Oct 15, 2008

Live-blogging the Domestic Policy Debate in NY: Joe the Plumber


[Photo at left shows the actual Joe the Plumber, referred to throughout the debate.]
  • Like the format with both debaters seated and fairly close to each other, talk-show style, almost
  • McCain said his first congenial utterance over the microphone to Obama, "Good to see you again." He also maintained eye contact. Clearly, he's been reprimanded for his contempt-laden body-language
  • McCain said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the bad housing market. Either he has bad information, or he had a senior moment
  • Obama said tax breaks for those making $200K or more--he meant to say $250K or more
  • Obama said our energy policy gives our wealth away. Wish he would expand on that. Surely he's referring to oil.
  • McCain brought up the "Joe the Plumber" reference to make Obama look heartless, but Joe the Plumber, who would get taxed under Obama's plan, would have to be making $250K a year. Would he be more correctly labeled, "Joseph, the Plumbing Business Owner, Who Makes Good Money"? Not a great example.
  • The Joe the Plumber schtick from McCain is going on a bit too long
  • The moderator is tough, not taking any guff about time overruns, asking brutal questions with verve, cracking the whip to tame the two lions. I think he's a keeper.
  • McCain must have been waiting, have trained to deliver his power-punch line. When he said it, his veins bulged and he looked about to pop. "I am not George Bush. If you had wanted to debate George Bush, you should have run four years ago." This might have been stronger if the delivery had been lighter--as though he just thought of it. Instead, it was strained, forced, and obviously his one-two jab that was supposed to knock Obama for a loop. Pathetic.
  • For those who are playing drinking games in this debate, the key phrases to signal it's time to knock one back are "America is hurting," and "Joe the Plumber." Getting tipsy now, y'all?
  • McCain asked Obama (I love this punch after punch style--now THIS is a real debate) if he stood up to his own party. Obama listed tort reform, charter schools and merit raises for teachers, and clean coal technology. Seemed like three clear examples of how he differed with the Democrats. McCain said Obama's examples were nothing. Ha! Back to the "Maverick" shtick for McCain, despite voting pari passu with George Bush 95% of the time. Meanwhile, McCain desperately tries to pry his way loose from under the Bush Halloween costume he's been donning for the past eight years.
  • Again, the moderator kicks serious butt--love the tough question, "Dirty campaigns by both of you, but what would you really have your campaign say to your opponent?" Obama got to bring up the lame and desperately feeble Ayers connection (by the way, my sister is an educator and she knows Bill Ayers. She says he is a great guy, very well loved, and completely reformed. During his wild youth, he did horrible things, for which he is deeply sorry. He hasn't been a terrorist since the 1960s, so an association with him is not exactly a link to terrorism. Now an association with George Bush? THAT is a link to terrorism.
  • McCain had the audacity to lay out the argument that his own campaign would not have been so negative if Obama had agreed to have a series of town-hall style debates with him. There is not a shred of logic there, and Obama immediately pointed that out. He also whooped up on McCain by pointing out the statistic that 2/3 of those polled believe McCain's campaign to be negative, with only 1/3 believing Obama's to be negative.
  • File this under five-year-old playground insults, to be followed by a raspberry and a shower of spit, McCain said of Obama, "You didn't tell the truth to the American people because you didn't" So there. Take that.
  • The Congressman Lewis discussion was worthwhile. That needed to be duked out. I think neither party looked bad, for once. Obama was so right to point out that Palin let her rally supporters shout horrible things about Obama, complete unchecked. "Terrorist," and "Kill him." Those are wretched and inexcusable. McCain was right to say he was hurt by what Lewis said.
  • Again and again, Obama sounds level-headed and presidential. McCain sounds bumptious, barely restrained, and on the verge of a stroke.

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