Round Two Begins: Obama Wins by Nose in Debate that John McCain Really Needed to Dominate but Didn’t

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First question is on the economy.
Both Obama and McCain are doing well in responding to a person’s query about what to do with the average family being undermined by current economic conditions. John McCain and Obama both started to walk around and try to talk to the audience. McCain got more personal folks and pointed to young people he said were being stuck with a “$10 trillion debt”.
Wow. Obama just mentioned Warren Buffet specifically as a Treasury Secretary possibility. If we are going to be way out there — I’d prefer George Soros actually.
A second question about the economy. . .What will help regular people out?
McCain says Main Street was paying a high price for the greed and excess of Wall Street. McCain just reminded people he suspended his campaign to go back and deal with the financial crisis. McCain probably reminded a lot of folks that he engaged in some silly antics when he did that.
I can’t quite believe that McCain just said that Obama was the recipient of the second greatest amount of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financial support when his own campaign chairman was an active lobbyist for Fannie and Freddy.
Obama now responding — he comes off as eruduite, informed, thoughtful — but he’s more distant from the audience than McCain who seems to drill into them more quickly and effectively (from my point of view).
Obama is giving a pretty honest, straight answer about how we’re going to need to approach this economic problem — particularly saying that we are on the front end of the problem and have a long way to go. Brokaw pushed Obama to comment on whether he thought things would get worse — and Obama said no.
McCain said it depends “on what we do.” Neither wants to tell Americans things are going to get worse — which is too bad, because things are going to get worse.
3rd question — How can folks trust either McCain or Obama since both parties were complicit in the conditions that led to the financial crisis?
Obama is doing a reasonable job explaining how the U.S. got into its current mess during the big debt build up of the George W. Bush administration. I wish he wouldn’t keep saying “And, And, And. . .” It’s distracting.
McCain is saying that he’s one of the gladiators against special interests, crony interests — he accused Obama of never taking on his party leadership on any issue.
I’m watching tonight with a friend in the military who is supportive of McCain and thinks that McCain is “really off tonight.”
Health, Energy, Entitlement Reforms?
McCain says we need to reform social security and medicare and that we can’t do for future recipients of entitlements what we have done in the past. McCain also says that we need a whole lot of new nuclear plants in addition to a long roster of other alternatives. McCain doesn’t want to distinguish between these as far as their importance.
Obama says we have to prioritize. He is putting energy security on top. . .and he’s connecting it to going to the moon. Big idea. Big project.
Second priority for Obama is health — and then education.
A question is asked about what sacrifices McCain or Obama are going to ask Americans to make.
McCain says he is going to ask Americans to go without some of the programs we spend money on — his first answer was odd. . .corrupt defense programs. Not sure how the 78 year old lady in Chicago who lived through the depression relates to that.
McCain just said he would do across the board freeze on government spending — except in defense. Defense is the problem! We spend more money on our defense and security than all nations in the world combined and don’t feel safe. That’s a management problem but McCain doesn’t seem to want to wrestle that down.
Obama is reminding people that after 9/11, George Bush told citizens that they could help “by going out to shop.” Happiness and stability through gluttony. . .
Obama is playing the “buy America” card of promising eco-friendly cars manufactured in the U.S. rather than Japan and Korea. Interesting way to appeal to the blue collar set.
Obama is smoother in this discussion than the first debate. Easier to follow him. He’s doing well.
Obama has just done a great job explaining his approach to taxes — who will get taxed more (the very rich) and who won’t carry as much burden (the rest).
McCain just called for a Commission on Medicare — weak response. Commissions are not a way to convince Americans that one is ready to make tough, hard choices. Commissions are usually fig leaves for perpetuating the status quo.
Green jobs, environmental change. . .ball to McCain. McCain is pushing nuclear power really hard, which does surprise me. Nuclear power has to figure into the equation in my view, but we need caution, much more research on how to generate safe nuclear power with minimal or no waste — and McCain just asserts that that will happen. A major nuclear build out here in the US and elsewhere will also jumpstart the spread of nuclear plants globally. Should we be worried about that? I think so — but McCain seems not to care about that.
Tom Brokaw is not a very fun curmudgeon.
Did I hear McCain make the case that Obama is for oil company giveaways and McCain against. We are truly living in an Orwellian world.
McCain actually pointed to Obama and called him “that one.” Yikes. . .a lot of undercurrents there that some with imagination might be offended by.
Health care. . .Honestly, both are failing to really convince the public that they have a clear-headed, stable, doable plan. I prefer Obama’s approach by far — but the lines are not sticking. Both are coming off as sincere — but nothing Obama or McCain is saying is memorable. . .perhaps McCain’s line as a refundable $5,000 tax credit.
Barack Obama is making the case, compellingly (finally), that health care should be a right — not a responsibility alone. He referred to what a tragedy it is that his mother, or anyone, has to fight insurance companies when they are dying from cancer at 50 years old. . .personal, compelling.
They are both better than the last debate — but Obama’s improvement is really dramatic.
Great question on what constraints the deteriorating economy will have on America’s national security policy.
“America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world,” says McCain. “We are peacemakers.” Reflecting on where we have been and how eroded America’s national security position is, McCain’s answer is very wrongheaded.
McCain is going after Obama on Georgia-Russia, on the surge, and other issues. He said there is no time “for on the job training.” But then why does McCain have a running mate, Sarah Palin, who clearly needs a couple of other internships before applying for on the job training?
Touche. Obama is making the connection between the Iraq War’s costs and America’s belieaguered economy. Finally. That is right. We have to get out of the Iraq War. Along with a lot of other bad consumption habits, engaging in one of the nation’s most expensive wars without raising taxes to pay for it has hit America’s middle class really hard.
Interesting question — what is the Obama doctrine of use of force? He’s not giving a direct answer. He’s starting with genocides that America should have intervened in — and then moved to national interest led decisions as benchmarks for determining priorities. Obama then discussed the leverage that we get from allies. Decent answer — but could be much better. Denis McDonough, one of Obama’s key foreign policy advisors, could have slammed that question out of the park.
McCain is back on Iraq — accuses Obama of embracing an attitude of defeat who would have brought the troops home early.
The Pakistan question is a quagmire for Obama. Pakistan is in the nuclear club. It’s just different than other countries, and McCain is right that we shouldn’t disregard Pakistan’s sovereignty when overtly discussing these security matters. What we have to do in the shadows may be a different matter.
Obama just countered with a slam of McCain for singing about bombing Iran, threatening to annihilate North Korea, and other bravado against other countries.
This just in from a true political independent who currently works in the Bush administration:

