Obama vs. McCain debate open thread (LIVEBLOGGING – BUMPED TO THE TOP)

McCain vs. ObamaUpdate 28 – 12:19 AM: Here’s the full video of the debate. G’nite, ya’ll.

Update 27 – 11:54 PM: Here’s the transcript from the debate. Video clips here (make sure to scroll down a bit to see the a full selection of clips from the debate). View clips here as well.

Update 26 – 11:34 PM: What the hell? Why does CNN now have a panel of mostly mainstream media journalists giving their political opinions on the debate?!

Update 25 – 11:28 PM: Ed Morrissey has a good post-debate wrap-up.

Update 24 – 11:17 PM: Biden was just on Fox saying McCain “heckled” and “lectured” Obama. Whiiiine.

Update 23 – 11:00 PM: BTW, Obama was wrong on Kissinger’s point about unconditional meetings. Here’s what Kissinger actually said:

Kissinger: “Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we — we know we’re dealing with authentic…”

Sesno: “Put at a very high level right out of the box?”

Kissinger: “Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are — what the outcome is that you’re trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to. Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They’ve never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we’re trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can’t achieve what we’re talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government.” (CNN’s “Live Event,” 9/20/08)

— Kissinger put out a response disputing Obama tonight.

Update 22 – 10:52 PM: Defining phrases? “John is right.” Team Mc’s already got out an ad:

Another line from the debate: “Obama doesn’t understand.” Mc made that point several times tonight.

BTW, when will CNN find someone to replace David Gergen?! I can’t tolerate listening to him. I could watch CNN’s coverage if it weren’t for him.

Update 21 – 10:40 PM: This debate was handily won by McCain. I think he could have hammered economy points better, but in foreign policy, Obama got rattled a bit and Mc shined. McCain looked like the grown up candidate. Obama didn’t do horribly, but he did not deliver any knock out punch. Obama was on the defensive on most of the foreign policy debate.

The Fox News panel is divided with two of them saying Mc did well and the other two saying it was basically a draw. Interesting. Check out the Corner for more varying opinions on how they think Mc and O did.

Update 20 – 10:35 PM: LOL – Mc compares Obama to Bush on stubborn issue, and says he still won’t admit he’s wrong on the surge.

-O: People around the world don’t look at us the way they used to. We must invest in issues like education, issues that relate to how ordinary people will live out their dreams.

-Mc: As president, I know how to heal the wounds of war and deal with our adversaries.

Update 19 – 10:26 PM: Mc, what are the chances of another 9-11 style attack?

-Mc: A lot less than there were the day after 9-11. I worked with Joe L. on Homeland Security dept creation, which admin initially opposed.

-O: We’re safer in some ways. Biggest threat we face now is in a suitcase. This is why nuke proliferation is so important. Biggest threat to the US is terrorist getting a nuke weapon. Says we need missile defense. Really!? We should spend more money on nuke proliferation. We need to focus more on AQ. Can’t simply focus on Iraq. We must go to root cause in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The way we are perceived in the world is important. I will restore the respect for America around the world. I give Mc credit on “torture” issue.

-Mc: We’ve come full circle. We can’t follow Obama’s plan on Iraq. He doesn’t get it – success in Iraq is fragile. It’s the central issue of our time. Americans should judge whether or not that’s the right path or the wrong path.

-O: We have focused on Iraq and ignored all other issues. Who’s “we” Senator?

We have to use military wisely. I meet veterans all the time – they ask me how they get disability treatment.

Update 18 – 10:16 PM: Obama, what would you do about Russia. Sorry – I missed part of the answer. We can’t go back into a Cold War with Russia. Would be counterproductive. Need to deal with proliferation on nukes. I’ve worked with Republican Senators on this issue.

-Mc: Senator Obama doesn’t understand Russia issue. Russia was the aggressor with Georgia. Obama said both should exercise restraint. He was wrong. The issue is a pipeline. US will support Georgia’s inclusion into NATO. Russia needs to be made aware they have violated a ceasefire agreement. Mc really knows this issue.

-O: Mc and I agree on most parts of this issue, but I was more aggressive in responding to Russia’s attack on Georgia that Mc gives me credit for. I warned the Bush admin about Russian aggression in April. We need an energy strategy not just to deal with Russia, but Iran as well. We can’t drill our way out of the problem. We need alternative energy solutions. Clean coal technology, etc. Says Mc has voted against alternative energy 23 times.

-Mc: Obama’s position on nukes is confusing. Lehrer trying to get last question again.

Update 17 – 10:03 PM: What is your read on Iraq, McCain.

-Mc: We can’t allow a second Holocaust. Iran can’t get hands on nuke weapons. Russians are preventing action in the UN Security Council. Proposed League of Nations. Impose significant meaningful sanctions. Iranian’s continue on path to nuke weapons. Iranian’s are putting the most lethal IEDs into Iraq that are killing Americans. Senator Kyl proposed an bill to call Iranian Guard a terrorist threat and Obama opposed it calling it provacative.

