9:03 – Williams gives Obama a big opening to attack Hillary, and he takes it, very explicitly accusing of Hillary of flip-flopping on torture, NAFTA, and Iraq. This might get ugly.
9:04 – Hillary thinks her getting attacked by Republicans makes her a progressive. Um…not so much.
9:07 – Russert gives Edwards a similar opportunity to lay into Clinton, this time on Iran, and he does, unsurprisingly. He accuses her of being a tool of lobbyists, of supporting a continuing war in Iraq, of enabling a war in Iran, and of flip-flopping on Social Security. I’m liking the way this is going.
9:08 – Wow, Hillary is really dodging the issues. She counters criticism on foreign policy by talking about “standing up for women and children”. WTF?
9:09 – Whoa, where’s the “trillion dollar tax increase” business coming from? I’m pretty sure lifting the FISA cap wouldn’t do that.
9:11 – Russert presses Hillary on Kyl-Lieberman. She repeats her talking points about how KL is just “tough diplomacy”, which is bull. Saying you’re keeping troops in Iraq to threaten Iran isn’t “tough diplomacy”, it’s saber-rattling.
9:12 – Dodd defends his vote on Iraq as a vote for diplomacy. This is the netroots’ favorite candidate? Really?
9:14 – Biden is weirdly conspiratorial, talking about how KL drove up oil prices. Not what I’d expect from him.
9:15 – Obama stakes out a strong, unequivocal stance against an attack on Iran, refusing to buy into a Williams hypothetical. I like this.
9:17 – Wow, he’s even talking about Iran joining the WTO. This is fantastic.
9:18 – Hillary is really getting pissed off. She’s not looking good.
9:19 – Edwards really digs into Hillary on Iran. I like the Obama-Edwards tag team.
9:21 – Why does Richardson look like he just got up from a nap? Why does Richardson always look like he just got up from a nap?
9:24 – Kucinich uses international law as an argument against the war in Iraq. I really think violating the UN Charter was the least of our problems there.
9:25 – Clinton: “I will do anything I can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.” I’m pretty sure that’s a promise of war.
9:26 – Obama reiterates that war should not be under consideration now.
9:27 – Biden: “I will do all in my power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” I hope he doesn’t mean that.
9:28 – Dodd: I have teh experience! I really don’t see why anyone who cares about how long someone’s been in Washington would pick Dodd over Biden.
9:30 – I have to admit, Richardson is doing well at talking up his resumé.
9:31 – Kucinich opposes nuclear power. Maybe, while it’s freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, it helps the aliens infiltrate his mind. He can’t have that happen again.
9:32 – Awesome. Williams asks Hillary about her advisor’s quote saying she opposes the war. Hillary responds by equating opposing the war to opposing the troops. That’s what the pros call “a bad move”.
9:36 – Obama does what he’s been doing all night: making it totally obvious how he’ll be less belligerent and more humble in his foreign policy than Clinton.
9:38 – Edwards explicitly accuses Hillary of being calculating on Iran. She responds with a death glare and a strange definition of “combat troops”.
9:43 – Williams challenges Hillary on her experience. She gives a pretty good answer, including her time as First Lady. As a voter said to me a few months ago, “I don’t want the husband of a brain surgeon operating on my head.”
9:44 – Did she just say “turn the page”? I believe she did.
9:45 – Russert asks about the classification of her pages in the National Archives. She denies that they’re classified. Russert makes it clear that she’s not being truthful about that.
9:46 – Nice. Obama notes her theft of “turn the page”, and Obama compares her secrecy to Cheney’s. This is a good night.
9:47 – Whoa. “Republicans talk about you because that’s a fight they want to have.” Barack’s pushing at her hard.
9:49 – Edwards calls her the candidate of lobbyists. She’s really on the defense tonight.
9:50 – Did Edwards just say he believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? Well, I guess if Kenneth does…
9:51 – She’s getting testy. Really, really testy.
9:52 – Obama details his legislative accomplishments on the death penalty, nonproliferation, and ethics reform. He doesn’t do this enough, and it’s good.
9:54 – Richardson is defending Clinton very explicitly. He’s not running for VP or Secretary of State or anything. She @#$%ing nodding as he speaks!
9:55 – Hey, Bill? 2007-1960 ≠ 40. Just for the record. Also, being a Governor isn’t the same as “being a CEO”.
9:55 – Why does Chris Dodd have to sound like an aristocrat? Really, he makes Kerry sound like a pauper.
