8:35PM Instant analysis? McCain won, but not by nearly enough to matter. He was up against a punk kid, and barely came away on points. Barely.
8:33PM McCain is answering the questions for real. I’m not sure it serves him much better than Obama’s smooth (if silly) segue.
8:31PM Obama: I ask my wife. “But I do know that I wouldn’t be standing here if this country hadn’t given me opportunity.” Which, of course, he segued into the bio part of his stump speech. Lame.
8:30PM Last question from New Hampshire: “What don’t you know and how will you learn it?”
8:29PM Put the squeeze on Iran by altering their cost-benefit analysis! We will email them Excel spreadsheets most forcefully! And maybe even if PDF format! Forcefully talking!
8:28PM Obama: “We cannot allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” So onward with those tough, direct negotiations! And he’d take away UN veto power! By… uh… not letting… the UN… um… veto stuff. And things.
8:27PM This Anglosphere proponent LOVES it when McCain talks about a “League of Democracies.”
8:26PM McCain: “We would not wait.” Although he didn’t commit US troops. Another grown-up answer. I eagerly await Obama’s next wimp-out.
8:25PM If Iran attacks Israel, would you commit troops or ask for UN approval?
8:25PM Obama: “They’re engaged in evil behavior.” But he won’t look for the evil label. McCain: Maybe. If I say yes, it might ignite a new cold war, if I say no it ignores their behavior. That’s a grown-up answer.
8:24PM Yes or No: Is Russia today an evil empire?
8:22PM Georgia wasn’t a stable situation, says Obama. His response wasn’t stable on Invasion Day, either.
8:21PM “Ukraine right now is in the sights of Vladimir Putin.” McCain just won the vote of every Ukranian immigrant in the upper midwest. It won’t win him any states there, but I’m glad he said it.
8:20PM Obama makes me want a cigarette, and not in that nice afterglow way.
8:19PM He’d twist arms in Afghanistan, too. And according to his primary debates, in Canada and Mexico. But the government of Iran gets into the Oval Office “without preconditions.” “Naif” is too kind a word for this china-shop wrecking MFer.
8:18PM Obama would twist the arm of the Iraqi government, too. Has he NO idea what stability means, or how to encourage it?
8:17PM “I’ll get Bin Laden, I know how to do it, I’ll get him, but I won’t telegraph my punches.” I would vote for, without reservations, the first candidate to admit that bin Laden is a symptom, not the disease, and that we can deal with him accordingly.
8:15PM Obama says we gave Pakistan ten billion dollars over seven years. To which a dedicated earmarker Obama must be thinking: Pikers!
8:13PM Brokaw: “I’m just the hired help.” And Team Obama is signing the checks!
8:11PM Obama just said we should have twisted Musharraf’s arm even harder, back when he was still President of Pakistan. And THAT’S how you get stability there? This man is so unprepared I’m literally frightened of when January 20 rolls around.
8:08PM If Brokaw had any shame, he’d apologize right now and turn the whole thing over to the remaining questioners in the audience.
8:07PM “What is the McCain Doctrine, if you will?” Goddamn you, Brokaw. Gwen Ifill would be ashamed to be in the same room with you.
8:06PM Did I mention I’m pissed at Brokaw right now?
8:05PM What is the Obama Doctrine When We DON’T Have a National Interest at Stake. That is the most biased, loaded, in-the-tank question I have ever heard in any debate in any election. F-ckin’ ever. Tom Brokaw just blew any pretense at neutrality.
8:04PM Shorter Obama: We’re a force for good! Except when we do stuff! And things!
8:04PM Obama looks uncomfortable and unconvincing when he’s praising the troops. Kind of like an unrepentant adulterer giving confession.
8:03PM Obama has got to stop with the heavy sighs.
8:02PM McCain just deftly reminded viewers that there is a world beyond our borders. From the first hour of the debate, you’d have never known it.
8:01PM McCain says “my friends” and PLEASE don’t take a shot. I don’t want needless deaths on that tiny little thing in my libertarian soul I call my conscience.
8:00PM Obviously, Biden doesn’t make laws in Delaware. But McCain doesn’t make laws in Arizona, which Obama just slammed him for.
7:59PM Obama just admitted that banks move to Delaware where the laws are looser. And who is the senior senator from the great state of Delaware?
7:58PM Obama: Health insurance “is a right.” We were endowed by our Creator with a really sweet no-co-pay plan from Aetna, and maybe some free speech. At least I think that’s what Jefferson wrote.
7:56PM You know how bad this debate is? I’m skipping my third martini and going straight to a double vodka rocks. Maybe a triple.
