LIVE-BLOGGING the Final “debate” in the 2016 Presidential Race…thank goodness

I expect this is what my face will look like by the end of the debate, minus the drool, I hope.

So yeah, do whatever floats your boat here.  You can live-blog, heckle, poke fun, tell jokes, or have a complete mental breakdown, but please NO DRINKING GAMES!!

Am I giving this political debate the respect and seriousness it deserves?  Fuck no, I am not.  This entire election has turned into a shameful mockery of itself, so pfffttttt!

The thing starts at 6 PT, and you can watch it here:

 

Sunday Roast: Trump Trouble & Debate Live-Blogging

The truly funny part about this video is that it was posted in July.  Randy Rainbow just had a feeling, I guess…but I don’t need to know the details.

Soooo, in a continuation of the Great Emasculation, Hillary Clinton and Donald “Tic Tac” Trump will appear at a town hall style forum in St Louis, MO (6 pm, PT), wherein inexplicably undecided voters will ask questions of the candidates.

Hillary will attempt to behave in a statesman-like manner, while barely containing her giggles and snorts in regard to the state of her opponent’s campaign; and Donald will flop and flail around like a potty-mouthed steelhead landed next to the fish ladder — you almost made it, little guy! — and will probably say something that will cause me to choke on my popcorn within the first 15 minutes.

Join us, whether you’re just hanging out in the comments section, or doing hard-hitting live commentary on the 2016 presidential race (somebody should, I guess), or just pointing and laughing your ass off like the rest of us.

EDIT:  Here’s one of the places you can watch the aforementioned clusterfuck:

This is our daily open thread — Drinking game = Death

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 26, 2016: Look Who’s Talking About Trying To Get Away With Lying?

Well, the moment many of us have been waiting for to be over is nearly upon us. The first of the Election 2016 Presidential Debates between a well-qualified, well-experienced woman and an unqualified, inexperienced man-child will be held 9:00 PM EDT tonight at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY. (For those unfamiliar with New York, it’s out on what we call, “The Island.”) The format, as determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will call for lirpas in the first round. If both survive, battle continues with the Ahn’woon. The moderator for the first debate will be NBC News’ Anchor and Keith Olbermann-sound alike Lester Holt, who took over for the much ridiculed Brian Williams after the latter made claims about his first-hand experiences that could not be verified by other people who were actually there, some whom of also claimed Williams wasn’t. The final straw for Williams came when he boasted he was the first “on the scene” to interview Neil Armstrong as he set foot on the moon. Alert fact-checkers noted Williams was only ten years old at the time, and raised considerable doubt about the possibility the Williams family could afford to send Young Brian to astronaut school. The story was later deemed by the majority of fact-checkers as “Mostly False” and Williams was suspended for six months.

The media’s practically prepared to name Donald Trump the winner tonight if he doesn’t trip on the way out to the podium and mess his adult diapers. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will be declared to be “hiding something” if she can’t answer questions based on false premises, or adequately (to the Republican side) explain why she hasn’t mitigated their outrage over Benghazi, when the facts and the evidence showed the Republicans did more to kill Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, than Secretary Clinton ever did. She asked Republicans for more funding for security specifically at Benghazi, among other places, and was turned down. There was never any order by her or anyone else to “stand down” and not send a rescue team. Every lie they’ve told about her has been debunked. But since people aren’t convinced by facts (it’s a problem we all have), it’s hard to convince these people that everything they want to do as a result of the Benghazi lies they believe is no longer justifiable. They’ll say to do it anyway because it’s what they want to do to her.

It should come as no surprise that the Trump Campaign is calling for moderators not to be allowed to fact-check the candidates. Newt Gingrich, a Terran-based life form with aspirations of invading and colonizing the Moon, actually defended this by tweeting

Gingrich has defended the theory that the way to a Republican voter’s heart was through the emotional door of his psyche, not the rational, fact-based, reasoning part of his brain.

