Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Live-Blogging the McCain-Obama Townhall Debate

A few comments from me as the night progresses.

1st Question: What to do to stabilize the economy? Obama mentions tax cuts and building bridges and roads projects. Ewww. New Deal II. McCain misses a huge opportunity in not asking him how he will fund increases in government spending along with tax cuts.

Update 2: Obama continues to hammer on the Bush is at fault meme. (On a number of questions.) Is it going play with Bush not actually running?

McCain makes a pretty strong statement of bi-partisan support and anti-earmark behavior. He asks people to examine the records of both candidates.

Update 3: Prioritize energy reform, health care, and entitlements (social security, and medicare).

McCain cops out and says you can do all three at once. The rest of his answer is OK, but the beginning is weak.

Obama gets a lead in from Brokaw in "there are some questions that you must prioritize". His answer is better--he makes a choice. Energy, then health care. He does end with a weak mention of comparing records and his is for that.

Update 4: What sacrifices will you ask of Americans?

McCain: Some government programs will be cut. Then he goes back to you can do energy and health care at the same time. I don't want to tell the person who needs health care that they have to weight.

Obama: Starts with the horrendous: Some of you remember the tragedy of 9/11. Some of us? He ends with a comment on double the peace corps which makes annoys people like me.

Update: The discussion period hits to the core issues of the campaign.

Obama's answers is very much reads like "tax the rich, feed the poor until there are rich no more." McCain (finally) hits Obama on his tax plan. Obama doesn't like the answer, but Brokaw doesn't let him rebut as he is (shockingly) following the rules.

Update: Will you fix Social Security and Medicare in two years?

Obama was still so mad about the previous tax answer is that he basically ignores the question and pitches his tax plan. The way he pitches it makes him sound like a Republican (almost). He says most small businesses make less than $250,000 a year and therefore won't get tax increases. I'm going to have to check those numbers but to me less than <$250,000 is a very small business.

McCain starts with "I will actually answer the question". The answer on Social Security and Medicare is less interesting than the fact that McCain's answer actually hits Obama on his tax record. He campaigned for Senator of Illinois and claimed he would cut taxes for the middle class. But he never brought any legislation that would actually enact tax cuts.

Update: A global warming question. Ewww. I blocked out this question.

Update: A long question and answer period about health care. Quite honestly I'm sort of tired of the question. As a small comment, Obama pushes government solutions to health care (though not nationalized health care). McCain does hit him on this.

Update: What are the economic constraints on military power? (Interesting question.)

McCain: My record is clear. I have the experience to make the right decisions on national defense. America is the greatest force of good in the world in history. Obama was wrong on the surge in Iraq, he was wrong on Russia.

Obama: McCain was wrong on Iraq. He says he agrees, "That America is the greatest force of good in the world." The question is will people believe it? I don't but I am admittedly biased.

Update: What are the Obama and McCain doctrines?

To be honest, I don't like either answer. Obama's is a non-answer. McCain is similarly non-descript--I will make good choices.

Update: What are you going to do about Bin Laden in Pakistan?

Obama: Promote democracy in Pakistan and work with them to crush the Taliban. If they don't agree, invade and find Bin Laden. This is oddly militaristic for a Democrat. We'll see how people take it...

McCain: You can't declare an intention to invade a country and become friends with them. You have to gain the support of people like we did in Iraq. Quotes Teddy Roosevelt and "Talk softly and carry a big stick."

Obama: (forcing a rebuttal over Brokaw): You have to go after Bin Laden. That's what I would do. Hits McCain over talking softly and then brings up comments McCain made about Iran and North Korea.

McCain: You can't telegraph your punches. I know what it means to send troops into harms way, Obama does not.

Update: Quick question on how to succeed in Afghanistan. McCain wins the only punch here, saying that Obama still won't admit the surge worked in Iraq and he was wrong about it--therefore he wouldn't have the fortitude to win in Afghanistan.

Update: Missed most of a question on Russia. Came back in time to hear Obama saying the McCain is mostly right...not that again.

Brokaw asks a Yes or No question: Ala Reagan, is Russia an evil empire again?

Obama: They are doing evil things. Energy independence is important.

McCain: Gives a good answer, explaining why you can't say Yes (it would reignite the cold war) or No (it would excuse Putin's behavior).

Update: A veteran asks if Iran were to invade Israel would you defend immediately or wait for UN approval?

McCain: Thanks him for his service and says, "Everything I learned about leadership I learned from a chief petty officer." Of course we would defend Israel.

Obama: Fails to answer the question, talking about generalities of negotiation and energy independence.

Update: A (poor) question: What do you don't know and how will you learn about it?

Obama: Starts well with "ask my wife, she has a long list of what I don't know". He then jets in to a canned speech on Bush was bad, I am change. Clearly prepared and not answering the question.

McCain: I don't know what we all don't know--what is going to happen here and across the world? He then goes into a canned speech of his own, but this one (with my bias) hits home with me. I have served this country my whole life, I believe in it, and I would be honored to serve again.

Final Update: I'm incapable of calling a winner objectively. I just don't like Obama's "I'm a politican and I give the best answer that makes people happy". Clearly there was no horrible misstep by either candidate. Was it enough for McCain? We'll see...


This post will be updated as I find more sources live-blogging the debate tonight.

So far, I've only found Ann Althouse has set up her live-blogging post.

More to come, for sure...

Update: Other live-bloggers:

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air

Instapundit notes: Bendan Loy and Jules Crittenden are also live blogging.

Michelle Malkin warns about plants in the townhall that will ask leading questions for the (Obama) campaign.

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