With the final debate finally upon us, I would like to take a moment to thank some people. I would like to thank Barack Obama for refusing to do John McCain's long-desired set of town hall meetings this summer, thus saving me from having to watch them. Thanks to his recalcitrance, I got to leave my house this summer and see actual sunlight and it was good! And thanks to John McCain, for being condescending and stuff during the debates, which made it ever-so-slightly less uninteresting to hear him both regurgitate pre-approved, soundbite-y talking points on the issues. Anyway, so, cheers to the last debate! The election's less than three weeks away, Obama's supposedly winning, Republicans are getting antsy and I'm getting slightly intoxicated in celebration of the fact that someone I know has a DVR to allow me to watch Project Runway when this is all over. I'll be joining you guys after the jump when the camera cuts awkwardly away to the debate hall, but feel free to get started without me!
UPDATE Finishing dinner with one hand, and blogging with the other. Sort of like masturbating to internet porn, but way less sexy. Equally messy, though.10:30 ET: Bob Schieffer quotes his mama, and McCain's mike picks up him telling Obama "Good job." We're cracking champagne and Michelle is in purple and Cindy's in red and I will see you all at Crappy Hour! 10:28 ET: Obama gets the closing statement. Odds of Schieffer allowing a McCain rebuttal? Change, change, McSame, "you've invited me into your homes" and he can come over to mine any time. But "we're going to have to invest in the American people again," which is a good line. It's not going to be easy or quick to change everything, but we have to come together "to renew a spirit of sacrifice, service and responsibility" and he'll work on your behalf and on behalf of our children's future. 10:27 ET: McCain: "blink blink blink blink blink" says Kate. We miss part of it counting but lose track at like 25. Also, he just keeps talking about reducing government spending, but he forgets to mention how he said in the last debate that he's going to exempt defense spending, homeland security spending and veterans spending from cuts, and his science guy said science policy was safe. He then references his ancestors. 10:25 ET: Obama shouts out Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee!! We now have a wonky discussion about charters and vouchers in D.C. and by "discussion" we ask questions of the education wonk here that I can't really repeat and McCain interrupts and cracks a stupid joke and THUS he gets the last word again. 10:23 ET: McCain is "surprised" that Obama didn't pay enough attention to the DC voucher program, as though everything here is perfect. Also, spending more money isn't always the answer for McCain, he wants to cut Head Start because when kids get to the 3rd grade, the students that were identified early as having learning difficulties are the same as all the other kids. Isn't that the point? Plus, special needs kids are all autistic and Sarah Palin knows about stuff and blah blah blah I'm not just going to give money to it. 10:22 ET: Republicans were all, "we shouldn't give money to every interest group" but that Obama replied "I don't think American students are an interest group." 10:20 ET: Obama thinks it's important for the federal government to help local schools. "We tried to do this... with No Child Left Behind. Only, they left the money behind." Education wonks laughed. He then points out that he is for charter schools. 10:18 ET: Wait, we have "equal access" to schools in America, because of course you can always enroll in a school. Also, we can find bad teachers another line of work. He's talking about charter schools as though Obama didn't say 5 minutes ago that he supported them. Oh, and he thinks we give too much money for education. And he is all for student loans, fuck you and your life mortgage. 10:17 ET: Obama calls student loans "having a mortgage before you have a house." Fuck yeah. 10:16 ET: The question is about education. Obama says that education is a national security issues. Nice pivot, but bullshit. He thinks we need more money and reform. 10:14 ET: McCain says that "health is an extreme position" on abortion. McCain says "of course we have to come together"... to ban abortion under every circumstance to help women bring their child into the world. AND BOB SCHIEFFER LETS MCCAIN HAVE THE LAST WORD. 10:11 ET: Seriously, McCain didn't read every single fact check on this issue? Obama, "If it sounds incredible that I would vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant, that's because it's untrue." He points out how many people opposed it, and says that he's for a complete ban on late term abortions "partial birth or otherwise" as long as there's an exception for the life and health of the mother, which this bill didn't have. Obama thinks there might be common ground on abortion, and McCain audible sighs. That common ground is about preventing unwanted pregnancy, helping single mothers and teaching children that sex is sacred. 10:10 ET: McCain says equal pay legislation only helps trial lawyers. OH and he goes for infanticide. Nofucking way. 10:08 ET: Obama acknowledges that Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance of the next Supreme Court nominees. It's a tough choice, and there are people on both sides of the aisle. He says women should be able to choose, and that privacy is a right in the Constitution that shouldn't be subject to state referendum just like our other Constitutional rights shouldn't be subject to state referendum. Then he pivots to our girl Lilly Ledbetter and her case about pay equity and the bill that would "provide better guidance to the courts" and McCain opposed it. 10:07 ET: I survey the room as to whether anyone remembers the Gang of 14, and one person says "Lindsay Graham does." I say, Lindsay Graham knows lots about gangs, and bangs, and groups of large men. We debate whether McCain might nominate Schwarzenegger to the bench. 