The last debate I watched almost did me in. Swore I never would watch another one. All the candidates did was rehash their campaign trail talking points regardless of the question asked.
But my will power has disappointed me on other issues, so here goes. Liveblogged. Can't wait to see the pantsuit.
Uh - Oh....Looks like I've got to figure out how to spell Stephanopoulos. I'll call him George.
Opening statements. Obama goes first. He's been struck by the frustration of Penn. voters. He's doing damage control for his "bitterness" statement. Hillary's looking at him like a shrew.
Hillary talks about the promise of America. She's spouting cliches in a green pantsuit.
Now that they've both said nothing, we have a commercial.
Gibson: you two have different constituencies. Why not Fight to the end. Then take the other as a running mate?
Obama thinks highly of Senator Clinton, but this is all premature. And he wouldn't dream of having Bill as a V.P. spouse.
Hillary is going to get one of them into the White House. She's a uniter, not a divider. They just showed Chelsea in the audience. She's had cosmetic surgery, I think.
Ok, here's Charlie Gibson bringing up Obama's guns 'n' roses 'n' religion gaffe. Here's what he meant.....People are having a hard time, it predates the housing crisis. When people feel like Washington isn't listening, they focus on "constants" like religion. They focus on traditions of gun ownership. They focus on wedge issues.
Hillary looks like her planned rebuttal got blown out of the water. She's talking about her grandfather. She doesn't think grandfather would "cling" to religion when times were bad. I'm amazed that the leader of the free world might be chosen because an opponent said "cling".
George: Hillary told Richardson that Obama can't win. Do you, Hillary, think Obama can beat McCain? (In an election, not a steel-cage deathmatch....) Hillary gives a non-answer. George calls her on it. She says he can win, but she'd rather be the one to win. Or not win. As long as she wins the primary. And drags her party down with her.
Same question to Obama: Yeah, she can win, but I'm better. He goes into the accusations of elitism, being out of touch.... He's done a lot to reach out to religious people and gun people. He accuses her of taking one statement and beating it to death. He agrees that Hillary HAS gone through the wringer. On the baking cookies issue, for instance.....He's slyly reminding everyone of the Clinton era, and the wringer the Clintons went through. 20 million people just remembered Whitewater, Travelgate, Monica, Cattle futures, Gennifer, etc. Good move.
Hillary talks about working families. Talking points.
Charlie Gibson: Jeremiah Wright. Did you really not hear anything like that from his pulpit? Why did you rescind his invitation to the campaign launch? What did you know?
Obama: I hadn't seen the remarks that were on Youtube. He's trying to draw a line between the work of the church, and just a few remarks. There's some anger out there. We've got to move beyond it.
Charlie Gibson: Hillary, you said you woulda left the church. Should 8,000 members have left the church?
Hillary: I was asked a personal question, and gave a personal answer. Wright blamed the U.S. for 9/11, and she wouldn't've been able to stay there. But I don't remember any condemnation from these folks on Falwell and Robertson when they said almost the exact same thing....
Obama; I wasn't at church that day. I can't believe the future of the free world depends on the words of one minister. The church is a community that extends beyond the pastor. We're not going to solve problems without getting past these divides and talk about something besides preacher lynchings.
George: Does Wright love America? How are you going to act if you win and those clips are played over and over and over?
Obama: If it's not this, it'll be something else. The American people are about to be distracted by something that doesn't matter. Wright's a former marine. But he's angry about injustice.
Gibson: Hillary, do you want to change the topic?
Hillary: Let's talk about preachers some more....We've got to figure out how to overcome anger and bitterness. As leaders, we have to be careful who we give our seal of approval to. Farrakhan, Hamas, etc.
George: Hillary, people think you're a pathological liar....How do you respond?
Hillary: I'm not dumb. I wrote about going to Bosnia in 2004. You're right. I just said some things that weren't the case. Apologized. I said it was a mistake, and can hope you can get over it. Being able to rely on my experience of going to Bosnia and other countries and gives me a huge advantage.... Obama looks loaded for Bear....
George: Obama, do you think Hillary's a pathological liar?
