« Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain | Main | Taketh »

Debate Open Thread

I think the debate rules will limit any fireworks.

Barack Obama and John McCain meet for a second debate Tuesday night with a "town hall" format, but a deal made between the camps limits the interaction the candidates will have with the undecided voters in the pool of questioners.

Almost every important detail about the debates -- three presidential and one vice presidential -- is governed by a 31-page "memorandum of understanding." It was collegially negotiated between the Obama and McCain camps and covers everything from how the candidates are addressed to the permissible camera shots.

Have fun!

Here is the transcript

CBS Poll of Uncommited Voters

CBS News and Knowledge Networks have, once again, conducted a nationally representative poll of uncommitted voters to get their immediate reaction to tonight's presidential debate.

And this new poll has good news for the Democratic ticket: Just as in the first presidential debate and the vice presidential face off, more uncommitted voters say the Democratic candidate won the debate. (The exact numbers may change as more respondents complete the survey.)

Thirty-nine percent of the 400 uncommitted voters surveyed identified Barack Obama as tonight's winner; 27 percent said John McCain won, while 35 percent saw the debate as a draw.

After the debate, 68 percent of uncommitted voters said that they think Obama will make the right decisions on the economy, compared to 54 percent who said that before the debate. Fewer thought McCain would do so – 49 percent after the debate, and 41 percent before.

The best question:
An opportunity missed?

Watch CBS Videos Online



I think it might limit most fireworks but not all. From the look of the stage McCain might have to look at Obama once or twice.

Is it just me or is McCain very patronizing?

Not just you, the lines on CNN agree.

what do they do every time he says "my friends".

"Size of the fine" tanked

Most awkward back pat ever!

Obama won, the debate format lost and McCain just got elected president of a Moose lodge somewhere.

At the end of the debate, did I see Obama approach McCain to shake his hand, and McCain just turn away with Cindy McCain shaking Obama's hand instead? What a jerk!

You saw that, but they likely shook hands why they were standing in front of the camera immediately after the debate ended.

That may be possible. But what it looked like to me was that Obama had his hand extended and was looking directly at McCain. McCain turned away from Obama and then Cindy McCain came in from Obama's right.

Anyways, I don't think this format helped McCain. He came off like, as Keith Olbermann described "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!"

I watched that section again just now, and it looks like McCain wanted to have his wife greet Obama, and that is why he sort of has his hand out towards Obama, indicating that they should greet each other.

McCain is smiling and talking to Obama during the exchange. They shook hands off camera. This is a non issue.

What bugs me is the new mortgage program that McCain brought up is government involvement when he was giving Obama a bad time about government involvement in insurance (unless I'm missing something?)

But, I thought Obama was great....

We watched the debate on the New York Times website, and at the end, Obama and his wife stayed around for quite a while, shaking hands, getting their pictures taken, signing autographs, even posing for a group photo with what looked like most of the people who had been sitting on the risers, while McCain was nowhere to be seen after his first quick round of handshakes. It was interesting.

The best question:

It showed one of the biggest gaps between real people and both political parties. Obama gave a good answer but neither gave a direct answer to the question asked.

the "bomb bomb iran" come back was easily the best moment of the campaign, for my money. From his gleeful "thank you" to the stren frown, the look on McCain's face was priceless. I think that was the best moment we can hope for in these debates. That was, in my opinion, the knock out hit.

YES. I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that slide from his creepy snarky grin, to his wide eyed stare at the ground with a straight face, culminating into a frown and furrowed brow in all within 3 seconds.

the drinking game for palin is to drink whenever she says "maverick".

looks like for mccain it's whenever he says "my friends".

from the 10 minutes i saw of this parallel interview, it seemed quite generic.

You missed (or neglected to post) the bad numbers .... ready to be president? McCain 77% pre-debate, 83% post-debate; Obama 42% pre-debate, 58% post-debate.

The most important numbers, if they are anywhere close to correct are these:

Seventy-two percent of uncommitted voters remained uncommitted after the debate. Fifteen percent committed to Obama, and 12 percent to McCain.

The debate did McCain no good, and maybe a little harm. McCain is behind, and has been falling further behind. For him now, not winning is losing.