Steve,
This debate seems to be following the Biden/Palin debate format of Obama speaking more clearly and in depth than McCain and his simplistic responses.
I think the undecideds may be impressed with his calm rationality and unwillingness (Except foe the bs about energy independence) to preach the easy answers.
Sent from my iPhone

McCain talking about the surge, David Petraeus, securing victory with honor. . .
McCain says we are not going to have another Cold War with Russia — and thinks that Russia’s behavior is outside the bounds of acceptability. McCain just indirectly made fun of George W. Bush by saying that he “looked in the eyes of Vladimir Putin and saw a “K”, a “G” and a “B”.
McCain seems to be more balanced and less strident in his recommended challenges to Russian behavior than he did when the Georgia-Russia conflict was hotter.
Stupid question. Brokaw asks if Russia is an evil empire, as Reagan called it. Obama should have said NO.
McCain said MAYBE.
Nixon would be ticked off at both of them. That kind of silly name-calling does nothing to move American diplomacy or interests forward. Obama has got to be braver and stop falling into McCain-lite poses when big challenges are being discussed.
Now a question on Israel. McCain goes right to Iran — but I don’t think McCain got a briefing on the “Grand Bargain in US-Iran Relations” program that I presided over today with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Obama says that Iran can’t be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. But what if it did??? Would we take the world into a new cataclysm or would we try to cultivate deterrence?
Obama shares his views that he wants to offer Iran a deal that encourages constructive behavior. I don’t agree with all of Obama’s posture on this — but I have to say that he’s compelling and so much smoother and better than in the first debate.
What don’t you know — and how will you learn it? Obama responds by saying that the nature of the challenges we face is immense. He’s right. He’s going off to tell his life story — not telling Brokaw and the audience how he’d requisition the kind of expertise and experience needed to meet the shocks that are certainly headed our way.
Obama is screwing up a key question. No one may be noticing — but I thought the question was the most important of the evening…or nearly so. No president will be able to know everything needed to manage the portfolios of the country. The key is requisitioning experience — based on a world yesterday. And we need to see judgment and an approach to how that experience will be reconfigured to address tomorrow’s challenges.
I would have liked to hear either Obama or McCain say that UNLIKE GEORGE W. BUSH, they will make sure to listen to every view at the table and consider every scenario – the good and the bad – before making crucial decisions about the vital interests of the nation. Obama missed an opportunity here.
McCain is saying he knows what its like to live through difficult times when the future is not known. But he too is not answering this excellent question well.
And it’s over.
Quick review. It was occasionally mildly testy, but didn’t break any new ground at all. This was a status quo debate.
Most of the answers by both were predictable.
In terms of style, Obama did better than he did during the first debate. McCain was smart but seemed more petty, and meaner — but in an ineffective way.
Overall, this debate won’t change a thing….It leaves everything in place.
I think Obama gets the win by a nose, but it’s a win that hardly matters.
McCain — since he’s lagging in the polls — needed to accomplish more than he did tonight. But Obama just didn’t add much sizzle despite his greater smoothness and confidence.
OK — that’s it. No more debates.
Oh damn it — we have one more of these.
Guys — PLEASE make it better next time. . .!
— Steve Clemons

Comments

46 comments on “Round Two Begins: Obama Wins by Nose in Debate that John McCain Really Needed to Dominate but Didn’t

  1. Linda says:

    Dan,
    Actually I think there would have been good and safe ways to answer the zen question that I kinda liked–I really was hoping that Obama would say something to the effect that no President or any one person can be expert on everything, that he plans to bring together advisors of all parties and differing ideas, and listen to them all.
    Then just list a few of his economic advisors inlcuding Warren Buffett, Rubin, Stiglitz, Volker,
    Larry Summers. And just in case average audience would not know them, identify their former positions. I think that would have offered a lot of reassurance to people worried about the current meltdown.

