9:00 We are live from the Doctor's Office in The 'Burgh. Will McCain land an uppercut, or will he be penalized for a low blow. My money's on B. Let's watch!
9:02 If you're Tom Brokaw, don't you kind of feel like you wouldn't be here right now if Russert hadn't died?
9:03 With tens of thousands of questions culled into the questions for tonight's debate, Brokaw, the culler, has just as much influence over this debate as if he'd been answering the question himself. If he wants to ask a question on Social Security, he's got hundreds to choose from and can pick one closest to what he would ask. With so many options, it'll be pretty darn close. Why bother with the charade of "voters" asking him questions?
9:05 I actually like Brokaw, despite the blog being entirely focused on him. Obama's being boring.
9:06 btw, if no one's following along live, I'm just gonna post all my comments at the end (after these, of course). If you are reading live, make a comment, or e-mail me.
9:07 It's a fine, if somewhat expensive, idea to buy up bad mortgages and renegotiate them. But where was that idea before? He didn't have time to push this idea before the bailout passed even with all the time he saved by "suspending" his campaign.
9:08 First lame joke of the night. "Not you, Tom" by McCain in response to his question about McCain's future Treasury Secretary.
9:09 McCain wants to put the founder of EBay in charge of the Treasury?!? I mean, EBay's a great company and everything, but that's not what Treasury is about. You need a banker/investor.
9:11 An undecided voter who's black?!? He must be RIDICULOUSLY conservative!
9:12 Croneys of Obama from Fannie Mae? You mean the black guy who dared talk to the campaign once, and the guy who ran Obama's VP committee for about 2 seconds? Nice.
9:13 That number that shows Obama getting more from Fannie and Freddie than all congressmen but one is ridiculously misleading. When you consider it as a proportion of the huge amount of money he's brought in compared to any other congressman, the result is that Obama has not received a disproportionate sum from these companies, but just so much money from everyone. He got, proportionally compared to McCain, about as much money from Fannie and Freddie as he got from the U.S. Armed Forces serving abroad.
9:14 Obama's counterpunching already, talking about McCain's dereregulator past. Good tactic to use a fairly impersonal, issues-based counterattack to McCain's silly allegations.
9:15 Ow, and he takes it too far by talking about Rick Davis' lobbying firm working for Freddie. Risky move.
9:17 Apparently buying up home loans is McCain's big idea to win the debate. He wants to spend hundreds of billions more than we already did on the bailout.
9:18 Oh, so now we're fighting over who signed what letter to the financial powers-that-be? That's constructive!
9:19 It really is an indictment of Republican conservatism when you look at what happened to the deficit under Reagan and W. Just awful, and we're not really discussing it.
9:20 Savings from Iraq give Obama a fabulous defense against the "big spender" label because he can give the response that, in total, he's cutting spending.
9:22 McCain's telling us to take the word of conservative groups like the American Taxpayers Union. Nice objective source...
9:23 McCain's getting aggressive here, talking about Obama's votes on spending. I just wonder how well those punches are going to land, though.
9:24 Anyone else notice how slow McCain walked across the stage there?
9:24 Hey! "My friends!" Take a drink!
9:25 Can we please stop calling "clean coal" an alternative fuel, Senator McCain?
9:28 Obama's being boring and McCain's being blandly aggressive.
9:29 I guess the planetarium's projector Obama had the government put up the cash for is McCain's other big idea. God forbid the federal government spend money on educating its citizens.
9:31 Wow, who had Obama in the "first to bring up 9/11" office pool?
9:32 Incentivizing conservation really is a winning strategy, I think, and I'm glad Obama's going for it, talking about subsidies for home insulation, energy efficient vehicles, and such. Liberals like that you're spending money and helping the environment, conservatives like that the market is still involved. Tax cuts and incentives for energy companies are great and everything, but
9:35 The hatchet/scalpel analogy for their approaches to the economy is a powerful one, emphasizing that Obama can still "help people who need it."
9:35 Didn't Clinton raise taxes in an economic downtime? Does McCain really want to compare Obama to Clinton on economics?
9:36 Really fake and rehearsed "I've got news for you, Senator Obama. It's bad" is, itself, bad. It's buried in the middle of a tonally much different response.
9:38 Barack, don't emphasize the "Straight Talk Express" thing. Memories of 2000 McCain is the only thing 2008 McCain has left.
