Blink. Blink. Blink Blink. Blink. Blink Blink Blink. Blink…

16 10 2008

The Mudflats poll had “compulsive blinking” as the number 3 most annoying McCain-ism of the debate, after the “hideous death grin” and Joe the plumber.

True, the blinking was incessant throughout, but this one particular moment was the blinking highlight of the debate. McCain has been asking over the course of two debates now, for the dollar amount of the fine that Barack Obama would impose on small business owners for not providing health care. He finally got his answer. “Zero.” This apparently unanticipated answer caused a screeching sound in McCain’s brain that almost got picked up by the microphones, causing him to shift from “smug” to “deer in the headlights” in 1.8 seconds flat.

The outcome, for those of you keeping track at home was a whopping 54 blinks in 28 seconds. That’s almost two full blinks per second, nevermind the untold mental whiplash for McCain. Just for fun, try watching the video above and blink along.


Live Blogging the Third Presidential Debate

15 10 2008

Hmm.  McCain mentioned Nancy Reagan in the hospital, but not Dick Cheney??  Where’s the love?!

Obama: “The fundamentals of the economy were weak”  zing!

McCain:  Said he doesn’t want to ask Obama a question.  He’s talking directly to the people…sounds familiar! Talking about some plumber named Joe who met Obama and wanted to buy some business. Obama would raise his taxes.  Now he’s looking at the camera speaking to “Joe”.

Obama:  Said it sounds like he’s been listening to McCain ads.  zing!  Obama explains, yet again, his tax plan.    Talks about Joe the Plumber.

McCain:  Joe the plumber again.  We need to spread the wealth around.  He wants Joe the Plumber to spread the wealth around.  Why would you want to tax ANYone?

Obama:  Wants to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.  Warren Buffet can afford to pay a little more, so Joe the Plumber could pay less when he needed it.  Nobody likes to pay taxes.  He doesn’t mind paying a little more.

Q.  Aren’t you both ignoring reality about the deficit?  What would you cut back?

Obama: We’ve been living beyond our means and we have to make adjustments. Strong believer in pay as you go.  Go through the budget line by line. Investment in the future – health care, energy, education – will all allow us to drive the economy in the future.

McCain: Wants to get back to home ownership.  (whiplash!  Palin tactic!)  Schieffer tries to get him back to the question.  Now he’s on energy (another Palin tactic) – wind, solar, offshore drilling.  Across the board spending freeze.  First a hatchet and then a scalpel.  “I know how to save defense spending”  “I know where to cut”  Tariffs on sugar can based ethanol?  I have no idea what he’s talking about. Somebody in jail, some airline…Blizzard of words!  Planetarium projector!  Dang.  I should have made a Bingo card…

Obama:  Earmarks account for 1/2 of 1%.  Yes we need to eliminate “screwy” things but that’s not the main problem.  When Bush came into office we had a surplus. (Yes!)  Now a deficit of well over 1/2 a trillion.  Pursuing same policies will not get us there.  >Ding!<

McCain:  Thinks he can balance the budget in four years.  If Obama wanted to run against Bush, he should have run four years ago. (I bet he was waiting for that one).  Let’s look at our records, Senator Obama.  (He’s looking at him!)

Obama:  Debunking the Obama raises taxes thing.  Even Fox news agrees.  McCain has been a major supporter of Bush.  Giving credit for his stance against torture, but on economic policies he’s agreed with Bush.

Q.  Both pledged to take the high road.  Palled around with terrorists!!!  Will you say it to each other’s face?

McCain:  Been a tough campaign.  Ah…it’s Obama’s fault for not agreeing to do Town Hall meetings.  Tone of campaign could have been different.  He regrets negative aspects of both campaigns.  Rebuking Lewis for the George Wallace comments.  Obama didn’t repudiate remarks.  We will run a truthful campaign.  Obama has spent more money on negative ads than any political campaign in history.  He said he’d take public financing, and didn’t tell the truth.

Obama:  We expect campaigns to be tough.  2/3 think McCain is running a negative campaign.  1/3 think I am.  Nothing wrong with debate on issues.  American people don’t want to hear about how hurt we are.  Town Hall issue is rediculous (my word).  McCain campaign said if they talk about the economy they lose.

McCain:  Didn’t hear a repudiation of Lewis.  Joe the plumber again.

Obama:  Lewis made his statement without the knowledge of the campaign. Talking about the Palin rally.  “Kill him!” “Terrorist” and she didn’t call them out.  Think that Lewis inappropriately drew a comparison.  Immediately put out a statement saying a statement it was inappropriate.  What the American people want is to focus on challenges.  When people suggest “I pal around with terrorists” we’re not talking about issues.

McCain:  He’s proud of the crowds at the rallies.   He won’t stand for anyone saying his crowds are anything but patriotic wonderful Americans.

