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Presidental Debate Liveblogging

Round II:

6:00: Aww rats. Obama and McCain just came out wearing their normal attire. After the "I've got a bracelet" / "oh yeah, well I also have a bracelet" exchange of the first debate, I was hoping they'd arrived encumbered by layers and layers, and would spend the whole debate stripping off articles of clothing and sharing the personal anecdotes associated with each. "This stocking cap was given to me by a grandmother who lost her retirement in the stock market", "well these cuff-links were given to me by an unaborted fetus" ...

6:01: Brokaws' tie matches the bright red carpet, and McCain's tie matches the bright red carpet. Obama is the odd man out with blue. CONSPIRACY?

6:04: McCain's first statement to Obama included a fleeting moment of eye contact and the phrase "It's good to see you at a townhall meeting" with the "finally" left unspoken.

6:06: First headlights-in-the-deer moment goes to McCain on the "who would you appoint" question. Uhh, did I just write "headlights-in-the-deer"?

6:08: This is basically a "9 Mile" style rap contest, with the candidates trying to weave talking points into their performance rather than mad rhymes.

6:11: McCain used his response to attack Obama; Obama (so far) is ignoring the attack and answering the question. Is this how it's going to go all night? Update: Nope. "Now, I have to correct Senator McCain history ... unsurprisingly..."

6:15: This is pretty dull. I hope there's a "Rock Band Challenge" component to this debate; this is the perfect venue for it.

6:18: Apparently the candidate who says the phrase "special interests" the most will receive 40 bonus points.

6:20: Brokaw keeps asking really tough questions, and poor McCain keeps getting them first (while Obama gets 60 seconds to come up with an appropriate nonanswer).

6:25: McCain gets a question from the Internet. This is the most email he's ever received!

6:29: "You know, a lot of you probably remember the tragedy of 9/11." Gee Obama, ya think?

6:30: Doubling the Peace Corps!? Where the hell did that proposal come from? Has Obama ever mentioned it before, or are we venturing into improv, here?

6:33: McCain is now saying that Obama "wants to raise taxes." Not that he's going to, just that he really, really wants to.

6:35: Words that will not escape Obama's lips tonight: "I agree with John."

6:36: Oh, god. Can we just stipulate, ahead of these debates, that McCain will swear that Obama will raise taxes and Obama will give his "not one dime" rebuttal? It would save everyone 20 minutes.

6:38: McCain says that fixing Social Security is not very hard, all we have to do is "sit down at the table" ZOMG WHY DIDNT ANYONE EVER THINK OF THAT BEFORE?!

6:40: McCain namecheck tally: Leiberman: 3, Palin 0.

6:42: When Obama said "The computer was originally invented by {ominous pause} a number of government scientists", I honestly thought he was going to say "Al Gore" there for a moment.

6:45: Again, McCain gets the tough Brokaw question first. That's rough, dude.

6:47: For the record, here are all the issues that Obama does not think are "central"

  • The next poet laureate
  • The redesign of the penny
  • Whether the toilet paper rolls in the whitehouse crappers will be "over" or "under"

6:52: McCain is very insistent that I do the math.

6:53: Is healthcare a right? McCain just gave the wrong answer. Obama is so eager to give the right answer that he's standing up as he waits for his turn.

6:55: Before the third debate McCain should take a Sharpie and write the following on his hand: "DON'T FORGET: YOU SUCK AT JOKES".

6:58: Oh McCain, dude, did you just say a president needs to know "when we should go into a war and when we shouldn't". That's a slow pitch over center plate, my friend. Update: And yet, Obama just barely manages to get to first ...

7:04: I'm pretty sure "beneficially" isn't a word. Update: It is, but I still wouldn't use it three times in a single sentence.

7:07: iObama: "We will nuke bin Laden from orbit, even if he's discovered in Tampa."

7:09: It's hard to keep track of all of McCain's heroes. So far he's mentioned Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, and Gimli.

7:11: Brokaw's has pretty much given up. Unrelated: what's with the weird black rectangle behind these guys. Are individual cable channels photoshopping Cialis ads into that space or what?

7:17: McCain: "We're not going to have another cold war ... with Russia." Oo, I wonder who it's going to be with, then? I'm gonna guess Chad.

7:15: Yay, another "strategy vs. tactics" semantics fight! This is like hanging out with boardgame nerds.

7:16: "Part of the challenge for the next commander-in-chief is to foresee the challenges that we'll face. That's why I'll establish a Department of Precrime."

7:24: "Gamechanger", drink! But where the hell is "Maverick"? I should have done three or four dozen shots by now.

7:26: Brokaw says the final question is zen-like: "What don't you know." Obama: "Uhh, I'll tell you what I do know." McCain: "I don't know what the unexpected will be." Those responses are so lame they deserve only one-hand's worth of clapping.

That was just too boring to pass judgment on. But David Brooks says Obama won. David Brooks. I think that's set and match, folks.

Posted on October 07, 2008 to Politics


Wooooot! Let's get this party started!

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 6:03 PM

Maybe this is rude, but does McCain actually have a neck?

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:07 PM

I hope a huge contingent of America used the intartubes to request Brokaw to ask McCain if he still thinks his wife is a trollopy cunt.

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 6:09 PM

Ouch! Slam on Brokaw. Take that moderator!

Posted by: Vinnie on October 7, 2008 6:09 PM

Main street! Take a drink!

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:13 PM

If you change the name from "Bailout" to "rescue," Americans will think it's totally cool.

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 6:13 PM

did McCain just say that $700B is NOT ENOUGH to fix this?

Posted by: Jennie on October 7, 2008 6:14 PM

McCain is the decid....I mean deregulator

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:16 PM

Oh, now he's dissing planetariums! He dissed bear genetic research before...McCain doesn't like science.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 7, 2008 6:25 PM

That whistle whenever McCain speaks sure gets old. JUST LIKE HE IS.

