Drunkblogging the First Presidential Debate

7:28PM Joe Biden has possessed the body of Barack Obama. He just. won't. stop.

7:28PM Affordable college? Infrastructure? What was the question again, Barack?

7:27PM Obama: "I don't have a plan." OK, he didn't quite say that, but he does say we need "energy independence." And then he gave a nice little reach around to Detroit automakers. Hello, Michigan's 17 electoral college votes!

7:26PM Lehrer has done OK, I suppose, but this ought to be his last major debate.

7:25PM What a wasted chance. McCain is stumbling now. But Obama says, "It's just not true, it's just not true." But he never says how it isn't true.

7:25PM McCain just took one of those uppercuts. It's not connecting, quite, but at least he finally tried one.

7:24PM But I'll give Obama this much credit: "Loopholes" is usually a Republican complaint. He's taken that one away. But now he's talking health care and against free markets and this is a foreign policy debate?

7:24PM Is Obama really claiming that American businesses don't actually pay enough taxes?

7:23PM 95% of you will get a tax cut! I'm giving you money! Vote for me!

7:22PM 15 minutes in, it's clear that McCain is missing chances to throw uppercuts. But he's ahead on jabs.

7:21PM Obama is begging off on the numbers, and claiming he'll go "line by line" through the budget. Well, fine. But instead of arguing "change," Obama is arguing about earmarks. McCain has forced him off that hill called Hope and Change -- and that's an operational, maybe strategic, little win on his part.

7:19PM McCain just accused Obama of being a johnny-come-lately on earmarks, and that "maybe that kind of money" isn't serious to Obama. Right now I'm liking this fight.

7:18PM Has anyone factchecked Obama's claim that he can cut taxes for 95% of families when one third of taxpayers pay no income tax at all?

7:17PM Ah. Under McCain, 300 billion in tax cuts to the "rich," says Obama. It's starting to get nasty. Which means it's almost time for a second martini.

7:16PM Wow. McCain just claimed that Obama has earmarked almost a million dollars a day as a senator. Can someone look that up, see if it's right? Obama just took one on the chin, then weakly claimed that NOW he's refusing earmarks.

7:15PM "What would you do to lead the country out of the financial crisis?" McCain: Control spending. And then on to earmarks. Yes, McCain has had two unforced errors, but he's also pretty adept at turning questions to his strengths.

7:14PM I'm glad to see McCain placed equal blame on Washington for once, and not just on Wall Street. But it took him a week to get there?

7:13PM Speaking of unforced errors, Obama just mentioned "failed energy policies." Like the Democratic ban on oil drilling that Democrats just allowed to expire because they weren't brave enough to actually go and change them?

7:12PM "People will be held accountable in my administration." Nice contrast with Bush, who would fire someone for peeing in his hat.

7:11PM McCain is telling a great story about Eisenhower. Telling it so well you might believe McCain was there with him. You might even think he was there. First health, now age. That's a couple unforced errors already.

7:10PM Obama is leaving himself wide open for McCain to bring up all the Freddie & Fannie money Obama has taken in four short years -- but will he?

7:09PM "I am optimistic," says Obama. Wouldn't have guessed that from his first answer.

7:08PM BAM! Didn't take long for McCain to bring up our "dependence on foreign oil."

7:08PM McCain seems solid, and he's playing up the bipartisan angle. Obama would be smart to follow suit. He'd have been smarter to have started off that way three minutes ago.

7:07PM McCain "isn't feeling well" about the economic situation. Smart to bring up the health issue, even tangentially?

7:07PM Nice note from McCain about Ted Kennedy, who was rushed to a hospital earlier tonight after a "mild seizure."

7:06PM Fumbled the "trickle down" line.

7:06PM But he's got on a tie pin. (I don't wear one.)

7:06PM Obama's first answer is very well rehearsed, but maybe obviously so. And his tie seems a little... nightclubbish.

7:05PM "We are at a defining moment in our history..." And I think maybe I fell asleep already.

7:05PM "We must achieve security and solvency." A quote from Eisenhower to lighten the mood. The question goes to Obama.

7:04PM Both candidates look good. Cordial. Maybe even warm. Wish I could say the latter about Lehrer.

7:03PM Part of the fate of the free world depends on a coin toss. Don't think about that.

7:03PM I'm sure I've used this joke before, but Jim Lehrer looks amazingly lifelike.

7:01PM OK, here we go. I've just taken a rather large dose of cocktail to fortify myself for the impending disaster. Or brilliant performance. Or whatever.

7:00PM Somebody just accused Christiane Amanpour <sp?> of being pretty much unAmerican. Good thing it was from a fellow unAmerican journalist, otherwise there'd be hell to pay.

6:57PM Here's a better link to Bruce's Vicodinblog.

6:55PM My sources inform me that Tony Blair is actually a cat person. Pajamas Media regrets the error.

6:54PM The Obama guys are cracking me up, claiming McCain is a "peerless" debater. I mean, Tony Blair's dog is probably better at this stuff.

6:50PM Can Obama pull off the commander-in-chief role? Will anyone care three weeks from now? McCain has run a (mostly) smart campaign. How'd he get snookered into holding the foreign affairs debate first?

6:47PM The talking heads agree: Both of these guys pretty much suck at debates, but give McCain the edge. It's a heavily handicapped race -- or maybe a race between the handicapped.

6:44PM In a global first, Bruce Carroll is Vicodinblogging tonight's debate. I've got ten bucks says he passes out before it's over.

6:42PM I'll admit though that I'd give up booze for a month if I could play with CNN's map software and giant touch screen.

6:40PM (All times Mountain, or else I'll have to do math.) After splitting a bottle of cheap champagne with my bride, I've poured myself a hefty Ketel One Citroen martini. And if Wolf Blitzer keeps going on about how people can turn the little dials for stuff they like, I'm going to need my second Ketel One Citroen martini in record time.