Obama: If we’re going to solve 2 wars, financial crisis, lifting wages, then we have to work together.  We can’t try to characterize each other as bad people. 

McCain:  I don’t care about a washed-up old terrorist, but we need to know about it and about Acorn.  Tearing apart the fabric of the country! (oh good Lord)

Obama: Ayers has become primary focus of McCain’s campaign.  Brilliant explanation of Ayers and Acorn.

McCain:  All the details need to be known!  Ayers, Acorn, Ayers Acorn.  My campaign is all about goodness and light, and not raising taxes, bla bla.

Q.  Why would we be better off with your running mate?

Obama:  Experience, foreign policy, crime bill, violence against women act.  Hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. Shares the same values.  Lists them.

(can’t wait for McCain)

McCain:  American’s have gotten to know sarah Palin. (and she’s sinking your campaign!)  Role model to women.  Took on her own party. Saw corruption. Gave money to taxpayers. Cut size of government.  Faced down oil companies. Reformer through and through.  Sweep out old boy network.  Understands reform.  Understands special needs families.  I’m proud of her. She’s ignited our party.  I can’t tell you how proud I am of her.  Her husband is a pretty tough guy.

Q. Is your opponent’s VP qualified?

Obama: The American people will decide. 

McCain: Biden is qualified but wrong.  Obama wants to increase your taxes.

Q.  How much can we reduce foreign oil imports?  Give me a number.

McCain:  Canadian oil is fine, but we need to eliminate Middle Eastern oil and Venezuelan oil.  Mocking energy safety.  “You don’t tell people your going to renegotiate NAFTA…” (patronizing)

Obama: In 10 years we can reduce dependence so we don’t have to import oil from M.E. or Venezuela.  This is the most important issue.  Borrowing from China and sending it to Saudi Arabia.  Expand domestic production. Use or lose current leases.  We can’t drill our way out of the problem. Solar wind biodiesel, geothermal.  Fuel efficient car built in USA.

McCain:  “There’s another example of Senator Obama’s eloquence,  but you have to look at words.”  (Has he ever met his own running mate?!?)  Obama has never even traveled south of our border. (Has he ever met his own running mate???)  Maybe you should travel down there and you’d understand it.  (dripping snark)

Obama:  Actually I understand it pretty well.  Proceeds to prove he knows it pretty well.

Well, we knew this wouldn’t be a game changer for McCain and it isn’t.  This debate is more of the same.  Obama is undeniably presidential, and McCain is agitated and cranky.

McCain: Obama wants to sit down across the table  without precondition with __________. (In this case Hugo Chavez).  Did he mention that Obama wants to raise taxes?  Comparing Obama to Herbert Hoover.  Again.  He simply cannot invoke Herbert Hoover without sounding really old.  For Obama it would sound like a history lesson.  But McCain makes it sound like they were buddies back in the day.

Q.  Healthcare.

Obama: This issue will break your heart. Explains plan.

McCain:  Painful for Americans. Explains plan.  Joe the Plumber AGAIN!  and AGAIN!  Man, if anyone came up with Joe the Plumber for a drinking game, you’d be smashed.  How much will you fine people for no health care?

Obama:  Joe the Plumber!  *hic*  staggering, and hitting the floor.  There is no fine.  Joe the Plumber! *loses consciousness.*   McCain will tax health care benefits from employer.  Average policy costs $12,000, so $5000 won’t help much.

McCain:  Joe the Plumber x 3!  This is getting really rediculous.  I think Joe the Plumber has become the defining meme of this debate.  He’s the “that one” of debate III.   SNL will love it.  Squabbling about money.  He’s bringing up cosmetic surgery and hair transplants again.  He keeps making this little karate chop thing on the desk.  Joe the Plumber.  Too much government.  Government is too big.  Chop chop chop!  Democrats have been in charge for the last two years.

Obama:  Reiterates what he has already said.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Joe the Plumber…

Q. Roe v. Wade.  Could you nominate someone to the Supreme Court who didn’t share your views?

McCain:  Decision should rest with states.  Roe v. Wade was bad.  Should nominate on qualifications not litmus test.  Obama voted against Justice Breyer and Roberts because of ideology.  I will find the best people who strictly adhere to the Constitution. 

Obama:  Shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test.  Most important thing is fairness and justice.  This will be one of the most consequential decisions of the next president.  Roe v. Wade probably hangs in the balance.  Thinks that Roe v. Wade was rightly decided.  Good people on both sides can disagree.  Women are in the best position to make this decision.  Thinks it’s a constitutional, rather than state’s rights issues.   Court has to stand up for people.

McCain: We have to change the culture of America.  We who are proudly pro-life understand that.  Obama voted against bills in state senate partial birth abortions…terrible…  Voted “present”.  How do you align yourself with extreme pro-abortion.

