Here we are, at the second presidential debate...The One's leading in the polls...and McCain's camp is finally coming around to what it needs to do to win this thing - take his bark off. (The same thing Hillary figured out, but too late).
According to Chris Wallace, Tom Brokaw has interviewed all 80 members of the audience individually to find out what questions they want to ask, and then HE chooses WHO gets to ask their questions. Doesn't sound like a real town hall to me. It's a "Brokaw Townhall"! Sounds too packaged...and by a member of the MSM no less. No wonder Bambi didn't want "real" free-wheelling town halls that McCain challenged him to.
A quick aside...this Commission on Presidential Debates has got to go. They've been at this 20 years and you can't in any way say things are better than when the campaigns negotiated these things out among themselves.
9:00: Here we go with introductions...
First question on....the economy of course. If I hear "worst economy since the great depression" one more time, I'm gonna throw up...considering pretty much nobody has much first hand experience with how bad the depression was. Bambi want tax cuts for "middle class"...McCain for all...Mac wants govt. to buy up bad mortages on property that lost value...(?).
On to the bailout.
McCain starts to make his move on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (!!!). Finally. Blames the Dems for not reforming it...says Bambi got 2nd most contributions from them. "Fannie and Freddie were the match that started this fire." Good line.
Obama playing hot potato with Fannie Mae...
Another question: how can we trust either of you since both parties are to blame?
Bambi goes through his "investment" list...and says he'll make "cuts", (but no details). McCain: "they system in Washington is broken". "Obama's never taken on his party"... Points at Bambi as biggest liberal spender in the Senate...says he's proposing over 800 billion in new spending...
9:30: Next: "what sacrifices will you ask Americans to make..."
McCain: that there are some programs we'll have to eliminate. Good answer. (Let's see if Bambi comes back with "we can have it all".) O says we need "leadership".
McCain says last President to raise taxes in bad economic times was Herbert Hoover... Says O would increase taxes on 50% of small business revenue. "Let's not raise taxes on anyone."
Bambi wants to respond...but Brokaw stops him.
Would you give Congress a date certain to reform Social Security? Bambi: "we've gotta' take on entitlements..." (Oh?) Goes back to the tax plan to defend himself. McCain talks bipartisanship and commissions...then back to taxes. Says O has voted for taxes and against tax cuts 94 times. "Look at our records."
10:00: Obama prattles on about health care...
So far, this debate is a blah.
Mac moves on to national security related issues..."we don't have time for on the job training".
Bambi: "we must change our foreign policy".
Brokaw: Obama Doctrine and McCain Doctrine?
O: Intervene "when we have moral issues at stake".
(aside: I hate these "non-partisan" audiences...worse than being in an English 101 lecture)
Mac: "If we had done what O wanted...we would have had a wider war..." "would have brought our troops home in defeat". He's looking better. "have to be able to beneficially impact the situation".
Next: policy re: terrorists hiding in Pakistan, (go after them or no?)
O: blames us being in Iraq. McCain: says O's not experienced enough to know not to telegraph his punches. O wants a followup...they both agree...defends himself, (McCain says "I'm green behind the ears")...McCain: I've got experience and I'm responsible. McCain: O still wont admit he was wrong about the surge in Iraq.
Next: how can we avoid another cold war?
Mac: "long ago, I warned about Putin". We've got to show support for Ukraine and Georgia...let Russia know there's a penalty to pay for aggressive behavior. O says we need to give eastern bloc countries financial assistance to rebuild economies (??).
Bambi keeps running over his time and Brokaw's letting it happen.
Yes/no question: is Russia an evil empire?
O: they've engaged in evil behavior. McCain: "maybe" A responsible answer I suppose.
Next: support for Israel...commit troops in case of Iran attack?
McCain: We wouldn't wait for the UN...our challenge is Iran is on path to nukes...it's a threat to stability of middle-east..."we can never allow a second holocaust to take place".
O: can't allow Iran to have a nuke...never take military options off the table...but no veto power to the UN...BUT, we should have direct talks w/Iran, (he's setting himself up here...but will Mac take a swing?).
Last question...from New Hampshire: "what don't you know and how will you learn it" (Brokaw actually picked that question?? sheesh).
O: pretty much not anwering..."here's what I DO know"...
Mac get's last word: "...the challenges we face are unprecedented" "what I don't know is what the unexpected will be".
That's all folks....