    Reply

  2. arthurdecco says:

    Just got to this thread. And this jumped out at me:
    “HOWEVER his lack of exposure of the intelligence at hand before Iraq means McCain and a majority of the US Senate made an INFORMED decision to authorize the war in Iraq while Obama voiced an UNINFORMED disagreement with the Iraq War.” Military Guy
    What an unabashed liar you are, Military Guy. I earnestly hope you’re in command of nothing more strategic than latrine clean up.
    And this: “Intelligence is never a 100% solid picture of reality, but all of the indicators from Iraq in the US, Russian, French, UK and MiddleEastern Nations Intelligence estimations pointed to the same fact that Iraq was a guilty party in aiding world-wide terrorist groups through arms and some funding as well as working to develop WMD.”
    More lies. What WMD’s?!? WHAT WMD’S, fercrissakes!?!
    I’m a Canadian civilian and even I had enough information available to come to the conclusion before the illegal invasion of Iraq that the lies about WMD’s were exactly that – LIES!

    Reply

  3. WigWag says:

    “I’m with Sarah Vowell on “The Daily Show” who has been reading Fireside Chats on-line!”
    Linda, just read her new book on the Puritans. As with all her books, it was great and well worth reading. It’s not as funny as her other books, but just as interesting.

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  4. Ajaz says:

    Is McCain Toast already?
    The art of punditry is no art at all because the pundits get it wrong most of the time. But by the way things look at this point and barring any unforeseen event, I am willing to play the pundit and say that the U.S. Presidential election in over already.
    Barack Obama is leading in the polls nationally by various margins. Rasmussen puts him 6 points ahead and Daily Kos (an influential blog) gives him a 10 point lead. The chances are, Obama will win the popular vote by about 5%, however the electoral college is a different story altogether. Under the ‘winner take all’ system, Obama is likely to end up with 60% of the delegates defeating McCain handily by a 20% margin.
    McCain is losing ground in state after state. Even some of the hard core Republican states like Virginia and North Carolina are likely to go to Obama. The so called battleground states of Florida and Pennsylvania are already leaning heavily towards Obama, only Ohio appears to be a toss up state at this time.
    John McCain looks like a frustrated and an angry man. His campaign has become vicious and nasty, terrorist chants for Obama are repeated in his presence and he does not discourage it. His demeanour at the debate last night was again angry and accusatory, calling Obama “that one” was not missed by commentators including the saner Republican strategists.
    So unless a great calamity strikes Obama or he makes a major blunder between now and November 4, this race is all but over.
    Congratulations President Elect

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  5. Titor says:

    Its time to FIGHT! Strike back against these media weapons of mass distortion!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K50TS0UZE7w
    THIS IS THE VIDEO THEY DONT WANT YOU TO SEE!

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    Brain Twisters, anyone? How do you know what you don’t know? Knowing that would make it known…duuuh…..I want to see a real debate, one issue per debate, discussed and agued in depth, with advance preperation… rebuttals and closing arguments..This isn’t some half-assed talent show for contestants who can’t dance or sing or play an instrument….so they give a “talk” on some dorky-assed topics….
    This was intellectually insulting and formats be damned…get back to formal debating rules, like in High school…it’s a vast improvment over this silly-assed farce.

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  7. rich says:

    Dan,
    I don’t credit Tom Brokaw—not a fan—just believe the question was an opportunity for a two-sentence direct answer.
    It was a key moment because it was an easy home run even though it appeared to be a challenging question.
    Instead of a possible stumble, two sentences of a forthright concise response would’ve altered the speechifying, meandering, not-on-point image that’s the major complaint about Sen. Obama.
    Two sentences hardly prevents Sen. Obama from segueing right into his closing speech. It was an opportunity to capitalize, and Obama didn’t do it. McCain did directly speak to that, and that was a sharp contrast. Hope Obama finds some way to be more direct in the last debate. I think he needs to do that.
    Didn’t need to say “I don’t know X”—could easily say “NO President knows everything and all of them relay on advisers more expert than themselves. It’s who you pick.” Simple.

