Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final Obama-McCain Debate: Live-Blogging

George Wenschhof

The last presidential debate will begin at 9:00 PM ET and aired on CNN, MSNBC, and other channels - check your local listings. The ninety minute debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Bob Schieffer is the moderator and this debate will be focused on domestic and economic issues. There will be eight (ten minute segments) with each candidate having two minutes to respond, followed by a five minute discussion. They will be seated at a table facing each other. Each candidate will have 90 seconds for a closing statement.

Lots to look for - McCain earlier this week at a rally, said he was going to kick Obama's *** at the debate, only to be followed with a statement from the campaign that they do not expect this debate to be a game changer. Whatever, being behind in all the national polls and electoral maps puts the pressure on McCain to perform better than he did in the preceding two presidential debates. Polling indicated Obama won both of those debates, although I felt the first debate was a tie.

The Dow had another bad day today, dropping 733 points today to close a little under 8600. Expect education, social security, health care, the bailout plan, job creation and the overall status of the economy to be discussed. Immigration and Gay marriage have yet to really enter into the national debate so look to see if these issues are brought up for discussion. Also, they may talk about the appointment of Supreme Court Justices that may occur in their administration. The McCain campaign will want to see Ayers, Reverend Wright, etc. brought up for discussion and McCain will look to try to discuss foreign policy and how he can keep Americans and their families safe - a tiring refrain from the Republican Party. If he talks about foreign policy, expect him to bring up a statement allegedly made by Reverend Jesse Jackson at a world policy conference in France last week - McCain will try to undermine Obama's commitment to Israel.

McCain will try hard to emphasize Seniors and how his economic proposals would benefit them by allowing them to withdraw from their 401Ks without penalty, he will mention his $5000 health care credit to families, and he will mention his buying up troubled mortgages program.

Obama will most likely point out McCain's social security program which would have supported individual investment in the stock market would not have turned out that well today. He will also point out that McCain's health care proposal also includes taxing for the first time the health care benefits a individual receives from their employer. As to the troubled mortgage program, Obama should point out it seems similar to the McCain campaign - always changing and hard for anyone to make sense of it.

