Yup, I'm liveblogging the debate. Could be fun. Or it could be a disaster, with me veering off into incoherent rants and shouting obscenities at the television. We're about to find out either way.
Just one thing to clear up for all you Western elites. In Atlantic Canada we use Atlantic Time, not Eastern Time. So the debate starts at 10pm.
9:58 - On CNN, Gloria Borger just said that each candidate should emphasize that they "have a plan" to solve the financial crisis. That only works if you actually do have a plan.
10:00 - From what I'm reading, this "town hall" format is a bit of a farce. The questions are pre-selected, and there are no followups available for the questioners, nor can the cameramen capture the reaction of the questioners after the candidate has given their BS answer. Nice.
10:03 - You have to think that was an awkward handshake.
10:05 - Obama's scoring pretty well on that annoying dial that CNN has. They liked it when he vowed to crack down on CEOs who abused the bailout.
10:08 - Did McCain just propose that the way to solve the crisis is to renegotiate all the bad mortgages at the current house values? That's insane, and totally misses the point.
10:13 - Oh boy, here we go with Fannie May and Freddie Mac. McCain has no idea what he's talking about here, but he doesn't care.
10:17 - That was a pretty good deflection of the Fannie stuff: "What Senator McCain just said was bullshit, but that's not what you want us to talk about".
10:23 - McCain's saying that he's been a "consistent reformer", but he hasn't reformed anything related to the financial crisis.
10:25 - McCain: We have to promote solar and wind energy! We have to reform health care! Okay....how? Because your platform doesn't do either.
10:29 - Brokaw's whining about the time. I don't get it; let them talk! Who cares if they go a little overschedule? This is important stuff.
10:30 - Here he goes again with his ridiculous "spending freeze" idea. Obama should call him out on this.
10:33 - Obama's doing a pretty good job of calling the nation to service in regard to energy. This is what being a leader is all about.
10:37 - McCain's back to lying about Obama's tax policies. Saying that Obama will raise taxes for half of small business owners. I'm honestly not sure whether that is true, but I doubt it.
10:40 - Good defense of the tax plan. Brokaw didn't want to let him respond, but Obama tied it into the question, which was about entitlement programs.
10:43 - Creepy McCain laugh, followed by yet another repetition of the "Obama voted to raise taxes 94 times" lie. Grrrr....
10:48 - Ha, Obama turns the "voted x number of times against y" attack against McCain on alternative energy issue. Also points out that a green economy creates jobs. Good. I just don't see how the GOP has any credibility on this issue when their entire energy policy is "Drill baby, drill!".
And Brokaw's still whining about the time! Shut up Tom! You're irritating me.
10:50 - Now Brokaw's laughing at McCain's dumb jokes! WTF?
10:55 - There's really no comparison between the two health care plans. Which is probably why McCain is lying once again about Obama's plan requiring mandates. He's not even answering the charge about taxing employer health benefits.
10:59 - Obama: Health care is a right. Also, you're damn right there is a mandate, for children. Not for small businesses, and not for anyone else. And McCain voted against children's health care.
11:05 - McCain: The surge is working! Obama: Yeah, but the war was a bad idea and it's costing us at least a trillion dollars.
This is starting to get quite predictable.
11:12 - You have to wonder if it might have been smarter for Obama to just backtrack on Pakistan months ago. Instead, he's being forced to defend his position on cross-border raids again and again.
Just a side observation; it's pretty sedate so far. I don't think this is what McCain needed to change the tenor of this race. Obama's playing it safe too.
11:16 - Ooh, Obama just nailed him on "Bomb, bomb Iran" and nuking North Korea. Speak softly, my ass. And if McCain knows how to get Bin Laden, why isn't he sharing this strategy with the Bush administration?
11:19 - Unlike Palin, Obama knows General McKiernan's name. And McCain still doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.
11:25 - "Is Putin's Russia a new Evil Empire? Yes or no". What kind of a stupid ass question is that?
11:29 - McCain: We can't allow a second Holocaust. Obama: I agree, but that's why we need to use all the options at our disposal in dealing with Iran, including negotiation.
11:31 - I notice that women are generally responding a lot better to Obama on the dial.
11:33 - McCain: I kinda sorta grew up in a single parent household too, because my dad was busy off being a four star admiral.
But I bet you never needed to resort to food stamps. I don't think Mr. "I don't know how many houses I own" will ever win the "empathy with the middle class" argument.
11:36 - Okay, signing off for now. My impression is that both candidates did pretty well in a mostly boring debate, but McCain didn't do nearly enough to change the direction this race is going in.