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  8. Dan Kervick says:

    With all due respect to Brokaw’s final “key” question, experienced political debaters go into a debate with closing remarks prepared in advance. That’s where they hope to sum up their case and close their sale. Since the format didn’t allow for closing remarks, then once Brokaw said “this is the final question” it was obvious that the two candidates would both use the question as just a vehicle to go into their closing statements.
    Frankly, that “zen-like” question – about what you don’t know and how you plan to learn it – is the sort of gimmick question reporters and pundits love but candidates know is nothing but trouble. John McCain twice answered some reporters’ questions earlier this year by saying that he doesn’t know much about the economy. Those answers has been dogging him ever since, and might go down as the decisive admission of this economy-driven campaign.
    If one of the candidates said he didn’t know enough about the price of tea in China or the physics of Bose-Einstein condensates or the leading lights of contemporary painting or music, then the next day his opponent would be running ads that said:
    “Smith admits ignorance of the fundamentals of the Chinese economy.”
    “Jones admits to spotty knowledge of key emerging technologies.”
    “Robinson admits to being out of touch with popular American culture.”
    It’s not a candidate’s job to hang themselves with self-incriminating answers about their personal or intellectual deficiencies.

    Reply

  9. rich says:

    Only caught the last half-hour.
    Thought McCain looked far more coherent than I expected.
    Agree, Steve, that “Obama [was] screwing up a key question.”:
    “What don’t you know — and how will you learn it? Obama . . . going off to tell his life story — not telling Brokaw and the audience how he’d requisition the kind of expertise and experience needed to meet the shocks that are certainly headed our way.”
    This is right on. Sen. Obama struck out on a key question, an easy pitch that should have been a home run.
    No one wants to hear Obama’s life story yet again. It’s a too-conventional political trope, and the evasion or refusal to answer a simple question is getting plenty of attention.
    The answer’s so obvious:
    “No president will be able to know everything needed to manage the portfolios of the country. The key is requisitioning experience — based on a world yesterday. And we need to see judgment and an approach to how that experience will be reconfigured to address tomorrow’s challenges.”
    I was telling my TV/Obama exactly the same thing while he veered off into humble beginnings and America such a wonderful place.
    Obama really blew that one, and if anyone was still listening, they noticed.
    Also have to agree, wholeheartedley:
    ” . . . why does McCain have a running mate, Sarah Palin, who clearly needs a couple of other internships before applying for on the job training?”
    This is really the nub of it. Had Palin had those internships, literally and figuratively, it might be a different story. But I don’t think anyone can make the leap up 4 or 5 rungs of the ladder without that experience. Or without considerable backing from a patron, and I don’t mean McCain. Oil companies and establishment Republicans are backing Gov. Palin happily.

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  10. Kathleen says:

    We haven’t had a real debate since the League of Women Voters stopped sponsoring them….There is something fundamanetally wrong with a system that allows the candidates to make the rules of debate instead of the people…
    This is a farce, a really boring one…nothing new was said, nothing of substance was said..it was all prechewed MRE’s in the Food for Thought Department…not one original idea was presented, nor was anything developed in depth, so what exactly was the point? We have become a nation of appearances…and they don’t look so hot from where I’m standing…. it’s like being trapped in a sick joke….and having to pay for it..

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    On the Iran-Israel question ” . . .If Iran attacked Israel would you take action or wait for the UN Ssecurity Council . . .”
    Both had predictable AIPAC-style answers that also marginalize the UN. But why couldn’t one — more probably Obama — have noted the totally hypotehtical nature ofthe question given Israel’s massive nuclear deterrance? AND, go on to say that the Iran-Israel scenario, especially the nuclar attack scenario, being trotted out so frequently is the equivalent, or a variation, of the FEAR card that prevents the kind of diplomatic engagement that Obama skirts around???
    No new ground indeed.
    I do agree — and note the power of a simple, delarative answer — that Obama spoke a whole lot more loudly in responding that health care is a “Right”, vs McCin’s trickle down response that it’s a “responsibility” (especially with the gloss he put on responsibility).
    Similarly, I agree, Obama shoulda, coulda, mighta, responded “NO” to Russia being an evil empire.
    Aren’t Americans sick of, much less can’t stomach paying for more sabre rattling??
    I guess in these debates the potential audience is just dumbed down to the most mindless “patriotic” formula, no matter how stupid or incomplete the answer.

    Reply

  12. Spunkmeyer says:

    chopper, I agree that the audience of this town hall format
    seemed distant from the event — much less engaged than
    Brokaw, even though each was theoretically equal in number of
    questions asked.