7:55PM McCain also says 95% of the American people will get something. However, he never claimed they’ll all be members of the middle class.
7:54PM McCain will use computers too! And judging by the slurping, those computers will be served with fava beans and a nice chianti.
7:52PM Obama says McCain’s healthcare plan will give with one hand and take from the other. Which might well be true. Obama’s plan, however, will give with one hand and… stuff will just appear in it. Really.
7:51PM Obama promises to lower health care costs to small business. Except for some small business, I suppose, who fall under the “Screw ‘em” policy. Oh, and he’s going to use computers!
7:50PM “Selling health care as a commodity has become a very profitable industry.” Health care ISN’T a commodity? It ISN’T an industry?
7:49PM Is anyone else getting a little creeped out by that slurping inhale McCain keeps doing?
7:48PM Brokaw can’t keep either of these guys in line. I don’t know if he’s biased, but he’s certainly not very disciplined. Ooh — there’s the bondage thing again.
7:47PM Obama: “McCain voted 23 times against alternative fuels.” Which alternatives? Burning hippies? ‘Cause I’d be pretty much in favor of that, assuming it was done far enough outside of town to keep to local noise ordinances.
7:46PM Hey, go easy on the Amiga, OK?
7:45PM McCain is doing that shorthand-speak again.
7:44PM What is Congress going to do in two years to save the planet? The questioner looks to be about 23, and just as naive as you’d expect.
7:42PM Not a knockout blow, but nice.
7:42PM McCain says, “I’ll answer the question.” Nice.
7:41PM Seriously, Obama is stumbling over some easy lines, and he seems angry. Ruffled. Is McCain under his skin?
7:41PM “A vast majority of small businesses” will pay lower taxes. And the rest? Kos said it best: “Screw ‘em.”
7:40PM Obama: “We’re going to have to tackle entitlements, and quickly.” But maybe not too soon. Maybe in my first term. Maybe not. But way soon. And did I tell you about my middle class tax cut to 110% of Americans?
7:38PM Brokaw just slapped Obama down when he asked for extra time. Obama did NOT look gracious about it.
7:36PM McCain: Obama’s tax plans are “like nailing Jell-O to a wall.” Good line, but now he’s flubbing the rest of the answer.
7:35PM Glenn Reynolds asks why he’s not getting rapid response emails from the Obama people. Hell, I don’t even get ‘em from McCain’s people.
7:34PM Random drunk question: Who makes Obama’s shirts? Very sharp.
7:33PM While Obama is sucking up to Detroit, Jennmcn asks in the comments, “Is anyone else catching the smirk on Obama’s face every time McCain speaks?” Yes, Jen, and it doesn’t do him any good at all.
7:31PM McCain is going back to re-answer questions he’s already answered. I know McCain isn’t senile, but he reminded me of someone who was.
7:30PM “What sacrifices will you ask the American people to make?” McCain says he’ll eliminate bad programs, and starts in FIRST on corrupt defense spending. Smart, smart move. Maybe his best of the night. And then? He repeated the three million dollar projector line. It was much weaker the second time around. But my second martini is just as big and strong as the first!
7:29PM Obama is still implying that he’d use a line-item veto he doesn’t possess, and that his party is against amending the Constitution to provide. Will no one call him on this?
7:28PM Obama is also droppin’ all his G’s. Nerves?
7:27PM Obama says “we’re gonna have to prioritize.” And then he refuses to prioritize, too. This is a clumsy, terrible answer.
7:25PM McCain just mentioned reaching across the aisle to Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy and… 10,000 Republicans just decided to stay home on November 4.
7:24PM McCain just refused to set spending priorities, while fiddling with something and avoiding the camera. That looked not so good.
7:23PM “Three million dollars for an overhead projector” for some pork barrel thing in Illinois. Obama just smiled.
7:22PM McCain is blasting, just blasting Obama on spending.
7:21PM Obama: “I’m going to spend some money on the key issues.” Uh… Congress spends the money. Is he reading Biden’s version of the Constitution? Also, he’s promising net cuts in spending. I don’t even buy that one when Republicans say it.
7:19PM “How can we trust either of you when both parties got us into this global economic crisis.” Obama: “LOOK!” He was just buying time, but it sounded really defensive. Oh, and do a shot for Obama saying, “You’re right.”
7:18PM Take a shot every time McCain uses any variation on the word “crony.” PJ Media, it’s affiliates, employees and advertisers cannot be held responsible for any alcohol poisoning. Closed course, professional driver.
7:16PM Before I do that, however… Obama just claimed he TRIED and FAILED to get more regulations. Effective much, junior senator? Now I’m going to go get that drink.