Former CBS News Anchor Bob Schieffer, a personal friend of the Bush family and a former presidential debate moderator himself, had a suggestion. He said to let the candidates have the first crack at fact-checking in their responses, and if they don’t correct the record then the moderator should before moving on. And this infuriates Conservatives because they don’t believe important decisions should be based on a calm, rational review of the facts of the situation. They feel reaction to a crisis, especially an attack of some kind, should be swift (even if not all the facts are in), decisive (even if decided wrongly, because that honestly doesn’t matter to them), and over-powering (even if excessive). What matters, they’ll tell you, is that it felt like it was the right thing to do. Because that’s how they think you should govern, by doing what feels like the right thing to do, not by doing what actually is the right thing to do. You can expect Trump to Gish Gallop and spew one lie (or false premise, or extreme exaggeration of a technically true point) after another, inundating Clinton with so many false premises, straw man arguments, rambling fragmented sentences, innuendo and meaningless gobbledygook that a coherent yet accurate response will be impossible. And they’ll make a big deal out of the fact that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, address the question asked of her even though the “question asked of her” was based on the fantasy worldview of someone so frightened by the truth that he’ll stop at nothing to prevent being exposed. Trump is a liar and a con-man, and his entire income structure is based on maintaining a completely false image as a shrewd businessman, unafraid to take on a political system he personally bragged about exploiting. And that’s why he wants no fact-checkers. He won’t be bringing any to the debate.

This is our daily open thread and may also possibly serve as our live-blogging of the debate itself. Come join us.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mitt Romney!

At the Third and Final Debate, Mitt Romney had a “Great Pumpkin” moment:

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, I want to underscore the same point the president made, which is that if I’m President of the United States, when I’m President of the United States, we will stand with Israel.

Roll 2:20:

Live-blogging the 2nd 2012 presidential debate

President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet this evening at Hofstra University in New York for their second “debate.”  It will start at 9 p.m. ET, and will be a townhall style format, with CNN’s Candy Crowley moderating.  The questions will come from so-called undecided voters in attendance.  i don’t get the whole “undecided voter” thing, but there it is.

C-Span will have live coverage of the debate here.

Thinkprogress has five facts for us to remember:

1. The deficit is largely a product of tax cuts and wars. The newest report out from the Congressional Budget Office shows that we have a still-large but slowing budget shortfall, with the deficit at $1.1 trillion for 2012. But the issues that are adding the most to our deficit aren’t health care costs or the stimulus; wars and tax cuts are responsible for that.

Zooey:  And remember, it’s a filthy lie that Obama has increased the deficit in any way — he’s actually lowered it.

2. When US officials asked for more security in Libya, they wanted it in Tripoli, not Benghazi.The attack on the United States embassy in Libya was a tragedy that has had a confusing aftermath. Republicans have claimed that employees at the Benghazi embassy asked for more security in the days before the attack, but actually it was the embassy in Tripoli, not Benghazi where the attack occurred, that sought longer hours for its security guards.

Zooey:  Also, remember that the House refused to pay for increased security in our foreign embassies.

3. 72 million people would be uninsured under Romney’s health plan. A recent study of Romney’s health care plan shows that it would increase health care premiums for most Americans, and would leave 72 million people uninsured. If the Affordable Care Act were repealed, 60 million Americans would remain uninsured. Under Obama’s plan, that number is expected to drop to 27.1 million.

Zooey:  Remember, Romney’s plan will cover those with pre-existing conditions, BUT only for people who already have health insurance, which makes no fucking sense.

4. If the DREAM Act were passed, it would add $329 billion to the economy by 2030.President Obama has vowed the pass the DREAM Act — a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for young, undocumented students and service members — while candidate Romney has said he’d veto it. According to a joint report by the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy, passing the DREAM Act “would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.”

5. The “six studies” that Romney cites in defense of his tax plan are actually 3 blog posts, 2 right-wing reports and 1 op-ed. The idea that a Romney administration could give a 20 percent tax cut to everyone, and then pay for it by eliminating loopholes and deductions for the wealthy has been strong refuted by the Tax Policy Center. Romney has cited six other “studies” that confirm his plan could work, but those are dubious: One is a report by the conservative Heritage foundation, one is a paper from a former Bush adviser, one is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, and three are blog posts.

Zooey:  If you like this “study” I’ve posted for the evening, please click “like” and share it to your favorite social network.  Everyone knows that gives a “study” like mine more credibility.  😀

Have fun with the live-blogging, all y’all!  There are no rules, but alcohol and a sense of humor really help.  Just sayin’…

The Watering Hole: Tuesday January 17 – Fort Sumter

The siege on Fort Sumter was the starting point for the civil war in 1861. I keep reading allegations to this in lots of tweets and blog posts that refer to yesterday’s debate. It must have been quite a spectacular show, for those among us, who are not queasy and, of course, for us Europeans who won’t be living under a Republican President, if one was elected this year.