10:05 ET: Bob Schieffer lets Obama have the last word. McCain denies he would have an abortion litmus test, but he thinks Roe v. Wade was totally, totally wrong and it should be left to the states and now he's going to talk about the Gang of 14. 10:04 ET: He talks directly to Joe again, and OMG THE GOVERNMENT IS SO BIG but he forgets to mention that Bush is the one who expanded the government. Whoa, Bob Schieffer lets Obama talk. 10:03 ET: McCain redefines JOE THE PLUMBER (drink! drink!) and decides that under his new definition Joe is better off even though he just pointed out that he will pay more taxes if they keep employer-based health insurance. 10:01 ET: Obama's like, oh, and I'll give Joe a tax credit. Obama reminds people that McCain's $2500 tax credit if you're single and $5000 if you're married/have a family that might not buy you anything when your employer kicks you off their health insurance because McCain starts taxing it. 10:00 ET: Obama points out that he exempts small businesses from the mandate and McCain's jaw literally fucking drops and we all laugh and laugh and laugh. 9:59 ET: McCain supposedly feels your pain, so he'll put your medical records online, try to make your kid less fat, give your employer tax breaks for going to the gym. DRINK it's Joe the Plumber. Also, he'll give you a tax break and hates Obama's fines for not offering health insurance and LALALA it won't reduce the problem of the uninsured. 9:56 ET: Obama says health care will break your heart. The he repeats what he's said in every other debate. But they are good points because he has a better plan. 9:54 ET: We're back to preconditions. We debate whether Obama is laughing too much. The one dude here says yes, the women are divided. McCain brings up Herbert Hoover AND BOB SCHIEFFER LETS HIM HAVE THE LAST WORD. 9:52 ET: Obama is against the Colombian FTA because they keep executing labor leaders and we should stand up for human rights, but he supported the Peruvian one. Obama goes back to energy, and the automakers. I decide to drink more. Drink, baby, drink. He's already going to win Michigan, do you think this gets him Ohio? Discuss. 9:50 ET: McCain "admires Obama's eloquence" but if we say we'll drill now even though we won't get any oil for 10 years it'll just magically lower prices. Then he claims Obama has never been to the Southern Hemisphere because, really, he forgot that Palin didn't have a passport until late this decade. 9:48 ET: Obama's like, look, we can eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years, that's what's realistic. He is like, expand domestic production on the 68 million acres the oil companies aren't drilling but already have leased (which they're not using because increasing supply would decrease prices, if you missed economics) they either drill, baby, drill. Also, now he's repeating his points about domestic hybrids and shit at the last debate. He then is all like, let's talk NAFTA, I like free trade but that NAFTA doesn't have enforceable labor and environmental provisions and I cringe. It does. It's called a side agreement because a free trade agreement is only tariff lines and the side agreements are completely enforceable and covers all other issues including services AND THIS ANNOYS ME ABOUT DEMOCRATS. 9:46 ET: McCain inhales so hard we're afraid he almost dies. By the way, importing Canadian oil is fine with McCain. We realize that we forgot to TiVo Project Runway! Epic fail! Luckily it reruns at 11. It's also more important than anything McCain said. 9:43 ET: Oh, right, Obama points out that understanding special needs kids might actually require spending more on it, and a spending freeze won't help. Also, McCain says that Biden is wrong on national security issues, and voted against the first Gulf War and calls his plan to divide Iraq "cockamamie" and didn't you know that it's all fine there now? Also, fuck it, he says, why do we have to spend more on special needs kids? Understanding is enough. AND BOB SCHIEFFER LETS MCCAIN HAVE THE LAST WORD. 9:43 ET: Sarah Palin is understanding! Also, did you know she has a special needs kid? 9:39 ET: Why would the country be better off with your VP being the President than his? Obama's like, Biden rocks, he knows stuff about foreign policy, he never forgot his roots, etc. 9:36 ET: McCain keeps up on it, and tells lies and gets the Annernberg name wrong AND BOB SCHIEFFER LETS HIM HAVE THE LAST WORD> 9:35 ET: "Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of Senator McCain's campaign over the last 2-3 weeks." He points out that Ayers is a college prof, did horrible things when Obama was 8 and that the Annenberg Challenge, which is Republican-y. Ayers isn't involved in the campaign, never has been and never will be. ACORN is a community organization that got screwed by employees, but he also represented them along with the Justice Department back in the day. Now he talks good associations — Buffet, Vogler, Biden, Lugar, General Jim Jones. He says that McCain's obsession with Ayers says more about him than it does about him. 9:34 ET: Obama is asked if he takes issues with that shit, and he stutters a little. He's like, let's talk about the issues. NO! We want you to take issue with that. The 7 people here want you to take issue with that! He says, let's stop trying to characterize each other as bad people. McCain interrupts again, and brings up Ayers, ACORN and Hillary Clinton and Obama laughs outright AND WHY IS SCHIEFFER ALLOWING THIS? 9:32 ET: McCain says "Let me say categorically that I am proud of the people that come to my rallies." Oh, really, all of them? McCain says they're just dedicated patriots. Oh, and he says he doesn't like things that get shouted at Obama's rallies and some T-shirts, which the rest of the country went, what? 9:30 ET: Obama's like, oh you want to talk Lewis? He was saying that maybe you should FUCKING SAY SOMETHING when Palin hears "Kill him" or "Terrorist" and McCain tries to interrupt again, but this time Bob Schieffer FINALLY shuts him down. Obama's like, stop attacking, because Americans are sick of it. McCain audibly snorts, tries to interrupt again and McCain tries to interrupt two more times. 