45 minutes in, I do not like this two minute answer, one minute followup format. Brokaw started being a hardass on time about two questions in, with the result that McCain was able to leave a zinger about Obama raising taxes on small businesses just hanging out there, and Obama was not allowed to correct the record... or the impression McCain left in viewers' minds. If Obama does the same thing I'll be equally annoyed. It's a piss-poor idea that just begs for whoever speaks last to say whatever he wants, knowing there won't be an immediate rebuttal. I do not know what the format of the next debate will be, but is it too much to hope for that they might be given something like five minutes to respond, with a ten-minute response, followed by a five-minute rebuttal, and so on until the moderator decides the topic is exhausted? Probably way too much to ask.
Random note time.
They really should have put shorter chairs on the stage. McCain has taken to just standing or walking around while Obama's talking because his feet barely reach the floor. Did his people not bring a measuring tape tonight?
McCain is taking a page from the Palin playbook and answering as many questions with "energy independence!" as he can.
Teh "my friends" Tourette's, he haz it bad tonite.
McCain has reached across the aisle! Unfortunately, a lot of those grab sessions have been with Joe Lieberman.
Obama bags on Bush calling on people to go shopping after 9/11, saying Americans are looking for leaders that call them to work together to sacrifice for the country. The best thing we can start with, since energy is so central to everything, is to look at how we can save energy at home and at work.
McCain flogging his $5000 tax credit again. Says we need choice but to be smart about not choosing a Cadillac policy if we can't afford it. No word on what level of coverage he thinks will be available for 5k on the open market, or what people who can't front 5k even in monthly installments are supposed to do until April or May, or what people who don't make enough to file taxes and therefore will be ineligible for a tax credit in the first place are supposed to do.
Obama is pissed that his mother died at 53 from cancer, spending her last months in a hospital fighting with insurance companies over whether it was pre-existing or not. He says healthcare should be a right in the wealthiest country in the world. He would give a fifty percent tax credit, and I have no idea what this means, although he did say that empoyer-provided policies get to still exist. Oooh, I hope my boss decides to still be awesome.
Obama points out that in McCain's free market that opens up insurance without regard to state lines, every insurance company would relocate to states with the least amount of regulation so that they will be able to provide you with the least amount of coverage possible.
Oh snap! Obama says McCain's right that he doesn't understand some things about foreign policy, like why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 while al Qaeda sets up camps along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. That was McCain's job, and he was a cheerleader for Bush. Can't be a military power when the economy's in the tank, can't be a force for good when our national reputation is in the tank, can't swoop into Rwanda when the military is overextended. Obama Doctrine will be... if we stand by and watch genocide, that means we suck. But we have to pick and choose and work with our allies because there is bad shit happening all over the world all the time and we can't be everywhere at once.
McCain ignores the point that the Iraq war was not the best idea and falls back on Obama wants to bring the troops home in defeat. McCain Doctrine is to know our limits, says Somalia pretty well sucked. Gotta temper decisions with ability to make a difference. Oh, McCain's been in those situations all his life, and he won't take them lightly, but oh we can't leave early.
What do we do about Pakistan? Should we go all Cambodia on their ass? Obama: it's a difficult situation exacerbated by our getting distracted by Iraq and letting AQ regroup in Pakistan, which is the real central front in the war on terrorism. Gotta get out of Iraq so we can go back in and get Afghanistan right and quit coddling Pakistan as they make treaties with AQ. If we have Osama in our sights and the Pakis won't take him out, we will. McCain: We have to speak softly and carry a big stick! Obama wants to announce he's gonna attack Pakistan, which will turn public opinion against us! We, uh the Afghan freedom fighters drove the Russians out of Afghanistan and then we washed our hands of it and the Taliban came back! Who was one of the main freedom fighters? Olama? Osamoo? bin Loppin? Ohhhh, Osama bin Laden, right.
Obama insists on a followup and Brokaw gives up and capitulates. Obama says nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan, even though McCain keeps saying he did. Obama repeats the thing about retaining the right to kill bin Laden if he happens to be in Pakistan and Pakistan won't do it. And points out that McCain sang Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran and threatened to annihilate North Korea, and before we finished in Afghanistan said next stop, Baghdad! Which is not exactly speaking softly. Oh, he was just joking with an old veteran friend about Iran. And I know how to get Osama bin Laden, my friends, I know how to get him, but I won't telegraph my punches. I'll be responsible like I have been through my entire military career. Which made Boltgirl go HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Question from me: if you know how to get Osama, why have you been keeping it a giant secret for the past seven years? Why no inclination to share this strategy with, say, the Marines?
I would like to point out that I am not drinking tonight. This shit is surreal enough on its own.
Is Russia an evil empire? Obama: they're not the old Soviet Union, but they do evil things and still have dangerous nationalistic impulses. McCain: saying yes reignites the Cold War, saying no excuses their behavior. Wow, the one answer he gave that did not piss me off.
What do we do if Iran attacks Israel? Do we fight for them or wait for the UN? McCain pisses himself thanking the questioner because he's a retired Navy petty officer, then goes back on the Obama wants to talk to Ahmedinejad without preconditions my friends train. We can't allow a second Holocaust to take place. No word on what his answer to the actual question is. Obama makes like he's going to shirk the question as well, instead sticking to the script of trying to keep Iran from getting nukes... but says we should never take military options off the table or give the UN veto power over our national interests, but the biggest thing has to be diplomacy to keep this kind of crisis from happening in the first place. Defends the need for direct talks. Notes that when Bush said he wouldn't talk to Iran ever ever ever, they went from zero centrifuges to 400.
Last question: what don't you know and how will you learn it? Jesus fucking Christ. Obama opens with a joke: I'll ask Michelle! Ha ha ha. What he does know is he got where he is because opportunities were given to him despite coming from modest means. The question is are we gonna pass on that same American dream to the next generation? McCain: What I don't know is what's going to happen here at home and abroad. Things suck here and abroad and we'll be surprised by shit. I always put my country first.
And with that it's over. The guys actually pull off a handshake/bro hug and then try to stand side by side but get in the way of Brokaw's teleprompter, which gives them the excuse to fucking sprint away from each other and start shaking hands at opposite sides of the room.
Michelle looks lovely. I like the color of Cindy's dress so much I am almost distracted from the scary pale wraith wearing it. Oops, Michelle and the McCains almost crash into each other. McCain actually pats Obama on the back, Obama extends his hand, McCain redirects him over to Cindy, who accepts the proffered hand and shakes briefly.
Just enough time to grab a beer, finally, and settle in for Dancing With The Stars!
Edited! To add! It's Wheel of Fortune instead of DWTS! Not happy!