. Both kept to their stump speech talking points–played it safe. I saw Obama as stronger and more confident and crisper at the beginning, and you didn’t.
    And I liked Obama less later because I know he has gone to the right to win–something most Obama supporters don’t like. But we are all among very liberal left and don’t have to be won over. But I thought Obama held his own on topic that was going to be his weakest and McCain’s strongest.
    I agree with your question in caps and thought Obama should have used that, i.e., we went to war and didn’t raise taxes to pay for it and ended up in deep deficit held by China. They both refused to admit that they can’t do everything they promise because of the current financial crisis and bailout costs. My guess is that they polled and focus grouped that question, and people don’t want to hear the truth.
    Now their surrogates will make corrections and spin. No one hit it out of the ball park, and no one made a major mistake. Advantage no one, on to the next debate.

    Reply

  77. Tahoe Editor says:

    Piss, you’re whole worldview is “We’re screwed.” That’s your conclusion whoever the president is, so your thoughts on this debate are pretty useless.
    Steve, if you thought Obama was going to trounce McCain, it’s time for you to get back in touch with your inner realist.

    It doesn’t matter who Chris & Keith think won. It’s not a media caucus. It’s a general election.

    Reply

  78. Tony says:

    Obama is NOT looking to McCain for guidance, he was looking at McCain in the eye the entire time, and was gracious. McCain wasn’t the slightest bit gracious and never once looked at Obama. McCain even tried to use the dead soldier and his mother as some type of argument – AND got pawned. Check the polls over at CNN and MSNBC and it’s pretty clear who won. Y’all can believe what you want though.

    Reply

  79. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I know it pisses Steve off when I say it, and I apologize. But Tahoe is an irritating partisan ass. Does he have ever one single unique thought, or is his whole miserable existence played out according to a script?

    Reply

  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama is fuckin’ wimp. McCain was full of shit, and Obama had numerous chances to point it out. The fact that Obama doesn’t have the guts to point out what the surge REALLY is tells me that he will just give us the same old shit. And his head is already buried to the neck in Israel’s corrosive nether regions.
    We’re screwed. Niether one of these embarrassing jackasses have the wisdom or the integrity to dig us out of the hole the Bush administration criminals have put us in.

    Reply

  81. Tahoe Editor says:

    Team McCain has just unveiled a new web video, featuring clips of Obama agreeing with McCain throughout tonight’s debate. How much agreeing will Obama do with Ahmadinejad at his tea party?
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/26/1456269.aspx
    McCain says we’re safer since 9/11. Obama says we are less safe. Who’s the fear monger?
    Obama is making ZERO sense.
    “I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue.” Well, there goes that talking point.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution: McCain shows difference experience makes
    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/shared-blogs/ajc/thinkingright/entries/2008/09/26/ladies_and_gentlemen_you_just.html
    Kansas City Star: John McCain wins the first presidential debate
    http://voices.kansascity.com/node/2199
    Baltimore Sun: McCain finishes strongly
    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/local/rodricks/blog/2008/09/mccain_finishes_strongly.html

    Reply

  82. Viktor says:

    ..that said, I still see Obama as having (narrowly) won the debate.
    But this could have been the death blow, as opposed to more song and dance.

    Reply

  83. Viktor says:

    ..that said i still think Obama narrowly won the debate.

    Reply

  84. Viktor says:

    I’m going to go have a good cry now.
    Why is it that Obama feels the need to say “McCain is right about…” dozens of times? I’m happy that Obama mentioned the “Bomb Iran” sing song, but he did so only as an aside, which says a lot about his confidence levels.
    Why is it that the Dems feel they have to hold McC in such esteem. I for one don’t consider him a hero for bombing villages in Vietnam. Sorry, I don’t. Call it a generational thing. Stop sucking up to this guy.
    Obama better screw his head on for the next debates. If he can’t finish off a McCain campaign on the verge of meltdown, so obviously desperate and untruthful (especially in a debate), how is he going to swing any undecided voters? Stop “respecting” McCain (and his disturbing, maniacal grin) and start hitting him hard. Damn.
    A

    Reply

  85. captain dan says:

    Whoever is posting is watching a different debate than the current debate between Senator Obama and McCain!

    Reply

  86. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama = overpromise, underdeliver. Totally backwards.
    Obama loves missile defense? I thought he was targeting cuts for missile defense.
    It’s a please-everyone strategy. He’s totally looking to McCain for approval. McCain’s looking like a president.

    Reply

  87. DonS says:

    Obama’s plently smart. But he indeed played it safe.
    McCain was disconnected except on military issues. Robotic.

    Reply

  88. Tahoe Editor says:

    Palin said Russia was unprovoked. Now Obama is basically validating her. He’s a fish out of water.
    If Hillary were on any part of this ticket, the Dems might stand a chance.
    The gold & bronze medalists in the most-liberal-senator competition, not so much. What’s that about keeping the coal plants in China again, Mr. Biden?
    Who’s signing up for Al Gore’s civil disobedience?

