Liveblogging The Debate

With mere minutes left to go I finally got myself freed up and ready to liveblog this shindig, so let’s get it on.

You can watch the livestream with me at, and please don’t forget my pre game analysis that can be read here.

Normally I do the Liveblogging in comments, but unless I get a big response, I’m going to keep updating here in the main body of the text below the jump.

19:58-Just a couple minutes out and I’m anxious to get this hootnanny in Hollywood going.  One thing I did like about last night was the reaction meter that you could superimpose over the video if you were livestreaming.  I’m really hoping to see that again tonight.

2000-Quick note about my time stamps, I’m used to military time so 2000= 8:00 pm, 2100 9:00pm etc.  And here we go… i got my response meter, and it’s good to go.

2001-It’s kind of a pity that Wolfie will be moderating this…  I like Anderson better, and they’re bringing out the candidates….  I have butterflies.

2010- Opening statements with Obama first.  Obama’s opening statement is gracious, but a little rambling.  He recognizes John Edwards contribution to the campaign, and even gives a polite nod to Hillary saying they were friends before, and friends after.  By contrast, Hillary takes a more combative tone, more populist fire, and it registers better on the meter.

Now let’s really begin.

2012- Hillary starts with, what is the policy differences between she and Obama.  She starts out a little difference with her health care system riding Edwards’ coat tails.  Rates pretty high though.  She takes a dip on talking about Foreign Policy, specifically when it comes to diplomacy, a hotly contested topic between these two.

Obama same question: Here’s the problem, he’s not smooth enough, and Hillary sounds incredibly rehearsed compared to Obama.  He starts out on Health Care but the reaction isn’t going well mainly because he’s having a hard time getting to his point.  He needs to clean up if he wants to make some progress tonight.  Mortgage crisis, again, he’s rambling a bit, but right now he’s sounding like the wonk, which isn’t totally bad, and he gets a big bump attacking Bush and Lobbyists.

Interestingly Obama is cleaning her clock on foreign policy.  Good responses.

Thus far they are staying relatively civil which is nice too.

2020- Obama is asked about not having a mandate, and he pulls out the right studies and makes a point that, “Everyone who wants to have coverage will, I think it will be less than 15 million”.  And he also does a great job of pointing out that just because you have a mandate doesn’t mean people will actually get health care.  Gets good audience reaction through the answer.

Hillary’s answer is good, and gets decent response, but one thing she fails to address is the direct question Obama has for her in that, “what are you going to do if people don’t get health care?”  Which is an interesting question…

And…  No, she dodges the question.  Anti-Hillary and Pro-Obama bloggers take note, that is an important question that needs to be answered.

2025- Wolfie is making them stick to the mandate.  And Obama sticks the big one by invoking Kennedy who has worked on a dozen plans, and ties this to the central theme of his campaign, and man he’s spiking by making the negotiations on Cspan, and he’s just killing this question… Good moment for him.

The transparency idea really rated well, and Wolfie immediately reminds everyone that Hillary’s failed attempt at health care was done in private.

Hillary is essentially parroting Barack’s points without the transparency argument.

2031-Hillary is actually arguing and saying you can’t get transparency…  Interesting.

2032-Obama NAILS the tax question and continues to go after the Republicans.  Says he welcomes McCain, and the wheels came off the Straight Talk Express.  For anyone who thinks this man would fold against a Republican, take note.  He’s going to burn the GOP nominee.

And one thing that is becoming even more clear as this debate continues is that while Hillary is billed as the wonk, Obama is portraying that much better, and he’s managing to throw some humor and passion in as well.  Thus far Hillary looks more polished, but then, let’s remember, polish doesn’t always get rewarded in the end.

2036-Hillary has some decent points, but she’s not doing as well as Obama which is not good for her given that we’re still sort of on Health Care which is supposed to be her subject.

2038-Ruh Roh….  Immigration.  More specifically the impact illegal immigration has on employment.  And Obama gets a huge pop for calling such an idea scapegoating, and he delivers a solid potpurri domestic issue answer that gets him a lot of favorable ratings.

2043-Hillary’s immigration answer is not exactly the happiest, though it’s what you want to hear if you are a Republican considering the lends credence to job loss to illegal immigration.  That’s not going to please certain voters.

2046-If anything, I’m fair, and I’ll be honest, Obama is flubbing the follow up which was to further clarify a quote in a CNN interview he gave earlier this week where he said he worked on a more humane immigration, and he’s floundering, but not too terribly bad.

2049-Hillary saw an opening and took it, and is now owning the Illegal Immigration topic.  Though I cringed at the Jesus Christ mention.  Absolutely cringed.