The crowd must have been especially mean-spirited leading one of the Economist’s live bloggers to comment

I think this crowd will be disappointed when informed that there will not in fact be a public hanging later in the evening.
by W.W.4:18 AM

and another says:

As crowds go, only the Tea Party audience in the Nevada debate came close to this level of red-meatism. Agree/disagree?
by A.K. 4:26 AM

You can read all live-blog comments, many very amusing, on The Economist here.

The Guardian mentions the hem..hem.. let’s call it rather unusually rowdy atmosphere as well, but only in passing

The debate was conducted against a noisy background, with 3,000 partisan Republicans in the hall, booing and heckling, saving applause for their favourites, mainly Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum. Romney, viewed as too moderate in right-leaning South Carolina, appeared to have failed to fill the hall with his supporters.

While Der Spiegel thinks it’s worth a full story:

Und so wird es immer schlimmer. Perry fabuliert, die Türkei werde von islamischen Terroristen regiert (Jubel). Er verwechselt die Taliban mit al-Qaida (Jubel) und den Irak mit Afghanistan (Jubel). Er verwehrt sich dagegen, die mutmaßliche Taliban-Leichenschändung durch US-Marineinfanteristen zu kritisieren (Jubel) – die Männer hätten doch nur “einen Fehler gemacht” (Jubel). Ach ja: Und er will die Immobilienkrise lösen, indem er verschuldete Hauseigentümer sich selbst überlässt (Jubel).

And thus it gets worse and worse. Perry opines Turkey was governed by islamic Terrorists (Cheers). He mixes up Taliban and Al Qaida (Cheers) and Iraq and Afghanistan (Cheers). He refuses to criticise the (alleged) desecration of Taliban corpses by US Marines (Cheers) the men had just “made a mistake” (Cheers). Oh yes: And he wants to solve the real estate crisis by  leaving indebted home owners to fend for themselves (Cheers).

So, back to Fort Sumter. All kinds of civil war are going on in the US. The “War on the Middle Class” (that will turn into a War on the Poor for want of a Middle Class soon)  and the “War on Civil Liberties” being the ones fought most prominently. There may even be a break-up of the Union in the not so distant future, politically the “War on the Federal Government” will be fought this summer when the Presidential campaigns will be in full swing. And won’t the 1% just love it to sick the states against each other to get all remaining regulations off the table and make the states compete for their attentions. Don’t believe it ? The USSR only took a couple of years to fully break apart, something that was unthinkable only 30 years ago, remember ? The US is in not much better shape these days. And people like the ones in yesterday’s audience are the perfect footsoldiers for such a development.

I almost regret that I won’t be watching Thursday’s debate either. On second thoughts, no I don’t.

As a matter of form: Newt Gingrich was dubbed yesterday’s winner and Mitt Romney the loser in most news sites I read.

This is our Daily Open Thread.

Mitt Romney – Moral Mendacity or Memory Failure?

During Monday night’s Republican presidential debate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was asked a question about what role FEMA should play in disaster relief and whether or not more should be done by the states themselves.

CNN’s JOHN KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

His response was not only confusing, but apparently in direct contradiction to the way he governed Massachusetts.

GOV MITT ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Okay, there are a few problems with this response. First, why is it that Republicans always feel that the private sector can do the government’s job “better”? Exactly what do they mean by that? Notice that John King just lets that slide without asking for any explanation. This is just another example of how the mainstream media that covers politics practices precious little journalism in favor of just letting politicians say whatever the hell they want unchallenged. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that when a Republican claims that the private sector can do something “better” than the federal government, they mean “more profitably.” Of course, the government is not supposed to be doing things “profitably,” they are supposed to do things as thoroughly as possible. They are supposed to serve as many people as possible, not serve some of the people and still have money leftover. if you do that, then you haven’t done your job of serving the People. Government exists to serve the People, not the Private Sector.