-O: Obama – I believe Republican Guard is a terrorist organization. WHAT?! Blames Iraq’s behavior on Iraq war. We need tougher sanctions. We need to get Russia to cooperate. Huh? We need to engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran. Unconditional talks?

-Mc: Obama’s unconditional proposal is wrong. Ahmeanie wants to exterminate Israel and Obama wants to talk to this man and legitimize this man?

-O: I will meet with them if I think it will keep us safe. Kissinger, a Mc advisor, said we should meet with Ahmeanie without condition. Difference between precondition and preparations. Huh?!

Lies about North Korea restarting their nukes under this admin. This was starting before Bush took office. When we reengaged with NK NK changed. Said Mc may not meet with Prez. of Spain.

-Mc: I’m not going to make a WH schedule before I’m elected president. I don’t even have a seal yet. Says Kissinger was talking about lower level meetings, not face to face with the head of state.

-O: Brings up “preparations” again. Obama is just flat wrong on this issue and keeps trying to sidestep.

-Mc: Is cleaning O’s clock on this issue. Can’t wait to see the YouTube clips.

Update 16 – 10:00 PM: This is about what nominee will have good judgement. We took our eye of Afghanistan. Says McCain said we’d “muddle our way” through Afghanistan.

-Mc: Keeps emphasizing that we can’t fail in Iraq and it will affect Afghanistan and American national security.

Update 15 – 9:50 PM: Lehrer: Obama, do we need more troops in Afghanistan?

-O: Yes. Been calling for them for two years. You cannot separate Afghanistan from Iraq. Would send two additional brigades to Afghanistan. Still trying to argue against the Iraq war. We have four times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan. It is a strategic mistake. AQ is greatest threat against the US. Pakistan needs to step it up against AQ.

-Mc: We don’t need to make the mistakes of the past and leave a sitatuation unfinished. I’m not prepared to threaten our ally Pakistan with military action if they won’t do what we need to them to do. You don’t announce your strategy out loud like Obama did. New Pakistan president has his hands full. Yes Senator Obama calls for more troops but they’ve got to have the strategy that we used in Iraq that Obama opposed. I’m confident that General P. will handle Afghanistan well – we need more than just troops but a surge-type strategy as well.

-O: If Pakistan is not willing to take OBL and other high profile terrorists we will act. I did not say I would bomb Pakistan. Says he has no room to talk about openly talking about intentions towards other countries with his jokes about bombing Iran.

-Mc: I have a record on foreign policy issues dealing with sending troops into harms way.

Update 14 – 9:48 PM: Obama still continuing to try to go back to Afghanistan and whose judgement is better on the issue.

Mc: Senator Obama’s judgement is wrong on this issue.

Update 13 – 9:39 PM: On to foreign policy. What is the lesson from Iraq? Don’t go into war with an incomplete strategy. Mc – I fought for a change in strategy.

– We will see a stable ally in Iraq while on the road to victory. Talks about what would have happened if surge hadn’t happened. Praises General P.

O: We have a fundamental difference. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the first place. It was a coruageous move (not!). We’ve spent billions. AQ is on the comeback trail. We must use military wisely.

Mc: The next pres. is going to face how we leave, when we leave. Senator Obama said surge wouldn’t work. Said Senator said he would vote the same way on the surge knowing then what he knows now. Goes off on Obama on Afghanistan and NATO.

O: Obama is still not admitting he was wrong. Trying to deflect. He is not doing well in this segment.

Mc: Visited troops several years ago. Troops said “let us win.” Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge we are winning in Iraq. Says Obama won’t acknowledge political success. Says Obama opposed funding the troops.

Update 12 – 9:26 PM: Lehrer: what are you going to have to give up as a priority, Obama, in order to pay for the rescue plan?

-O: We don’t know what the final pkg will look like. We can’t do everything that I’d like to have done. We need energy independence, invest in alternative energy. We need to be competitive in education and science. Rebuild our infrastructure.

-Mc: Senator Obama has the most liberal record in the Senate. Hard to reach across the aisle being that far to the left. Obama laughs. Mc says we need to cut spending. Need fixed cost contracts. Defense spending is vital and important but we have to get a lot of the cost overrun under control. I fought a contract that was negotiated that was completely wrong – saved $6 billion to taxpayers. We must examine every agency of gov’t. Find what agencies are working and keep them going and find the ones who don’t and get rid of them.

Lehrer: Neither one of you are saying what you’d cut.

-O: Talks about his transparency work with Tom Coburn.

-Mc: We ought to consider a spending freeze on everything but essentials (defense, healthcare, etc).