    Reply

  13. chopper says:

    Both campaigns really screwed this one up, deciding upon these parameters.
    As much as I dislike Brokaw, he was trying to enforce the preset rules. Of course, he’s so oblivious to reality, he chides Obama for breaking the rules, then in the very next breath turns around and breaks them himself. While declaring he was going to do it!
    The campaign staffs were at fault here. The only time the debate got truly interesting is when Obama forced follow-ups. Then we saw the give and take we all wanted. The punching and counter punching.
    And the audience was so excluded it was criminal. Allowed only pre-approved questions and no follow questions of their own, they were reduced to stage props. Very disrespectful for the audience.
    It’s interesting that McCain so wanted this format, than seemed so ill at ease in it. It’s not quite the same doing these town halls, when the audience isn’t stuffed to the brim with his supporters.
    Obama looked and sounded presidential.
    McCain largely did not.
    On the issue of substance, Obama had a clear lead. Both on his own abilities to present it, and on the simple fact that Dem/progressive/lefty ideology is so far in advance of the bankrupt and failed conservative ideology.
    Obama is a strong, rational, cool-as-a-cucumber leader, standing on a foundation of a rational, fact and fairness based ideology.
    McCain is just about the opposite in every respect.
    A solid win for Obama.

    Reply

  14. Meir Javedanfar says:

    In terms of Middle East strategy, the Biden vs Palin debate was far more detailed and constructive
    http://middleeastanalyst.com/2008/10/04/biden-vs-palin-on-the-middle-east/

    Reply

  15. Mr.Murder says:

    Meanwhile the markets plunge as people sell off stocks to buy into these new bailout bonds. Bond rallies are the official stamp of a recession.

    Reply

  16. Mr.Murder says:

    Romney 2012.com

    Reply

  17. Robert Morrow says:

    John McCain reminds me of a roasted pig with an apple in his mouth.
    McCain and the GOP are going to be completed OBLITERATED in about one month. This race has now become a turkey shoot and McCain is wearing the feathers.
    Hey, can Sarah Palin field dress and elephant? Because there is going to be a mighty big rotting GOP carcass that needs to be disposed of.
    McCain is toast.
    This is the way I see it. McCain has not made his case to be elected. I do not know if he or his campaign have the ability to do that. Any trend that Sarah Palin gained last Thursday has been squandered by McCain. Colorado had even turned red and MN, WS, VA were much closer. All of that has been lost and there likely will be no recovery.
    Here it is: Obama 375 McCain 163.
    Obama wins all blue states and also: NV, CO, MO, IN, OH, NC, VA, FL.
    Tack on NM and NH, too, for Obama.

    Reply

  18. easy e says:

    …..friend “in the military”?
    McCain lost by more than a nose, but not to the military guys I know.

    Reply

  19. Zathras says:

    Steve Clemons makes a good point here about Obama not comparing his approach to difficult issues with that of George Bush.
    I have to say that is the one thing that has mystified me about the Democratic campaign this year. It’s as if Obama and everyone working for him is thinking of this election as a rerun of 2000 and 2004, when the Republican candidate was more likable and the Democratic candidate more cerebral. Things have changed, a lot; to many Americans, George Bush represents everything they are sick of about government and politics (not for nothing, but in 2000 and 2004 the Democratic candidate was also a stiff, which is not the case this year). The polls — the gold standard for campaign professionals — have shown this for well over a year, yet even tonight Obama was still recycling stylized campaign rhetoric about “the failed policies of the last eight years” that takes for granted that Americans both know what he is talking about and see him as the best answer.
    Obama lost no ground tonight. Big deal. He’s the Democratic candidate at a time when the incumbent Republican President is at 25% approval, the economy is sliding into recession and the financial markets are near panic. He’d have to propose giving California back to the Mexicans to trail McCain in the polls at this point, and Democrats are congratulating themselves that he cleared another jump near the end of the race. It’s not unlike — actually, it’s exactly like — Obama supporters’ enthusiasm when their candidate slipped through the last Democratic primaries without losing his delegate lead to Hillary Clinton.

    Reply

  20. Linda says:

    Both were sticking to their game plans. Obama did better than in first debate–so I agree with Steve that he probably won slightly. It was boring if one already knew their plans and stump speeches.
    But there’s an 800 pound gorilla in the room that they both really don’t want to talk about, i.e., the economy and reality that things aren’t going to get better quickly, etc.
    So next week they’ll debate foreign policy and ignore Dow Jones that could be at 8500. But reality mustn’t poll well with focus groups.
    I’m with Sarah Vowell on “The Daily Show” who has been reading Fireside Chats on-line!

    Reply

  21. Independant says:

    Obama won.
    As things stand now, he’ll be walking into the White House come January.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “McCain looked like he needed a cigarette or a punching bag”
    Really? Hmmmm, I thought he looked more like he needed an enema and a shot of vitamin B12.