    What Grief Is Good, you are seeing the light — just like Obama saw the light on earmarks (3 years late).
    The Fake Lobbyist Outrage is a canard. Obama’s lobbyist network is bigger than Verizon’s. Who wants Tom Daschle back? Not me.
    Obama’s Lunch Money and His Phony War on Lobbyists
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122238631073977041.html

    Reply

  89. What Grief Is Good? says:

    Why doesn’t Obama mention that McCain’s chief foreign policy
    adviser is a lobbyist for Georgia? Why doesn’t Obama mention
    that the U.S. DOES NOT HAVE A SENATE RATIFIED TREAT WITH
    ISRAEL??? (Well, I know why… the Israel Lobby rears its ugly head
    on both sides of the aisle)
    Why didn’t Obama bring up McCain’s recent vote against a GI
    bill? Or McCain’s track record of betraying his fellow POWs?
    Here’s a September 2008 article by Pulitzer Prize winner Sydney
    Schanberg about how exactly McCain betrayed his fellow POWs.
    http://www.nationinstitute.org/p/schanberg09182008pt1
    Obama needed to take the gloves off but didn’t.
    Instead, he war-mongered against the innocent people of
    Afghanistan and Pakistan, and didn’t take the easy shots against
    McCain’s record and McCain’s talk that were right in front of
    him.
    Obama’s nowhere near as smart as I thought he was.

    Reply

  90. DonS says:

    Russia and Georgia.
    Obama very hard on Russia.
    And still, McCain accuses Obama of naivte. AND differentiates himself from Bush on “looking into putin’s eyes”.
    Basically not much difference in policy, but McCain uses the opportunity to slam Obama anyway.
    McCain acts like the big central European expert.
    Obama wants “foresight” and attention to “energy” issues; seeks to be policy-oriented, a political. Mentions McCain votes against alternaitve energy.
    McCain talks about drilling offshore.

    Reply

  91. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama is stuck on talking about the mistakes of the past and is in “me, too” mode.
    “John, I also have a story of the mother of a service member that I can tell. His name is, uh … ”

    Reply

  92. pacos_gal says:

    So far I think that Republicans will like what McCain is saying and how he is doing and Democrats will like what Obama is saying, but wish he would articulate it clearly and concisely instead of this meandering style.
    So far McCain comes across as secure in his opinions on how things should be run.
    Obama will get some respect on his comments about going after Obama ourselves if the “host” country cannot or isn’t willing to do so.
    Unfortunately for Obama, McCain is coming across as the senior man with the experience having to lecture the young man on how things are really done. This is exactly what Obama has to avoid in this debate and every other debate if he is going to convince undecided voters that he should be president. McCain is doing what he needs to do in this debate.
    Will anyone mention Cuba tonight? I hope so.

    Reply

  93. Tahoe Editor says:

    Hatchet vs. scalpel? Do you think Americans would rather have McCain take a hatchet to the budget, or Obama take a scalpel to it?
    Obama is talking about two different bills and how they both voted against funding the troops with different timetables. This is the opposite of clear communication.
    “The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not. The next president of the United States is going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind. That’s the decision of the next president of the United States.”
    THAT is clear communication.
    Obama is saying, “YOU said there were weapons of mass destruction. YOU said we’d be greeted as liberators.”
    That was McCain’s opportunity to give Obama an “I’m Not Bush & Cheney” newsflash.
    McCain is making Obama look much riskier on foreign policy. He’s talking about a “wider war”. And Obama doesn’t have an answer.

    AMATEURISM. Steve, your analysis is spot on tonight.
    They are both playing the fear card. Obama is saying we are less safe. He’s out of his element.
    McCain seems to have a more comprehensive approach to both foreign policy and energy. Joe Biden is ready to ban coal. Isn’t Gore suggesting civil disobedience?
    Obama is finally “speaking confidently, smoothly, clearly on the issue of meeting world leaders without pre-conditions” because he actually believes in his ability to stop the rise of the oceans and bring violent actors together to find common ground by the power of his identity. But does America believe it?

    Reply

  94. DonS says:

    Iran. Both demonize Iran. Obama wants to talk. McCain gets agressive saying Obama would talk with out precondition to Iran, Chavez . . .
    Israel comes up. Obams sucks up. McCain bashes him anyway. Invokes Ragean.
    Preconditions is the McCain issue. Obama responds rationally, but does it override McCain’S drama???
    Obama: “difference between preconditions and preparation.
    Obama says . . . too many times . . Senator McCain is “absolutely right, but . . ”
    Obamas rationality versus McCain’s theater.
    McCain “resistant”, brings up McCain opposition to meeting with Spanish leader . . .
    “Israel ‘a stinking corps!!!” McCain accuse Obama of endorsing this tyrant. Brings up N Korea and “Dear Leader” Demagoging. Obama tries to repoond rationally, and is keeping cool.
    Israel !!!!!

