THOUGHTS ON THE DEBATE
I took some notes as I watched and here they are.
1. First impressions: McCain, stiff and confused, somewhat incoherent, inarticulate, bumbling. Obama, smug, loose, prepared, polished.
2. McCain's big plan: the US Treasury should buy up bad mortgages and renegotiate them at lower home prices. Say what?!! You are an idiot.
3. Obama wrote a letter! And gave a speech in 2004!
4. "Look at our records, not just our rhetoric." Sounds like McCain will make that his theme for the night.
5. When Obama is not talking, he is listening attentively to McCain. It is a good visual impression.
6. McCain, meanwhile, is busily taking notes. To aid his memory? Because he's old? Because he's scripted?
7. McCain is really really boring. Now and always.
8. Nice job by Obama to note that the locals are paying $3.80 a gallon. Smart tactical move. He's in touch with the folks.
9. McCain notes Obama's supposedly egregious request for a $3m overhead projector for a planetarium in his district. Is that the most egregious example you can find among the hundreds of $millions he's requested? Weak.
10. Obama is answering the questions. McCain is meandering with his remarks.
11. McCain does not explain himself well. Ever.
12. Obama has done a great job of recreating and selling himself.
13. McCain reminds me why I was so sour on his bipartisan ass in the first place.
14. "My friends, my friends". . . McCain has a lot of friends.
15. McCain remains inarticulate. He is short of breath. Overeager.
16. Obama is cool, sober, calm, unruffled.
17. I am not undecided and I have no idea what undecideds might be taking away from this.
18. Obama knows that people like free stuff, so he promises free stuff.
19. I would rather be listening to Romney, Fred or Giuliani.
20. Brokaw is asking some good relevant questions, but this event doesn't have the feel of a real town hall, more like your regular stiff debate.
21. Obama is on his game tonight.
22. Obama says "we shouldn't have gone to Iraq." McCain talks of the goodness, might and moral responsibility of America. McCain shines on this subject. He finally looks and sounds tough.
23. McCain's hero is Teddy Roosevelt. A few minutes ago you said your hero was Ronald Reagan.
24. "You're doing a great job, Tom," says Obama. He sounded really condescending, like when he said, "You're likable enough, Hillary."
25. Regarding Russia, Obama says, "In April, I put out a statement." Ooh! A speech, a letter, AND a statement! Now that's leadership.
26. McCain doesn't complete his thoughts. It frustrates me.
27. Obama has the gift of making your forget what the question was. A tremendously useful political skill.
28. I don't want either one of these guys.
29. Strong closing by McCain: service to country and a strong hand on the tiller.
30. What's a tiller?
31. For me, McCain did nothing to change the momentum and Obama did nothing to hurt himself.
32. This event was pretty dull and conventional.
33. Borrrring!! I've already heard this material in the stump speeches and talking points.
34. Obama wins by not losing. McCain loses by not winning.