    Reply

  23. Jeff Carter says:

    Steve,
    I think Obama was the person who gained more from this debate. There was no winner/loser. McCain did not change his downward trajectory. McCain was aiming for his base. Obama was aiming for the undeceided voters. They know Obama is pulling the Und. voters and they can’t stop the bleeding.
    Appearances matter. McCain is stilted in the same way Bush is. People relate to that. They are empathetic to the fact that he is not smooth, just like themselves.
    I think the media is focused on McCain going in the gutter unnecessarily. He is feeding his base with the lies. He knows we aren’t buying it. He does not care. By not going in the gutter tonight, McCain shows the Jeckyll and Hyde of his campaign and his own personality. When he is around his people (partisan events), he attacks without remorse. He does that for his base. When he is in non-partisan areas, he turns on the Maverick POW John McCain. Remember his base does not pay attention to anyone that disagrees with them. They are getting their news and opinion from their sources – FOX, Rush, Hannity, etc.
    Ask yourself, why does he wait till tonight to tell us he has this plan to start buying up mortgages? Same ploy as the “I know how to catch Osama”? Both times he is negligent and desperate (did he bring this up during the rescue negotiations?). I did the same think when I ran for 3rd grade class president. Make a promise there is no way you can keep, and ride the wave of excitement from it. The problem there is no wave. The people he wants to rally aren’t listening.
    The “American President” has some good lines:
    “We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
    John can’t even win the election trying to do that.
    Like Bo Burnham says, he is the “Presidon’t of American’t”
    Finally, Ohio State researchers found some interesting information that the MSM appears to be ignoring:
    “Homeowners who are struggling with mortgages for their own residences are a relatively small part of the overall mortgage crisis, according to results of a new nationwide study of consumer balance sheets.”
    “Instead, the results suggest that the biggest losses in the mortgage crisis are not for owner-occupied homes, but for commercial real estate loans, and loans for houses bought as investments or built on speculation…”
    http://osu.edu/news/newsitem2151
    Sorry so long and rambling.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I think more attention should be placed on Obama’s advocation of accountability in regards to the AIG junkett on bail-out money. I was extremely impressed by it, particularly after watching these weasling cowards on the left give us eight years of subservient tolerance towards the many blatant crimes we have watched unfold during the Bush Administration.
    You bet these bastards in the AIG heirarchy should be forced to return OUR money they just got drunk on. And it may seem trivial, but it was refreshing to hear one of candidates actually advocate for such. After the cowardice and complicity of these slimeballs like Pelosi or Reid, its about time someone on the left showed a little bit of a desire for justice.
    “That one” just impressed me a little, and thats a very big suprise to me. I didn’t think he could do it.
    I disagree with Steve. I think Obama won by way more than “a nose”. But he’s used to these slimey bastards in Washington, and undoubtedly inurred to their oiliness. He probably doesn’t realize how slimey, snide, and dishonest McCain sounded tonight.

    Reply

  25. Scott Paul says:

    I swear I wasn’t the one who sent in the comment about the fallacy
    of energy independence. Really. I’m glad I’m not the only one on
    the bandwagon.
    Here here.

    Reply

  26. Dan Kervick says:

    McCain just seemed so lost to me tonight. He seems close to clueless on the economy and is just throwing out an out-of-touch, antiquated rehash of Republican supply-side campaigns of 20 years ago. I’m amazed he didn’t mention the Laffer Curve, and say he was going to make Jack Kemp his Secretary of the Treasury. Not even his fellow Republicans are riding that old nag anymore. McCain seemed determined to paint himself as the last old war horse of a dying breed. “You want old? I’ll show you old!”
    It was just the old Republican panacaea of cutting spending, cutting taxes and leaving it to the market to figure it out. How’s that been working out on Wall Street? Did McCain offer any explanation at all of how the breakdown of the global credit system is supposed related to problems with *entitlement spending*? Does he have any clue about how an opaque maze of poorly regulated mortgage-backed securities, and securities of securities, and securities of securities of securities has brought us to where we are? How many times is he just going to throw up his hands and say it all has something to do with “greed” and “Warshington spending”?
    And then in the process of extolling fiscal restraint, with slashed spending combined with tax cuts, he said the government should buy up the America’s troubled mortgages! With it’s magic money machine I guess. Despite his reputation as a grandstanding budget hawk, I think McCain actually has a very poor head for numbers. I’ll bet he couldn’t even pass a basic quiz on the federal budget, and the sizes of various expenditures.
    McCain threw out talking points, and followed them up with mindless repetitions of slogans: “We can do this”; “I’ve got a record”; “American workers are the best in the world.” Half the time he just seemed to be filling up space. He was in way over his head for the first two-thirds of the debate. Some of the things he said were close to gibberish: “Americans are the best exporters in the world; and the best importers in the world.” The best importers? Did he mean we consume a lot? Or that we know how to run ports?
    Energy was the dominant issue of this debate, I thought. Americans are really putting it all together, and understand that most of our key foreign and domestic problems all come down to our precarious energy dependence and vulnerability, and our place in the global energy economy. It is a winner for Obama to continue to portray himself as the right guy to initiate a Kennedyesque national energy project which can both end our vulnerability and transform us into a global leader in new energy technologies at the same time. I think this is shaping up as the defining initiative of the Obama administration to come.
    Obama was crisper, seemed to have more command of facts and concepts, and actually answered questions. McCain dodged the question about economic priorities, for example, and said we just need to “do it all”. Obama then addressed the question directly and proceeded to rank order the priorities: (i) energy (ii) health care and (iii) education. He even took the opportunity to demote Brokaw’s other option of Social Security and Medicare reform below education.
    Obama was able to explain his own health care plan, in some detail. Not a word from McCain. My guess is that McCain’s plan was written by people who work for him, and that McCain doesn’t have a clue about how it actually works.
    The only question I though McCain might have handled better than Obama was the Russia question at the end, where I detected a little bit of struggle in Obama’s answer, and McCain seemed more relaxed. But by then, McCain was toast.
    With all respect to Steve, I’d say he saw McCain through pomegranate-colored glasses tonight. This wasn’t a “narrow win” for Obama at all. Obama looked and sounded like an actual presidential candidate, and McCain was a bumbling and out-of-touch fool.

