Welcome to the third in the continuing series of "Clinton's Last Stand" Live Blogging the Live Bloggers Debates! Clinton and Obama will meet again for a one on one, this time in Philadelphia, broadcast by ABC News, and moderated by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.
This edition may be more problematical than previous efforts. ABC is apparently going to tape delay the broadcast on the Left Coast, so I will be totally reliant on live blog content from bloggers who are actually watching it - um... live. Additionally, campaign burnout is spreading throughout the blogosphere and I am not convinced I will find a quorum of bloggers willing to continue to live blog these proceedings from whom I can shamelessly rip content. Also, your faithful blogger has the flu, and will be working under the influence of Robitussin, Nyquil, and lemon infused Vodka (strictly for the vitamin C).
OTOH, since we and the candidates now know for an absolute fact that there are no substantial policy differences between them, they will have no choice but to engage in backbiting, mud-slinging, and character assassination, just to keep things interesting. We can only hope. Finally this is the 23rd debate overall between Clinton and Obama (according to Weigel - I stopped counting long ago) . As all Discordians and Illuminati know, nothing is predictable when the number 23 is invoked.
I'll start with the question I ask every time:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "I don't know who we will include this time because I don't know who will be blogging. But we'll start with the bloggers we used before, include Daily Kos, from the left, VodkaPundit from the right or maybe Ed Morrissey at HotAir. We will continue the Wonkette and Cynic's Party snark-off, and look to either David Weigel at Reason, or the Atlantic's Megan McArdle for a libertarian point of view and 2008 Central as the centrist blog. As always I will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for substitutes once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway.
2008 Central.net: "If you’re a total junkie, some nice backgrounders… The Note analyzes the stakes - Trailhead on “how Hillary can win“ - Time’s preview - We’ll be liveblogging the debate (of course), so be sure to check back later tonight."
NRO "The Corner": "I'm on my way to Philadelphia to cover the Democratic debate tonight on ABC. Watch the Corner and the Campaign Spot for liveblogging, especially if you can't watch the event on ABC, because you might not be able to catch up on what happened by tuning into cable news later. ABC has limited other networks to 30 seconds of excerpted material, although the cable nets might claim fair use and use more than that anyway."
Daily Kos commenter Leftyboy: "My spin? Why the f*ck are ABC affiliates on the west coast DELAYING this 3 hours? Jesus Christ on a cracker! Anybody got a link for an online streaming video?"
Reason - David Weigel: "Remember the first Clinton-Obama one-on-one debate in California? Remember how excited Democrats were about their historic choice between their first female nominee or their first black nominee, either one a shoe-in to lead them back into a glorious era of power and judicial appointments? That was two-and-a-half months ago. At 8 p.m. ET, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will lock horns and try to destroy each other as viable national candidates."
Cynics' Party: "Thank god there’s another debate. There’s so much to talk about, like how Obama hates white people and poor people and people who have jobs and god and America."
DWSUWF - Not sure if Vodka Pundit is live blogging - switched to NRO "The Corner". I'm probably not watching live, so will backfill my "live" comments through the miracle of modern blogging technology.
2008 Central.net: "Obama talks about hope, Clinton talks about the founding fathers and concern. Also that government is not standing up for people across America; almost that they’re bitter or something. Also plugs detailed plans on her website."
NRO "The Corner": "Obama's opening statement talks about the "frustration" he's seen in Pennsylvanians as he travels the state. Hillary's notes that neither she nor Obama was represented when the Constitution was written in Philadelphia.ABC's odd two-hour format makes this debate a real marathon; neither one can go to the jugular too quickly."
Daily Kos: "Charles Gibson spent the first five minutes beating the Vice Presidential horse. And now on to Bittergate..."
Reason - David Weigel: "Clinton claims the founding fathers would have wanted a black guy and a woman to take over and "provide the good jobs" some day. I hear the sound of Ron Paul's bullet-holed TV exploding."
Cynics' Party commenter litotes: "Barry, you’re exposing your jugular in front of the Feral One, I’d watch it if I were you. Oh gawd, Hils isn’t taking the high road is she? What’s the point in that? "
DWSUWF - Two hours? Really? Two hours? I've got to blog this for two hours and then watch it too?