Second is the false idea that the states can do everything better than the federal government can. Not so. It’s true that not all one-size-fits-all solutions will work in every state, but that does not mean we have to abandon all federal support. It’s not an either-or choice – either the federal government does things everywhere or it does things nowhere. This is just the same old “States’ Rights” argument from the party that thinks we’re operating under the Articles of Confederation and not the US Constitution. We tried giving the states more autonomy and the results were disastrous. The Founders the republicans love to revere knew this and decided to do things differently.

But the thing that struck me most was Romney’s apparent immorality. He claims that it is “immoral” to “rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids.” Well, Mitt, if you believe that, then why are you a Republican? Republicans bear the most responsibility for our huge national debt. You were governor of Massachusetts during the Bush Administration when our country ran huge deficits. You said in the debate that borrowing more money to provide disaster relief was “immoral.” Was it immoral when you did it? Flooding and severe winter storms have been a problem for your state, and you accepted federal aid for it in 2004, 2005 (and with your state’s Congressional delegation helping), big-time in 2006 (see here, too), and again in 2007. There may be other examples, but I found those after a brief search of the internets. Was it moral for you to ask the federal government to borrow money to help your state with disaster relief back then?

You also claim that the states can do things better than the federal government, but you also expressed support for an idea floated by the Bush Administration in the wake of their disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina to have the Pentagon (a very federal agency) take the lead in responding to catastrophic disasters.

There is almost no support among the nation’s governors for President Bush’s suggestion that the Pentagon could take the lead in responding to catastrophic natural disasters, a USA TODAY survey has found.

Of the 38 governors who responded to a request for reaction to Bush’s comments, only two backed the idea: Republicans Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

Looks like both you and your fellow Republican “T-Paw” got some ‘splainin’ to do, Mitt.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain

The GOP debate, or as we like to call it, the Klusterphucky Derby

In lieu of a drinking game during tonight’s GOP “debate,” which would be highly dangerous and irresponsible, TheZoo is hosting our version of a pub quiz.  The following items are weighing heavily on our minds and this “debate” comes at the perfect time to help us get the answers we need.  Also, feel free to live-blog the “debate” as long as you can stand it.

Who will be the first to

  • Spit foam from their mouth?
  • Turn their head a full 360°?
  • Speak in tongues?
  • Condemn the other candidates to Hell?
  • Speak the name Sarah Palin?  Anyone…?
  • Use President Obama’s middle name?
  • To say Osama instead of Obama?
  • Call Obama a terrorist?
  • Use the word “Obamacare?”
  • Lie about jobs figures/failed stimulus?
  • Call the President the worst president in history?
  • Claim tax cuts create jobs/increase revenue?
  • Say “Reagan cut taxes?”
  • Claim “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem?”
  • Make a crack about birth certificates?
  • Make a Weiner joke?
  • Make a Trump joke?
  • Claim that ours is a “Christian nation?”
  • Lie about the intent of the Founding Fathers?
  • Invoke God?
  • Blame Obama for the Bush recession?
  • Blame progressives/liberals for all problems in America?
  • Use the word “crazy” in reference to one of the other candidates?
  • Say “Actually, I am a Qook from the planet Zog, and I have taken human form – here’s my birth certificate!

Questions we’d like answered

  • Would you knowingly hire any gay people to work for you?  Muslims?
  • Does this look infected?
  • Do you support Man-Dog marriage?
  • Could you open this jar for me?
  • Do atheists have rights under the Constitution?
  • Will you choose an imaginary friend as your running mate?
  • Will you admit, on this stage tonight, that the movie Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 sucked out loud?
  • Hey sailor, new in town?

Miscellaneous

  • Bonus points for beginning a response with “The American people want/don’t want…”
  • First round of pearl-clutching – Shelley or Newt?
  • Who won the bigotry competition?
  • Who is the most likely to cut taxes?
  • Who could flip-flop better than a flounder?
  • Best at stroking pearls?
  • Biggest/gaudiest flag pin?
  • Biggest/gaudiest cross?
  • Carrying Bible?  Packing heat?

Final round…for the Grand Prize!  Which candidate was

  • Dumb
  • Dumber
  • Dumbest

Live-blogging the third and final Presidential Debate

The desk and set is ready on October 14, 2008 where US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will sit in front of moderator and CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer for the last presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on October 15.

