8:56: Normally, my co-bloggers Melissa Clouthier and Katie Favazza do the liveblogging, but Katie is all mopey and Melissa is ralphing up her lunch, so the duty falls to me.
8:57: I haven’t been a big fan of these debates so far because they mostly feature boring questions, both candidates repeating their standard stump lines, and neither Obama nor McCain have done particularly good jobs in the previous debates. It’s like both of them are deliberately trying to be as boring as humanly possible.
9:01: Here we go. The third and last debate…
9:02: Why is your plan better than his? Better question: How are we going to pay for your plans?
9:04: McCain is plugging his socialistic plan to reward people who’ve gotten in over their heads on their homes. We’ve got to reverse this decline in home ownership! Really? If people who can’t afford their homes are getting loans anyway and that’s causing a financial crisis isn’t the amount of people who own homes going to have to go down? Bad answer.
9:06: Obama: I want to help the middle class. Don’t want to waste taxpayer money. Every word from this guy is BS, but he still sounds better than McCain.
9:08: McCain hits him on the plumber and Obama’s socialistic answer. Not explaining it very well for people who don’t know what’s happening though. A for effort, C for execution.
9:11: McCain shoots and he scores! You want to take people’s money from them and give it away. Why not let him do that? Why would you raise taxes on anybody right now?
9:12: Warren Buffet could afford tax cuts. McCain, “We’re talking about Joe the Plumber.”
9:12: Let’s not raise anybody’s taxes. Where are companies going to go? Our tax rate is 35%. It’s 11% in Ireland. We need to encourage business, create jobs — not spread the wealth around. Applause. That’s what McCain should have been doing in the first two debates.
9:17: Great question: You two are going to raise the deficit. What are you going to cut?
Obama didn’t answer, just danced around.
McCain takes his time getting to it, but then says spending freeze. McCain names plans: subsides for ethanol. Eliminates tariff on Brazil. I saved the taxpayers 6.8 bil on D&D. Line item veto. Obama had a billion in earmarks. McCain gives another really good answer.
9:20: I am not President Bush. You should have run four years ago if you wanted to run against Bush! Smack! He’s fired up. He’s on point. McCain is dominating him so far on the economy.
9:22: Standing up to the leaders of my party: I voted for tort reform and I support charter schools. I support clean coal. I have a history of reaching across the aisle. Good answer by Obama, so far. Even
9:24: McCain is dropping into stump speech stuff now about how he’s not Bush. Blech! He was doing so good at staying on point up until then.
9:27: Another great question: Will you two say to each other’s faces what you have been saying in your ads? McCain zings him on public financing. Obama has spent more on negative advertising than any candidate in history. Zings him on Lewis. McCain didn’t mention Ayers.
9:28: Obama — 100% of your ads are negative. That is an incredibly obvious lie. He then dances around the issue. Didn’t repudiate Lewis.
9:30: McCain — you’re a liar about immigration, stem cell research. Unprecedented amounts on negative ads. I’m not spreading Joe the plumber’s wealth around. I did not hear a repudiation of Lewis.
9:31: Obama — I do think he inappropriately drew a comparison between what is happening now and what happened during the sixties. When people suggest I pal around with terrorists…
9:33: McCain: I am proud of the people who come to my rallies. He made a reference to the “Sarah Palin is a C***” t-shirts from Obama’s supporters. Still, no mention of Ayers.
9:37: McCain hits him on Ayers and ACORN. Bam!
9:37: Obama is dancing around it. McCain should come right back at him and hammer it home.
9:38: Warren Buffet, Dick Lugar, Joe Biden shape my ideas.
9:39: McCain comes back to him. You launched your political career in Ayers’ living room. You gave more money to ACORN. Score again! W00t! I won’t raise taxes like Obama. McCain has been beating his brains in for 40 minutes.
9:41: Another intriguing question: why would your running mate be better than your opponent? Obama: Biden fights for the little guy, from Scranton, shares my values. Drops into stump speech stuff.
9:42: Palin is a role model to women, a reformer. She took on her own party. She has cut the size of government. She faced down the oil companies to the tune of 40 billion. She’s a breath of fresh air. She also understands special needs families.
9:44: Is Palin qualified to be President? Obama, I will leave that up to the American people.
