Debate Liveblog


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09:03 -- McCain actually looks pretty good. He's much less tense than he's been over the last two weeks.

09:04 -- Financial bailout question with Obama going first. He's so good at talking directly to the camera. He looks concerned and serious, but eager to solve the problem. He could look upwards a bit more, though.

09:06 -- Ooh, good hit against Bush and McCain without seeming petty.

09:07 -- McCain is very blinky. He's trying to explain why everything is stabilized enough that he can debate without directly addressing his odd behavior over the last two days.

He needs to look in the camera, not at Jim Lehrer. He's starting to stumble over his words as he fails to really answer why the House Republicans are blocking the bailout.

09:09 -- Lehrer isn't letting this go. He wants specific stands on the plan.

09:10 -- I bet McCain is going to bail on the eventual vote for the bill.

09:11 -- McCain is rambling about Eisenhower, D Day, and his call for the head of Chris Cox. He should really drop it, since calling for his firing was just a mistake. Defending it makes him look ridiculous.

09:17 -- Back after putting Adrian down for bedtime.

09:20 -- A nice testy exchange. Obama really seized the moment there.

09:20 -- He's so good at putting complex issues into simple terms.

09:21 -- Lehrer keeps trying to get them to address each other. McCain's argument for cutting business taxes is terrible.

09:23 -- Obama keeps coming back on the point that deregulation got us to where we are.

09:25 -- I think McCain just said he wants to go to a flat tax.

09:26 -- I like this debating system. Lehrer's "leading" questions combined with the vigorous back and forth is great.

09:30 -- Hey, he mentioned the Littoral Combat Ship! Of course, he slammed the overspending and mispronounced "littoral", but still.

09:31 -- I want to hug Jim Lehrer.

09:32 -- McCain's health plan is absolutely terrible. He should punt, tell everyone he's rethinking it, and then do nothing in the long run. He'd be better off than trying to defend the idea of taxing health benefits.

09:33 -- McCain is proposing a government-wide spending freeze. WTF?

09:36 -- Obama is looking extremely presidential tonight. McCain is just looking like he's blinky and doddering.

09:37 -- McCain is talking about the veteran's thing again. His people must be hammering that into him.

09:38 -- Trying to recast yourself at this late date is a loser. Loser.

09:38 -- Blinking and grinning is not a good response to strong criticism. I can't wait to see what the next two debates are like.

09:39 -- McCain's response to the lessons of Iraq is much more halting and tentative than it needs to be. If this is his winning issue (supposedly), then he should have this answer down pat.

09:41 -- Ooh, seizing the "politically risky" label. Obama's got guts.

09:42 -- That was an excellent response that acknowledged the success of the surge while attacking McCain and Bush for getting us into the war in the first place.

09:48 -- Obama isn't letting McCain get away with anything.

09:49 -- I don't really understand this tendency to laud Petraus and to defer to him in all things regarding Iraq. If McCain is going to be president then is he always going to defer to his generals? Is he going to allow them to make policy?

09:51 -- Coming back to the strategic mistake of going into Iraq while fighting in Afghanistan is a great response.

09:54 -- Going sightseeing doesn't mean you automatically understand everything about a distant land. It doesn't fix bad judgement and it doesn't mean you're an expert.

10:04 -- McCain seems tired and a little dazed. I think his debate prep team needs to lay off the overuse of talking points.

10:15 -- John seems like a petty little guy.

10:17 -- A question about Russia. Finally! Bringing Georgia into NATO would be a terrible idea.

10:28 -- If McCain is good at one thing, it's droning on in a robot-like monotone.

10:31 -- Saying that someone is "out of touch" when they're making such effective coherent arguments just makes you look foolish.

10:35 -- Surge surge surge surge surge, surge surge surge (surge surge). Surge!