Notes from tonight.
7:58 p.m. And for the first time this election season, I’ve made it on time. In fact, I made it early. We’ve been watching “America’s Next Top Model” for the last 25 minutes, and I’ve been quite dismayed to see that approximately two of the women are actually hot enough to be models.
7:59 p.m. As I type this, Five Thirty Eight is giving Obama 354 electoral college votes (remember, you need 270 to win). Insofar as national polling is concerned, Obama is generally up between 7 and 15 points. In other words, he’s got everything to lose, and McCain’s got nothing to lose.
8:01 p.m. I think they chose this Bob Schieffer fellow because he makes McCain look young.
8:02 p.m. Hey, they’re sitting!
8:03 p.m. The first question is on the bad day Wall Street had, and how each candidate’s proposal to fix the issue is better than the other’s. Obama has come out quite wonky and policy-ish.
8:08 p.m. McCain comes back to the tax issue, claiming that Obama will raise taxes and make it harder for small business to employ people. Obama quickly corrects the record, and repeats his 95 percent/$250,000 line.
8:11 p.m. Jesus. Are we still talking about this “Joe the plumber” character? Unbelievable.
8:13 p.m. McCain says no one’s taxes should be raised. “Why should anybody’s taxes be raised?” he asks. Maybe because the deficit is a few gazillion dollars?
8:14 p.m. And the budget just so happens to be the next item on the agenda. I really hope Obama connects this question to McCain’s previous asinine statement.
8:15 p.m. Just noticed McCain scribbling some notes furiously. Hey, he’s left-handed! When’s the last time both candidates were left-handed? Come on, trivia fiends. Get me answer to that one.
8:20 p.m. It took 20 minutes for Obama to connect McCain to Bush. He, and his campaign, have been so brilliant in hammering that message home.
8:21 p.m. Oh, snap! McCain finally figured out a riposte to the Bush comparison. “If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.” Nice.
8:23 p.m. Man, Obama really is the perfect combination of thinker and speaker. He’s just an outstandingly talented politician. In two minutes, he first refuted McCain’s charges against him, outlined some policy proposals, once again tied McCain to Bush, and did in all without saying “um” or “uh” or “er”.
8:25 p.m. A question on the tone of the campaign. McCain expects us to believe that the campaign is tough and dirty because Obama refused to have town-hall meetings with him. Really? Town-hall meetings? That’s why you’re calling him dishonorable and claiming he “palls around with terrorists”? Town-hall meetings? He also goes on about his hurt feelings, making it seem like Obama’s campaign has been the dirtier politician in this campaign. Since Obama can’t say it on national TV, let me: John McCain, please go fuck yourself, you lying fucking cunt.
8:33 p.m. McCain just seems like an old, cranky fool. He’s losing it. Obama, on the other hand, is so calm, it’s eerie. You can’t rattle the guy.
8:36 p.m. Mccain brings up Ayers and ACORN. He’s going down swinging, that’s for sure. Obama handles both issues deftly. Cool, calm and collected. Brilliant. He points that the people he actually associates with are people like Warren Buffet on the economy, and Joe Biden and Dick Lugar – a Republican – on foreign policy. Great touch there, showing who the people are that have and will influence his thinking. He turned an attack on his associations into a strength.
8:40 p.m. Ooh, fun! A question on running mates. Obama sounds proud of Biden, running through his expertise on foreign policy, the fact that he’s not forgotten where he came from, and his considerable legislative accomplishments. When it’s McCain’s turn, he claims “America has got to know Sarah Palin.” Really? She’s been in the public eye for six weeks, hasn’t had a press conference yet (and never will) and has had all of three interviews on TV (one of them with Sean Hannity).
8:47 p.m. A question on when the candidates expect America to be no longer reliant on foreign oil. McCain says within four years, America would not import oil from the Middle East and Venezuela. Obama says ten years is a more realistic goal, and has a very comprehensive answer on energy, oil, and related issues.
8:52 p.m. McCain is such an angry guy, it’s not funny. Temperamentally, there really is no comparison between these two.
8:56 p.m. On to healthcare. Obama solid as hell, nicely encapsulating the problem and his solution. He’s much better at debates now than his earlier performances against Hillary and the other Dems. Practice makes perfect, yes?
9:01 p.m. Obama corrects McCain’s mischaracterization of his healthcare, making him incredulous. He also points out that McCain plans on taxing healthcare benefits.
9:03 p.m. So far, Obama has owned McCain. He makes it through the next 27 minutes, I think he’s home free.
9:06 p.m. On to Roe v. Wade and litmus tests for Supreme Court appointments. McCain says he’s never had a litmus test, and never sought to impose his ideology for judicial appointments. Obama also claims he would not use a litmus test, but that he agrees with Roe v. Wade, and argues that the right to privacy should not be subject to state referendum as the federalist McCain would have it.
9:12 p.m. Abortion is boring.
9:12 p.m. Wait, that last entry came out wrong. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.
9:14 p.m. Obama is so brilliant, it’s not funny. I mean, he’s so good at going through a list of his thoughts, item by item, carefully and lucidly. He’s so goddamn intelligent, he really is. I’m sorry I sound gushing, but this guy belongs in academia, not in politics.
9:19 p.m. Obama says he’ll give college students a $4000 credit every year in return for some sort of community service, whether it be military service, the peace corps, or some sort of community service. What a fantastic idea – it’s a real University of Chicago economist-y plan, giving the notion of incentives a central role.
9:23 p.m. I have to say, Obama has fucking steamrolled McCain in this debate. He’s been on an even keel the whole time, but more importantly, he has a rational, level-headed, and sound response to both real-world problems and McCain’s asinine comments.
9:26 p.m. Closing statements. McCain was pretty solid, and closed on an emotional note, saying he’d be honored if Americans gave him an opportunity to continue his service to the country. Obama concentrates more on the challenges and sacrifices needed to get out of the present crises America finds itself.
9:31 My closing note: it was a feisty debate, more in-your-face, and I think Obama creamed McCain. Unless they find a dead white girl in the trunk of Obama’s car, this race is done.