What numbers are these?

McCain and Palin are totally unfit to be in office, sticking the people of Alaska with a bill when she stays in her own home is criminal, plus she tells so many lies to the American people openly as if we are all dumb. Telling everyone that she stopped the bridge to no where is a lie too, she was not even sworn into office when that happened. then their is her husband who wanted Alaska along with herself to leave the U.S. Plus the lie about the plane that she said that she sold on EBay, when all she did was out it up for Auction but was sold through a broker, what a total liar she is and so is McCain.

McCain is a traitor to our great country, making all those videos to save his own life, what a coward he is and was, I guess country did not come first then, he said it himself, he did not love America until he was in that POW camp. As a solider we are trained to escape and to aid other to escape, I guess McCain missed that training, and that part about giving information to the enemy, even if it is false. I am former Army man and an independent voter and I see that there is no honor among McCain and Palin all they know is hate, fear, and racism. When did patriotism come from hate, bile, fear, and racism?

"The best question:"

I have a hard time believing that that woman is undecided. She asked the question from a pretty left-wing perspective, and that's the issue she chooses to ask about in the town hall meeting, and she doesn't know whether she'll vote for McCain or not?

I'm annoyed at Brokaw and Lehrer heavy-handedly demanding that Obama and McCain prove that they are going to balance the budget through massive spending cuts in the midst of a very serious recession. That's stupid fiscal policy and yet we have debate moderators self-righteously imposing it on presidential candidates.

On the radio this debate kind of sucked. A lot of the same points as the first debate, and few interesting questions were let through by Brokaw. Of course the big bright side is that Obama tied at the very least, and probably won again, if for no other reason that more voters trust him than trust McCain at this point.

Re: The best question.

Suggested sound-bites/talking points:

Good luck trying to buy health insurance with Sen. McCain's $5,000 check if you have a 'pre-existing condition.'

Sen. McCain talks about choice. What he doesn't tell you is that choice is a two-way street: choice for the customer, and choice for the insurer to reject a patient on the pretext of a 'pre-existing condition.'

The pre-existing condition issue demonstrates the fundamental problem with healthcare-for-profit instead of healthcare-for-healthcare. A pre-existing condition means that you're more in need of medical help, not less. It's absurd to reject healthcare to those who are already sick. It's like the fire department hanging up on you if your house is "already on fire". That would only make sense if you run the fire department to make a profit, not to stop fires.

Obama's plan seems rather half-assed. But I guess it's a first step toward giving the public what they've wanted for 60+ years, but always been denied by their "representatives" in Washington.

Obama's plan seems rather half-assed.

And, still, "maverick" McCain assaults him for his "socialist government run health care" (if only).

Remember, "that one" said health care is a right. McCain said it was a "responsibility", and he meant it's Your responsibility, not anyone elses.

Obama is far from perfect, but jesus, he's finally a step in the right direction for once.

I think the best line from the debate was when McCain accused Obama of not Understanding Foreign Policy, and Obama responded by saying, "McCain is right, I don't understand a lot of things...I don't understand why we invaded Iraq when it had nothing to do with 911..."

Oh by the way, if you plan on donating to Obama's Campaign, now would be the best and probably last time to do so! Now is the time to dot those Is and cross the Ts on this race...LETS bring it home people! :P

Something I really cannot understand. Maybe you can clear it up.
When Obama was asked about the economy he attacked the "liberal banking hiding in Delaware!"

WTF. He attacked his running mate, Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. of Delaware and the source of his own campaign funds.

These are people that you cannot piss off.

Delaware: Bank of America, Wilmington Trust, First USA / Bank One / JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Barclays plc, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Country Wide, Lehnman Brothers, ISDA, Wachovia, other Corporations incorporated in Delaware.

I don't think he attacked them - he explained why they were located in Delaware - because of the laws there on credit cards and other laws, I suppose. He was saying that's what the insurance companies would do - in other words - the options McCain was discussing by going state to state would not happen.

"the best question"

I do not think the way she asked the question was effective. Brokaw had a slightly better version, but still not right. The issue is whether health issurance is a right or a highly desirable social good. And that is a complicated question. If it's a right, it must be something guarenteed, and the Clinton magical mandates do not even begin to address how resources are to be allocated for that. If it is merely a highly desirable good, that it is a worthy project of government to extend it to as many citizens as possible--but not guarenteed.

