10:37pm: And there's the handshake. That's a wrap.
10:34pm: McCain: Obama's stubbornness on the surge is akin to the Bush administration on other issues. I'm surprised that "he doesn't get it" hasn't made an appearance tonight...from either side.
10:33pm: Obama: Economic crisis is a national security issue.
10:32pm: Ooh, extra time.
10:31pm: I've been thinking about calling this a forgettable debate, but the Obama doesn't understand stuff proves that if you say something enough...
10:27pm: I'm not sure about this "reaching across the aisle" stuff from McCain. Have the last few days taught us nothing? What will he be able to reach across the aisle to do if he's elected?
10:25pm: Last question. Let's put it this way: There won't be a lot of back and forth on this one.
10:22pm: Obama from Russian oil fueling their government to alternative energy here in the US.
10:18pm: McCain continues to play the experience card. Now on Russia. Again, "I've been there," on Georgia.
10:12pm: "I'm not going to set the White House schedule. I don't even have a seal yet." Good one.
10:09pm: Is Obama's ability to pronounce these foreign names a good thing or a bad thing? Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. It is an interesting contrast between the two candidates, especially after McCain's issues getting Ahmadinejad out. How does that play into the Obama is a Muslim narrative.
10:08pm: Sitting down with leaders without pre-conditions. There's a blast from the past.
10:03pm: On to Iran.
10:00pm: Ugh, if you are going to add a personal story, you better know the name. McCain nailed his. Sure, it was the same one he's brought up in his acceptance speech, but still. Obama did not.
9:57pm: I think this not understanding thing has been talked about within the McCain campaign. Now on Pakistan, pre-Musharraf.
9:54pm: More on Obama not understanding from McCain. This time on Waziristan and Al Qeada.
9:45pm: McCain: "Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy." That one could bring some fireworks along the way.
9:40pm: McCain's on firmer ground on the surge.
9:38pm: On Guantanamo Bay? Mr. McCain, John Kerry is on the phone. He was against torture, before he was
9:34pm: Jim Lehrer is winning this debate so far. He's by far the most animated.
...trying to get either candidate to answer a question on scaled back spending in the face of the current economic climate.
9:33pm: "Using a hatchet where a scalpel is needed." A good line from Obama on a government spending freeze.
9:29pm: Ah, there's the first "most liberal senator" mention.
9:26pm: They've both warmed to this format now.
9:21pm: A lot of hand-raising from Obama on these McCain points on earmarks. Not Horshack-style hand-raising, but there's a pattern here on these split screens.
9:16 pm: Ooh, there's the first split screen (...on NBC). No sighing, no eye-rolling, just McCain writing at the moment.
9:13pm: Jim Lehrer is trying to turn this into a town hall meeting-lite. This is kind of weird. But the difference from four years ago is stark.
9:08pm: Shredding regulations. We may be hearing that lot from Obama. That's twice.
8:41pm: We are about fifteen minutes from go-time everyone. Elton John would have us believe that Saturday night's alright for fighting. We'll Friday night is fine by me, actually. And given the events of this week, we could see a real good one tonight.
First a quick review:
1) First debates are the most watched debates of any cycle.
Those look like podiums. I stand corrected.
3) If we can, let's try to get a variety to mediums represented here. Someone on C-SPAN, someone on the one of the major networks, someone online, etc. The first debate in 2004 had some different feeds floating around. C-SPAN had the non-speaking candidate's reactions at times, while most of the networks kept the camera trained on the speaker. The result was that people took away different impressions of the debate. Let's try to keep tabs on that tonight. I think I'm going to be on C-SPAN.
So we should have a lot of bored people watching tonight. I won't be one of them. So, turn on the set, open up a comment box and off we go.
Who You Callin' Underpolled?
Nothing to see here, folks.
The Electoral College Map (9/26/08)