Second Presidential Debate Belmont University Nashville, TN Town hall format; domestic/foreign policy How long will it take McCain to pivot from
October 7, 2008

Second Presidential Debate

Belmont University

Nashville, TN

Town hall format; domestic/foreign policy

How long will it take McCain to pivot from tax policy to William Ayers? Will Obama respond in kind and bring up McCain's much more controversial associations? Will Brokaw make up facts again to help McCain? Will either candidate get thrown a curveball from an audience member? We're about to find out.

Consider this another open thread. You can find the "McLiar Bingo" drinking game here.



9:00 pm: And we're off. John McCain actually makes eye contact.

9:02 pm: Meter peaks on Obama's opening response. Economy. Economy. Economy.

9:04 pm : McCain: "It's nice to see you at a town hall, Senator Obama." Dick.

9:07 pm: McCain looks spooked at getting the first follow up. Obama continues to pound home his economic message.

9:10 pm: McCain: Fannie and Freddie are responsible for the subprime mess. Nope.

9:15 pm: Obama: "I gotta correct McCain's history. Like Always... I never promoted Fannie. In fact, John McCain's senior economic advisor was a paid lobbyist for them."

"You're not interested in politicians pointing fingers."

9:20 pm: Obama is pre-empting McCain's attacks perfectly. It's almost as if he's egging him into retaliating with his trademark sneering condescension.

9:25 pm: Obama is getting his contrast jabs in, but focusing on specific economics problems and his solution to them. McCain delivers clichéd, packaged talking point and lame attacks.

9:27 pm: Obama is crushing home him core economic message.

9:35 pm: Obama is selling his economic policy so successfully that McCain's lame talking points are flat lining.

9:37 pm: C'mon Brokaw: Let Obama correct McCain's tax distortion.

Obama: "The Straight Talk Express Express has lost a wheel." How refreshing is it to hear a Democrat go on the offensive re: taxes? This ain't your fathers Democratic Party.

9:47 pm: The debate is not about you, Brokaw. Let them answer the questions.

9:50 pm: Obama on McCain's proposed health care plan: "What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away."

9:55: Memo to McCain: Don't remind voters of how old you are by talking about hair loss.

9:57 pm: Switching to foreign policy now. Obama wins the economy HANDS DOWN.

10:02 pm: McCain again says Obama "doesn't understand."

10:04 pm: Obama: "He's right: there are some thing I don't understand. Like invading iraq in response to 9/11." As Ari Gold would say, "BOOM!"

10:05 pm: The Obama Doctrine: A moral force for good in the world.

10:09 pm: Audience question: Should we go after UBL in Pakistan against their will? Someone answer this for me: Why is it controversial to hunt down bin Laden in Pakistan even if they say no?

10:13 pm: Stay the f*ck out of it Brokaw. Allow follow ups. The audience wants to hear the candidates, not your annoying interrupting.

10:14 pm: Obama: "How can a guy who sings about bombing Iran claim to 'speak softly'(ala Teddy Roosevelt)" ZING

10:16 pm: If John McCain knows how to get bin Laden, why won't he tell Bush?

10:19 pm: See here.

10:20 pm: McCain polling high on the issue of Russia. It's a shame (for him) that voters couldn't care less about the issue.

10:30 pm: Strong closings from both.

VERDICT: Putting my Obama partisan hat aside, if this were a baseball game, Obama just threw a one-hitter. He dominated the economic portion, and dominated foreign policy just as equally. McCain raised the meters at points, but Obama matched him at every turn and stayed directly on message. Obama also did a perfect job at pre-emptively disarming all of McCain's attacks. The Arizona Senator simply couldn't keep up.

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