Liveblogging The Debate

Well, we’re about fifteen minutes out from what promises to be a night of fireworks and fisticuffs in politics as the final two Democratic candidates square off days before a critical primary voting day.

Live webcasting will be hosted by ABC’s local affiliate here, and I truly hope that you’ll join me for tonight’s debate.  Because things are getting down to the wire, I’m not going to spend too much time explaining the backdrop for this incredibly important event, but I will take a few moments to explain how this works for those of you who have never participated in one of our liveblogging events.

Unlike many bloggers out there, we don’t do our liveblogging through updates or using fancy widgets, our minute by minute coverage occurs right there in the comments section.  This means that anyone who wishes can come and be a part of the play by play commentary.

It’s proven to be great fun in the past, and I expect tonight to be no different.

We simply ask that you follow a couple of simple guidelines.  Keep your language relatively civil; a curse word here and there is forgiveable but blatantly offensive language has to go.  And please no spamming.

With that said, let’s get it on!

63 Responses to “Liveblogging The Debate”

  1. No clue, Gail, I’m not good with econ stuff, and really my eyes have glazed over at this point.

    Now what I want to say at this point is htat Clinton has said that if things had went the way her husband had things going, we would be better off now. She uses this to riff on Bush, but here’s the thing, that’s not the situation that we have right now. We didn’t have Al Gore in 2000, we had Bush. So this, well, if we had stayed in charge, is just crap.

    We have to fix Bush’s mistakes.

    As for this payroll cap issue, this is one thing that I understand decently, and Clinton is most certainly NOT taking the progressive track on this.

    Keep in mind that, as Obama has mentioned, payroll taxes are capped at 97K a year. Lifting that cap, especially with a donut hole, as Obama has suggested he would employ, is exactly the right track. Think about that, if you make a million dollars a year, you only pay payroll taxes on 10 percent of that, whereas people who make 50K a year are paying payroll taxes on everything.

    So yes, we should be looking at lifting the payroll cap, that’s not a tax on middle America, that’s raising taxes on the top six percent.

    I’m not there, are you ?

  2. And from the quote of the second amendment to the reference of the Virginia Tech Tragedy by Charlie Gibson, it’s time to talk about guns.

  3. Now Charlie Gibson has asked Clinton on her pandering for gun owners. Now, she’s giving a pretty good answer on gun control, on striking the right balance.

    Obama is giving a law professor answer to this, so far it’s doing okay with the mood meter. And he’s losing on this issue pretty bad.

    In general, he’s done okay during this debate, but it has not been his best performance. Thus far.

  4. Okay, realistically, neither candidate is fairing very well on the gun issue.

  5. And with no segue at all, we go straight to Affirmative Action. “People who have been locked out of opportunity can go through the doors of opportunity in the future”.

    Clinton pretty much ignores the affirmative action question, and goes into her bread and butter issues.

    She’s performing particularly well right now.

  6. Damn, I was pulled away for a moment. So I have no idea what i may have missed.

    I pretty much have a bead on how this debate has gone, though.

    In general, what we are looking at here is that Hillary Clinton has performed the best, however, she also suffered the worst moment of the night in her response to the Bosnia situation.

    Obama did not have his best debate performance tonight.

    But we have an unusual situation wherein Hillary’s the PA frontrunner, and Obama’s the national frontrunner. i don’t think that either candidate did anything to disrupt either standing. But this means that Clinton has locked in her win in PA.

    uh oh

    Final question, the primary process itself.

    *sigh*

  7. Okay, this is more along the lines of each candidate has a minute and a half to convince people they should be the nominee.

    Hillary’s is a pretty standard stump speech fare. slow build to the low seventies on the mood meter.

  8. And Obama puts his strength on the depth of his coalition of supporters. His answer rates a little less than Hillary’s did.

    So now it’s time for some final thoughts.

  9. Dynamic says:

    Glad you guys are here, looks I didn’t miss that much.

  10. Okay, first, I want to thank Mike and Gail who both joined me for this debate liveblogging. They’ve definitely helped make it an enjoyable experience.

    I think we got some tech issues to work through between now and our next live blog event, there was definitely some slowed performance on my end that was frustrating, but hopefully this should be the last notable debate until the General Election.

    On to the debate itself.

