Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Live Blogging the Debate (Finally!)

Room sentiment? Obama played it really safe, didn't lose anything. McCain didn't do as well as he needed to. The summary judgment of the Democrats in the room: "If you say it often enough and loud enough, eventually it's true." The summary judgment of Republicans in the room: "McCain didn't capitalize."

10:33PM - I've had my fill of this, and I only got to see the last half-hour. The risk embedded in that comment is that, if people tuned this thing out after the first few minutes, the McCain people can cherry-pick the soundbites.

10:30PM - McCain doesn't answer the question, either.

10:29PM - Obama is ready with an answer to the "what don't you know" question, and it's a good answer, but it runs the risk of being spun by the other side as an unwillingness to admit that there's anything he doesn't know.

10:28PM - The idea of trying the talk on the basis that it's not costing us anything is a good wind-up, but Obama knows that he flubbed that one.

10:26PM - Listen, folks, Obama doesn't emote. That's usually a good thing when you're running against a hot-head, but on this one issue he's losing the question because he didn't plug in to the person asking the question and knew it, and got nervous, and went all wonky. It's unfortunate because it's coming at the end.

10:25PM - Iran/Israel question doesn't sound like it came from the guy who asked it, frankly. A puff-ball question for McCain, but the American public is smart enough to tell that. Besides, the "without preconditions" line is something that--still--seems to me like an unforced error by the McCain/Palin ticket. I said it before and I'll say it again: I think the American public is ready for some talking to take place without preconditions.

10:24PM - McCain's going to get the last word on Russia? Well, no need to worry--he's going to squander it by wonking-on about pipelines.

10:23PM - Obama said "more safe," when he meant "less safe," which is an honest brain-fart that will, regardless, be running as a commercial tomorrow from the RNC.

10:22PM - Obama gets to talk about Russia, and will hit McCain on the "moral support" line, which was preposterous. Obama needs to be a *little* careful about calling for foreign aid, though, since well over half of all Americans think that this country should provide zero foreign aid to anybody. The Russian-Peacekeeper thing is great because it makes Obama sound much more statesmanlike.

10:20PM - Russia is a big issue, and it's only going to get bigger with McCain's saber rattling in this and other venues. Palin must make the Russians think that Regan came up out of the grave and had a sex-change.

10:18PM - McCain's talking about the surge in Iraq? Uh, wasn't the question about Afghanistan?

10:16PM - Brokaw is moving on to Afghanistan and that's okay because the Obama line about McCain singing bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran will be the soundbite on the late news and tomorrow's morning news, anyway. I know I've only been here a few minutes, but I'm wondering, frankly, if that isn't the moment that pivots this entire election.

10:14PM - This is a big moment, and McCain knows that. He sang bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran and he did call for the eradication of North Korea, and there's really nothing to come back on.

10:11PM - McCain is wrong about Obama's position on Pakistan, and Obama just said so right in front of all of us. Bizarre that McCain is trying to spin Obama's position with the position itself sitting right there in front of us. I just asked if McCain has been doing as bad as he looks right now, and the room said that he was actually much worse, earlier. Obama is scoring with this impromptu follow-up, and McCain has nothing to come back with on the bomb-bomb-bomb moment.

10:09PM - Is this what's been going on all night? Audience members struggling to read what's written on these stupid cards??? That supposed "audience question" was almost too painful to watch. Obama has a great answer going here, in spite of the bag-of-crap he's been handed, but I do seem to want to think that he's giving McCain an opening for the whole "killing civilians" line that McCain's been hitting him on.

10:07PM - "A cool hand at the tiller" got an enormous, howling response from my room -- including from the Republicans. McCain just called attention to his own recent performance in this contest, by making himself sound tone-deaf to how un-cool he's been acting.

10:05PM - Obama is going to score with the tie-in between genocide and our damaged relationships with our allies, too -- if only implicitly, raising the curtain on McCain to drone on about the surge, which is exactly what he's doing.

10:03PM - Obama scores with a direct answer on the Iraq issue, and wows my friends in the room with what they're characterizing as a breakout from what has been a cooler performance up to that moment.

10:01PM - I just got started and it doesn't sound (from my colleagues in the room) like McCain is having a breakout performance. Indeed, those colleagues have made it sound like the whole event has been... well... boring. "Neither candidate is taking advantage of the format," is how one, measured-speaking friend put it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I was starting to worry that you had gotten tied up and weren't going to be live blogging.