Starting late tonight, since we were busy reading to Cate.
9:23 – McCain is riding hard on earmarks, which seem to be just a distraction so folks won’t notice other problems. Points out that Obama supported funding a planetarium. This was meant to be a slam on Obama, but sounds like a pretty good idea to this science educator.
9:25 McCain’s still talking about bipartisanship. Mentions working with Joe Lieberman. So working with Lieberman – who is a Republican in all but name now – counts as reaching across the aisle?
9:27 Obama: “McCain likes to talk about earmarks a lot.”
9:28 Can someone take the crackers out of Tom Brokaw’s mouth, please?
9:30 McCain “We’ll have to have an across-the-board spending freeze”. That sounds like panic rather than an economic plan – as if McCain’s just going to throw his hands into the air and give up trying to figure out what’s going on with spending and taxation. And if McCain’s going to freeze spending, how’s he going to “get to work right away” on health care?
9:31 Obama reminds us of Bush’s “Go out and shop” after 9/11. He also reminds us that “earmarks” are a small part of our current troubles. Says McCain’s freeze proposal is like using a hatchet when a scalpel is more appropriate. That’s a pretty good analogy. Across-the-board cuts/freezes screw everything up instead of curtailing wasteful spending.
9:36 McCain says that Obama will increase taxes on half of small businesses. I suspect Obama to hit back on this. McCain says he doesn’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy. That’s news. Cutting taxes for the rich has been McCain’s stated plan from the day he began his preparations for this year’s election. McCain also seems to think Obama favors “mandates” and “fines”.
9:27 Brokaw fails to allow Obama to respond to McCain’s bull. Obama looks pretty pissed off about it. Good for Obama. So far, I’m not impressed with the format. Looks like Obama’s going to go back to addressing McCain’s statements anyway – in answering the question on entitlement programs.
9:41 McCain He knows how to fix Social Security. Says it’s easy, in fact. He just won’t say what his solution is. (This is probably because his solution would cost him the election. Perhaps he wants to privatize it?) Brings up the “94 tax increases” thing. We’ll see if Obama hits him like Biden hit Palin for the same remarks during the VP debate.
9:43 A question for McCain about what he’ll do to make Congress move on climate change. Nuclear power is the cure to all our ills, he say. Oddly, though, he points out that he failed to get his proposal on climate change through Congress. Sorta like he did the first time with the bailout bill when he “suspended” his campaign to push the bill through.
9:46 If McCain is going to play the “Obama voted xx times to raise taxes”, Obama’s going to hit McCain the same way on his environmental record.
9:48 Brokaw wants to know about whether we should start a “Manhattan project” for alternative energy. McCain: Pork-barrel projects! Obama gave tax breaks to oil companies! Drill here, drill now! What?
9:50 In terms of format, this debate is asinine. What’s the point of a “debate” if the candidates aren’t allowed a rebuttal for obvious attacks? I came here for an argument!
9:52 Obama brings up McCain’s “giveth with one hand, taketh with the other” proposal to give a tax credit and then tax employer-provided health care. McCain talks about “shopping around” for insurance. Call me crazy, but I sure as hell don’t want to “shop” for health insurance. Heck, I have allergies – I suspect the coverage I’d get on the open market would be much worse and much more expensive than what I have now.
9:56 McCain: Health care is a “responsibility”. Obama: Health care should be a “basic right”. I think that’s about right.
10:00 WordPress eats my last few comments. Obama did respond effectively to McCain’s implications that he would need “on the job training” – saying that there are some things he doesn’t understand – like the reason we invaded the wrong country after failing to finish the job in Afghanistan.
10:06 “The McCain Doctrine” appears to be “Attack Obama First”. And what’s with this “another Holocaust” thing that McCain mentions over and over?
10:14 Obama slaps back at McCain’s insinuation that he wants to invade Pakistan. “Bomb bomb bomb Iran” “Next up, Baghdad!” McCain gets silly in response: He “knows how to get bin Laden”, but he can’t tell anyone. He’s said this before. But why he hasn’t told … say … the current government about his great plan, so bin Laden might be brought to justice?
10:20 The Russia / Georgia stuff is the same thing they said in the last debate – both for McCain and Obama. Where’s the fast-forward button on the live debate?
10:25 Oh, not this “preconditions” crap from McCain again. It wasn’t convincing during the last debate, and it’s not convincing now. It’s not even relevant to the question being asked.
10:31 Okay, the last question asked is one of those trick interview questions. “What don’t you know?” I suspect Obama and McCain will just use this to make their closing statements Yup – that’s exactly what they did. McCain says we need a “steady hand at the tiller”. Sounds like he just endorsed Obama rather than his wild, maverick-y self! Come to think of it, I didn’t hear the word “maverick” at all. Is this the death of John McCain’s self-proclaimed “maverick” status?
Here’s the debate transcript.