9:45: McCain — Biden has been wrong on many foreign policy issues, which is supposed to be his strength. Gulf War, dividing Iraq into three countries — I wish he would have said Palin was more qualified than Obama. Obama wants to spend more. Why do we always have to spend more? We can’t we have reform? He wants to raise taxes. Banging away!
9:50: Oil, blah, blah for both of them. Obama — all trade agreements aren’t good trade agreements. He’s right there.
9:51: McCain — He’s slick. He will “look at” offshore oil drilling. I am a free trader. Obama has never been south of the border. Stuttering a lot of the Colombia free trade agreement. Smack! Maybe you should travel down there!
9:53: Obama. Labor leaders have been targeted for assassination and so we can’t do it. Obama is back on his heels on this.
9:55: McCain — Obama doesn’t want free trade with our best ally in the region, but he wants to sit down unconditionally with Iran. Blap! He wants to restrict trade and raise taxes.
9:56: Would either of you favor controlling costs as opposed to expanding coverage?
Obama: we’ve got to do both. We’re going to save the budget with socialized medicine. Does anyone believe that?
9:59: McCain is dancing on this one, too. I want to give every American family a refundable $5,000 tax credit. Joe the plumber — Obama will fine you if you don’t get the plan he wants. His object is a single payer system. Canada and Britain is what he wants.
10:00: Obama — small businesses will be exempted from a fine. So no fine.
10:04: McCain back to Joe the Plumber. Congrats, you’re rich! McCain explains his health care plan, which most people aren’t going to understand. He should have boiled that down a bit more to make it easier for people to get. Don’t let Obama and government decide that for you. Senator Government — heh — Freudian slip. Joe, I want you to do the job. Sounds good.
10:08: McCain gives a pretty good answer on judges despite referencing the “Gang-of-14″ and saying Obama voted against Breyer (slip of the tongue).
10:09: Obama — Roe v. Wade was rightly decided. Abortion is a moral issue (If he thinks it is, he ain’t on the right of it). He wants judges with a “sense of what real world folks are going through?” Ugh! Let’s try this: I want an umpire with a “sense of what real world folks are going through?”
10:11: Obama voted against giving medical attention to children born as a result of a failed abortion. Then he voted present. I don’t know how you vote present on something like that. That’s his record. He pounded him again.
10:13: Obama starts lying about his record of supporting infanticide now. Gosh, I’d never support infanticide (even though he did).
10:15: He’s so eloquent — the health of the mother — that has been stretched to mean almost anything. We adopted a child. We support adoption, but that doesn’t mean we’ll cease to protect the rights of the unborn.
10:17: What about education? Typical Obama answer. We need reform and more money. More education. More money — $4,000 tuition credit. We need parents to do better. Completely vacuous.
10:18: McCain, this is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. Choice and competition aare key elements. It has worked in New Orleans and New York. Reward and promote good teachers. We need competition. Throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Some of the worst school systems in America have the most money. More student loan money.
10:20: More money for schools? More federal government control? Obama, yes! Federal government more involved. There was no money for it! Local school districts are cash strapped. We need higher budgets. I like charter schools. We need to get rid of bad teachers. Obama is opposed to vouchers. McCain has a bad reputation on school stuff. We need more money.
10:23: Vouchers in DC school system. It has worked well. Parents want to choose. McCain gives a rousing defense of vouchers. No Child Left Behind — good start — spending more money isn’t always the answer. We need to reform programs like Head Start. McCain, we’re going to find the money to fix autism — mmmm’kay. I will support reforms. I will not continue to throw money at a problem. Vouchers are a good and workable system and it has been proven.
10:30: Closing statements — blah blah for both.
10:36: Summary: I have no complaints about the questions. They were fair and more interesting than last week’s debate.
This was by far McCain’s best debate even though they didn’t talk foreign policy. He did a much better job of staying on point, tore chunks out of Obama, and even got in a few good lines.
Long story short: McCain upped his game a couple of notches while Obama didn’t. Because of that, McCain thrashed Obama handily, even though he still missed some rather obvious points he could have hit.
Will McCain’s performance be enough to make up the whole gap between Obama and McCain? No, but it should help him a bit and I wish we had seen this McCain in all three debates, as opposed to the McCain who sleep walked through the first two debates.