Pay attention to the body language - McCain lost in this area in both previous debates. McCain would not look at Obama and at one point in the second debate he referred to Obama as "that one". Sitting at a table facing each other, watch to see if they look at each other when answering questions or will they look at Bob Schieffer. Obama, on the other hand appeared more calm, measured, and presidential in the previous debates. McCain will try to rattle Obama as he realizes the pressure is on him to deliver a knockout punch. Obama has to stay cool and on message. He needs to avoid being drawn into lengthy ridiculous arguments such as the Ayers relationship.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley just released a statement that he will travel to New York and attend the debate tonight. This debate should be fun to watch. I will start my live blogging right here in this post, a little before 9:00 PM ET. Stay Tuned.
Well, I'm back and it is about ten minutes until game time - one question is will McCain throw a "Hail Mary" pass? bring up something completely new - maybe say he will only run for one term for he wants to put the country first and he is the man for the job right now. Another question is will the moderator, Bob Schieffer actually make the candidates answer the questions? Let's see how it goes..
quite a cozy arrangement - Schieffer will be sitting in-between the two candidates - so close they can all touch each other.
first question - economic crisis - both have proposed new plans - why is your plan better? McCain - they are hurting and angry - blames Freddie mac and Fannie Mae for the current crisis - take 300 of the 750 Billion of the bailout plan and buy the bad mortgages. Obama - worst financial crisis since the great depression, the 750Billion bailout plan we both supported. we need a rescue plan for the middle class - focus on jobs, help families with a tax cut, access IRA accounts without penalty, included in the bailout package a plan to help to negotiate mortgages, need to fix health care, education and energy.
McCain talks about small business owner - no tax increases on them-uses Joe the plumber in Ohio - Obama - McCain wants to continue with tax breaks for the wealthy- he wants to give a tax cut to 95% of Americans-those making under $250,000 per year. McCain stays on Joe the plumber - why would you want to increase taxes on anyone. Obama - I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans - McCain wants to give breaks to the wealthy.
next question - 455 Billion deficit this year - both proposals will add 200 Billion to the deficit - what will you cut back? Obama - 750 Billion rescue package works right, taxpayers will get their money back. He believes in a pay as you go. we need to eliminate programs that do not work. We need to invest in the American people - energy and health care, and education. McCain - back to home mortgage program - need nuclear energy. have a across the board freeze and then I would get out the scalpel. Marketing assistance program subsidies for ethanol, fight for a line item veto. Obama say a across the board freeze has never worked - lets focus on the programs that work. earmarks represent 1/2 of 1% of the budget. The budget deficit has doubled in the last eight years and McCain supported 4 of 5 of the Bush administration budget. McCain gives him zinger - if you wanted to run against Bush, you should have done so 4 years ago, I want to bring a new direction. Obama comes back and ties him to supporting Bush and what you are proposing is eight more years of the same. McCain - I have disagreed with the Bush administration
next question - high road promised by both campaigns - are you both willing to say the same to each other in person? McCain goes back to his 10 town hall requests that were not agreed to by Obama - talks about John Lewis's recent comments tying him to George Wallace- hopes Obama will repudiate these comments-accuses Obama campaign of spending more money on negative advertising since Watergate. Obama - we expect campaigns to be tough - 2/3 of the voters believe McCain is running a negative campaign, 1/3 Obama - says 100% of McCain's ads are negative - the notion that town hall meetings are not happening justifies negative ads is nonsense. If you want to continue to attack me I can handle it over the next three weeks - I would rather us talk about the economy over the next three weeks. McCain - accuses him of running ads misleading his position on many issues - goes back to Joe the plumber. asks about Lewis's statement again. Obama - says this is what transpired at one of your rallies - after Palin was speaking, people were yelling terrorist and lets kill him - this is not talking about issues.
McCain - I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies - they are patriotic and great citizens. McCain is getting angry. Obama - is keeping his calm - goes back to lifting wages and creating jobs-we need to work together - we can disagree without being disagreeable. McCain is going a little bonkers now - goes to Ayers and his relationship and Acorn- has a scowl on his face. Obama - stays calm - Ayers - 40 years ago participating in despicable acts when he was 8 years old. ten years ago, he served on a board with him, he does not work on his campaign. Acorn - had nothing to do with Obama campaign - he represented them years ago in regard to motor vehicle -voter registration. lets talk about who is on my campaign - Warren Buffet, Joe Biden. McCain accuses Obama started his campaign in Ayers house - not going to raise taxes. McCain is losing it!
Next question - why is your VP best suited to be the next President should it be necessary-Biden is best qualified and would make a great President if necessary. McCain - Palin took on corruption in Alaska. When Obama is asked about Palin, it will be up to the American voter. McCain - Biden voted against the first gulf war.
next question - reduce dependence on foreign oil - would each give a specific number on how much we can reduce foreign oil in first term? McCain - hammers away on nuclear power, wind solar, clean coal technology - 7-10 years eliminate our Independence. Obama - within ten years we can reduce dependence on foreign oil. have the oil companies to use it or lose the current leases they have - we can not drill our way out of the problem - solar, wind, need to develop a high fuel efficient auto. believes in free trade - but NAFTA does not have environmental or labor policies. McCain almost looks like he is babbling - Obama is against free trade and for raising taxes.
next question - controlling health care costs over expanding health care - Obama we need to do both - if you currently have health care, you don't need to do anything, for others we will provide heath care similar to what we receive. McCain - this is a painful situation, put health care records online, give every American family 5000 tax credit whatever health care program you want. Obama will fine you if you don't have insurance - Obama-small businesses are exempt from this program. Also if Joe the plumber wants to give his employees health care, he will give them a 50% credit. Talks about how McCain will tax people's health care benefits - the average cost for health care program is $12,000. McCain goes back to the fine on small businesses - he must not be listening. Obama - says US Chamber of Commerce opposes McCain's health care program.
next question - nomination of supreme court justice dependent on their position on Roe v. Wade? - McCain - he is a federalist, no litmus test. Obama says no litmus test - ability to provide just and fair decision - Roe v. Wade probably does hang in the difference. He believes women are in the best position to make these decision - mentions the right to privacy in the constitution - this is a position that is opposed by the far right. McCain supports pro-life position. says Obama voted against a ban on late term abortion. Disagred with Obama on the life of the mother being a concern in this issue. On a bill McCain criticized Obama on, Obama points out both Republicans and Democrats voted the same. McCain is rolling his eyes and sighing heavily.
last question - US spends more per capita on education than other nations but we trail almost every nation in the world - Obama - we have to get the education system right - we need more money and we need reform. I have proposed a $4000 tuition credit in return for community service. McCain - this is the civil rights issue of the 21st century-promotes charter schools and school choice - throwing money at the problem is not the solution. Obama believes in early childhood education, agrees with McCain on charter schools and accountability of teachers - disagrees with vouchers.
Closing statements - McCain - difficult times today - we can not be satisfied with what has been going on the last eight years. we need quality health care and education, need to rein in spending, spent my entire life putting my country first - I hope you give me an opportunity to serve again.
Obama - Washington's unwillingness to deal with the issues have left us in this situation. We can not have more failed policies of the last eight years - need to invest in the American people. We will all need to come together, I ask for your vote, I will work on your behalf and the behalf of your children.
It is now over - McCain was scrappy but displayed too much anger, rolling of the eyes and heavy sighs. I scored the first debate as a tie. I gave the second debate to Obama. I give this one hands down to Obama. McCain stumbled when he tried to interject Ayers and was horrible when it came to the abortion issue. His best line as I indicated when he said it was if Obama wanted to run against George Bush he should have done so 4 years ago - this as Obama continued to tie him to the last eight eight years of failures of the Bush administration.
Obama stayed cool and on message. He did not let McCain get to him, although McCain tried very hard. I would hardly call this debate a game changer.
Let the spin begin.


To receive "Daily Updates" from Air-it-Out with George, by email or reader, click on "Subscribe to this feed" below.

No comments: