Liveblogging the debate: LIVE from BLITZ

Carla Axtman

I'm in the Pearl...tapping away on the keys during the debate.....


Obama! Looks intense while he’s answering the questions….looking right into the camera and laying the smack down on McBush. What they’re doing ain’t working..I’m running for President because they suck.

McCain—ugly ass tie…looks like a demented peppermint stick. Gratuitious slop about Ted Kennedy.People are are going to lose “their credits”? WTF..? That comb over is going gangbuster. This is the beginning of the crisis…?
Lehrer..could you guys sack up and just answer the question?
O: We deregulated too much. Its not a big enough question. Regulation isn’t always bad.
McCain is now babbling about Normandy. I guess this is an accountability story. Greed isn’t good. Blah. I’m the accountable dude. I promise. Really. Mean it.
McCain isn’t the accountability guy unless he thinks there’s a crisis for his power peeps. That’s some BS..and we should have oversight all the time.
Lehrer wants them to talk to each other. Its like couples therapy!
M: Amurika is still the greatest! I believe we’re still the mostess and awesomest. Obama thinks we suck.

McCain: I’m going to veto all the earmarks (presumably that will include his Veep’s state of Alaska…which is flush with earmarks)
Obama: Backing off earmarks is great. But McCain is shoveling a whole pile of tax cuts to the greedy rich dudes that he just told us he’s going to hold accountable. Plus we’re already up to our armpits on Bushonomics.
Mc: Obama is an earmarks suspending poseur. I'm the sheriff of appropriations, not Miss Congeniality. But I'm hell in heels.

Obama: Earmark reform matters. But dude, you’re shoveling the crap fast and thick. Your policies are great for an 80s Charlie Sheen movie.
McCain: But…but…I was against earmarks before you, rubber and glue.


Obama: straight to camera: 95% of Americans will get a tax cut under my plan.

John McCain, 5 time cancer survivor, 72 years old. Sarah Palin…child with down-syndrome. When was the last time these two had to buy health care on the open market?

Obama: You’re asking us to bend over for the oil companies (McCain’s guffaw is weird and its FREAKING ME OUT)
And by the way…I’ve got your ALTERNATIVE ENERGY right here. And btw..when was the last time you tried to buy health care..?

McCain (in his best Darth Vader voice) OBAMA IS A LIBERAL!! LIBERAL!! LIBERAL!!!

Lehrer: Are you guys going to actually answer this financial bailout question?

Obama--we need CHANGE. And btw...I'm a liberal cuz I think Bush's policies suck.

Lehrer: Every time I talk, the CNN line graph takes a tank.


Obama-Get out of Iraq if you're worried about the budget.

McCain: We give money to the boogeymen I need to buffet my fear tactics. Therefore we have to drill offshore. And while I'm at it: HILLARY!!

McCain: When I talk about the socialist health care system and spending cuts..the red GOP line on the CNN graph goes way up..but everyone else HATES it. Why oh why??? I don't understand!

Obama: Listen here Mr. 90% with got us into this mess. Getting us out doesn't seem to be your thing.

McCain...second gratuitous Congeniality line. I'm a MAVERICK, dammit.

Lehrer: Iraq vs Vietnam...lessons?

McCain: More troops. More cash. More! MORE! Victory! Honor! Wait...there goes that line graph again. Crap.

Obama: I was right about Iraq. McBush was wrong. They're a bunch of squandering assholes. This boogeyman crap is ridiculous.

McCain: I'm the decider.

Obama: My veep is better than your veep.

Obama: And btw...could you BE any more wrong about Iraq? Dude, totally sucked at that.

6:54 (brief station break for martini sipping)

McCain....babble, babble..babble...TAHLEEBAHN....troops....(surge? really?)

Obama: We should get the bad guys. I hate Osama more than you hate are you gonna sing THAT.

McCain's getting pissed. Lookit that brow! McCain is scowling.

Obama: You're a Mushareff coddler. So there!

McCain: My line graph really sucks. It sinks like a stone when I flap my gums.


McCain: I had a town meeting a year ago where I got a cool bracelet from a vets mom. (PROOF--where is it?) Jeez this is boring. No defeat.

Obama: I've got a mother who talked with me, too. And man, my mother can kick your mother's butt.