ELECTABILITY - OR NOT
2008 Central.net: "Clinton says it’s important to win, and will be either her or Obama. Talks up McCain as a formidable opponent. Says it is important to go after every single vote. On a follow up, Clinton says Obama can win directly, but she is better prepared with a better coalition. Obama says Clinton can win, but thinks he’s better able. "
NRO "The Corner": "Asked by Stephanopolous if Obama can win, Hillary eventually says, "Yes."
Daily Kos: "Hillary Clinton: Yes, ok, Barack Obama can defeat John McCain. He's not an elistist loser, but his words are. Besides, I'll beat McCain too, only more so. Barack Obama: Huh? "
Reason - David Weigel: "Clinton punts on the opportunity to call Obama unelectable: It'll be left to the HuffPost comment sections, then. Clinton: I can win because people started hating me 16 years ago, not just this week."
Cynics' Party commenter WonkRefugee: "This is not a friggin debate! For f*cks sake. I have had this bullshit right up to here! What are we going to do about the economy? How will we pay down the Bush debt? How will we get health care to all Americans? What will we do to restore the Constitution? What qualities will you seek in Supreme Court nominees? How will you fund research and development in science, engineering and education? How will you reform Bush’s ridiculous Every Public School Child in America Left Completely Behind fiasco? BTW is torture patriotic?"
DWSUWF - You probably can't tell, but I am crying inside.
IN YOUR HEART YOU KNOW HE IS WRIGHT
2008 Central.net: "Gibson asks about Clinton’s comments about Wright not being her pastor, and . Clinton defends her answer as a “personal choice.” That sounds like a copout to me. Clinton cites Wright’s sermon after 9/11 blaming America and says she could not take that. Obama says the comments are definitely objectionable, but that Clinton’s own pastor praised the work of Wright after the comments broke. This is silly. Pastor v. pastor? Come on... There has literally been NOTHING substantive yet tonight."
NRO "The Corner": "She describes Wright, "in his first sermon after 9/11, to blame America for the attacks, would have been unacceptable to me... You get to choose your pastor, you don't get to choose your family, but you get to choose your pastor." Zing. Obama: "Obviously, many of these remarks were objectionable." Objectionable? Wow, way to go with the milquetoast adjective there, Senator."
Daily Kos: "So far the debate reeks of the moderators' disappointment that Obama dealt with Jeremiah Wright's sermons so successfully. Their deep-seated desire to, as Obama says, "distract" from serious issues would embarrass any reasonable person. Welcome to American television news. And Clinton can barely control her glee... there's a little smile playing around the corners of her mouth that she's struggling to suppress."
Reason - David Weigel: "The church is a community that extends beyond the pastor," says Obama's focus group, which has miraculously taken control of his larynx. I think it'll be harder for Clinton to whine that she's getting the hard first questions this time... Are we actually going to debate whether Obama's pastor is patriotic enough for one of his parishioners to be president."
Cynics' Party commenter litotes: "All the people in the audience with toothpicks in your eyelids, trying to stay awake, this one’s for you…"
DWSUWF - This is encouraging. Apparently I do not need to watch the first hour.
IRAQ IRAN ISRAEL
2008 Central.net: "Obama is asked if an attack on Israel by Iran should be considered an attack on the US. Obama says the first thing is to prevent nuclear weapons from getting in the hands of Iran. Talks about carrots and sticks, but that he will take nothing off the table. Says that an attack on Israel is an attack that would prompt appropriate action. Clinton talks about an umbrella of deterrence beyond Israel. Mentions massive retaliation in a wink to Ike. Says that with skillful diplomacy, the US could engage the region in a security agreement vis-a-vis Iran. She’s mentioning 9/11 almost as much as Giuliani tonight. Does anyone want to mention that ISRAEL would probably nuke Iran if they attacked? Anyone? I guess not."