9:39 Obama pretty effectively shoehorned his tax answer into a question on health care. Sarah Palin should take a lesson on how it's done.
9:41 Does McCain think he's going to appeal to undecideds with his constant deification of Reagan? Turning out the base is all well and good when your base is bigger than the other guy's, but that's clearly not the case this election.
9:42 Such a lame format, with no follow-ups or questions between the candidates. No wonder it's boring.
9:43 They officially have every undecided black voter asking a question at this debate.
9:44 McCain says that commie Obama thinks nuclear power plants have to be safe!?! What a radical!
9:47 Obama is really going over on time. Heaven forbid that a candidate speak longer than a couple minutes.
9:50 That questions about health care being a commodity is right in Obama's wheelhouse. Let's hope he hits it.
9:51 Hooray, Obama's talking in favor of computerizing health records. Let me tell you, as a professional in the field, that computerized health records would result in HUGE savings in health costs. If McCain said he'd pay to computerize the whole damn system, I'd vote for him.
9:52 Sorry, I might've gotten a little carried away at the end there.
9:53 "Medical errors, as they call them," McCain says. Is that a term he just came up with?
9:54 Another lame attempt at humor, re: hair transplants. A veiled reference to Biden?
9:56 Excellent, EXCELLENT answer by Obama about his mother arguing with insurance companies from a hospital while dying of cancer.
9:58 And he follows it up with factual answers about not mandating care for anyone but kids and that McCain voted against expanding health coverage for kids. And companies being able to shop across state-lines for healthy people to cover.
9:58 Maybe it's because I'm biased, but I think Obama absolutely eviscerated McCain with this health care answer, and McCain could only respond with a lame, lunging attack about a "fine" Obama supposedly wants to impose on companies that don't cover their workers.
10:06 Actually, Senator McCain, if we did what Senator Obama wanted in Iraq, we never would have been there.
10:07 Does McCain really think he's going to convince people by talking about Lebanon in the 1980's?
10:10 Obama is, outside of his health care answer, being really boring. Which is good, actually, when you're trying to avoid a knockout.
10:11 You know why Obama can talk so loudly? Brotha carries a big stick
10:12 The Taliban did not come back in to Afghanistan after we left. The Taliban is who we were supporting while we were there. Ridiculous attempt at a parallel by McCain!
10:14 There's an Obama channel on Dish Network. It need to play "Bomb, Bomb Iran" on a loop for the next 4 weeks.
10:15 "I hate to even go into this." Then don't!
10:16 McCain's repeated statements that he "knows how to get bin Laden" are AWFUL! If he knows, why hasn't he told the Bush Administration?
10:17 I don't think Obama really wants to put more troops into Afghanistan, but it might help, and it keeps him from looking like a wimp.
10:19 McCain's talking about Putin and the KGB. Outside of Rounders, would any voter under 35 have any response to the KGB? And would anyone older still be afraid of them?
10:21 Let me paraphrase for McCain: "We're going to, along with our European allies, put political and economic pressure on Russia to bring them in line, but it's not going to be a new Cold War."
10:22 Gold star for the strategist who had Obama put out a statement in April on Georgia/Russia being unstable.
10:23 Wanna bet they're gonna go longer than yes or no?
10:24 Why would McCain say "maybe"? That has to be the worst possible answer! A regular wordy response like Obama gave is fine, as is saying yes or no. But not maybe! Another lame attempt at humor
10:26 Why oh why are people still attacking Obama on meeting "without preconditions" with world leaders? What undecided voter hadn't heard about this before?
10:29 Meeting with foreign leaders is a topic where Obama can strongly tie McCain to Bush (and every other President, but that's beside the point)
10:30 Obama busts out his one attempt at humor. It was better than any of McCain's, and better timed.
10:30 Obama's ending with biography and humor. The only bar he has to cross at this point to be President is "Is he a radical Muslim domestic terrorist?", and this is an easy way to do it.
10:33 Wow, wars in places most people couldn't find on a map? What a change!
10:34 Saying "I've been serving this country for many, many years" is
10:34 Do most people know what a tiller is? McCain's mentioned it twice!
10:34 What a great ending with McCain standing in front of Brokaw's teleprompter! Is that going to be the one memorable moment from this debate?
10:35 Summary reaction soon. Stay tuned