By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Open thread for tonight’s debate

Let’s try something different tonight. I’m not going to live-blog the latest Obama-McCain debate. I’ve been under the weather the last couple of days, and I just want to watch, more or less uninterrupted.

But feel free to post comments while the debate is taking place. I’ll try to check in a few times during the course of the evening.

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Let the excuse-making begin

51 Comments

  1. Dan Kennedy

    Brokaw warns McCain and Obama on time limits. Ridiculous. Let them talk.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Tom: Yes, they agreed to the rules. Now they’re agreeing to ignore the rules. Get over it. We want to hear them talk.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Brokaw is really pissing me off.

  4. Eric Baumann

    Agreed. Brokaw needs to cram it.

  5. Al Toid

    True Brokaw is being a bit intrusive, but I think he’s also worried that he’s going to look as ineffectual as Ms iffl (sic?) last week.Sen. McCain is very good in this format and I do think that the stupid format of this debate – unable to rebutt one another’s comments is leaving plausible sounding lies unanswered.

  6. Brigid

    Well, both candidates seem to realize that you’re not going to lose on points if you don’t answer the question. They’re managing to work in their rebuttals no matter what the question is.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    I can’t believe it. He did it again. You’re not paying attention to those lights, gentlemen. We don’t care!

  8. Al Toid

    Does Sen. McCain seem kind of creepy when he does that clenched smile and ‘…this one’ style dig at Sen. Obama to anyone else?

  9. Eric Baumann

    I think I’m most impressed by how steady his right hand is holding that microphone, kinda looks like a prosthetic.

  10. Al Toid

    Yeah, Eric, but that I can’t really comment on. I assume that’s something due to his POW experience. Residual Catholic guilt, I guess.

  11. Dan Kennedy

    I can’t remember two presidential candidates better able simply to talk about policy in detail and depth. Kennedy-Nixon was before my time. Whatever else you think of them, you’ve got to give them that.

  12. Al Toid

    And more importantly, communicate policy in a way we can understand.

  13. jhall

    His hero is Teddy Roosevelt. 10 minutes ago his hero was Ronald Reagan

  14. Aaron Read

    I know this is hopelessly shallow, but am I imagining things or is McCain’s suit jacket cut ridiculously low in an attempt to make him look taller?I mean, seriously, that jacket ends about an inch above his ankles. Between that and the stiff mini-hunch he looks like a balding “Lurch” from the Addams Family.

  15. Jessica Torrez-Riley

    I’m glad Brokaw finally allowed them to respond to each other. What’s the point of the debate if they can’t debate what each other are saying. I think this whole format feels kind of awkward and in the beginning was focusing more on the awkward camera angles than the what the candidates were saying.

  16. Aaron Read

    Brokaw’s insistence on “watching the lights” is probably a combination of trying to assert himself as a real moderator, instead of the pushover Ifill was, and a veiled threat telling Obama and McBush to answer the damn questions instead of wandering all over the place.I don’t care about whether or not McBush and Obama stick to time, but I do care that Brokaw smacks ’em around a little bit to remind them who’s boss.

  17. Dan Kennedy

    Aaron: It would be different if one or both of them were doing a Palin and going to great lengths to avoid saying anything substantive. Brokaw doesn’t want these guys to waste precious time making important points. Gah!

  18. Dan Kennedy

    CNN has its focus group on. The members are even dumber than you might think.

  19. bostonmediawatch

    There was only one thing new tonight, and it was in the first 5 minutes when McCain said (I think) that the gov’t should arrange to do blanket mortgage cram-downs.

  20. mike_b1

    McCain doesn’t play the socialist well. He should stick to his war ditties.Over on HBA, Garry Shandling is saying that McCain is going to prove he’s a maverick by voting for Obama.

  21. Dan Kennedy

    The pattern holds: CBS News’ snap poll finds that 39 percent of uncommitted voters thought Obama won, as opposed to just 27 percent for McCain.Off to bed. I’ll be wrapping up the commentary for the Guardian tomorrow morning.

  22. mike_b1

    CBS really needs to provide the margin of error. Without it, the results are meaningless.

  23. O-FISH-L

    Aaron said: “Between that and the stiff mini-hunch he looks like a balding “Lurch” from the Addams Family.”—Getting shot down in service to your country, then being held in unimaginable conditions and tortured for 5+ years does a number on the posture, if not the hair care. You’re a class act Aaron, Obama must be proud to have you.