NRO "The Corner": "I'm loving this debate. It's all new stuff; we haven't heard the millionth version of, "my health care plan is universal and your plan isn't." *sigh* Well, it couldn't be all fun back-and-forth. Now we're into "I'll get the troops out of Iraq, and my opponent won't." Obama says he'll do "whatever is required" to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons... including talking to them. Touts carrots and sticks. Obama mentions the Iranians funding Hamas as part of their bad behavior. He opened a window of opportunity for her; will she take it? Hillary, remembering what the original question was, says that if Iran attacked Israel, it would warrant a "massiveretaliatory response" from the United States. But she too wants "diplomatic contact" with Iran."
Daily Kos: "Suddenly, only fifty minutes into this 90 minute debate, a question is posed about an actual thing. Not just a thing, but a big thing. Iraq... Clinton states unequivocally that she would withdraw troops from Iraq, even if the commanders in Iraq pleed for more time. Major props to Hillary for taking a firm stance on an issue that will give Republicans an opening to bash her if she's the candidate. And props to Obama for doing the same, and expanding on the Clinton position. There's not a lot of room between Clinton and Obama on this issue, and that's welcome."
Reason - David Weigel: "What the hell is this question about Iraq doing here? I want to know what angle Barack Obama salutes at! Clinton's Iraq solutions... basically the Bush position, plus more ire at Iraqi leaders and "diplomacy." I'm optimistic. Obama's position: Telling generals to get ready to leave. Should it be U.S. policy to treat an attack on Israel as an attack on the United States? That's sort of a rhetorical question, isn't it? Clinton wants an "umbrella of influence" that extends beyond Israel, and would warn Iran that an attack on even more countries would invite destruction. I'm either missing something or this is just the Bush Doctrine with fuzzier adjectives."
Cynics' Party commenter litotes: "… mmph … must’ve fallen asleep … I had this interminable dream where the demrat candidates spouted nothing but platitudes for hours … revere the flag … right to have bare arms … invest in ‘murica … hope I woke up in time for the debate …"
DWSUWF - I let everyone run long here, since this was the first content in the debate.
WAR ECONOMY TAXES STUPID
2008 Central.net: "Obama talks about fairness and hedge fund managers that pay a lower amount in terms of percentage than their secretaries. Says McCain is taking out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of children and grandchildren. Says tax cuts with deficits is untenable and not a plan... Clinton wants an economy that lifts everyone up. Maybe she should put the economy on the Wonkavator."
NRO "The Corner": "Hillary laughs heartily at McCain's comment about "they're going to raise your taxes, and they have the aud-ic-i-ty, the audacity, to hope you don't mind!" With her laugh, she triggered a thousand primal screams on liberal blogs...Wow. Hillary: "I would not raise the capital gains tax above 20 percent, if I would raise it at all... I don't want to raise taxes on everyone." She rips Obama's plan to raise payroll taxes"
Daily Kos: "Charlie Gibson is promoting capital gains tax cuts. Not that it would be in his personal interest or anything with what he makes -- but it seems like some sort of obsession with him. Good for Obama not biting on it -- hedge fund managers shouldn't be paying lower tax rates than their secretaries. And he hits McCain on economic issues."
Reason - David Weigel: "Why does Obama want to raise taxes if the capital gains tax cut increased revenue? "Fairness." Gibson gives him a chance to wiggle away from "taxes all the time, even if they don't work!" Obama hardly move on it. A new capital gains cut "might or might not" increase revenue."
Cynics' Party commenter Kizzak: "Another economist stabs himself through the fucking heart when someone trots out the utterly false claim that tax cuts always increase revenues. Please, won’t you think of the economists?"
DWSUWF - I'm way behind. The debate is over and MSNBC is doing post debate analysis. Of course the local ABC affiliate will not start the debate for another hour. I'll pick one more topic then go the end. More vitamin V.
41 or 43 or Guns or Whatever?
2008 Central.net: "How would Clinton use George W. Bush? She makes a joke about not being sure and dodges. That’s really the only answer. Obama says that George H.W. Bush is someone he would counsel, looking at his foreign policy."
