Debate Wrap-Up

The quantitative evidence (courtesy of Spack):

A friend emails, under the headline “CBS Poll of 500 Undecided Voters:

40 percent said Obama wins. 22 percent. say Mccain

McCain won slightly on right decisions on the war in Iraq. Obama won 68 percent for right decisions on the economy. (!)

GQR focus of independents gives it to Obama

CBS: 40-22 among independents.

Luntz focus gives it to Obama.


Who Did the Best Job In the Debate?

Obama 51%

McCain 38%

Who Would Better Handle Economy?

Obama 58%

McCain 37%

Who Would Better Handle Iraq?

Obama 52%

McCain 47%

The qualitative evidence (courtesy of Fallows):

When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.

In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan’s case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the “four more years” option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test — not necessarily by “winning” the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.

So yeah, Obama won, in any meaningful sense of the word.


I had been planning to liveblog at the Harvard Dems’ site, and might pick up there as the night goes along, but for technical reasons I’ll be writing here until further notice.

9:02PM I love this format.

9:03PM Leads with the bailout package. Obama gets a nice little dig in about how he “couldn’t think of a better time” for a debate.

9:05PM Obama’s doing a good job of laying out the substance of his plan. It looks like he knows his shit, because he does.

9:06PM Slides into a critique of deregulation, calling out Bush and McCain by name. Nice.

9:08PM “I haven’t been feeling too good about a lot of things” – we know, John. Also, “I’ve been around a while” – really, emphasize your age a lot.

9:09PM Obama plays the prescience card on the crisis. Good call.

9:10PM “Are you going to vote for the plan?” “I hope so.” WTF?

9:11PM D-day is the biggest invasion “forever”. What about the Martian invasion of the Moon in 2137?

9:12PM This “say it directly to him” thing is ludicrous.

9:14PM Shorter McCain: “Why do you hate American workers?”

9:15PM Moving the liveblog here.

Fun with New Media

It seems the Georgetown Voice’s fact-checking quality has declined considerably since my friend Tim Fernholz was benevolent dictator. Spack finds this gem, from their article on Washington City Paper and its editor Erik Wemple:

But [Wemple’s] office decor gives the newspaper man away: a stack of yellowing City Papers sat next to the door and copies of the day’s newspapers, from the New York Times to the Washington Independent, lay scattered across his desk.

I wonder if the Windy was on top of the latest issues of Slate and Ars Technica.

Barroso and China and Russia

Easily the most interesting part. On Russia, he mocked the notion that the EU could have done more to prevent the South Ossetia incident (“What did they want us to do, invade Russia?”) and insisted that he brought up human rights issues every time he meets with Putin or Medvedev, specifically mentioning the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Similarly, he not only said that he mentions human rights whenever meeting with Hu Jintao or Wen Jiabao, but that they are much more receptive than the Chinese representatives he dealt with in the ’90s, as Portugal’s foreign minister, when he was negotiating the transfer of Macao from his country to China. In the ’90s, Barraso claims, the Chinese (presumably Jiang Zemin and allies) silenced any mention of human rights as meddling in China’s internal affairs, whereas Jintao and Jiabao at least make an effort to bullshit and sound concerned (“but we have local elections!”). Barraso views this as progress, which it may well be, but the crowd was decidedly skeptical, laughing audibly at the mention of local elections.