2051-After four months, Hillary FINALLY has an answer to the driver’s license question, and Obama just called her on it…

2053- As I said, Obama hit her back pretty hard, and did a great job of hitting her on her flip flopping, and then taking the high road saying what Hillary should have said in September, that it’s a complex issue.

With an hour down, I’m going to say that so far this has been a good debate, no knock out punches, a couple of jabs here and there, but for the most part civil and wonkish, and thankfully for those who have weak hearts, thus far not likely to affect the race in a significant manner.

2100-One interesting thing about Hillary is when you ask her about her “experience” it really does sound kind of silly.  Look, I’ll be honest, if she wasn’t trying to claim 35 years of experience, I would respect her for that, but she claims this long train of experience, but stand that 35 years to Dodd’s, Biden’s, or Richardson’s.

2103-Hillary and Obama get asked about not being CEOs, and they both KNOCKED it out of the park, Hillary attacking Bush, Obama going after Mitt.

2107-Obama is asked about Clinton’s eight years as President (Bill’s), and you know, this debate is kind of deteriorating into a… well… a boring pseudo lovefest.  But Obama took it and used it to get at the generation gap, and the inspirational event of young voters joining the Government.

And Hillary is asked how can she be an agent of change with the same two names in the White House for so long.

2112 “It took a Clinton to clean up the after the first bush, it might take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush.”  Damn good answer…  damn good…


2117 On Iraq, and Hillary is asked why she has yet to provide for us as firm of a plan for withdrawl as Obama has.  And to be just dead honest, she dodges it.  Really, it’s sounding very Bush-like, and she won’t commit, but Bush-like with a softer edge.

And here’s where the tables have kind of turned, and Obama is the stronger of the two on Foreign Policy, and this is what I love of about him, he starts in Iraq and he hits all of our concerns globally, and he shows how not just military might is necessary to deal with potential threats like China, but really, on FP, he sounds like the solid candidate here.

2122-Hands down, Obama has Foreign Policy for the Democrats.  He’s the person.

2127-Hillary is asked the judgement question, and if Obama doesn’t hit her over it, I’m going to be very upset.  And to be honest, she’s making the case against her judgement by, well, just being wrong on that vote.

2129-DAMN! “The bar is set so low it is buried in sand”.  He makes an excellent point that we’ve made no progress in Iraq, we merely just got things back to where they were only bad as opposed to catastrophic.

He hits her on her Iraq war vote, but I would have liked to have seen him hit her on the Iran vote as well.  And here’s where he is killing her… He is currently outlying a solid foundation of good judgement in foreign policy, and Hillary is going to try to respond…

And she REFUSES to call that vote a mistake.  This is where she and Bush are almost inseperable in their shared inability to admit fallibility.

2135-She has been on the same question now for at least five minutes, and she has YET to adequately answer the question on her judgement in that Iraq war vote.  And you can see it in the reaction meter which has pretty much fallen asleep on the 60% line.

Personally, she will get ripped apart by John McCain

2137-Obama makes a very good point; if you weren’t clear about the bill, you might not have read the title which said, “authorization to use military force”.  It’s a little hard to spin that.

I like his “right from day one” line too.

And now, on the last break of the debate, I am going to say on all other arenas, Hillary and Obama are pretty even, each with their moments.  But on Foreign Policy, make no mistake, he owns her on Foreign Policy.

2143-Obama on sex and violence on tv, and Obama knows his crowd by saying that the primary responsibility is on the parents.  And there you go, this is what really connects to Obama’s supporters, that ability to go to the people and tell them what they may not want to hear.  This is specifically speaking to Obama talking about going to the entertainment industry and telling them to be a little more mindful of advertizing inappropriate content on family programming.

2148-final question Obama/Clinton Clinton/Obama ticket?

Obama delivers a good answer, too early to talk about a Veep, and what really gets him a positive response is his determination to not have a “Yes man or Yes woman” in the White House.

Hillary agrees with Obama, and you can tell that’s a really tricky question for both candidates, and while they have both played nice during the debate, I think this question right here, if you read between the lines, probably not.

2153- Well, that draws this debate to a close.  My final thoughts are simply that it was a good debate, a vigorous debate, and the kind of debate that should make Republicans shaking in their boots.  Despite all the nastiness that the two camps have shown each other in recent weeks, they have done a remarkable job of not just being civil but actually freindly, and while this term has been over used this election season, I think this one instance warrants it; the Democratic party won tonight.

Further, I think for about 75% of the debate it was a pretty even match with both sides scoring solid points, and Hillary Clinton having the smallest of edges on Barack Obama.  But during the period of time that was used to talk about Foreign Policy, Barack Obama was the clear winner.

As for the effects that this will have on the race… well for that, you’re just going to have to tune in tomorrow morning when I plan to have my post game analysis up.  I want to thank Mark, and Dynamic and Terry for joining me and making this a great experience, and good night.

