I declare McCain the winner because for the first time ever, my husband said he is voting for McCain. Granted, he would never vote for Obama, but he has now vowed to never call McCain McSame again! That is no small victory.
I think that McCain did very well. He started out strong and really commanded the pork issue. I think he threw Obama off his game slightly. (Obama recovered pretty quickly, though.)
McCain finished strong by dropping the experience issue in a very pointed way. Obama’s failure to respond and quick change to a story about his father did not help diffuse that attack, IMO.
Ultimately, this will come down to how the debate is played out in the media in the coming days, I think.
I have to tell you, I was very sad when the debate was over and I changed the channel to NBC, as I always do, and realized that Tim Russert would not be there. His was always my favorite post-debate analysis.
During the debate, I decided to type my notes in a text document, rather than live blog. Here they are – the general gist of the candidates’ answers (except where directly quoted), with my personal thoughts in brackets.
[I didn’t type anything in the very beginning because my laptop was having some issues.]
McCain – Get spending under control. Criticized the GOP not cutting pork. [This is his issue.] He does not ask for earmarks. He said that Obama has asked for $932 million – ouch!
Obama – Hasn’t a leg to stand on, so changes the subject to McCain’s tax cuts for RICH people. Grow economy from bottom up. [Good luck with that!] Gas is killing people and kids need computers.
McCain – Hits Obama on pork. $932 million! Pork corrupts. [He is so in command with this issue.] Obama proposes $800 billion in new spending. I want to cut spending.
Obama – I will close loopholes, stop cutting taxes for corporations shipping jobs overseas. Tries to claim he will stop earmarks. Hammers McCain on cutting taxes on businesses.
[Jim Lehrer saves McCain by making him respond directly.]
McCain – Explains why lowering business taxes helps create jobs and prosperity, my friends.
What are you going to cut in this financial crisis?
Obama – Increase early childhood education.
McCain – Drill and build nuke plants. Stop sending money to bad countries.
Lehrer asks the question for, what, the fifth time.
Obama – Let’s say we get the money back. That may happen. In the mean time, we will have less tax revenue and I will have to make tough decisions. In order to make those decisions, we have to know our priorities. No cuts for businesses and we need health care.
McCain – I want to make sure we are not handing the health care system off to the federal government. Sen. Obama wants billions in new programs, I would start by cutting those, if I were him. Spending restraint. This helped cause the problem. We owe China 500 billion dollars! I have fought spending my entire career.
Obama – You voted with Bush 90% of the time. [And you are a moron. As one senator, he does not have the power to stop spending, but as president, he has a veto pen.]
McCain – Long record of opposing Bush. Cites examples. [Kicks ass.]
McCain – War badly mishandled. I went in 2003 said we need fundamental change in strategy. I fought for it. A great general came up with the strategy. We kicked butt. We will see a stable ally in the region. Defeat would have led to lots of bad stuff. Thanks to Petraus and our awesome troops, we win.
Obama – I opposed this war when it was politically risky as a state senator in a liberal democratic state to oppose the war that lots of liberal democrats were opposing. Blah, blah, blah, blah. We took our eye off the ball.
McCain – The next president will not have to decide whether or not we should go into Iraq; he will have to figure out what to do to get out. Obama says he still would not have supported the surge, even though he admits it was a success.
[I have no idea what is going on because Bob is making me laugh too much. I love my husband. He’s so funny.]
McCain – Obama voted to cut funds for troops.
Obama – McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable. I absolutely understand the difference between tactics and strategy. We need more troops and resources in Afghanistan. Obama makes a good point that Afghanistan needs more focus.
[Some how I do not see Obama "crushing" anyone.]
McCain – We can’t pull out of Iraq too fast. Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – Obama’s plan.
Afghanistan – Do we need more troops?
Obama – Yes. But we do not have the troops because of Iraq. Nobody had anything to do with 9/11 and there was no AQ there before we went in. We have to press the Afghan government to work for their people. Deal with the growing poppy trade. [Obama hates flowers - kidding] We have to deal with Afghanistan or Americans won’t be safe.
McCain – Acknowledges US role in Taliban in Afghanistan. Says he will learn from that. [Said something important that I missed about Obama saying something he shouldn’t have] When we go into Afghanistan, we will need the same strategy that Obama opposed in Iraq. [He is so owning this issue.] It is not just the addition if troops, but a strategy.
Obama – If the US has AQ, Bin Laden in our sights, and Pakistan [a nuclear power] is in our way, we have to take them out.
[I have to take a pee break. Why are there no commercial breaks?]
[I’m back and Obama and McCain are comparing bracelets.]
McCain – If Iran get nukes, it is a threat to Israel and the region. We cannot allow another holocaust. I propose a league of democracies. We could impose significant painful sanctions on Iran – together – that would have an affect on their activities. Iran is training terrorists. Obama thought it would be too provocative to declare Iran a sponsor of terror.
Obama – Let me correct something. It is a terrorist organization. That thing I opposed would have expanded Iraq mission into Iran.
[Quick check of the internets to see what people are saying.]
Obama – Our entire Russian approach needs to be reevaluated. [Paging Sarah Palin ]
McCain – Brings up Obama’s reaction to the Georgia conflict. Naiveté. [McCain sounds like he knows what he is talking about. He met with someone. Blah, blah, blah. Sounds impressive.]
McCain – Not as likely as it was the day after. Me and Lieberman worked for the 9/11 commission. Most of those reforms are enacted. Bi-partisan effort. Against torture. America is safer, but we have a long way to go.
Obama – We need missile defense. [I missed part of this.] We are not respected in the world. We need to restore that.
McCain – Hits the experience issue hard. Very hard. “I know the veterans and I know them well. And I know they know that I will take care of them.”
Obama – uhuhuhuh. My father came from Kenya. He wrote letters to come to college in the US. It was the greatest country on earth. People around the world do not look at us like that now. Let’s talk about domestic policy because I was just totally pwned. [Why do I keep using that word today??]
The McCain Camp already has an ad out with debate clips.