Obama: I think she has a strong campaign to run on. Both of us are working as hard as we can to deliver a message. Sometimes it'll be imperfctly delivered. OBAMA SAYS HE CAN'T BELIEVE THE NEXT PRESIDENT WILL BE CHOSEN BECAUSE OF GAFFES. I once again feel somewhat reassured about this guy.
Wait a minute. George Stephanoupolos was one of Clinton's advisors. Is it fair for him to be moderating this debate?????????????????
A lady asks about Obama wearing flag lapel.
Obama: I revere the American flag. I wouldn't be running for President if I didn't. There's no other nation where my story is possible. He tries to show his patriotism by how he treats veterans, by bringing the war to a close, etc. Note to self: does Hillary have on a flag? He's going to continue to fight for those issues. He wore one yesterday when a veteran handed it to him. Flag pins are a distraction.
George: William Ayers, of the Weather Underground, is a freakin' terrorist. Obama, you had a fundraiser at his house.
Obama: This is an example of a distraction. He's an English professor in the 'hood. He did these things when I was an 8-year old. I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, who advocates the death penalty for abortions. And he called Stephanopoulos "George", just to put Clinton's boy in his place.
Hillary: Obama is on Boards with this ex-hippie freak. (She's right, this is a huge, bigger than Reverend Wright problem.) She gets a laugh by saying that the Republicans should be ashamed to run anybody, jsut as an apology for the Bush years. But then she brings up how she's been "vetted". But she's reminding people of their Clinton fatigue.
Obama: Brings up that Bill pardoned members of the same Weather Underground group. Touche. The Republicans are gonna throw that on whoever wins. Maybe I'm an exception, but I think Obama is walking away with this thing....
Break for an advertisement. I'm thinking the Democrats should've cancelled this debate. All they're doing is giving John McCain some debate prep. He can now bring mention this stuff without being the bad guy.
The AARP is running ads for an outfit called DividedWeFail.com I can hear the Treasury draining. We're back....
Charlie: Is there a plan to get us out of Iraq? How's it going to happen? Will Clinton bring 1 or 2 brigades out of Iraq per month? Even if it creates huge setbacks?
Hillary: Yes, I am. I'm pulling troops out at that rate. Civilian control of the military. John McCain is now happier than a old hog in fresh slop. We will pull them out in a responsible manner. Diplomatic effort to get other countries involved.
Charlie: Are you saying that you know better than the military commanders?
Hillary: I'm saying that we can't continue to take losses. We don't know what will happen if we withdraw. We do know what'll happen if we stay.
Charlie: Your campaign manager said that we'd be out in 16 months, Senator Obama....
Obama: Accuses Bush of not leading, merely following Petraeus. I'll respect the military opinions, but I determine the mission, they determine the tactics.
George: Should the U.S. see attacks on Israel as attacks on the U.S. (by Iran)?
Obama: We gotta keep them from getting nukes. We can offer carrots and sticks.
George: So you would extend our deterrent guarantee to Israel?
Obama: They're our strongest ally in the region. The U.S. would take appropriate action.
Hillary: We should create an umbrella of deterence that goes broader. Massive retaliation. But also to other countries in the region????? What's she talking about? She says they're trying to intimidate people and she's going to retaliate? What the heck was Saddam doing???? I'm confused. Can't rewind though. That would be cheating.
None of these other countries can have nukes.... An attack on Israel would bring about retaliation, but so would attacks on other countries that are under the Hillary Umbrella Of Protection. (Which has a lovely green pastel shade)....
McCain: All these tax increases are paid for by "hope".
George: Will you make a "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge? for people under certain income levels? 250k? Will you roll back the tax cuts for rich folks?
Hillary: Yeah, I'll revert. I do not believe that it'll effect the economy. Hear that rustling sound? That's cash money leaving here to go overseas. God knows she makes me nuts.
Obama: I'm the first candidate to say I'll cut taxes. (He then goes off into the rules in Washington, the mortgage crisis, lobbyists, etc.)
Charlie: Obama, you'll increase the capital gains tax? Bill dropped it, George W. dropped it. Revenues went up. But when the tax was increased, revenues went down. Charlie is beating them about the head and shoulders with an economics Clue Stick.... So why raise it at all?
Obama: He would look at it for purposes of fairness. Those who can work the stock market are paying a lower rate than their secretaries. Nobody has the cajones to bring up the Rahm Emmanuel flat tax. it's the only way to cut out the loopholes. But it would alienate the accounting profession.
