Showing posts with label live blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label live blog. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Live Blog: UGA Getzen Lecture featuring Newt Gingrich

Wrap Up: A very interesting lecture from someone who is high on the FHQ Elite Eight list for 2012. Some things mentioned to me at the reception afterward:

"Where were the solutions?"

"He was more partisan than I thought he would be."

Both were true and aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Several times Gingrich mentioned not getting into things because of time constraints. You can understand that, but when you're talking about such a fundamental restructuring of the federal government, people are generally going to want specifics. Of course, those were some of the same specifics people wanted from Obama throughout 2008. But that's life on the campaign trail.

Gingrich has a vision, but how compelling that story is -- in view of 2012 that is -- will depend on how Obama has been viewed. If Obama's version of change hasn't actually changed that much in Washington and across the country, that'll make a sweeping vision like Gingrich's much more palatable -- not that it isn't already. And this could be an interesting clash in 2012. Obama as the "government can work for you" candidate against Gingrich as the "government is inefficient if it is filtered through a broken bureaucratic system" candidate.

And what about that Jindal mention? Of course, that was couched after the fact as "Jindal won't be John McCain's age until after 2040." In other words, this guy's a future leader in the GOP.

I'll be back shortly with some more thoughts.

4:08pm: Ends on the Second Amendment.

4:04pm: Israel and Iran?
A: "Would not be shocked if Israel took pre-emptive action."

4:00pm: Government Shutdown?
A: It was healthy. "I have a different view on this than the media. We were the only Republican majority reelected when a Democratic president was being elected."

A: Again, back to the bureaucracy. "Show me a bureaucracy that operates like the Toyota mode of production."

3:57pm: Global warming?
A: Green Conservatism (Contract with the Earth): Unelected Supreme Court and an unelected bureaucracy making these decisions. Carbon tax is akin to helping fuel China.

3:55pm: de Tocqueville's soft tyranny in the US?
A: Paraphrasing: A government that can fire the head of GM is a government to be feared.

3:51pm: Future of the GOP?
A: Name-dropping: Bobby Jindal!
GOP has to: 1) Worry about the GOP and not America.
2) Solutions, solutions, solutions
3) Work to bring together those who are not committed to a hard left ideology.

3:47pm: How would you describe America to the rest of the world given Obama's statement about American having been arrogant on the world stage?
A: Yes, there has been some arrogance, but would tell Europe that we are "partners in freedom," that the Europeans have to provide some help and not just talk.

3:41pm: Obama's foreign policy?
A: "I think he had a bad trip [abroad]." The French and Germans didn't give anything. North Korea tests a missile just before Obama is set to deliver a speech on nuclear disarmament.

Obama is at a defining moment. He has a choice between being Jimmy Carter and learning nothing or being John Kennedy and learning that the world is a tough place.

3:40pm: Q&A!

3:39pm: Everything hinges on fundamentally changing the way in which the government works, especially the bureaucracy.

3:35pm: The bottom line here is that outcome-based implementation of metrics can work to fix the bureaucracy around foreign policy, education, etc. to prevent the failure of the American civilization. In this case, we're talking about the US as the top nation in a unipolar world.

3:32pm: Values --> Vision --> Metrics --> Strategy

3:30pm: Nate Silver may like this talk. Gingrich just cited Moneyball as a good use of metrics.

3:27pm: Real change takes will-power. In the New York case of implementing this metrics-based reworking of the law enforcement bureaucracy, it meant manipulating the bureaucracy; forcing the old school thought process and people out.

3:21pm: The metrics approach to the bureaucracy management is borrowed from Giuliani's New York model.
3:19pm: Problems in foreign policy are similar to what the US faces in terms of health care: The bureaucracy is broken.

3:15pm: Hints of responsible parties here. A cohesive national party message. Not in 1994 with the Contract with America, but in 1980 with what Gingrich calls the 5 Capitol Steps.

3:10pm: Two questions: What is it that America has to do to survive (as a civilization)? How do you convince the American people to go along with it?

3:05pm: Topic: Effective American Policy in an Increasingly Dangerous World

3:00pm: Alright, we're waiting through the introduction of Mr. Gingrich here live in the UGA Chapel. It is difficult for FHQ to approach anything like this without a view toward 2012, so we'll be covering this with an eye toward that election.