-O: We need to stop spending so much in Iraq if Iraq has a surplus.

-Mc: We need to stop sending billions to countries that don’t like us. Brings up energy issue – nuclear power. Obama’s opposition. Says this is a climate change issue.

-O: No question the bailout will affect our budget. Pres. will have to make tough decisions. We need to know what our values are – who should get tax cuts, healthcare, etc.

-Mc: I want to make sure that healthcare is not handed over to the fed. gov’t. Healthcare decisions need to be left to families not the feds. I have fought against wasteful spending for years.

-O: You can’t lead on spending when you voted for Bush’s budgets.

Update 11 – 9:20 PM: Mc’s explaining his business tax cuts. I like this format so far. Mc says he wants middle class tax cuts to. O will respond.

-O: 95% of you will get a tax cut under my administration. Businesses get loopholes to avoid paying higher taxes.

-Mc: O voted for earmark loaded energy bill. Obama’s getting irked.

Update 10 – 9:14 PM: Are there differences with Obama’s approach to lead this country out of this economic crisis.

-Mc: We need to get spending under control. Republicans have not led. Talks about earmarks. Senator Obama has nearly $1 million in earmarks.

-O: I’ve suspended earmark requests. McCain is wanting to give billions in tax cuts to the rich.

-Mc: Obama is proposing billions in new spending. I want to cut spending and taxes.

-O: Tries to divert back to McCain and taxes.

Update 9 – 9:09 PM: Obama’s trying to claim he tried to do something about this problem before?! Time for you to shine, Mc!

– Mc says we need personal accountability and Obama is hitting him again on the ‘underlying issues’ and Mc needs to respond more about what he and Bush tried to do about FM2.

Update 7 – 9:06 PM: McCain wishes Kennedy well.

– R’s and D’s sitting down trying to figure out a problem to this fiscal crisis.
-Pkg has to have transparency, insurance, oversight.
-Went back to DC to help get the GOP House Republicans to be a part of the solution to the problem.
-Why didn’t he hit back at Obama on the Bush hit??

Update 6 – 9:03 PM: Lehrer’s first question is about the financial crisis, and it goes to Obama.

– Need oversight.
-Taxpayers should get money back when market recovers.
-No money needs to pad CEO bank accounts/golden parachutes.
-Need to deal with root of problem.
-This is a verdict of for 8 years of Bush policy supported by John McCain.

Update 5 – 9:00 PM: Showtime. PBS’ Jim Lehrer is the moderator. Hmmm.

Update 4 – 8:06 PM: An hour before the foreign policy debate, the McCain campaign emails the following announcement: “300 Retired Generals And Admirals Endorse John McCain For President.” Great timing.

Update 3 – 8:00 PM: Don’t forget, you can watch the debate live on C-SPAN in the event you can’t get to a TV. C-SPAN’s Debate Hub site is also a good place to visit tonight as well.

Update 2 – 6:51 PM: And the Obama camp’s lies have already begun.

Update 1 – 6:38 PM: Marc Ambinder reports that the Obama campaign is already playing the low expectations game ahead of tonight’s duel.

In spite of the rough week the McCain campaign has had (some of it self-induced, unfortunately) I’m pumped up about tonight’s debate. Dunno what’s brought on this resurgence of energy on my part, because frankly I was in the dumps earlier thinking about this tough week – maybe I’m in a good mood because it’s Friday, I’m home and gotten in my comfy clothes, and have a full tank of gas and don’t have to wait in 2 hour+ lines to get it like others are in this city. In any event, I’m stoked about the first debate of the three Mc and Obama are scheduled to have. Debate time is 9PM and I’ll be tuning in to watch it on Fox. I’ll also be liveblogging it, so this post will be updated frequently, with the newest updates at the top of the post.

Frankly, I normally don’t get into debates that much primarily because it irks me so much that so many in this country make their decisions based on the soundbites they hear from the candidates either at the debate are on the news the next day via recaps. People need to dig and do some research to get to know the candidates better. But I’m eager for this debate because I’m interested to see how Mc and Obama do in their first one on one, considering the back and forth jabs that have been thrown via ads and statements over the last few weeks. Mc may not be the smoothest talker, but he’s no lightweight either. Obama got bruised up by Hillary in the primary season debates, so he’s got some experience under his belt on that front, but will he be able to successfully counter Mc’s points? Mc’s almost like a natural at debates, while Obama – while not bad – seems lost at times, especially on foreign policy issues which, as far as I know, will be the subject of tonight’s debate. Wonder how many times McCain will get the first question?

Please use this thread as an open one to discuss issues related to the candidates and their upcoming debate tonight. Oh, and one more thing: Yes, this has been a bruising week, but campaigns have their ups and downs. It’s agonizing, but things can change in an instant. If Mc does well at tonight’s debate the dynamics of the race could change … again. Stay tuned.

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