  24. fenwayguy

    mike_b1 said: McCain is going to prove he’s a maverick by voting for Obama.lol (HBA?) Favorite bystander sign: “Hey Sarah, from my house I can see the end of your political career!”

  25. Steve Brown

    fenwayguy said…mike_b1 said: McCain is going to prove he’s a maverick by voting for Obama.lol (HBA?) I think he meant HBO. Shandling made the comment on Real Time with Bill Maher which aired live Friday night.

  26. mike_b1

    HBO, of course.

  27. Ani

    I guess I come down somewhere in the middle about McCain’s physical presentation: given that McCain may have physical limitations from his time as a POW, his handlers should really help him come up with a way of holding himself and moving so that he comes across less as a wind-up toy. Obama’s fluidity in that languid posture on his stool was quite a contrast. For me in times of crisis especially I prefer a leader whose presentation does not jar my nerves further.

  28. Dan Kennedy

    Ani: McCain has done a million of these, and his physical limitations have never come up before. I suspect his handlers completely missed the boat of how it would look on TV.

  29. mike_b1

    Or perhaps McCain told his handlers to shove it.

  30. Ani

    Dan: they don’t tape practice sessions?

  31. The Arranger

    For those of us obsessing about such weighty matters as posture and hunching, may I remind you that our two greatest presidents — who saw us through our greatest crises as a nation– were the ugliest president in US history and the only president who needed a wheelchair.Bob in Peabody

  32. Lucy the Dog

    I guess it may be a trivial matter. But I didn’t hear any commentary on why McCain split after a few handshakes while That One and That One’s Wife seemed to take individual pictures with everyone in the hall. He stayed out there for what felt like at least a half-hour. It was kind of strange.

  33. Ani

    the arranger,And I think how they presented themselves made a huge difference.

  34. mike_b1

    Bob in P: Lincoln predated television, and FDR wasn’t shown from the waist down.And…neither spent five years in a prison camp being bashed in the head.

  35. Doug Shugarts

    I dunno, o-fish-l. Was it classy of you to refer to a black candidate as ‘impertinent’ or to describe a South Side Chicago festival where children were served ‘Hoodsies?’And you posted those comments while standing behind the skirt of a pseudononymous name?

  36. Peter Porcupine

    DK – the debate was boring. Brokaw should only be allowed to moderate conventional debates if he can’t understand that an alleged ‘town hall’ format involves lee-way and discussion. I am HUGELY disappointed, as I really like and admire him, but Brokaw was just awful.Neither candidate had anything new to say, and BOTH should be prohibited from re-using talking points and ‘lines’ from previous debates. We want fresh material, dammit! A fellow watcher said there wasn’t a debate, just a trading of accusations – and I think that’s a fair assessment. This is NOT a prosecutorial enviornment – it should have ben about ideas.Mr. Shugarts – How CAN we be allowed to say we don’t like Obama? I say ‘snooty’, but that gets translated into ‘uppity’. You’ll have to do better with the racist overtones of ‘impertinent’. And I suspect that you are not a native of New England, where small cardboard cups of ice cream are universally called ‘hoodsies’ after the Hood Milk Co. which INVENTED them. We also say ‘tonic’ when referring to carbonated beverages. There is no need for anonymity when using such innocuous words in this neck of the woods.DK – do you see what I mean now about how Palin has every word parsed by Brahmin pundits?

  37. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I’m still steamed at Brokaw, but I do think we have to acknowledge that he was only trying to enforce the campaigns’ own rules. He was just way too obtrusive about it. And didn’t you love the end? Get out of the way, you two, so I can read the Teleprompter. Good grief.

  38. Aaron Read

    Getting shot down in service to your country, then being held in unimaginable conditions and tortured for 5+ years does a number on the posture, if not the hair care. You’re a class act Aaron, Obama must be proud to have you.Fish: bite me. That’s about as classy as a response you deserve. If war records were considered fair game to be distorted, mangled, twisted, defamed, spit on and lied about for John Kerry, then MCCAIN sure as hell isn’t getting a pass in my book.And besides, getting SHOT DOWN doesn’t exactly qualify a candidate as having military experience. I’d rather, you know, have someone who was good enough NOT to be shot down, maybe?

  39. Doug Shugarts

    PP: Several commenters from NE picked up on the racial insinuation of the ‘impertinent’ remark. Nice try, but no dice. And truth be told, I’ve been a resident of greater Boston for 14 years.If you wish to make criticisms of either candidate, how about citing specifics? That forces you to think things through a bit and avoid comments that may be interpreted (rightly, in this case) as unfortunate.