Tonight is the third and final presidential debate to be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and will be moderated by CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer. (6PM PST, 9PM EST)

The pressure is definitely on for John McCain, who has seriously been sliding in the polls. For weeks (months actually) his campaign has been erratic, depending on gimmicks and stunts, and now depending on a message of negativity, hate, and innuendo – totally lacking in substance, message, or vision – in a time that our country finds itself in deep crisis. Americans are afraid as our economy spirals down, and in a time that we need leadership and a real vision, McCain has come up empty. 

A CBS News/New York Times poll has Obama leading McCain by 53 per cent to 39 per cent among likely voters, the widest margin of any poll in the campaign so far. Other polls suggest McCain is also trailing in key battleground states.

It will be interesting to see if he can turn this around tonight.

Join us as we live-blog the event!

Photo from WELT ONLINE.

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From a distance: Calling the race for Obama finally

I cannot interpret it any other way. Throughout the British press Obama is declared the winner of last night’s debate. Given the fact, that McCain would have needed a decisive, overwhelming victory, this equals with James Carville’s assessment:

Obama won the debate. Period. It wasn’t a tie. He clearly won the debate. Call the dogs in, wet the fire, the hunt’s over.

This is not saying the Obama campaign can relax their efforts, from what I’ve seen of them they surely won’t, but it should give them the leeway to stay on the issues and not stoop too much to the smear tactics employed by the McCain/Palin people.

Look at what the newspapers in Britain have to say below the fold:
Continue reading

Wednesday Open Thread

Senator McCain, most Americans have heard about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae before the crisis! You may not have, but most do. Or did you just assume, because the question came from an African American man, he may have never heard of it? That makes you either condescending or a racist, actually both:

“It was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’ll bet you, you may never even heard of ’em before this crisis..”

Watch:

Discuss this and what else is on your mind here and don’t miss the new posts that will be coming in all day below this!

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Post Vice Presidential Debate Analysis

Well, Sarah Palin managed to not drown in tonight’s debate, but I’d say it was a pretty clear victory for Biden. The first thirty minutes or so I thought both candidates were turning in sub-par performances, but then Biden really hit his rhythm and after that it wasn’t close. Biden sounded like someone talking about issues from a knowledgeable perspective, while Palin nearly always spoke in broad generalities and was clearly sticking to a limited set of talking points. It was kind of like they were giving a book report and Biden had actually read it while Palin had scanned Spark Notes for fifteen minutes beforehand. And maybe it’s just me, but I thought she leaned too heavily on that folksy charm business. I think when she said “doggonnit,” she jumped the shark and became a parody of herself.

I was watching this on CNN and their instant audience reaction graph consistently demonstrated that Biden was greatly outmatching Palin with independents. At the end of the day, that’s all this is about: who’s reaching independents. If CNN’s audience sample was at all accurate, Biden won independents in a route.

Now, in my opinion, there were two factors that contributed to Palin managing to get out of this debate alive. The first is that the expectations were so low for her in the first place. It was very low bar she had to reach. The second is the fact that the debate had no follow-up questions. So basically, she got away with broad answers that lacked much in the way of specifics, because no one could say, “but specifically, Gov. Palin…” If you watch her interview with Katie Couric, the real train wreck answers were the ones where Katie pressed for specifics in her follow-up questions. Without those two conditions, Palin’s performance tonight would have been judged a complete disaster.

It’s kinda sad that she can turn in a “good” performance simply by not having a total melt down.

There were two key moments in tonight’s debate, and they both belonged to Joe Biden. The first was this gem where Biden called b.s. on Palin’s claim that the Democratic ticket shouldn’t be looking backward at the Bush administration when criticizing McCain. This is a near-perfect example of the rhetorical device of repetition:

And the second was this emotional response as Biden talks about the tragedy that befell his family right around the time he was first elected to the Senate, and Palin’s tone-deaf response:

I hate to be so callous about it, but Biden opened up and revealed this very deep pain he experienced — not in telling the story of his wife and daughter’s death, which is well known, but in getting a bit choked up as he did so — and then Palin completely failed to offer even the mildest sympathy to him. It was almost as if she didn’t know what he was talking about. It made her look a bit cold.