Obama:  If it sounds incredible that I would vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant, it’s because it isn’t true.  Completely supportive of ban for late term abortions unless there is a threat to the mother’s life.  He voted “present” because there was no provision for the mother’s life.  There must be common ground where we all say we need to prevent unwanted pregnancy, promiscuity, helping single mothers who want to keep baby.  Nobody is pro-abortion.

McCain:  He’s being “eloquent again”.  “Health” of the mother (made little quote thing with his fingers).  This is code for pro-abortion all the time…  Of course we have to work together.  Karate chopping desk.

Q. Education.

Obama:  Early childhood education.  Recruit new teachers especially in math and science.  More pay. Higher standards.  College debt.  $4000 tuition credit every year in exchange for military service, peace corps, community service.  Parents will have to turn off the TV, and instill thirst for knowledge.

McCain:  It’s the civil rights issue of the 21st century.  Ah.  Vouchers.  Choice and competition.  Find bad teachers another line of work. Charter schools.  Throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer.  We must improve. Make loans available.

Obama:  Important for gov’t to help schools.  No child left behind.  They left the money behind.  Agree about Charter Schools.  Bad teachers need to move on.  Disagree on the idea of vouchers as a way of securing problems.  Disagree on McCain’s record on college accessibility.  Our youth are not an “interest group”. 

McCain: Vouchers in D.C.  He’s getting pissy…  Cindy and “your wife”.  He’s really getting shaky and aggravated.  He’s not wrapping this up in a flattering way.  Precious children with autism…Sarah Palin knows better than most.  Vouchers are good and workable system.

Obama:  DC school system is in terrible shape. (Squabble about whether mayor of DC supports vouchers) for all three debates.

Closing statement:  My friends! America needs a new direction. I have a record of reform. Taking on my party.  (lots of blinking and chopping) We have to stop the spending.  Can you trust us or not?  Examine my record and my proposals for the future of country.  I’ve put my country first.  Proud to serve.  I’d be honored and humbled to serve.

Obama:  America is going through tough times.  Worst economic crisis since Depression.  Worst thing we can do is adopt failed policies and failed politics of the past and expect something different. Our brighter days are still ahead.  Need to invest in people.  Health care, tax cuts, college, businesses of the future.  Fought for these policies.  Not easy. Not quick.  We all need to come together.  Will work tirelessly on your behalf and on behalf of your children.

Whew!  Debates are over.  McCain was more aggressive, but Obama is the clear winner here.  He missed a couple opportunities to really zing Palin.  And missed an opportunity to talk about why we actually have to have taxes.  But, this was nowhere near a game-changer, which is what McCain needed.

McCain Has Fled the Interview!

24 09 2008

Hmmm. What’s a candidate to do when poll numbers are dropping, and the thing on everyone’s mind is a subject (the economy) you’ve recently admitted you don’t know much about, and you’re about to be asked questions about it in front of an audience of tens of millions of potential voters? Tricky situation.

If you answered “flee the scene”, you’re thinking like John McCain. He has now announced that because of the country’s economic meltdown, he will suspend his campaign, to fly to Washington to work on banking legislation. He wants the first of three presidential debates with Barack Obama, scheduled for this Friday, to be postponed. The decision was spun perfectly by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch:

“This is the John McCain I know,” Hatch said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “He is willing to risk election to do what’s right for the country.”


  1. McCain really is his “old self”
  2. He’s acting like he knows about the economy, and
  3. He’s putting “country first.”

That’s the story. Not bad. A three-fer.

What say you, Senator Obama?

“In my mind, it’s more important than ever that we present ourselves to the American people and describe where we want to take the country and where we want to take the economy.”

“But what about dealing with the economy now? How can you POSsibly think about the economy and the debate at the same time? Isn’t that irresponsible? Why, why do you hate your country Senator Obama???” the McCain campaign would like you to ask.

“It’s going to be part of the president’s job to be able to deal with more than one thing at once,” Obama reminds us.

Game. Set. Match.

Even though Obama has demonstrated incontrovertibly that he is a Democrat with a spine, and came out with the only appropriate reaction to this unprecedented request from McCain, Democrats should not let their guard down. Something still seems fishy. Will McCain somehow, magically, get credited with brokering a compromise that will solve the economic woes of the nation? Will he be painted as the guy in the red cape who rescued us from the big bad bankers who’ve been playing fast and loose with the hard-earned money of the American people? Is this going to be the October surprise? Or will Palin’s friend Pastor Muthee lay hands on the economy, pray for a miracle, and expel the witches that may be responsible for this whole mess?

Obama has called their bluff. What’s the next move in the chess match? We’ll see before Friday.