Live blogging debate #2! Sorta-kinda-but-not-really town hall style.
8:53PM - CNN has their group of "undecided persuadables" that they've been tracking ever since the debates started back on for a 3rd time. I honestly have to wonder how many of these people are still undecided versus just want to stay on tv, especially considering many of them have rather well-developed opinions on the issues that point them towards one candidate in particular.
8:56PM - Oh geez, Wolf Blitzer just said "I assume by now that all of you [watching at home] have laptops." Note to Wolf, not everybody even has a computer, much less an open laptop while watching tv.
8:59PM - Hmm... something I didn't know but should've: a whopping 80% of the country now believes we're on the wrong track. That's a really big percentage.
9:02PM - How is it that Tom Brokaw is able to speak so distinctly without moving 99% of his face?
9:05PM - Hmm.. thought that Obama wasn't going to answer his first question, but now he seems to be starting.
9:08PM - McCain would order the SecTres to buy up bad mortgages and then renegotiate? That's a pretty big expansion of government involvement, not one that I knew McCain supported, or that will go over particularly well with conservatives, I imagine.
9:11PM - Brokaw reminds the candidates to keep it to a minute. Lay it down, Brokaw!
9:12PM - McCain goes after Fannie & Freddie and Obama's "cronies". Ok, this definitely deserves a post later on, but sufficed to say Fannie & Freddie may play a role, but by no means a leading one, and the cause is certainly not the low-income loan encouragement that many supply-siders are now decrying.
9:14PM - Ok, both McCain and Obama are now going after each other. This is not going to go over well with anyone.
9:16PM - Obama: "You're not interested in hearing politicians point fingers". You are correct sir, so stop doing it!
9:17PM - Weird how the 20th century is now "archaic". I mean, I know McCain is old and all that, but still...
9:21PM - I wonder if McCain's campaign has some kind of internal competition to see which staffer can find the weirdest earmark that's ever been marked? McCain needs to stop just going around spouting Obama did this or Obama voted for that. Obama needs to stop it too.
9:25PM - Is it just me, or does McCain sound old? Like, can't catch his breath and keeps gasping as he moves around?
9:27PM - When's the best time to plant a shade tree? 20 years ago. When's the next best time? Now. Energy overhaul needs to be a top priority of this country, period. We can't just keep pushing it off later and later saying "oh, we'll just drill a few more wells" and it'll all be good.
9:28PM - Oh geez, Brokaw reminds the candidates about time again. They're going over by like 10 to 15 seconds, just drop it already.
9:31PM - Wow, if I had to guess which candidate would bring up 9/11 first, I would not have guessed it would be Obama. Ah, he ties it back to sacrifice for the country. Ok, I was worried for a second.
9:32PM - Obama goes for off-shore drilling, which is disappointing. The general consensus is that, best case scenario, there will be a slight increase in oil supply several decades from now, by which point it will be meaningless. Off-shore drilling is a pander, plain and simple.
9:36PM - McCain: Obama's got several different tax proposals? Umm, no, just one, and it's been consistent. McCain's on the other hand, went through several evolutions in just the past few days.
9:38PM - Ok, Brokaw, you really shouldn't redesign the questions mid-debate. Obama brings it back to tax plans. McCain brings up the idiotic "94 votes for tax increases" thing again.
9:50PM - Hmm.. healthcare as a commodity issue. This is sort of a complicated question, since the commodity in quesiton isn't really healthcare, but more like an option on healthcare, and therein lies the problem, since it's now the option providers who are able to dictate whether you get your healthcare or not, which directly affects their bottom line.
9:55PM - It's a fundamental difference between Obama and McCain on healthcare: Obama believes the current hodgepodge is fundamentally broken, McCain believes we've just got to keep trying and eventually it'll all get better somehow.
10:05PM - Hmm.. Obama is faltering a bit on the "Obama Doctrine" question, which asks under what conditions he would send troops for non-national-security issues. I don't know what is so hard about "every situation is different". It has the virtue of being true.
10:07PM - That's odd, when McCain was going on about bringing the troops home in victory rather than in defeat (totally idiotic, btw), it was the women who liked it, but the men stayed flat. That's completely contrary to the conventional wisdom about men and women on national security issues.
10:09PM - Question about ignoring Pakistani borders. Obama's skirting around the question. Ok, he finally answered the question, it just took a while. Pretty standard only-if-absolutely-necessary response.
10:11PM - McCain's going off on Obama for talking loudly while carrying a small stick. Wasn't it McCain who was singing "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!"? So would he or would he not take action inside Pakistan?
10:17PM - Did Obama start and end an answer with different countries?
10:19PM - More "honor and victory, not in defeat" crap. Plus he goes on about Obama being wrong about the surge. The surge's stated purpose was to provide security to get Iraq's government to start working towards reconciliation. For various reasons, many unrelated to the surge, violence went down. Iraq's government did squat, and is as divided as ever. The surge worked tactically, but failed strategically and ultimately that's what really counts.
10:22PM - McCain advocates Ukrainian and Georgian membership in NATO. That is a really bad idea. It would mean going to war with Russia if something like the recent Russia/Georgia conflict happened again. I really doubt that's what McCain and co actually want, and inviting Georgia or Ukraine to NATO is more like deterrent than anything else, but that ignores some very real Russian territorialism that's being to show itself again. Russia's going to call our bluff, and then we either have WWIII, or NATO is rendered completely useless. Not good.
10:24PM - McCain on whether Russia is an evil empire: "Maybe. If I say yes I'm reigniting the Cold War if I say no I'm ignoring the recent actions." Surprisingly astute. Both candidates had good answers on that question.
10:31PM - Ooooo... a Zen like question!
10:32PM - Hmm, Obama turned it into a life story. Senator, it is a question, not a closing statement. You could've tried to answer the question.
10:34PM - McCain also uses the question as a closing statement. "Comrades!"
10:35PM - HAHAHAHAHA ... McCain blocked Brokaw's view of his teleprompter, Brokaw had to ask him to move!
Hmmm.. ultimately a better debate than I expected based on the last two presidential elections, I wonder if that's the norm or if it's just my perception from growing up during the past decade?
Whoa, Blitzer says it's "apparent McCain has some disdain for Obama". Coming from Blitzer, that's huge.
I'm really at a loss to say who "won". Obviously I agree more with Obama on policy, but I think both articulated their positions fairly well, and neither made any big mistakes. Bottom line: no game changer = Obama wins. The election is getting closer and closer, and Obama remains ahead.