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.”
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