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 6:28 PM

i kind of want a pork product of some kind. maybe bacon. i kind of want a lot of bacon. preferably served in some kind of barrel.

Posted by: ihateaphids on October 7, 2008 6:32 PM

Hopefully that closed that tag...

Posted by: Karan on October 7, 2008 6:34 PM

Herbert Hoover didn't have any kids?

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:37 PM

I like watching the line graph on CNN. Poor McCain, no one likes him.

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 6:37 PM

McCain just sounded a bit like Mutley with that laugh.

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:42 PM

I think McCain sounds like Ronald Reagan! Is he doing that on purpose? On the plus side, he hasn't mentioned the "overhead projector" in a few minutes.

Posted by: gruve on October 7, 2008 6:45 PM

"I'm rubber, you're glue!" - McCain

Posted by: Domanda on October 7, 2008 6:50 PM

Um, could you please close your underline tag? kthxbai

Posted by: Dan Someone on October 7, 2008 6:52 PM

"We have to give people the choice!" Uh, except if you're a woman. And pregnant.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 7, 2008 6:56 PM

I feel that McCain should not keep going back to "his record." Has he read the piece in Rolling Stone about himself??

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 7:02 PM

He hasn't read it, but I'm sure Palin has, because apparently she reads "all of them"

Posted by: Platypus on October 7, 2008 7:04 PM

lol :D

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 7:09 PM

Don't these guys realize that they would be much more likable if they were not such jerks to each other ?

Posted by: scott on October 7, 2008 7:20 PM

There are sparkly things in that weird black rectangle!

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 7:24 PM

Scott, the problem with that is that if one's nice while the other's a lying nasty sack of crap then the nice one will get pilloried for not having the backbone to stand up for what is Good and Right and True. It's classic Prisoners' Dilemma.

Posted by: Platypus on October 7, 2008 7:25 PM

It's wild, because at times I feel like I am seeing through the eyes of one of those little black boxes. Perhaps they have thoughts, too.

Posted by: bp on October 7, 2008 7:29 PM

The weird black rectangle is a window for photographers. I think.

I'm sure they keep it dark back there so they're not distracting.

Posted by: Mark on October 7, 2008 7:30 PM

I think Platypus is right. Oh fuck, I did it again. Nutbunnies!

Posted by: Stuffy Nose Malodorous Pervert on October 7, 2008 7:30 PM

SNMP (nice acronym): you're such a wimp. Don't you realize that you're supposed to attack, attack, attack, until I am utterly destroyed?

Posted by: Platypus on October 7, 2008 7:35 PM

Brokaw just showed you waht that rectangle is...his teleprompter.

New Clear.

Posted by: chris on October 7, 2008 7:35 PM

Ooh! It's a TV, too!

Posted by: Mark on October 7, 2008 7:35 PM

'Twas fun! Thanks for the forum, Matthew!

Posted by: Yoshi on October 7, 2008 7:43 PM

the black rectangle is brokaw's teleprompt

Posted by: ihateaphids on October 7, 2008 8:00 PM


Hey, we're studying bear DNA here in Montana... for $3 MILLLLLLION DOLLLLLARS. Did that come up? (I was at my welding class for almost the whole damn thing.)

Posted by: Jim in Missoula on October 7, 2008 8:24 PM

The black rectangle was indeed a teleprompter for Brokaw. Did anyone notice at the end McCain would NOT shake Obama's hand? Obama offered, McCain deflected. Obama then shook Cindy McCain's hand instead. Angry old man?

Posted by: Amy on October 8, 2008 6:40 AM

He was introducing Cindy to Obama to shake his hand...they already shook after the debate and got in Brokaws way of his teleprompter remember?

Posted by: PrintsCharming on October 8, 2008 8:37 AM

"This is like hanging out with boardgame nerds."

Only without the boardgames. YECCCCHH!

Posted by: MisterEd on October 8, 2008 9:35 AM

dude, I live in tampa. don't let them nuke tampa. please.

if bin laden is in tampa, can't we just send him to an applebee's during the early bird special, or wait in traffic on the howard frankland? both are forms of torture, and it would mean my house wouldn't get all nuclearized and irradiated.

Posted by: ben on October 8, 2008 11:50 AM

I kept hoping for a question that would throw them off-balance, like, If you WERE to play Rock Band, which instrument would you pick? My guess: Obama looks pretty comfortable with the mic, while McCain, with his Animal-type tendencies, would probably gravitate to the drums.

Posted by: ester on October 8, 2008 1:55 PM

so, from what i heard from mccain, solving the social security problem is easy! we just need to sit down at a table with ronald reagan and tip o'neil.

Posted by: ikes on October 8, 2008 3:34 PM

Solving Social Security is easy...it's just really unpopular. It's raising or lifting the Social Security Wage Base cap. I think right now it's capped at $110,000 meaning a guy who makes $110,000 pays the same amount as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Sounds smart...until you realize that if you are self employed and paying yourself a salary, you get hit twice as the Employer pays the tax as does the Employee. Still probably a good idea though if not quite painful for the person making more than $110,000 or the employer of someone making more than $110,000, and if your both, then you're REALLY opposed to it.

It's a third rail issue, and McCain has been the only guy like *Evar* to even come close to mentioning it...and it even gave him the heebeegeebees to dance around it last night.

Posted by: PrintsCharming on October 8, 2008 3:55 PM

you mean 8 mile, right?

Posted by: Anonymous on October 8, 2008 7:04 PM

Doh, really? - then I missed that moment! He still could have shaken his hand again though - it looked awkward... for both of them. Must pay better attention (and stop getting up for a drink).

Posted by: Amy on October 9, 2008 6:32 AM