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And Your 2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Is...


76,914-76,817 77,017-76,934: Murphy Tedisco Leads in NY-20

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Live Blog and Open Thread: Georgia Senate Runoff

9:30pm: Alright, I'm off for the night. If there are any unofficial reports in from the counties in the morning I'll give a glance toward the changes in early voting between November 4 and today. But SOS may not have those figures up until next week some time or when the election is certified.

9:20pm: Wow! Half of Fulton is in and Martin only holds an exactly 2000 vote lead. That pretty much sums this one up.

9:10pm: Now come the questions:
Was Obama wise to stay away?
Seems that way.

Did the Palin, et al. visit(s) have an impact?
Maybe, maybe not.

And the big one: Should this race have even been this close to begin with?
It didn't look close at all during the summer when Chambliss was up over 10 points. But it took a perfect storm for Martin to get this thing into a runoff. He got it then, but the storm dissipated without Obama and the attendant enthusiasm along for the ride.

9:05pm: Or not.

Associated Press has called the race for Chambliss.

9:00pm: My hunch is that there won't be a call until Fulton gets closer to the half way point of counting.

...and perhaps not then.

But with over 70% in, Chambliss is still over a 60% share of the vote. He started out high on November 4 as well before the count drew closer and closer. The start tonight was much higher though. The incumbent Republican crested at like 57% or so at one point on election night and it only got closer. We may see the same thing tonight (In fact we are.), but the crest point for Chambliss was about 10 points higher tonight.

8:47pm: DeKalb County is a little less than half in and is running about nine points lower for Martin tonight than it did on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Meanwhile Fulton is still stuck on about one-seventh reporting and and Martin is up by a shade more than 400 votes. I don't think it is overstating the matter to say Martin is underperforming the numbers he enjoyed last month.

8:43pm: Here's a question: Have those early votes been counted yet? My guess is that there is a rolling tally that the Secretary of State's folks do each night when those numbers came in, but that they'll come in rolled into the counties' totals tonight.

8:38pm: Over half the results are in (so sayeth SOS in Atlanta) and Chambliss is still over the 60% mark in terms of his share of the vote. I can see some of those Democrats' eyes shifting northward to Minnesota.

8:30pm: Quitman County, where political corruption and vote fraud nearly kept Jimmy Carter out of his first elective office, is 100% in. Turnout there is down about 50% today versus four weeks ago. There were 990 total votes cast there on November 4 and 482 today. If that figure were to apply to the entire state, turnout would be down more than it was for the Senate runoff in 1992. But Quitman County does not an election make. And plus, Martin's margin was reduced to just 14 votes this time in a county he won by more than ten times that on election day.

8:26pm: 30% are in and Martin has pulled it under 30 points fueled in large part by a 20,000 vote lead in DeKalb County (only about an eighth of the county's precincts are in). All that's really doing is canceling out those Gwinnett numbers for Chambliss.

8:19pm: About a quarter of the precincts are in and Chambliss' advantage has dipped under the 2:1 mark for the first time this evening. I've talked about several Martin strongholds being silent thus far, but Cobb County has yet to report anything either. Remember that was the county with the most early votes cast and one that Chambliss won by about 12 points on November 4.

8:14pm: Henry County, one of the tight counties from the general election, is not shaping up to be as close for Martin this time around. We pegged it as one of the counties where Martin would have to do well to pull this out. Still nothing out of Fulton or DeKalb. The way things are looking, though, Martin is really going to have to sweep his November 4 hotspots to have a chance.

8:03pm: Chambliss is still comfortably ahead with 12% reporting. It should be noted, however, that most of the counties with any returns in are Chambliss counties. And Gwinnett County seems to be driving the early lead. 68 of the 163 precincts are in and Chambliss has a commanding 32,000 to 18,000 vote advantage. None of the big ones for Martin have reported anything. On that list: Fulton, DeKalb and Clarke. [Well, I had to throw Clarke in there. That's where I am.]

7:52pm: Chambliss currently holds a two-one lead over Martin with 5% of the precincts reporting. Sean over at FiceThirtyEight said about an hour ago that they had heard about lines in Athens. That may be true but I saw no indication of that this afternoon. However, this afternoon, my polling station looked as busy as it did on general election day four weeks ago (...minus four or six voting machines).

7:47pm: And it's show time, folks. I'm late getting started but we can all follow the results here at the Georgia Secretary of State's web site. I'm keeping a close eye on the county-by-county results.

Recent Posts:
The Georgia Senate Runoff: A Polling Projection

Georgia Senate Runoff: Early Voting (Final Day)

Georgia Senate Runoff: Early Voting (Day 7)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Liveblog and Open Thread

3:08am: It is fitting that the remaining two states to be decided were the closest of all the states in our averages. I'll end on that note for now. I'll be back later to tie up some of the loose ends.

What a night/morning! Thanks for clicking over.

3:01am: There goes Montana for McCain.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

2:59am: Well, that 8am class is calling. Let's stroll through those three two remaining states one last time and I'll leave it there for the night before returning to wrap things up tomorrow.

Missouri: 99% in: McCain has opened up a slightly wider lead; a couple thousand votes.
North Carolina: Still "100%" in but those numbers have been stationary for quite a while now.

2:53am: CNN looks as if they have given all of Nebraska to McCain. That Omaha district was the closest, but Maine and Nebraska will once again allocate all their electoral votes to one candidate each.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

2:31am: Wow! 78 votes separate Norm Coleman and Al Franken in that Minnesota senate race. There may be a recount in Missouri in the presidential race, but that North Star state senate race is a lock.

2:30am: Will we have another call? No. That was a big tease from NBC. Cued up the music and everything.

2:27am: McCain's lead in Missouri is down to 398 votes. Yeah, this is getting into Florida 2000 territory. Actually, it is getting into Missouri territory. Both the Democratic and Republican primaries this past year were extremely close and the last several senate races in the state have been really tight.

2:24am: Montana is slipping away for Obama. What had been an early lead has changed into a McCain lead of 50-47 with about 80% of the precincts in.

2:21am: Nate Silver is calling North Carolina the best bet of the remaining four states (prior to the Indiana call). That lead seems like it will be able to hold up with all counties in.

2:17am: Both candidates have 50% in North Carolina and just more than 12,000 votes separate them with Obama ahead.

2:09am: Indiana to Obama. Wow, did Karl Rove get it wrong. 338 electoral votes!?! Who comes up with this stuff! What that means is that McCain will not crack the 200 electoral vote threshold.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

2:08am: Just 554 votes separate McCain and Obama in Missouri with 99% reporting in the Show-Me state.

1:47am: I just went over to the secretary of state's website for North Carolina. The Tar Heel state's outstanding votes seem to be early/absentee. All 100 counties have reported with no county "partially reporting." Incidentally, Obama is still ahead there.

1:45am: Saxby has left the building. The Georgia senator seems to think that the remaining precincts and absentee votes will break evenly but that we likely won't know until later in the morning whether they'll will be a runoff.

1:39am: Alaska has been called for McCain by NBC.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

1:12am: Does anyone out there know what is happening in the states concerning their 2012 primaries and caucuses? Oh, you'll be hearing more about it here.

1:04am: With 99% of the precincts reporting in both Indiana and North Carolina, Obama is ahead 50-49. With a slightly smaller percentage of precincts reporting, Missouri (94%) has McCain up 50-49 as well. In Montana, both candidates are now under 50% and Obama is clinging to a one point 49-48 lead. Still no word out of Alaska.

12:57am: Alaska's polls will be closed statewide as of 1am.

12:55am: 97% are in here in Georgia and Chambliss is now down to 51%. Martin needs to get that under 50% plus one vote to force that runoff. Martin likely needed to be the one in Chambliss's position tonight to be in good shape for December.

12:46am: The story here in the Peach state is that they are shifting into the counting of early votes and absentee ballots to see if the race will have a runoff.

12:40am: I'm still here. Keeping tabs on this Georgia senate race. Chambliss is dropping toward that 50% mark.

12:09am: "A new era of service and sacrifice."

12:05am: Let's have a look around at which states are still out:
North Carolina: 96% reporting: Obama 50% McCain 49%
Missouri: 86% reporting: McCain 50% Obama 49%
Montana: 29% reporting: Obama 52% McCain 45%
Indiana: 97% reporting: Obama 50% McCain 49%

Those are all tight except for Montana, which seems to be coming in slow. Granted, the Treasure state spotted the others at least an hour and a half. But still.

12:02am: Ooh, and Scranton gets a shout out. Who woulda thunk it?

12:01am: A nod to the service and sacrifice of John McCain.

11:59pm: Oh, polls in Alaska are about to close.

11:57pm: And here comes the 44th President of the United States onto the stage at Grant Park.

11:42pm: Nevada to Obama. Well, that's 338 folks. Our graduated weighted averages have gotten us this far. As S.D. has mentioned in the comments, North Carolina is still very tight and has shifted over to McCain at this point. We'll have to see how all the rest of it shakes out.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

11:29pm: CNN has Arizona going for McCain and the entirety of Nebraska's 5 electoral votes going to McCain. That pushes the Arizona senator's tally to 152 electoral votes.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

11:28pm: McCain is still uncomfortable with the negativity. He obviously doesn't like the booing of Obama-Biden during his speech.

11:20pm: NBC just pushed Florida into the blue column for Obama. That's 333 and only Nevada away from matching the FHQ map. Or is that the Karl Rove map?

[Click Map to Enlarge]

11:13pm: And there goes Colorado for Obama. That breaks the 300 electoral vote barrier. That's the first time that has happened in three elections.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

11:08pm: Add Hawaii and Virginia to Obama's tally and Idaho and South Dakota to McCain total. That's 297-142. NBC is showing 146 for McCain right now with Nebraska, I guess, giving 4 electoral votes to McCain. Could one of those congressional districts move into Obama's column?

[Click Map to Enlarge]

11:00pm: NBC calls the election for Obama on the strength of calls in all three west coast states. That's 280 electoral votes for the Illinois senator. I'll hold off on coloring Florida in.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

10:59pm: The AP calls Florida for Obama.

10:50pm: North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia and Missouri are all really close. And only Virginia was off the recent Watch Lists, having pushed into the Obama lean category.

10:31pm: The stars at night are big and bright! Fill in the blank. Texas goes to McCain. Along with the Magnolia state further east, McCain has a clean sweep of the Deep South states. But Obama has only really been competitive in those peripheral south states like Virginia and North Carolina. By the way, Virginia looks much closer than our averages have projected. But the recent polling had only just started to come back from that nine and ten point high a couple of weeks back.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

10:19pm: Iowa and New Mexico to Obama and Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Utah turn red. It should be noted that two of the closest states from both four and eight years ago -- Iowa and New Mexico went rather quickly tonight for Obama. It has looked that way in the polling for a while now, but that has been quite a shift in those two states.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

10:12pm: I should have made an announcement before I headed out, but I'm back at the electoral vote counting, Rovian bat cave now. And fortunately so. Everyone was sucking up the bandwith where I was and I quickly grew tired of slow load times. Zipping around now.

I've got some catching up to do. Hold on just a moment and I'll put another set of maps up.

9:40pm: As I was just saying to Rob in the comments, anything for Obama on the McCain side of the victory line (Colorado) on the Electoral College Spectrum is crippling to McCain. It is over. The 44th president of the United States is Barack Obama. Well, it was during the 9 o'clock hour. So, I had that right in the scenario analysis earlier today.

9:34pm: Unless there is a McCain surprise out there -- and I don't see one -- it is over. Ohio to Obama.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

9:27pm: West Virginia to McCain. Mark another one off.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

9:16pm: Georgia to McCain. So much for competition in the Peach state. A political scientist can hope, can't he.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

9:00pm: And now with the 9 o'clock closings, Obama is up to 175, adding Minnesota, Wisconsin New York, Rhode Island and Michigan. As I just heard, it has been all good news for the Dems and nothing good for the Republicans. Well, McCain got North Dakota and Wyoming. Mark those off the list.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

8:59pm: Alabama to McCain. 103-43 for Obama.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

8:49pm: It has gone down hill fast here. If you look at the post I had earlier today on election night scenarios, once you factor in all of the strong states that Obama should win (those with polls still open), he is sitting at 264 electoral votes. So when I say Virginia or Colorado and it is over. It really is.

