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:
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