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Presidential Debate FAILblogging

I had honestly intended to liveblog last Friday's presidential debate. I even wrote this introduction:

Two weeks ago, when McCain fortunes were riding high, people kept asking me why I was so confident that Obama would still win the election. My answer was a single word: the debates. Well, okay: it was a plural word preceded by an article. Sue me.

There's a lot of pressure on both men tonight. McCain, of course, will have to justify debating in the midst of a crisis so dire that he suspended his campaign. He will probably spend much of the night staring thoughtfully into the middle distance; then, when Jim Lehrer prompts him for a response, he will come out of his reverie and say "I'm sorry, could you repeat the question? I was busy doing the long division necessary to save the economy in my head."

As for Obama, many people are suggesting that he try and provoke McCain into losing his temper. Some tactics he could use are:

  • Immediately mimicking the cadence of everything McCain says but substituting "meow" for all the words.
  • Repeatedly putting his foot over the pre-agreed "invisible line" that separates the two halves of the stage.
  • Referring to his opponent exclusively as "Pops".
Unfortunately the venue I then went to to liveblog the event was having problems with its wireless, so that's as far as I got. I did grab a piece of paper and a pen, but I'm afraid the Herculean task to making physical marks on a page proved too much, and I wound up making exactly one note:
Obama: "And we also have to affirm all the fledgling democracies in that region, you know, the Estonians, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Poles ..." Barack has clearly learned the central lesson of 9/11: NEVER FORGET POLAND!!
Oh well, sorry about that. As compensation, here's my summary of the entire debate in haiku form:
Low-status primates
Find it difficult to look
At the alpha male.
I will 100% absolutely for-sure be liveblogging the Vice-Presidential debate tonight though, oh my goodness yes. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Posted on October 02, 2008 to Politics


OK, am I the only person who felt, watching the feed, that Obama was looking at the ground and away from McCain? I know now that he was doing the opposite, but every time I looked up from my knitting I saw the split screen which had Obama on the right, looking to the right. Add the fact that when McCain talked, he got the solo screen, and when Obama talked, he was almost always on the split screen, and it makes the network's camera decisions seem very odd.

Posted by: Maren on October 2, 2008 11:10 AM

"Turkey bacon is to bacon what Paris Hilton is to Audrey Hepburn."

Defective Yeti tweets truth.

Posted by: ondioline on October 2, 2008 1:13 PM

Nice Haiku.

Here's a new aphorism for you: "He who blinks most rapidly, blinks first."

Posted by: Pat on October 2, 2008 3:00 PM

If you were to replace David Plouffe as campaign manager then there would be no doubt in anyone's mind as to his victory.
"Meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow!"

Posted by: Aaron Leva on October 2, 2008 4:50 PM

Maren: Yes. McCain never looked at Obama as he spoke. He addressed all of his answers to the host. Obama spoke to the room, including McCain.

Posted by: Steve S. on October 2, 2008 5:06 PM

Steve, what I meant was that the feed I saw flipped the positions of the speakers, so Obama seemed to be looking off to the right the entire time (away from McCain and the camera), whereas McCain looked straight ahead. Or do I have their actual positions reversed? Obama was on the left side, correct?

Posted by: Maren on October 2, 2008 6:13 PM

Thanks for the recap... I've been relying solely on your liveblogging for all of my election coverage. I was a little disappointed that you didn't cover it, but, well, I recovered nicely. :)

Posted by: Kelly on October 2, 2008 6:30 PM

Excellent commentary as always, DY. Free cartoon idea -- "John McCain meets Inigo Montoya." John McCain explains to Inigo Montoya what a maverick he is, to which IM comments, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Posted by: Anonymous on October 3, 2008 9:28 AM