Friday, September 26, 2008

Experiment: Live Blogging the First Presidential Debate

10: 38

DONE! That was tough but fun! Now lets see how I compare to the talking heads....
Edited to add: Now that I've blogged about it, I find I'm not as interested in the analysis of others immediately. Interesting.


Barack, Barack, Barack...McCain just said you had no experience and he is the most experienced politician alive. And your retort? "My father came from Kenya, which is why I have my name". ?? You just let that slide? Why?

10: 28

Chaos, interruption- Indian Parliament news flashback....before Obama politely moves on....

I spaced out and when I snapped back Obama was trying to get a word in edgewise....wha??


Wow....McCain suddenly woke up and went on a little McCain rant.... Heeeeeeerrree's Johnny.......!!!

(Obama spluttered in amazement....I nearly choked on my drink...)


Obama needs to stop saying "John is right". You only play nicely with those who play nicely with you...

Clear answer from McCain about Iran as an existential threat. Clear but scary. Brings Russia in immediately, proposes "painful" sanctions on the "lousy" Iranian government....Bush the 3rd anyone?


" I got a bracelet too?" Rise above this nonsense Barack....come on....

Oh Yawn......McCain pulls out the old bracelet story now...


BURN! Obama: "coming from you who has talked about exterminating N. Korea and sung songs about bombing Iran, I'm not sure how credible that is' (on McCain talking about Obama's willingness to attack Pak)


So far if I was grading these two I would give McCain points for sticking to the question, articulating simply and effectively and for his consistency. Avoid redundancy and repetition.

Obama A- "Pay closer attention to the question and be more clear. On the positive side: Good, complex reasoning and nuanced understanding of the issues. Also extra credit for being able to pronounce Pakistan.' Points taken/ warning for saying "We have to be able to take them out"

9: 50

Now we're talking - Iraq still remains the real issue here for these two....they both look a lot more confident here. National Security and Foreign Policy is clearly much more of a comfort zone for both of them.

9: 42

McCain just repeated that he was not chosen as Miss Congeniality (which is worth another blog post, coming soon)- which is just begging for some sort of joke about Palin.


Dominant themes:

Obama: McCain is mini-Bush, Bush the 3rd, Bush's best pal.... please don't believe their lies
McCain: Talking the talk, does not mean walking the walk, cut spending, cut spending, cut spending!
Lehrer: Focus and please answer the question directly

9: 33

I'm struck by just how remarkably better both of these candidates speak than Bush. At least this is a real debate. And both men can pronounce nuclear- hallelujah for that. They also don't smirk/ grin sheepishly

9: 30

Ah! the familiar trope of Chinese children forging ahead, a perennial favorite- and it comes from Obama.

So far McCain has had the better one liners and the better campaigning buzz words (maverick, spending) , Obama sounds a lot more detailed and focused on policy- maybe too much?

Obama laughs at McCain's jokes, McCain grins as Obama speaks....much amusement.

It's getting heated now- calling each other liars, talking directly at each other, interrupting etc. That didn't take long. out Barak- don't antagonize small business. McCain's cracking up in the corner for some reason- he's explaining why now.


This is harder than I thought- you have to listen, reflect and type while not missing what's going on- my respect for live bloggers of random awards shows has shot up.


First good punch line of the night- goes to McCain...He's already made two jokes about his age...ok, strike that, three. If you can't beat em, join em, I guess.

Obama's using first names and McCain is refusing to warm up to that usage- it's a cold Sen. Obama....I wonder how micro-planned such strategies are...
He also looks at McCain when he talks to him and McCain stares straight ahead (and now I'm done with my imitation of FOX news body language analysts)
Edited to add at 11:00- lots of the media analysts also picked up on this. Not bad for your not-so-humble blogger...


5 minutes in and I have the same comment for Sen. Obama that I often do for my undergraduate students - answer the question, please.


We're off and in the hands of the eminently capable Jim Lehrer who gets straight to the heart of the matter- the economy. The new format allows both back and forth debating as well as follow ups by Lehrer. Let's see if it gets nasty with this format- I doubt it.

My first live blogging attempt: This will be fun not only for the experience but also to see how my immediate judgement differs from that of the talking heads and media who will analyze this tomorrow.

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