Obama: stop muddling, you freak. I'm not going to muddle when I'm President.

McCain: I'm a traveler. I know this foreign stuff better and...NO DEFEAT I say, NO DEFEEEEET!

Lehrer: What about Iran?

McCain...bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb...IRAN.


McCain: Oh..I mentioned the French. There goes my CNN line graph into the crapper again.

(Me: Okay..I've only had one martini. This babble by McCain is either senseless or I need to drink more. Or both.)

McCain: Obama is actually going to talk to the guys who want to bomb us. I can't say their names because I've been toking, but seriously--we want to do the KISSINGER plan? I'm a big fat liar about Reagan..but I invoke his name even though Reagan wouldn't be caught dead in this ugly-ass tie.

Obama: Kissinger is one of your advisors, man. He thinks your plan sucks. So quit acting like a stooge with trite talking points. Its boring. Its stupid and there aren't enough fallout shelters anymore to cover up for your stupid mistakes.

Obama: What's your beef with Spain, man? They're our buddies. Are you really that stupid?

7:14: PRECONDITIONS!! PRECONDITIONS...! Uh...are we talking about health care?

Obama: Senator McCain is lying again (natch).

McCain's bizarre smile is creepy as hell. Filibuster...


So what about Russia..can you guys see it from your house, too?


We've pretty much blown on Russia, too.

McCain: (in his head)
Obama's kicking my ass here. I'm totally owned.

McCain (out loud): KGB. Cold war. Putin's eyes have abc's in them. Or KGB's. Whatever.

McCain: I know all the countries on the RISK gameboard. Listen whilst I name them!

Obama: I told you guys that Russia was getting its freak on. You guys ignored me. You always wait until the shit hits the fan.

Obama: Alternative energy is da bomb. McCain needs to get on the train.

Lehrer: Next question

McCain: NO! Let me lie about Obama! somewhere? Is this thing on?

Obama: Let me set the record straight.

McCain: I'm going to talk over you so you can't. Neener!

Lehrer: 9/11 ATTACK!!!!!!!

McCain: Naw...I'm an aisle-crosser. It can't happen. HOLY JOE!!

Obama: Missile defense is good...but we've got bigger fish to fry. Like the whacknutters who've got crap in a suitcase that they want to use to blow up stuff. Not so much on the missile defense with that one. And btw....could you stop agreeing with torturing people while we're at it, John? Cuz its basically kicking our asses.


Obama: Iraq is a resource suck. And you guys stuck us with it. And while we're at it, where the HELL is BinLaden, anyway? I'm asking. The vets are asking when they're not looking for the vets benefits you guys won't fund. So what's up with that, anyway?


My PREEEECCCIIIOUUUUS.....the presidency is sooo shiny. So...PRECIOUS....

POW! POW! POW! I was a POW! PRISON I say...POW!

(Oh crap, there goes that line graph into the sinkhole again)

Lehrer..that's it!! Veep debate is next...(Lehrer in his head...will Sarah Palin write the answers on her forearms? Stay tuned...)

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    McCain—ugly ass tie…looks like a demented peppermint stick. Gratuitious slop about Ted Kennedy...

    So much for getting anything objective here tonight.....

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    Where's McCain's flag pin? Why does he hate America?

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    Okay, everyone drink when he says "miss congeniality" or "maverick."

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    McCain's ditty with apologies to Dr. Pepper:

    I'm a maverick, She's a maverick, He's no maverick, I'm the maverick, Wouldn't you like to have a maverick or two In the White House, me and Sarah?

  • passthepriolsec (unverified)

    Need new drinking game. We have had way way to much here for: when McCan't says "I've been to" ____ (Insert war ravaged country)... Already finished a fifth.

  • pepita (unverified)

    that's the problem - too much anesthesia through bottled spirits and pills - if we sobered up now we'd all find out how we've deluded ourselves and probably be really really scared.

  • Stevo (unverified)

    Where's naked biker lady when you need her? This debate could use some excitement!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    If you stare into McCain's tie, you will see the naked biker lady.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Senator Obama doesn't understand...[insert blather].

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    If you stare into McCain's tie, you will see the naked biker lady.

    That's hee-sterical. Or diabolical.

    Final judgment: battling stump speeches. I don't know that a whole lot of people switched teams after this debate. For Obama, that's a win.