My favorite question: Brokaw asking the candidates to get out of the way, because he couldn't read the teleprompter.

Favorite moment:

"That one"

As is my custom by now, I've analyzed the words used by the speakers in the latest US presidential debate. I provide a bubble graph visualizing length of words, sentences and speech. I also investigated a gut feeling that there was something odd about the distribution of thanks between the different players (bar chart). Finally, improved "word couds" for every speaker (this time including all meaningful words). See and read about it at my Word Face-Off blog.

I wish they'd do a debate after the style of the chomsky-buckley debate. There was a lot of ducking & weaving in that debate as well, but you get far more than just talking points.

I just saw that posted for the first time. I didn't know anything about it. Is it good?

There are many countries where health insuance IS a right - the problem of resourcing it is 'solved' by some rationing of drug use, elective procedures, time of treatment etc. In these situations it is also possible (if you have the money) to buy health insurance over and above the 'National' level, which allows those individuals to elect for 'better' care, 'more convenient' care or extra electives. This then frees up more of the 'National' availability for the poorer. The point being that the poorest still qualify for 'free' treatment, especially for injury, major illness etc.

IT was rather interesting to see Obama Berated for having mandates and fines in his plan after being beat up for the entire primary for not having them.

Would he have not better to have them in the plan for the primary and take them out in the general?

I have a hard time believing that that woman is undecided.

Oh, nobody that is well informed is still undecided.

Went to a debate party - first time seeing one of these outside of comforts of our own basement - interesting to watch what live people were responding to as the night wore on.

WHO picked that nasty orange color for the background? I thought I was watching Sesame Street for a minute.

My take on the night with my new friends can be found here:

McCain Succumbs To Obama Mojo During Debate

Are there any of you Hillary supporters out there, Norm?

I think that Red seven who mentioned the mandates attack has a point ( one that I made in the past), everyone wanted Hillary's health care plan, or single payer, but unfortunately that would not fly in America, not sure why, but it just would end up being a huge attack ad wedge issue. So maybe Obama was wrong on policy, but likely very correct on politics. Hillary would have been slammed on that.

Curious what the Hillary supporters think, would we be in a better position if she had won the nomination?

I figure similar slime ads would be out, just different kind of slime. Would Bills economic record help, or would they attack things that the Clinton administration did with deregulation and housing loans?

She may have been slammed on it, but that is not necessarily bad. It could be used as a teaching moment. There is already a mandate. Emergency rooms currently deal with thousands of patients, and they can't turn them away without at least checking to see if there is an immediate need for care. It is a very inefficient form of mandated care. A health policy that mandates care for all is cheaper in the long run unless you believe those who can't afford healthcare should just suffer and die, if they don't have the money to pay.

I tend to agree. The little lines showed that some mandates did no damage to Obama. More mandates might actually have been an issue for Clinton, but nowhere near as important as the economy is right now.

They definitely would be slamming Hillary on something. We have no idea what because who could've dreamed of making a big deal of a non-issue like Ayers. Yes, they would've brought Bill's record into it and I'm sure everything for the last eight years would've been just the downstream effects from his Presidency.

I checked out a couple of right wingers and the still-Hill supporters on No Quarter after the debate thinking they would be starting to adjust to Obama but they truly hate "Barry" - they wonder why people don't realize how Bush-like he is(!), and, some said Palin should be at the top of the ticket 'cause she would be kicking Barry's @ss or - hey - the ideal ticket - Hillary and Palin....

It is strange to see former Democrats (I would say liberals but obviously, they were never that) change their tune to saying now Fox is the only channel where you can find the truth...

I keep thinking there will be something we all can agree on but this country has been purposely split so radically, I don't think we all can even vaguely agree on anything again. 9/11 was probably our moment and Bush ensured that was squandered.

Curious what the Hillary supporters think, would we be in a better position if she had won the nomination?