    Hillary Clinton seemed to have found the stride that she lost a long while ago. For most of the debate she reminded me of the Hillary Clinton of the early primary season, the candidate who was calm, well versed on the issues, and typically above the fray.

    that’s not to say that she didn’t stumble a little bit. She did, and her Bosnia answer was thoroughly inadequate, and the mood meter showed that the people in attendance were not buying any sleepiness story on her part. She also struck me as being too aggressive and may get called for overreaching in the days to come.

    Senator Obama, on the other hand, did not have a good night, and was more reminiscent of the earlier debates when it looked as though he was trying to find his footing. That’s not to say that he didn’t have his good moments as well, though, perhaps one of my favorite being when he took George to the woodshed for trying to make hay on the issue of Obama’s relationship with a former Weatherman.

    In all, I would have to say that no knockout blows were delivered, and no candidate did himself or herself fatal harm during this debate. I do think that Clinton performed marginally better which means that Obama’s chances of an upset in Pennsylvania on Tuesday have gone down. Meanwhile, Clinton may win Pennsylvania, but I don’t believe her performance was significantly better than Obama’s to the point where she could look to rack up a game changing lead.

    Nor do I think that she is likely to winover North Carolinians which is going to be a landmark moment in this Primary for her.

    But it all comes down to post game spin and which stories out of this debate, if any, change the direction of the narrative in the days to come. I’ll be watching eagerly.

    Until then, thanks to everyone who joined us, and good night.

  11. DrGail says:

    First, regarding the final question: I thought Obama’s answer was spot-on, and it clearly reiterated the message of his entire campaign. But it’s not the kind of answer that “plays well in Peoria” straight off. This is something you comment on frequently, Kyle.

    Rather, his answer is one that will roll around in people’s minds and, as they see actions by Team Obama over the next several days, they’ll begin to see things just the way Obama laid out in his final answer. So, over time, his answer will resonate best.

    As to Hillary: her answer reflected her normal style — to use a baseball reference, she plays “small ball”. She’s out there trying to get singles, and bunts, and steal bases. This can often win baseball games, but it’s not the sort of strategy that really gets people enthused about the team.

    As I think back over what I wrote just now, it seems like it pretty well sums up how I saw the whole debate. She was hitting on detailed policies (where she has them, like early childhood education), but not providing any sense of strategy to the whole effort. She came across as playing “small ball”.

    Now, I’m obviously biased here, but Obama came across (in the second half, when real issues were discussed) as being more strategic. I LOVED his answer about Iraq – that the President sets the overall mission and basic strategy and ground commanders can weigh in on tactics.

    Gotta go. . .

  12. DrGail says:

    I think I found out the answer to the capital gains tax rate vs. revenue issue: Capital gains accrue when an asset is sold. Except in a few specialized instances, people have a choice about when to sell an asset. If they know the capital gains tax rate will be going down as of a certain date, they are likely to sell assets AFTER that date rather than before it, in order to minimize the tax due. So the increase in revenues experienced once the capital gains tax rate goes down is largely due to the fact that more people are selling assets.

    Short answer: Charlie Gibson was technically correct, but his statement reflects an artifact.

  13. James says:

    Nice play-by-play.

    I agree with just about everything you have written about the debate – the worst I’ve ever seen – but there’s one thing that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention and that’s Hillary’s “security umbrella” for the Middle East.

    She said she wants to put in place a set of alliances in the Middle East, along the lines of NATO, to protect Israel and the oil producers from possible attack from Iran.

    This strikes me as very odd and as an over reaction to the threat Iran really poses to the region. With what we know now about our lead up to war in Iraq and Hillary’s vote to support it despite not having read the National Intelligence Estimate on the matter, I can’t trust her assessment of Iran’s danger.

    Fact is, Iran hasn’t invaded another country in a very long time, maybe centuries. In the event that they produce nuclear weapons, and go on to use them, an automatic retaliatory strike seems not only foolish, but also something that we won’t be able to back up, just as we can’t follow through on Iraq.

    Such an arrangement essentially puts Iran’s finger on the trigger. This security arrangement is fundamentally different from the NATO arrangement during the Cold War because back then you could point to Soviet imperialism, they really did take over other countries, but they weren’t nihilists. A region where nihilists drive so much of the attitude toward conflict is not a region in which military engagement should be automatic, it’s a place where long-term, careful diplomacy is required. Hillary’s plan does not recognize that. It seems as though she thought it up on the spot.

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