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    NBC has Biden on and then admits Palin declined the invitation. Ouch.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Great blow-by-blow - for juveniles.

    Think Progress has live blogging for grownups.

  • boobbah (unverified)

    You guys don't understand. You guys don't understand. You guys don't understand.

    You just don't understand.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    What in the world is the point of live blogging anyway? Whether for juveniles or grownups? Is the idea that I'm supposed to be reading these comments while also watching the debate?

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    I think the "Obama does not understand" is a primary meme, is translates into Obama being inexperienced and being young.

    It fits in with McCain's ability to cite his foreign policy credentials, which are extensive and are impressive.

    But overall, this was McCain's turf, and as Gergen put it on CNN, even a bare win for McCain is a loss here. Obama has his weak moments, but overall, he accomplished his goals.

  • John Devlin (unverified)

    Clearly McCain was trying to paint Obama as naive and inexperienced, as lacking in judgment. I don't think he succeeded, because I thought Obama showed command of the foreign policy subjects. If the Obama campaign plays this right, this could be a big moment in the campaign. Because everything McCain said about Obama . . . is true of Sarah Palin. Listen to her Couric answer on Russia -- that's naive, inexperienced, and lacking in judgment. Palin could turn out to be the key to McCain's loss among independents.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Looks like from the national insta-polls on CBS (among undecided), and CNN Obama wins. Obama leading 3-1 on MSNBC online poll, and 2-1 on CNN online poll. Among pundits Obama wins or ties, (which means a win since McCain needed to win big). Mark Halperin gives A- to Obama, B plus to Mccain. Overall a good night for Obama, especially for a lot of people who may not know him yet. Obama wins hands down on likeability. McCain was a nasty curmudgeonly prick.

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    Sarah Palin is not running for President. The Obama campaign does not want to go there.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Standing ovation!

  • RW (unverified)

    Ah god Carla! While I was dined and cossetted at a very empty Bread and Ink (everyone else was a good citizen - they were with YOU, watching!), I guiltily imagined select ones of you hunched before tubes with tv dinner trays, or halfway jealously envisioned certain others of you at lovely little soirees of the smart, laughing uproarously and also beautifully digging in with the kind of discussion I crave.

    Then I came home. Sated, happy, weary. Still kinda guilty. Booted up and here you ARE! THIS was wunnerful. You are splendid tonight.

    I don't think I missed a thing. Except sharing laughter with you in realtime.

    Thank you so much.

    Sigh. Now to go in search of reruns. [and thank you for poking BOTH candidates hard enough for a few bruises - satisfies me!]

    Your FAN ~ bex

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    Hey bex!

    Thanks for the kudos. Maybe you should come out to the next debate watch for the veeps on Thursday. I don't know that I'll be live-blogging that one (basically I have to shut everyone out and just watch the debate..which is kind of a bummer) so we can have all sorts of fun!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    What in the world is the point of live blogging anyway? Whether for juveniles or grownups? Is the idea that I'm supposed to be reading these comments while also watching the debate?

    When blogging includes fact checking such as this from Media Matters it is very helpful for people who may not catch dishonesty or inaccuracy themselves. Admittedly, this from Media Matters is not live blogging, but it is related in trying to keep people honest. The live blog from Think Progress was useful in providing comments from more than one television channel. Live blogging just to prove how cute and clever the author can be has limited value. If some people enjoy it, then have a nice evening.

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    I think they needed to approach this the way Reagan did in 80--an introduction on the world stage. As much as political junkies have followed all the campaigning, this is really the first time people of all interest levels take a studied look at the candidates.

    Obama, like Reagan, had mass appeal but was largely an unknown commodity. And Reagan had been a longtime governor of the nation's most populous state and a conservative spokesperson for years. Even with more media than in those days, this is really the night that Obama had to measure up to the masses, and answer as a generality whether he was fit for the presidency, able to understand the issues and take coherent positions that seemed to make sense.

    He did that easily. I'm seeing a lot of hardcore left disappointment that he didn't just whale on McCain, but that's not the image he wanted to introduce himself with. And I hate to inject this note into it, but he had to project a Cliff Huxtable impression in order to get a certain segment of the electorate to be comfortable with him. I think there are people who are otherwise rational, but can't shake the idea of Obama as a closet Muslim with black power ties.