NRO "The Corner": "Obama said tonight that he never supported a ban on handguns. Gibson mentioned a questionnaire, and once again, Obama said he wasn't the one who filled it out. I presume this is the questionnaire he's referring to: "That 1996 questionnaire asked whether he supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns in Illinois. The campaign's answer was straightforward: "Yes." I now see that Obama has been saying for a while that some unnamed aide filled out that form without consulting him. (The Politico noted his handwriting appears on the questionnaire, the one he said he never saw.) "
Daily Kos: "I had chicken for dinner. It was really good. I really need to catch up on some laundry tonight. I'm kind of sad that Pricilla Presley was voted off of Dancing With The Stars last night. My daughter decided on a college today. I love ice cream. I wonder if ABC will schedule a debate for me to discuss these things on national television."
Reason - David Weigel: "The gas tax moratorium? Really? Really? ... Really? Funding the highway trust fund with a tax on oil companies. They are opening Milton Friedman's grave and pissing on his corpse."
Cynics' Party commenter Blogenfreude & LiT:"They’re arguing about which Bush was better … please just shoot me... Obama is going all VHS1 on Daddy Bush. Hils thinks Boy Bush would pose great in the “all my ex prezes” pix."
DWSUWF - The local affiliate will start the debate here momentarily. I am going to turn it on, take a shot of Nyquil, and pretend to watch it. However, listening to Keith Obamarmann complain about the questions, watching the Obama loving Kos kids going DEFCON RED and now launching a massive nuclear retaliatory strike on ABC as I write this, I can only only conclude that Clinton kicked Obama's ass all over the stage tonight. I'll add the reactions to the candidate wrap up questions later, as well as concluding thoughts. Maybe. Or Maybe tomorrow.
LAST QUESTION - TALK TO THE SUPES.
2008 Central.net: "What if you’re talking to a group of superdelegates? What do you say?... Clinton says she is a fighter against the special interests to give money back to the middle class. This is not how she would actually frame her argument at all. Not even close. Says she is ready to be Commander in Chief and is ready to turn the economy around. Obama talks about the country being at a defining moment with Americans lost trust in government, and that he bet on the American people wanting an honest conversation not spin. This, also, is not how he would frame his argument, but is at least a bit closer than Clinton’s."
NRO "The Corner": "Hillary closed by saying she’s a fighter. She proved that tonight; if I were on Team McCain, tonight might have convinced me to hope for a showdown with Obama."
Kos of Daily Kos: "I honestly don't understand why Democrats haven't learned to ignore the bullshit substance-less questions and simply say, "Okay, that's a dumb question. Let's talk about something people care about, like the housing crisis."Just bypass the idiotic questioners and talk about the things that the Democratic primary electorate actually want to talk about. Trust me, they'll get brownie points, and the idiot questioners will look like idiots in the process."
Reason - David Weigel: "This is not what Clinton will tell superdelegates, unless by "the White House needs a fighter" she means "the black dude who says 'you know' a lot can't win!" It's good for Obama when she gets these first, though: She's better at distorting the question and flattening his playing field. Obama will also repeat his talking points to superdelegates! The odds, they are astounding."
Cynics' Party commenter Pedonator:"On the left coast here, I have to admit that the Hillsbot generally did a good game. She was almost warm. And her (public) policy positions seem good. The Unicorn was even better, but that doesn’t count for much. Too much of the “debate” consisted of softballs that let them both spooge on each other with creamy white Iran-baiting, safe, muscular stances. And who can whore it out more for taxes on people who make $250K+?"
Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic: "The closers: Clinton went into rote mode. They both need a rest. Obama's final words were great: against spin and PR and in favor of an honest conversation at a dire moment in history. It makes you realize that among the forces that have to be defeated if such a conversation is to take place will be the kind of "journalism" we have been forced to endure tonight... The big winner is John McCain. Then Clinton who seemed at least awake. Then Obama whose calm was nonetheless trumped by obvious exhaustion. Yes, the Clintons have shredded him. But that's what they know how to do. It's also what the GOP knows how to do. Obama has got to get used to this and find a way to withstand it and fight back without enabling the very cynicism it represents. That's not easy, and we are discovering if he has it in him. Tonight he looked and felt depleted beyond measure. Which is when his supporters have to take the weight."
Vodkapundit: "I welcome our new liberty-sapping overlords."
DWSUWF - Ok... I will sleep deeply on all I have read, and seen and heard, and render my considered judgement on the morrow.