I wasn't a supporter, but I can read the map. Of the states that McCain has or is favored in, I really think that only West Virginia is likely to have been in Hillary's camp. Of the toss-ups right now, hmmm... Florida and Ohio would probably be more solidly in Hillary's column, maybe Indiana too. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are going to go solidly Obama at this point anyway, I would guess. On the other hand, Virginia and North Carolina might be stronger for Obama than they would have been for Hillary - perhaps the same for Colorado and New Mexico. Nevada? - I don't know.


As Bill Clinton put it: McCain is a Great Man !!! HONOR: President Clinton VOTE: McCain

Anyone who has the capability to view the conditions in the US and around the world from a Middle Class US citizens’ perpspective would have seen that Obama clearly is the only politician left standing with a plan for American citizens to get us ALL out of the mess the Republicans left for us, and John Mccain does not. He is simply copying Obama’s change under the guise of his “reform.” Even a mentally challenged individual could see that this is just wool over their eyes - oh wait… there are still people who like Mccain, I take that back. Why do the Democrats always have to come in and clean up after the Republicans mess?

Don't forget Arkansas.

This election is all but over. Obama will be the next President. The youth want him as their leader... if you are old, and are inclined to vote for Mccain because he is old, and represents values that were useful for you in your day... then remember that you are affecting us, the youth, and not you.

Since I favor the election of Obama I might have just ignored your ageist remark, but I found it quite offensive. In response let me answer for those of us who are no longer 'young', by reminding you that we're not dead yet, and imploring you to work on your bad manners.

"Something I really cannot understand. Maybe you can clear it up. When Obama was asked about the economy he attacked the "liberal banking hiding in Delaware!"

He said it because it's true and it really sucks. It's the reason people are getting screwed by credit card companies. MBNA was one of the worst.

Biden has caved to the credit card companies on federal legislation, but he is not responsible for the state banking laws. Attacking Delaware's loose regulations is not an attack on Biden, and I doubt that most Delaware residents are going to rally around scummy credit card companies that happen to reside in their state. Obama's comment was sound on policy and good politics.

In relation to the "best question," I found the responses to the Social Security and Medicare discussion Q telling. Obama did answer that question by way or rebutting McCain's accusations/talking points against him. Obama used the rebuttal to lead into a discussion of shoring up Social Security and the importance of Medicare and to some degree Medicare's relation to his health plan.

McCain then said he's answer then question - well, if you consider saying reaching across the aisle, being maverick and going against your own party, and O's policy = bad as the answer to the question, I guess he answered.

On the climate change issue, I can't believe McCain ridiculed Obama's allusion to the fact that we need to find a way to safely store nuclear waste. Obama needed to have taken a sentence or 2 to stress that McCain doesn't get THAT ONE.

Overall, Obama won; undoubtedly he gained a few more undecideds as the poll numbers show. I do think McCain got in a few jabs early on in the economy talk; then he unraveled. Obama won, but not by much.


Democrats, stop agreeing to these stupid formats which are supposed to limit rebuttals. Fortunately both candidates did some rebutting. Don't agree to such a format, then the moderator can allow it and we can have follow up questions.

We need more questions at the next debates. Moderators: look for questions that have gone unanswered. Or does the public care? At least there was some reference to Africa this evening. As much as i think those who wish to attend college and have the mettle for it should have scholarship options if the financial need is present, I;d like to see more discussion on employment opportunities that don't require a 4 year degree. Plumbing, masonry, other aspects of construction; working in wind and solar power development also involves the manufacturing of the materials; laying down more rail track, etc.

Lastly - why did these guys pick debate nights when I'm busy? Arg! Then again - hooray for the internets sos I can watch anyway.

the drinking game for palin is to drink whenever she says "maverick".

looks like for mccain it's whenever he says "my friends".

from the 10 minutes i saw of this parallel interview, it seemed quite generic.

Why don't my comments get posted??

I don't understand.

I approve comments of unregistered users when I have time. It might be just a few minutes or it might be a day or two. If you want your comments to appear immediately you simply need to register.


Support this site

Google Ads

Powered by Movable Type Pro

Copyright © 2002-2017 Norman Jenson


Commenting Policy

note: non-authenticated comments are moderated, you can avoid the delay by registering.

Random Quotation

Individual Archives

Monthly Archives