  40. Dot Lane

    “And I suspect that you are not a native of New England, where small cardboard cups of ice cream are universally called ‘hoodsies’ after the Hood Milk Co. which INVENTED them.”Which is of course why o-f-l would bring them up in the context of the south side of Chicago. He can’t even get his snark right.And as to McCain getting shot down, he deliberately went against his training and paid dearly for it. He knew a surface-to-air missile was locked on him, he knew his plane could avoid it, but he went ahead and indiscriminately dropped his bombs anyway. I’m sorry, but that shows the same crappy judgment he’s shown throughout this campaign and his career.

  41. mike_b1

    The truth is, McCain really was a pretty lousy airman. And he’s been a nondescript, albeit loud, legislator.Personally, I would like to know why McCain has fought so hard to keep Vietnam POW/MIA records (and not just his) sealed. What is Mr, Straight Talk hiding? Talk about unpatriotic.

  42. Michael Pahre

    @ mike_b1:The CBS snap poll is like previous ones having a sample size of around 500. That makes the sampling error around 4.5%, i.e., 1/sqrt(500) * 100%.

  43. Peter Porcupine

    Mr. Shugarts – Then you’ve have to supply a racially neutral word for insensitive, smug, snarky, flip, and disrespectful that will not set off the alleged alarm bells of ‘impertinent’.Ms. Lane – you tell me; what IS the appropriate slang for ice cream cups in South Chicago? And what other words must we translate for the Obama fans? I didn’t know the campaign was requiring specific vocabulary just for them.

  44. Nial Liszt

    Hoodsie CupMoonbats!

  45. Doug Shugarts

    No, PP, don’t you think it’s best to make specific points about taxes, foreign policy, voting record, etc.? Critcisms of a candidate’s style are flimsy at best, and in the case we’re discussing, the remark about ‘impertinent’ is straight out of 1973. At best, it’s anachronistic.Arguing from fact helps keep the conversation out of the gutter and thin the herd of those who can’t keep up.

  46. Dan Kennedy

    Silly me. I thought we were talking about Hoodsies in the Howie Carr sense.

  47. Ani

    PP:Well, I guess I have to wonder why people thought of “impertinent” and not “snobby” if what was meant was “insensitive, smug, snarky, flip, and disrespectful” — in other words, why was the image that of a person looking up and not of one looking down? I say this partly because the characteristics you list I associate with many grads of elite schools, so that would have been my frame of reference.

  48. Dot Lane

    “you tell me; what IS the appropriate slang for ice cream cups in South Chicago? And what other words must we translate for the Obama fans? I didn’t know the campaign was requiring specific vocabulary just for them.”PP:As a native Vermonter I know full well what Hoodsie cups are so no translation is needed. But if o-f-l is going to make a snarky comment about Obama making sure kids get Hoodsie cups at an event on the South Side of Chicago, it doesn’t make much sense if they don’t have Hoodsies in Chicago, now does it? The proper response is “Why on earth would Barack Obama be passing out Hoodsie cups in Chicago?” It’s like someone from England saying “Obama was working an event in the south side of Chicago making sure every kid got a Cadbury Flake.” Then again, as a writer perhaps these things matter more to me than others, but accuracy is accuracy. As they say in The Music Man, “you gotta know the territory”. From Hood’s website: From the website: You can buy Hood brand products at most stores throughout New England, including the ones listed below. If you can’t find the Hood product you are looking for in a store that carries Hood, ask the store manager if it can be ordered.nial liszt:”moonbats” Ohhhhhh….did you think that one up yourself? Perhaps you can add some Palin Derangment Syndrome and feminazi as well.

  49. mike_b1

    On Chicago’s South Side, we washed down Jansen’s red hots with RC, and followed that with an Icee (not ice cream) from the Evergreen Plaza (or Pla-zoo, as we would call it).

  50. Peter Porcupine

    Mike – I prefer Moxie to RC – almost the same, but Moxie tastes better….

  51. io saturnalia!

    PP-RC is more like Pepsi than Moxie, which is its own category of mysterious elixir.Earlier, when you said “neck of the woods,” was that a veiled reference to lynching and the phrase “N___ in a woodpile?”Folks … there’s enough real racism in this campaign, but “impertinent”? What gives?BTW, in Germany, ice cream is simply “eis” and they love it.(Uh oh … I hope I won’t be labeled a neo-Nazi now.)

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