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From a distance: English Sunday papers on the debate

The financial crisis bailout talks (negotiations, cabal, whatever you’d like to call it) are having the headlines in England. They have their own debacle, too and closely watch developments in Washington therefore. But there are impressions from the debate as well, so here we go:

The Times’ Simon Jenkins writes:

Since McCain, above all, could not afford to lose, but had come to seem an old and uncertain man, “a conviction politician without convictions”, he emerged from the event, in my view, with his standing enhanced. Obama was the Obama we know: smooth, responsible but slightly ponderous, almost an elder statesman before his time.

But the debate is not Simon Jenkins’ main concern, he goes on:

For all this, watching the debate was like asking Mrs Lincoln about the play. Outside the chamber, a politically existential event was unfolding. Never was globalisation more vividly on show than in pictures of world stock markets hanging on every intonation and nuance of the inquiry into the $700 billion rescue package for American banking.(read more)

The Independent’s Rupert Cornwell, seems to have enjoyed the show:

It was the debate that was almost swept away by a financial tempest. But when John McCain and Barack Obama did square up to each other on Friday night, they produced one of the best, and almost certainly the most watched, presidential debates ever. How many minds they changed is another matter. In this battle pitting age against youth, experience against promise, the two clashed on the economy, Iraq, al-Qa’ida and Iran. But there was no knock-out blow.

and he conludes:

On Friday in Mississippi, the 20th century was pitted against the 21st. Which man will Americans prefer? In 37 days’ time, the answer will be known. (read more)

The Telegraph’s Phil Sherwell also points to the generational gap:

Mr McCain ran through his record on a series of foreign policy crises from 1983, alluded to his time in Vietnam, mentioned his 35-year friendship with Henry Kissinger and cited the experience of General Dwight D Eisenhower on the eve of the Normandy landings in 1944.

Mr Obama by contrast promised voters the chance to study the federal budget on a “Google for government” and criticised Mr McCain for his “20th century mindset” – arguably a harsh charge when we are only eight years into the 21st. (read more)

The Guardian’s Dan Kennedy runs through a round-up of press reactions and concludes:

Obama, though, was steadier still. Like Nixon 48 years ago, McCain demonstrated that he knows his stuff, perhaps to a greater extent than his opponent. But like Kennedy, Obama proved that he can hold his own – and that may be more important in the end. (read more)

The Economist reports that both candidates did rather well:

The biggest difference between the two men was in the tone that each used. Mr McCain repeatedly offered some version of the phrase “Senator Obama doesn’t understand”. He presumably hoped to emphasise that Mr Obama lacks foreign-policy experience. He may have scored points by criticising Russia while emphasising his longstanding support for Georgia. But he sometimes seemed to sneer. Mr Obama, although he sharpened his tone from the Democratic debates, was the calmer of the two. When he felt criticised unfairly, he would often smile. He gently needled Mr McCain but he did not savagely lay into his opponent. Mr Obama is an articulate advocate of his foreign-policy views, in command of detail. That he avoided any gaffes may have been enough to reassure many voters. But foreign policy is generally considered a strength for the more experienced Mr McCain. (read more)

As things are with Washington and the opening of the Asian markets only a few hours away, it is well possible that this debate will soon be pushed aside by more pressing matters in people’s minds.

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Obama to McCain: You were wrong.

[W]hen the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said you knew where the weapons of mass destruction were — and you were wrong. You said we were going to be greeted as liberators — you were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shi’a and Sunni, and you were wrong.

From a distance: The Debate as I saw it

As we are on a different time here in Europe, there is not much comment on yesterday’s debate in the papers yet. Only the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky and The Times’ Gerard Baker have commented as I am writing this, but they are both in the US and thus didn’t have to burn the midnight oil to watch the debate live. While Tomasky is a little skeptical, Baker reluctantly calls the debate for Obama. There will be more in Europe’s newspapers tomorrow or later tonight, if other developments don’t bury the discussion on the debate in a hurry. Could happen.

So, what did I think?

You won’t be surprised that I think Obama did the better job. At the beginning both were more or less eloquently avoiding a succinct statement on the ongoing bailout discussions. I was not surprised, this is an election campaign after all and I didn’t expect one of them to commit himself to a position. In a way this doesn’t matter anyway, because whatever deal they are going to agree upon in Washington, it will be most likely a done deal well before the election. So everyone who wants to, will be able to see what Obama and McCain voted for, respectively, and cast their own vote with that in mind. I did not understand the insistence.