Charlie: Why cut off your nose to spite your face?
Obama: it depends on how business is going, whether tax income will go up or down.
Hillary: We used to have a great economy in the 1990's. That because Bill gave us NAFTA, gave us free trade in a lot of areas, etc....all the things you're against, Hillary. They keep showing Chelsea in the audience. Is Bill there? I wouldn't raise Capital Gains above 20%. It would depend on the financial situation at the time.
More blather about their tax code changes that only Congress can really approve....now we're getting into Social Security Salvation Schemes. I've heard them do these lines so many times. Social Security is doomed. Every five years, I get a listing of what I've paid into it. If that had gone into the stock market every year since 1975, I'd be paying someone else to type this stuff for my own amusement.
Sorry. Brief digression. I couldn't make myself listen to it any more.
More DividedWeFail.org ads from the AARP. I'm sure they want more Free Lunches.
Ok, we're getting into the Peoples' Right to Keep and Bear Arms. This'll be good.
Charlie: This is the one year anniversary of Virginia Tech (where people died because classrooms are a gun-free zone.) Both of you are flip-floppers on this issue. Whassup with that?
Hillary: One person a day is murdered in Philly. She'll be a good partner for cities. She'll bring back the COPS program. She'll redo the assault weapons ban. She'll give police access to info on illegal guns. She'll do everything but answer the question. Most lawful gun owners want to be sure that we keep guns out of the wrong hands. She's going to find a balance.
Charlie: You can't own handguns in D.C.
Obama: The constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. We have two realities - the tradition of gun ownership vs. what's happening in Philly and Chicago.
Charlie: You answered a questionaire saying you favored a ban on handguns.
Obama: Nope. We just have to keep them away from certain people. 34 guns deaths of public school children in the South Side of Chicago.
George: Hillary, do you support the D.C. gun ban?
Hillary: It's dividing the Bush administration. But I'm not going to answer the question.
George: Answer, please.
Hillary: Sensible, common sense regulations.
George: Please answer??? Pretty please??
Hillary: I favor what works. What works for NYC won't work for Montana. Different rules for different places. This way she's not alienating either group. Both sides probably hear what they want to hear in this.
George: Affirmative Action. How should it be changed?
Obama: blah de blah blah blah. blah blah blah blah blah. Blah. He still believes in Affirmative Action, but it can't be quotas. Which is like saying I like circles, but they can't be round.
Clinton: We need more Affirmative Action for people with disadvantaged backgrounds. End No Child Left Behind. Compete and Win in The Global Economy.
Charlie: Gas prices.
Hillary: She met with truckers in Harrisburg. She's gonna investigate. (They've done this every time gas increases by .25 cents.) Release some oil from reserves. And have a gas tax moratorium.
Charlie: I'm going to quote Jimmy Carter, and startle The Whited Sepulchre into a fit of rage, and make him forget everything I just said.....
Obama: I'm talking, but Jimmy Carter insanity keeps popping into the head of the guy typing this.....
George: How would you use George W. as a former president?
Hillary: (Giggle) There will be opportunites to ask All the former presidents to help.
Obama: Having their advice and counsel is important. Big Daddy Bush had a wise foreign policy.
One more commercial break, with a final question for each.
Religion, Free Speech, and more Bill of Rights....
Charlie: Neither of you will win this based on pledged delegates. It'll be superdelegates who make the call. Make the case for yourself.
Hillary: WE need a fighter who will take on the special interests....do away with the subsidies 55 billion worth, that they've given to the drug companies, insurance companies, oil companies, BUT NOT THE ETHANOL FARMERS, and we're going to tackle all the problems. Blah blah blah track record blah blah fight for people blah blah blah keep faith cliche cliche blah cliche commander in chief blah rebuild our military blah blah blah economy. It Takes A Village. You can count on me.
Obama: His campaign is based on our being at a defining moment: war, economy, lack of trust. We're disillusioned. He bet on the American people. No spin and P.R. Change happens from the bottom up. No PAC money, registered lobbyist money. His bet has paid off. In record numbers.
And the winner of this thing, after watching them go at it for one hour and fifty two minutes, smearing each other non-stop.....John McCain.