    Reply

  27. MarkL says:

    Oh come on. McCain turned in the worst performance I have seen in 30 years of watching Presidential debates. He is disintegrating, heading for a landslide loss.

    Reply

  28. carsick says:

    By body language alone, Obama looked comfortable in an antagonistic situation. McCain looked like he needed a cigarette or a punching bag. Oddly, he seems more in need of Bush’s bubble to be comfortable than Bush appeared to need it in his debates.
    A game changer was needed by McCain. He didn’t get it.

    Reply

  29. WillBFair says:

    Obama did much better than last time. He made the point more forcefully that McCain and Bush made the huge strategic mistake of taking us into Iraq. Some foriegn policy expert.
    Obama was also very clear and explicit on policy, and imho he won on that alone. But of course, Americans prefer the shallow aspects, like tone of voice, winks, and clever turns of phrases, not to mention nice calves and 10 foot highheels.

    Reply

  30. Liz says:

    Obama won. I never would have voted for McCain in 2000, however I didn’t dislike him. McNasty has permanently destroyed his reputation and my opinion of him as a person and a politician is lower than the one I hold for Bush or Cheney – which is saying something. Maverick, my eye, try loose cannon.

    Reply

  31. carol says:

    Senator Obama won that debate hands down….he looks and acts Presidential…John McCain can only show his lack of respect for Sen Obama by calling him “that one”. I find that very very offensive and he should be ashamed of himself.
    John McCain is definately not honorable in any sense of the word…he is just a disgraceful excuse for a human being.

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    Obama won. McCain and Palin must be desperate now. This
    means that they`ll probably get nasty during the next weeks,
    more nasty than before.

    Reply

  33. aresluna says:

    What a dog and pony show. I did not take away anything that was not out there already. Waste of my time.

    Reply

  34. Mr.Murder says:

    Obama should have tied this into one argument.
    Iran.
    We ease tensions with Iran it will also ease energy prices. This will be good for Americans and make the world safer. The peace dividend will be reflected with every trip to the gas pump.
    Road map normalization with Iran. This can help with both neighboring countries that we occupy. The transition to effective peacekeeping must take on a local face. Iran was one of the very first countries to help us address Al Qaeda elements in the wake of 9-11, along with Syria.
    Engagement with Iran expands market sectors and increases the ability to gain support for allies. This will even shape their policies in concert with ours.

    Reply

  35. viktor vaughn says:

    Watched the debate in London, with a bottle of Jamaican Rum, and drank everytime McCain said “my friend(s)”. Needless to say I’m a bit faded. My wife wanted the magic word to be “maverick”. Wish she’d won the coin toss. Next time.
    Obama was clearly Presidential tonight. I don’t, however, think either excelled beyond their usual repetitive (BS) talking points. Not a whole lot of depth tonight.
    I salute Obama in some of the ways Steve rightly mentions though. Saying flat-out that health care should be a RIGHT in America was wonderful to hear. Finally, a stand I can sink my teeth into.

    Reply

  36. Spunkmeyer says:

    Both appeared Presidential, and you’ll notice there was much less
    of the “Senator Obama doesn’t understand” than last time.
    Obama appeared Presidential and thus I think came out ahead.
    McCain was hobbled by his lame hair plug joke and his “that one”
    comment, which both seemed to perpetuate the “McNasty” meme.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Militaryguy”, “ObamaAdvisor”, yadayadayada..
    Geez, if I pick the proper monicker, can I fool ya into thinking I’m an expert too???
    Lets see now….
    hmmmmm…..
    Hey, I got it!!! From now on I’ll simply call myself “God”. That oughta convince ya I know what I’m talkin’ about!!!

    Reply

  38. ObamaAdvisor says:

    Steve,
    Thank you for the note saying Obama won by a nose, but to be honest Obama should have done better tonight.
    At best Obama tied McCain but considering McCain lags us in the polls, I can see why you think he won.
    Regards

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And by the way, “militaryguy”. You are either not active military, or you are disobeying a standing order. Which one is it?