The general principles on economy that Obama stated have been precise and well thought out and well delivered, if a little thin. McCain was a little flustered there.

When the debate finally went to the original script, foreign policy, McCain was obviously on firmer ground. He, however, never quite connected with the audience it seems. The “audience reaction tracker” CNN used, never showed much approval for what he said. Not the “Democratic” line, nor the “Independent” and not even the Republican line. Obama seemed to do better here, too.

And that doesn’t surprise me one bit. If what I felt myself is any indication, McCain lost this debate to his poor manners. See what I mean:

Listen closely to McCain here, some seconds into the tape he says something, that I’d translate as “Horseshit”. He looked as angry as he clearly was here many times and didn’t have much control. Twice I caught him looking grim and then, when he realized the cameras were on him, he switched on a smile. If Obama didn’t feel comfortable I didn’t realize it, he seemed perfectly at ease.

McCain  was clearly angry and condescending. While Obama was pointedly respectful, maybe a little overly polite. Obama had the grace to acknowledge McCain’s merits. After an awkward moment at the beginning, he increasingly talked directly to McCain, tried to engage him, looked him in the eye and answered to his statements. McCain did nothing of the sort. He never once really looked at Obama, he reiterated that Obama, “doesn’t understand”, “doesn’t get it”. An obvious play with an Obama camp talking point turned upside down, just like they did with the “change” meme. I doubt it was effective, Obama too clearly had a firm grasp of the facts he presented.

Very noticeably, when McCain brought out his “experience” lines in that curious purring voice he uses for his excursions into personal history, the audience approval plummeted. This was too clearly a well-studied delivery of overused lines to be credible. It unbecomingly highlighted that McCain is definitely living in his glorious past.

The debate was not a firework of brilliance with fiery talk and witty exchanges, but on Obama’s part a solid show of presidentiality. On McCain’s part, not so much. There were no knock-out punches, I believe, but McCain would have needed one or two, so the debate clearly goes to Barack Obama.

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Indecision 2008 – Philadelphia Democratic Debate in Review

Elevating out-of-context remarks and trivial miscues into subjects of national discourse is Jon’s job, not a moderator’s.

Nobody points out the obvious and the absurd quite like Jon Stewart.. Here is his take on the Philadelphia Debate in three parts.

Part 1:

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Following are Parts 2 & 3.

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The Debate – European rehash

Be careful what change you wish for. An energetic woman in the White House? The British have their experiences:

This aside, let’s look what Gerard Baker, the “Times’ “ US correspondent who had the pleasure of sitting through both the Republican and the Democratic debates has to say about yesterday evening:

Both candidates had evidently decided that, five days from what could be the dispositive day of the Democratic primary – Super Tuesday – was no time to take a risk.

(…)The most memorable moment was her cleverly rehearsed line that “It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush.” It was concise; it was funny (by the low standards of Democratic humour) and it (almost) rebutted one of the strongest arguments against her, that the Clintons represent a dangerous dynastic tendency in American politics.

(…)Obama’s best moment was definitely on the Iraq war. He was effective in countering Hillary’s repeated claim that she will be “ready on day one” to take on the national security burdens of the presidency by saying he was “right on day one” about the war, in opposing it from the outset. Among anti-war Democrats, there’s not much doubt he continues to have the greater credibility.

But in the end Baker finds:

Who knows? My own guess is that the race is now tight enough that it probably won’t be resolved one way or the other next Tuesday but will go on for at least a few more weeks. If that’s the case it means tonight’s long-awaited debate, the much anticipated smackdown that turned into a civil exercise in political gentility, was probably as inconsequential as it was unenlightening.

There is a whole lot of US primaries coverage in British newspapers, “The Guardian” measure momentum in money, and true Obama has reached a record landmark in January, when he raised more than $32 Million“The Independent” has already moved on to Georgia., where Hillary Clinton is seeking to get votes on Obama’s turf. “The Telegraph” looks at Obama’s impact in the political scenery when it comes to Middle America warming to his candidacy. They see Obama as the clear winner.

Lots to read. So pick up a cup of coffee, latte, capuccino or any other of your favourite poison and enjoy yourselves.

A Party of Asses

I didn’t get to see the Democratic presidential debate last night, but I was delighted, delighted I tell you, to read this heartwarming recap:

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

“I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation’s first primary state.

“It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting,” added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

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