Drunkblogging the Final Presidential Debate

This is it.

Trump may have shored up Ohio, but still must turn it around in Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, and maybe Georgia -- and then still find ten more Electoral College votes somewhere.

And tonight is his last toe-to-toe appearance in front of a yuge audience to stop the hemorrhaging of the last two weeks and put Clinton on the defensive.

If I were him, I'd do a Reverse Nixon (1960 Model) and go all in on the Project Veritas videos, because according to the cross tabs from the latest Fox News poll, Trump underwater against Clinton on basic character issues like judgement and -- this is rich -- trustworthiness.

So making the case that Clinton is a cheater might be all he has left.

But there's more to it than that.

In the first two debates, Trump's attacks on the Clintons' long history of ethical ...fundacity... (I just made that up) consisted of mostly of spewing out buzzwords without context. It was enough to get the dedicated right wingers excited, even me, but did little for Middle America.

If Trump is going to make his attacks stick tonight, then he's got to be prepared, he's got to stay on message, and he's got to be focused. And he has to deflect Clinton's attacks with grace.

To date these have not quite been his strong points.

But maybe after this horrible last ten days, Trump might just be desperate enough to do the scut work of preparing and rehearsing like a serious presidential contender.

Let's tune in and see, shall we?

Turns out, I don't need a big wrap for the big final debate. A few words and we can all get out of here.

If tonight's Trump -- for all his scattered thoughts and big whiffs at slow curveballs -- had shown up for the first two debates, then I might not have had to open tonight's debate by saying, "Trump may have shored up Ohio, but still must turn it around in Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, and maybe Georgia -- and then still find ten more Electoral College votes somewhere."

Instead, we might be talking about the Trump-Rubio rapprochement in a solidly red Florida, and how Clinton was barely hanging on in Nevada, Colorado, and Wisconsin.

But we aren't.

I hesitate to draw any broad conclusions from this final debate until we see some viewership figures -- were enough people watching to make a difference, and did enough of them spot Trump the points he needed on those topics when you kinda knew what he meant to say, but never quite did say?

And just as importantly: Did Clinton manage to escape the Wikileaks/Veritas traps?

I'd say "Yes" to the latter and "We'll have to wait and see" to the former.

But there's not very much time left to wait, and maybe too many states still to claw back out of the Blue column.

Drink.

This is the wrap, but it needed to be said.

That's it.

Wrap coming up after these important sips of vodka-rocks.

Closing statements.

Drink.

Clinton says she'll save entitlements by raising taxes on the wealthy, which is like putting an eyedropper of scotch in my glass and telling me it's a drink.

Next topic: Entitlements.

I can preview this one for you before anyone says a word: They're both in denial, just like 90% of the country.

It's her way.

Math is hard for progressives.

"I'm going to create the kind of country that we were" when it comes to manufacturing.

Trump at his worst. We manufacture more than ever before.

To Hillary: "You would impose a no-fly zone" over Syria.

"Chances are you're going to get into a war with Syria and Russia."

"Does President Clinton shoot down [a Russian or Syrian plane]?"

Clinton says "It would take a lot of negotiation."

No kidding?