9:58 – Edwards is really fumbling over his words now.
10:00 – Kucinich: “Americans have a right to know the differences between the candidates.” Yes, like which of them have conducted diplomacy with little green aliens. I’m pretty sure that’s an experience unique to him, and maybe Richardson.
10:01 – Does Biden sound like a drunken Grandpa when ranting about Giuliani, or is it just me?
10:03 – Russert asks Hillary about her different public and private positions on the FICA cap. She denies there’s a conflict between the two. That’s, um, totally wrong.
10:04 – WOW she’s pissed off. This is not a good night for her.
10:06 – Obama states clearly that Social Security is “not in crisis” and is “fundamentally sound”. Happy now, Krugman?
10:09 – Hillary really likes her bipartisan commission idea. This seems like a cop-out. And there’s the trillion-dollar tax increase claim again. WTF?
10:11 – Williams asks Obama about the Muslim meme. Obama: I’ll respond “rapidly, forcefully, and truthfully”.
10:16 – Williams asks about heating prices. I really hate the media’s focus on this and gas prices; they should be increasing. That’s a good thing.
10:18 – Predictability, everyone proposes conservation and moving away from oil.
10:19 – Ooo – Obama ties oil prices to saber-rattling. Good move.
10:20 – Kucinich calls for an impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I thought he just wanted to boot Cheney.
10:21 – Richardson is really rambling on energy policy.
10:23 – Dodd pushes the carbon tax. I hope Obama brings up auctioned cap-and-trade.
10:25 – Edwards is not answering Williams’ question about natural disasters at all.
10:26 – I didn’t know Charlie Rangel endorsed Hillary; that’s disappointing. Hillary’s kind of rambling about the AMT. And reminds us that she’s kind of rich.
10:28 – She really just sniped at Russert. There seems to be a pattern here.
10:30 – Obama plugs his tax plan, and does it well.
10:32 – Kucinich’s rant reminds me: Dodd’s talk-o-meter for this debate is going to be really frontrunner-heavy.
10:34 – Am I the only one who finds it really annoying that Edwards takes really strong stances on issues now that he’s out of the Senate which he never made when he was actually in office?
10:35 – LIGHTNING ROUND! Wow, these never go as fast as the moderators want.
10:36 – Annnnnnnnd Richardson goes way over.
10:37 – Annnnnnnnd Kucinich goes way over. Who called it?
10:38 – So, everyone wants math and science education. Who would have guessed?
10:40 – Biden wants a minimum of 16 years of education. So…K-12 is 13, then pre-K is 14, so he wants everyone to get an associate’s or something?
10:43 – Here’s the Dodd-o-meter right now:
10:46 – Really? We need to attract people to medicine? Because I’m pretty sure that many more people apply to med school than get into any. If anything, there’s excessive demand.
10:47 – Edwards is right: the nursing shortage is more of a problem.
10:48 – Hillary sounds testy even when she’s not challenged. Is anyone else noticing this?
10:49 – Richardson: two years tuition for one year of service. That seems like the wrong ratio.
10:51 – They’re asking Obama about the airline industry? Really? He clearly knows his stuff, and is articulating solutions well, but that’s a bizarre topic to ask about.
10:52 – And as someone who lives an hour and a half from the nearest major airport, I’d like to thank Obama for mentioning helping residents of “remote areas” access air transportation.
10:53 – Hillary has a decent answer on immigration. And Dodd is surprisingly nativist on driving licenses.
10:54 – And, again, Hillary is getting snippy with Dodd.
10:55 – Edwards just totally ignored a question about cultural decay to attack Hillary.
10:56 – Obama piles on, to audience approval. He specifically accuses her of political calculation.
10:57 – Russert asks Kucinich about the UFO incident. Laughter ensues. Kucinich confirms the account. He’s really coming across as what he is: a crazy person.
10:58 – Obama has a cute answer about extraterrestrials, which gets a lot of applause.
11:00 – Hillary says what any candidate would say about cancer.
11:01 – Dodd is in favor of marijuana decriminalization. Interesting.
11:02 – Obama will be going as a two-faced Romney for Halloween. Good call.
11:04 – Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman think Hillary really screwed up on driver’s licenses, and think Edwards and Obama did well at being aggressive. Interesting. I think I’ll call it a night. Overall, I think Obama did very well, Hillary had her worst performance, and Edwards did fairly well.