75 Responses to “Liveblogging The Debate”

  1. terry says:

    Oh that was a good answer for Barack on ending the war.

  2. Mark says:

    Just popping in for a second.

    …But didn’t anyone think her answer was a bit disingenuous in claiming that they all start out on the same footing with things like fundraising and campaigning? Does anyone honestly believe she would have gotten where she is now without her last name?

    BTW- Kyle, I’ve been sick all week; I’m going to start working on my response tonight and over the weekend. This will mean we go into February, but this has just been a brutal weak for me healthwise.

  3. Dynamic says:

    When she says Bush doesn’t need the approval of Congress to bind America to Iraq, is that true? Doesn’t any treaty need to be ratified by Congress?

  4. Dude, it’s okay, that was me last week, I totally understand, you know, I think we’ve done some good stuff with our education debate, and if we had to go a little over time, that’s fine, I’m still proud of it.

    As for Hill’s answer, I missed that one… probably was when I had to get up and address something. No, they don’t start on equal footing. Hillary had an insurmountable advantage from the beginning. Obama just seems on the verge of surmounting on the insurmountable.

  5. Well, Mark, being more solid on the constitution than I (don’t worry kids, I have my own pocket constitution), might be better to answer that if he’s still around.

    I think he may as commander in chief though.

  6. terry says:

    Mark, you’re right. Obama’s finance person has said how they started out with a list of about 20,000 names from his senate races. Can you imagine how many Clinton had between her list and Bill’s?

  7. Note to self… keep live blogging in comments alone. I’ve been doing both comments and updating the main body.

  8. Mark says:

    I was referring to the way she start her answer on the dynasty question.

    In any event, the thing that really bugs me about Hillary on the Iraq issue is that she sounds as if we’ve done the Iraqi government a favor. In essence, she thinks that the Iraqi government owes us compliance with our deadlines, as if it’s their fault that we’re there. She seems to advocate withdrawal not as a morally right thing to do or as a strategically wise thing to do (both of which I now think it is), but instead as a sort of threat to the Iraqis.

  9. terry says:

    She’ll never say she regretted voting yes.

  10. Well put Mark… and let me just ask this question to the group since there is one…

    Who would have guessed a few months ago that Obama would be able to outdo Hillary so clearly on Foreign Policy?

  11. Oh jeez… can she please wrap it up… she’s still not answering the question that she was asked.

  12. terry says:

    Oh no, she’s going to say how every day she tries to help someone…

  13. Mark says:

    Dammit! I said I was only dropping in for a second, but every time I go back to the debate, she says something new to piss me off.

    In any event, she just used the magic word that guaranteed she can never appeal to libertarians even as a lesser of evils option: “I believe in coercive diplomacy.” Way to sound like a neo-con, Hillary!

  14. terry says:

    Now the resolution didn’t actually mean war, yikes is she parsing.

  15. Dynamic says:

    I have to admit, I’m impressed with his progress. He’s a sharp, polished candidate who is competing extremely well with a very impressive candidate (which Hillary is, in her own right). And foreign policy was supposed to be one of her strong points, and now it’s her weakest.

    On the other hand, health care was going to be her weakest and now it’s one of her strongest.

  16. You know, she has that mandate, and it’s interesting because when you crunch numbers and do the research, the mandate is really cosmetic in nature, but I will give her this much, that’s a great cosmetic feature that is perfect for the debates and sound bites.

  17. Now, guys, since I’m not going to be able to hang out much after this is done, I wanted to thank you all for joining me, you’ll all get some linkage in my post game analysis in the morning, and this has definitely been a blast thanks to you guys coming over and hanging out.

  18. terry says:

    ouch….there’s the laugh

  19. yeah, the cackle actually causes me physical pain.

  20. terry says:

    Ok, Barack won that one just by going first.

    You know neither will choose the other, at least that’s my opinion.

  21. I agree. I think that’s it.

  22. Well, you guys have been great, again, really, thank you so much for stopping by, we had some fun, we got to see what I think was probably one of the best debates of the season, and you know a lot of hope for the Democratic party. And I’ll catch you all later. Good night.

  23. terry says:

    awww…Barack held her chair for her.

  24. Dynamic says:

    Thanks Kyle, always a pleasure to do these, I love seeing how other people are taking this election process.

    It’s a truly exciting one no matter how you slice it. I think the most important part is the sense that America is finally poised to be moving forward again.

    Another good liveblog, I shall see you guys soon. 🙂


  1. Debate Final Analysis: Best Debate; Obama Wins » Comments from Left Field - [...] debate was not one to miss, you can read the transcript here, and you can check out our liveblogging…

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