    Reply

  95. Tahoe Editor says:

    OBAMA = MCCAIN LITE — spot on, Steve. He doesn’t know who to be, so he’s shadowboxing.
    McCain = offense
    Obama = defense
    Obama ≠ leader
    Obama doesn’t know how to debate. But he knows how to hold tea parties for Ivy League faculty and Axis Of Evil Dictators.
    The media’s candidate doesn’t look good. Maybe he’ll look better trying to avoid the leadership role tomorrow back in Washington. Nancy and Harry doing such a great job and all …
    Now Obama is playing on a high-fear, low-trust world. What’s up with that? Is this the guy you thought you knew?

    Reply

  96. DonS says:

    McCain attack Obama for being recklessly public about attack in Pakistan. Obama counters with McCain’s bellicosity towards N Korea and bomb bomb Iran.
    McCan comes back condescending on “bomb bomb Iran”. Trots out his record “of bieng involved in national security issues . . .” Brings out tear jerking story about a soldiers death, on and on.
    McCain brings up Vietnam defeat . . . we will win . . . blah blah blah.
    Obama cites his own bracelet from deceased soldier . . .
    Obama confronts McCain about not being concerned about Afganistan.
    McCain interrupt Lehrer, and attepts to override Obama on Afganistan.

    Reply

  97. Tahoe Editor says:

    Barack and the bomber: Playing the Coburn Card
    http://thehill.com/byron-york/barack-and-the-bomber-2008-04-17.html

    Obama is stuttering through his cliches.
    You say McCain is harping on spending cuts — finally Barack follows: “John’s right. We need to make some cuts.”
    Who’s the leader?
    “Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate. It’s awfully hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”
    Barack can’t call Tom Coburn his boyfriend and call it bipartisanship.
    I’ll tell you this: Opposing nuclear power is a huge loser. It’s the one issue where we should be much more French.
    Lynn Sweet: McCain catches Obama off guard again
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/1184246,CST-NWS-sweet25.article
    Barack and the bomber: Playing the Coburn Card
    http://thehill.com/byron-york/barack-and-the-bomber-2008-04-17.html

    Reply

  98. DonS says:

    Obama is confident, informed. Perhaps a little wonky, but not agressive — not the angry black man.
    McCain is the ultimate generalist,bringing up unrelated but dramatic points. And he is lying through his teeth. “I’m a maverick of the senate and I proud to have a partner who is a maverick”.
    On Iraq, McCain talks about victory. Obama gives a fairly stock response, and opens himself to being attacked onn military preparedness. McCain comes back with all the appropriate attack points.
    Obama talks about the “violence being reduced” — says the surge was a tactic in the latter phases, goes back to say McCain had it wrong reform the beginning.
    McCain ondescends “Obama doesn’tknow the difference between a tactic and a strategy”.
    McCain says “peace and posperity” comes to Iraq, and will come to Afganistan. Obama comes back — addresses tactic versus strategy. Rehashes old history. Gives a 16 month timeframe, but pretty weak.
    McCain seems confident on military issues.

    Reply

  99. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama was against the tax breaks for Big Oil before he was for them? What?

    Reply

  100. Bill D. says:

    I think McCain is doing very well. But anyone calling themselves a maverick really isn’t one. Very, very, very phony. Much like much of his flip flopping in the last 2 years.

    Reply

  101. Tahoe Editor says:

    McCain is talking about health care. He’s talking about cutting spending because the 9%-approved Congress AND the administration have been on a spending spree. If Obama doesn’t credibly mention spending cuts — and only mentions his 95%/$250,000 “tax cut” (welfare) plan — then McCain will own the spending/government waste territory.
    Why did it take McCain to tell Obama to watch his earmarks?
    Who’s the leader here?

    Reply

  102. Tahoe Editor says:

    “Obama is hard to listen to tonight. I’m surprised. He’s usually smoother. He’s nervous, rough — halting.”
    You’re surprised because it’s been a very long time since you’ve seen him debate. Smart to duck debate as long as possible? Or not so smart? Smart to pass on taking a leadership roll? Or not so smart. Can you phone in the presidency?
    “Yes, McCain called me out on being the biggest earmarker in the Senate. So I stopped. Even for senior citizen centers.”
    Huh? McCain pointed out to you your earmark abuse so you stopped? You’re sounding great, Barack.
    Now he’s harping on his corporate taxes, bottom-up talking points — Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals. Smart.
    McCain nails him for “seeing the light” on earmarks after 3 years in the Senate.
    Why is Obama giving us examples of how McCain schools him? I don’t get it.
    “WHAT I DO IS CLOSE CORPORATE LOOPHOLES.” Really Barack? Just like you get violent people in a room and find common ground? Saying don’t make it so …

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  103. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama is “waiting for the language” that someone else comes up with because he’s just a president-on-call. He’s letting others take the lead and he’s just going to be “present” until someone else comes up with an answer. “Call me if you need me.”
    I don’t get “I warned, too” — McCain was warning about Fannie & Freddie while Obama was suing them for not making riskier loans.
    McCain is saying “We’ve got a lot of work to do.” This is about doing and talking. All that “work we have to do” is what Obama hopes to avoid. “Call me if you need me. (And please don’t need me.) No leadership. Doing vs. talking; workhorse vs. showhorse.

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