    I think he is much better off beating the crap out of McCain when they do a whole debate on the economy. He can butcher John there. The VP debate will be the theater event of the season though, for sure.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)

    I must have missed it, but I don't recall either of these candidates explaining how much it cost to keep the American military in some 100 or more countries around the world and why the American worker is paying taxes to defend other nations. And the congress just passed a DoD budget of some $600 billion, or more. That's about 2 grand for each of us. Can someone compare that to what other nations are spending who are our allies, or so they are called.


  • RW (unverified)

    Carla: you ever see them stuff that dormouse innat teapot? You ready to stuff me likewise? Ask around. I can be a little ill-behaved when I get wound up, and I intend to prep by re-reading the fine materal posted by The Civiletti that details just what Palin has been doing to my relatives up North without anyone noticing.

    Sounds like fun. Although this freestyle blog was pretty damned good fun.

  • rw (unverified)

    Bodden: while I essentially agree with you, for pity's sake, lighten up. BO is not going to damage the Alternate Process by going charmingly crazy this time. It was camraderie, which is boon in my lights! This PLANET was stuffed with realtime fact checking last night - helped keep a slightly more straight face on the debaters, as the pundits liked to say.

    At any rate, the VP race is going to be nit-picked (and yes, the reference point was meant to the bottom of its pointy-headed origin), and I'm sure you will still not be pleased! But we can surely try harder next time, eh?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Bodden: while I essentially agree with you, for pity's sake, lighten up.

    rw: I'll give that some thought. Perhaps, I've been listening to and reading so much bullshit from so many pundits and would-be pundits on both sides of the charade that my tolerance for more has been depleted.

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    Carla: you ever see them stuff that dormouse innat teapot? You ready to stuff me likewise? Ask around. I can be a little ill-behaved when I get wound up,

    Bex: fyi, well-behaved bloggers rarely make history.

    See you Thursday.

  • RW (unverified)

    Bodden: thanks for not blasting me. This is the Season of the [Bull]ShitStorm, my friend.

  • Not a clear win (unverified)

    For those who prefer a little more than the trademark provincial BO/NW blogsturbation (a few commenters above excepted), here's something that I found to be entertaining:

    McCain's High Horse Meets Obama's High-Mindedness

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    By all means let's have some humor is this campaign, but let's make it real humor. Try these:

    <a href=

    SaraBenincasa as Sarah (1)

    SaraBenincasa as Sarah (2)

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Corrected link for SaraBenincasa as Sarah (1)

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    The U.S. spends more on our military than all the other nations of the world combined. How much of the latter is composed of U.S. allies I don't know.

    It's a figure that resonates for me historically because for a long time it was British policy that their navy had to be as big as the rest of the world's navies combined. In the 20th c. that became an unsustainable level of spending.

    The U.S. is going military spend ourselves into decline, or perhaps has done already. Cf. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.

  • RW (unverified)

    Bodden - funny link. Of course, right behind it pops up some very unfunny hate speech. Sigh.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)

    Chris Lowe writes: "The U.S. is going military spend ourselves into decline, or perhaps has done already".

    Yup and none of the politicians care to even discuss this issue.


  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Bodden - funny link. Of course, right behind it pops up some very unfunny hate speech. Sigh.

    I didn't see the unfunny hate speech piece. Can you link to it?

    Chris Lowe writes: "The U.S. is going military spend ourselves into decline, or perhaps has done already".

    Yup and none of the politicians care to even discuss this issue.

    Napoleon McCain is all in favor of going the military route, but Obama didn't dare call him on it. Instead, he basically went along with pumping more money into the military. We have to buy all those multi-million dollar toys for the military and pump in billions for star wars to make sure some guy doesn't come here with a nuclear weapon in a suitcase.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    The U.S. is going military spend ourselves into decline, or perhaps has done already.

    An overstretched and budget-busting military has been a frequent factor in the decline and fall of nations and empires. Another is an excessive disparity in wealth - obscene wealth for some and abject poverty for others. Does that make two strikes against the United States?

  • Biodiesel Information (unverified)
    <h2>Hope we hear something new tonight.I build biodiesel processors which turn waste vegetable oil into biodiesel.We need someone to help implement change. As the other poster said, we just need to keep moving in the right direction.</h2>

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