    Reply

  40. What Grief Is Good? says:

    Why should Israel figure into the debate when there are SO
    MANY OTHER QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ASKED AND
    ANSWERED?!?!
    We just committed two Holocausts in Iraq and Afghanistan but
    the only Holocaust that counts, which we had basically nothing
    to do with, is the Jewish Holocaust.
    Now Obama is pandering to the Israel lobby. F*ck the Israel
    lobby.
    The U.S. is drowning in debt, partially because of Israel’s war
    against Iraq.
    Hey, but now Obama’s being relatively sane about talking to
    Iran, etc.
    Why didn’t Obama bring-up McCain’s advisor Schueumann’s (sp?
    ) role in the attack by Georgia on South Ossetia ? And McCain
    being surrounded by lobbyists, and lying through his teeth about
    it?
    Why didn’t Obama mention that it was McCain advisor Phil
    Gramm (sp? — I’m too lazy and tired to look spellings up
    tonight) who was behind the deregulation that led to this
    financial crisis?
    Yet again, Obama gave McCain a free pass.

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “HOWEVER his lack of exposure of the intelligence at hand before Iraq means McCain and a majority of the US Senate made an INFORMED decision to authorize the war in Iraq while Obama voiced an UNINFORMED disagreement with the Iraq War”
    Thats fuckin’ bullshit. A few million lay people knew the so called “intelligence” was concocted CRAP, as did Ritter, and quite a few other well informed experts, both in Congress, and in the UN. You’re peddlin’ snake oil, and a huge portion of American public KNOWS its snake oil.
    You people piss me off. Its all about advancing the lies because you son of a bitches can’t admit you were LYING YOUR ASSES OFF. Stop trying to sell us this SHIT. The gig is up on you lying warmongering treasonous monsters. If this nation was what it purports itself to be there would be a whole slew of you bastards facing war crimes trials.

    Reply

  42. pacos_gal says:

    The Obama camp was ready when McCain referred to Senator Obama as “that one” according to Seth Colter Walls over at Huffington Post:
    “10:02 – Seth Colter Walls: Obama spokesman Bill Burton puts his foot on the pedal ever so slightly, re: McCain’s “that one” remark. In an email blast to reporters, he asks: “Did John McCain just refer to Obama as ‘that one’?” Expect the post-debate analysis to get a little race-focused.”
    You know I think that if I was Obama, I might have smiled just a little bit when that was said. McCain just made the headlines for tomorrow and it’s not exactly the kind of headline you want to see after you finish a debate about the economy.
    So far I think McCain has carried himself better than he did in the first debate.
    Overall, I think Obama is coming across better than McCain.

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This is what I posted on the thread below this one after the debate first started……
    ****************
    “Ten minutes into the debate its already obvious that Obama is kickin’ ass.
    Obama is coming across as more convicted, more specific, and more informed.
    McCain sounds like a rewrite of every bullshit talking point the criminal GOP has fed us now for eight years.
    I’m not crazy about Obama, but he is far and above the more convincing of the two. And after watching the vindictive winking wacko Palin crapping in our faces, a person would have to be a blathering idiot to vote for Palin/McCain.
    And BTW, Obama started this gig by advocating holding the AIG thieves accountable for partyin’ on their bail-out funds. Thats a HUGE plus, because you can rest assured this criminal lying GOP looter McCain ain’t into accountability, when you examine his operative’s actions in regards to Troopergate”
    **************
    Now, well into the debate it is even more obvious that Obama is kicking ass.
    McCain just doesn’t get that America is sick of these fuckin’ warmongering hawks like himself. His rap about Iraq is pure bullshit, particularly in attributing the drop in violence to the surge, instead of to a pay-off of thge very entities that will start killing our soldiers again as soon as the money stops flowing. And saying the “surge tactics” will work in Afghanistan is laughable.
    Obama is burying McCain. Its up to Palin to save the ticket. Somehow, I doubt she’s got enough winks to do the job

    Reply

  44. MilitaryGuy says:

    Steve,
    Good post. McCain was off to a slow start, but he is doing a lot better now. I find it VERY aggravating that McCain and the Media(No Surprise) does not mention that Obama was not cleared and NEVER saw the pre-Iraq war intelligence that was offered to the US Senate, Congress and military leaders. It was of course his right to stand up in the state senate and voice his disagreement with invading Iraq… HOWEVER his lack of exposure of the intelligence at hand before Iraq means McCain and a majority of the US Senate made an INFORMED decision to authorize the war in Iraq while Obama voiced an UNINFORMED disagreement with the Iraq War.
    Intelligence is never a 100% solid picture of reality, but all of the indicators from Iraq in the US, Russian, French, UK and MiddleEastern Nations Intelligence estimations pointed to the same fact that Iraq was a guilty party in aiding world-wide terrorist groups through arms and some funding as well as working to develop WMD.
    While many media outlets seem to have forgotten these facts, I really wish places like your blog would rehash these facts when the subject comes up during a debate or a post.
    Be the radical centrist you claim to be and post the background from both sides.
    Keep up the great work, I always enjoy reading your work!

    Reply

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