9:29 ET: Oh, wait, John McCain says that "every ad was an attack ad on my health care plan." That's not an attack ad. McCain then promptly repudiates his own position on stem cell research, and misrepresents it on immigration and brings up the FUCKING PLUMBER. That's the new drinking word. 9:27 ET: Obama agrees it's a tough campaign, and points out that 2/3rd of people say that McCain is running a negative campaign and only 1/3 of people do, plus 100 percent of McCain's ads are negative. McCain interrupts to say that's not true, but Obama shuts him down. He calls bullshit that it's all because he didn't do townhalls. He says "I don't mind being attacked for the next 3 weeks. What America can't afford is 4 more years of failed economic policies." He says, so, sure, let's talk about economics, energy, health care and college education. 9:26 ET: McCain hits John Lewis, and said it hurt his feelings and says that Obama hasn't repudiated Lewis' remarks but he always repudiated them. ALSO, he still hasn't repeated a fucking charge. He's not going to bring up Ayers. He's hitting up Obama on public financing, which also no one cares about. And he's just mad Obama has more money. 9:25 ET: McCain says that the reason it's gone all nasty is because he didn't do town hall meetings. BUT he's scroting/pussying out by not repeating them. 9:24 ET: Bob wants to know about why they've gone so fucking negative, and wants them to say it to each other. YAY! 9:24 ET: Um, so, like why the fuck does McCain get to end every Q&A, seriously? Also, drink for the first mention of 9/11. 9:21 ET: Obama says he voted in support of tort reform and charter schools and pay for performance with teachers and clean coal, which aren't exactly all-Democrat leadership ideas. Obama says that Fox News disputes McCain's assertion that Obama voted for a tax increase for people making $42,000 a year, "and that doesn't happen a lot." Plus, he's like, since when are you not a supporter of Bush when you aren't running for President when he's unpopular? We need that picture of him hugging him right about now. 9:19 ET: McCain really thinks he can balance the budget in 4 years, and he's not President Bush — so if Obama wanted to run against Bush he shouldn't run 4 years ago? Really? That's his argument. Also, Bloomberg just initiated a spending freeze, so he'll totally get a surplus again. Also, "Americans are angry tonight and I get that." No shit, we've all seen your fucking rallies. 9:18 ET: Sigh. We're back to talking about earmarks but NO ONE CARES. Obama is all like, earmarks aren't where the real money is you idiot. Going back to drinking. Bush had a surplus when he started, and now we have a deficit. 9:17 ET: By the way, McCain's all like "let's get rid of tariffs on ethanol" which totally just lost him Iowa. 9:15 ET: Obama wants us to have a "culture of responsibility." McCain's all like I LIKE HILLARY'S PLAN LADIES VOTE FOR ME!! 9:13 ET: Obama wants you to know that if the bailout works, we'll get our money back. We also decide we don't really care about deficits, but Obama hits up PAYGO which is THE MOST BORING policy ever. 9:12 ET: Is Obama going to fucking call McCain out on the difference between tax rates and effective tax rates? Mention that he, too, called for cutting the corporate income tax rate to 25% by reducing credits and loopholes. Bob Schieffer lets McCain have the first and last word, which is bad moderating. 9:11 ET: Obama is all like, Warren Buffet could have afforded to pay more when Joe the plumber wasn't making $250,000+ and year. McCain keeps interrupting and it's not cool when Obama is being chill. 9:10 ET: John McCain hits him on "We need to spread the wealth around." Are these follow up questions? No. McCain goes with CLASS WARFARE OH MY GOD. 9:08 ET: Obama is outright laughing at McCain's lies the way we are in this room. By the way, "this room" is Kay Steiger's living room. And the food that I'm eating was prepared by her fabulous roommate Kate. And now he talks all about his tax plans, and goes back to what he said to Joe the plumber, which was that he needed a tax break when he started to buy his business and he wants to give one to the people who need one now. 9:07 ET: McCain doesn't want to ask a follow up, he wants to talk about the plumber in Ohio who wasn't going to be able to buy his business. We are all shouting at the TV variations on the fact that McCain is bullshitting us. 9:05 ET: Obama says it's a bad financial crisis and the support plan's a good first step. What we haven't seen is a rescue plan for the middle class. Other liveblogger at my debate party says "It's like he's in the living room explaining it to us." This is probably why Axelrod said today it was more about style than substance training since the last debate. Also, by the way, he's not saying a ton that isn't out there if you haven't been paying attention. 9:03 ET: John brings up Nancy Reagan, and "Fannie and Freddie Mae." Oh, who doesn't know about them now, bitch? 9:02 ET: Bob wants to talk Wall Street, and their economic plans. He wants to know why each plan is better to the other guy. 9:01 ET: Bob Schieffer will let them ask questions! And they're out!