7:15PM Obama is still trying to blame everything on deregulation, when talking about what might be the most heavily regulated industry in the US. Sigh. I need to refill my martini.
7:15PM Obama: “Oliver, let me tell you what’s in this rescue package for YOU.” A brand new car! Pander-city.
7:14PM To his credit, McCain is talking specifics on fixing the credit crisis, and his trying to affix blame and take some credit.
7:13PM McCain is pinning the crisis on Obama’s “cronies and friends.” Name names, John!
7:13PM The second questioner looks terrified. I know I would be. The again, I drink. McCain’s answer is defending his decision to suspend his campaign to go back to Washington… but I’m not sure how smart it is to remind voters of the silliest move of his campaign.
7:12PM “A middle class tax cut to 95% of working Americans.” Just how big does Obama think the middle class IS?
7:11PM Obama slyly admitted that he knows Warren Buffett on a first-name basis. Very reassuring. Very clever.
7:10PM McCain says we need somebody we can trust. Is this a segue into Obama’s strange allies? No, he’s talking about Meg Whitman — and it took even me a moment to remember just who she is.
7:08PM “We’ve got to do something about home values.” And protect retirees. And buy a bunch of mortgages back. And other stuff. And this is why I hate town hall debates — they always turn into a spending spree.
7:07PM McCain looks stiff walking around. I know that’s due to his war injuries, but it’s not good television. “Let’s not raise taxes on anybody today…” and constrain spending, too.
7:06PM “Let the markets run wild and prosperity will rain down on all of us.” THAT’S what the last eight years have been about. Coulda fooled me. However, Obama deftly turned his half-truth into a call for more “oversight.” Tell that to your buddy Barney, buddy.
7:05PM “Worst crisis since the Great Depression.” Oh, really?
7:05PM I missed the first question, busy trying to be funny. Sorry. But it’s not like Obama will answer it.
7:04PM Obama won the coin toss. I think Tom said, “Heads Obama wins, tails McCain loses.”
7:03PM Brokaw says no hootin’ or hollerin’ in the hall, but there are no constraints for us watching at home. I’m going to bill him two grand after I throw my shoe through the television.
7:02PM I don’t know how Brokaw does it. I want to look that good when I’m 90. Assuming they have robot livers by then.
6:59PM Mort Kondracke says McCain needs to play the experience card. But might that open him open to getting trumped by the age card? It’s a helluva box he’s in.
6:57PM McCain’s other problem is that he keeps switching strategy, and for no good reason. He tried running against the MSM at the convention, then he ran against Wall Street, now he’s maybe going to run against Obama’s friends… he’s got to come up with a good plan, and stick to it for the next 27 days.
6:54PM Only Brokaw knows the questions in advance. Presumably though I’m guessing the questioners have at least some idea. Oh, and Fox says they know, too. And so all the other networks must know. This is how Brokaw keeps secrets?
6:53PM That “Other McCain” vouches for my alcohol consumption during these liveblogs.
6:51PM Here comes Brit and his panel of experts. Again, we have no idea how many of them are using vodka or steroids or anything.
6:50PM According to the specialists at Fox, McCain “has to do well tonight.” Ya think?
6:49PM Jules Crittenden is liveblogging, too. No word, however, if he has any cocktails, painkillers, household pets, or barnyard animals.
6:48PM Obama reportedly told his economic team that he wants “new ideas.” Can we start by maybe stuffing a sock in Barney Franks’s mouth? Hmm… somehow bondage is becoming a recurring theme tonight.
6:41PM If Dick Morris doesn’t go away soon, I’m switching over to C-SPAN a week early.
6:40PM My man-crush on Brit Hume is showing, as again I’m enduring half an hour of Bill O’Reilly just so I can see Brit later on Fox News. Next week’s debate — C-SPAN and that public service hunk, Brian Lamb.
6:38PM On the other side, the Mainstream Media is in the bag for Obama. And that bag is in a tank. And that tank is tethered directly to the Obama campaign. Not even Houdini could get out of that one. So keep your eye on Tom Brokaw, and keep a very close eye out for ringers.
6:37PM Before I get too looped for real analysis, let’s talk about bondage. Sort of. McCain’s in a box tonight. He has to attack, but the town hall format isn’t very friendly to that sort of thing. That’s a problem for him.
6:35PM Do me a favor, please. I hear our servers have been beefed up since last week, but try not to hit “Refresh” more than every two or three minutes. That old Amiga 500 can take only so much.
6:32PM Over at GayPatriot, there’s another world’s first — puppy blogging. Yes, puppy blogging.
6:31PM (All times Mountain) I’ve got half a deep dish pizza and a third of a martini in me. I think that’s enough to get into the pre-show hostilities festivities.