8:39pm: Pennsylvania to Obama. That's two of the three states. Virginia and it will be over. But I don't expect the Old Dominion for a while.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

8:30pm: At the bottom of the hour, one of the three states I mentioned before, broke for Obama. New Hampshire stays blue in 2008 (the only state to turn blue in 2004).

[Click Map to Enlarge]

8:24pm: Obama edges ahead in the count, adding Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, DC and Obama's home of Illinois. McCain adds Tennessee and Oklahoma. Obama 77- McCain 34. No surprises so far.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

8:22pm: Well, here comes North Carolina at 8:30. Oh, and Arkansas

8:11pm: Well, the CNN lady in Grant Park is yelling at me. I suppose it is loud there.

8:00pm: South Carolina to McCain, according to CNN. No surprises there.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

7:55pm: Well, the clock is approaching the 8 o'clock hour. There are lots of closings then. Which to keep an eye on? Pennsylvania and Missouri. I don't expect a quick call on Pennsylvania. But that is one of the three early states to watch. If any of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire group is called soon, we'll start getting an indication of how the evening will go.

7:50pm: I'm assuming those early returns in South Carolina are coming in from the Low Country. Obama will not win the Upstate. That much I can tell you. Sorry to disappoint Upstate Obama fans.

7:45pm: Well, I guess we have our answer on West Virginia. A little too early, I suppose.

I just spoke with my sister in Charleston, SC and she waited in line for four hours this afternoon. She was dismayed to learn that my wait was but 4 seconds. Oh well. We did take some pictures at the polling place at Firehouse #7 here in Athens, GA, but were brutally rebuffed when we tried to get an inside shot of the machines. Couldn't even shoot the room. The pictures that we (my wife) were able to take should hopefully come my way later this evening. I'll post them when I have them. They're ever so exciting.

7:29pm: We are approaching 7: 30 and that means time for Ohio and West Virginia to close up shop. Do we have a wait on West Virginia or will it be an easy call for McCain?

7:22pm: I should also add that NPR called Vermont for Obama.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

7:12pm: Alright, I'm in position. Hunkered down and ready to go. Or is that fired up; ready to go! One of those. Well, I should take a moment to talk a little bit about how we'll be calling things tonight (since ) NPR did the same on the way over here. I'm not in this to be first, so I'll wait until someone else (a reputable source) has made a call before putting a new map up. NPR has handed Kentucky to John McCain and I'll have that one up shortly.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

6:47pm: I'm off to my undisclosed location for the next few hours. I should have checked before now, but hopefully they have wi-fi. If not it will be a short stay before I head back to the electoral vote counting batcave. Back in a few.

6:11pm: And we're off! The first round of poll closings have begun in Indiana and Kentucky. No call yet from the networks on Kentucky. Either they are showing a surprising amount of restraint or Kentucky's close. I'm going with the former.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

This should be a fun night. The comments section is open so have at it. Oh, if you haven't had a chance yet, go and check out the final electoral college map. It is just the map. I'll have the Spectrum, polls and other graphics up sometime tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind day. I can't believe The Fix said election day was usually boring. Boo! Anyway, the big news was that Nevada moved into the Obama lean category.

Recent Posts:
FHQ's Final Electoral College Map (11/4/08)

Election Protection

An Election Night Scenario Analysis, Part II

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liveblog: The Obama Infomercial

8:33pm: Impressions? It was a commercial. Did it change any minds? I don't know. As I said, Obama didn't not look presidential and that may be the biggest thing about that 30 minutes. I'll be interested to see the Nielsen numbers when they are released. Other thoughts? The comments section is open for business.

8:30pm: And if that animated Obama logo with the sun rising didn't make you think of Reagan and "It's morning in America," I don't know what will. Let the record show that that was also a change election.

8:29pm: Unity. We always hear that in a change election. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is the reality. We heard some of the same stuff from George W. Bush 8 years ago. The difference? Congress. It will look a lot different on January 3, 2009 than it did on January 3, 2001.

8:27pm: This live event isn't going to be all that long.

...and here it is from Florida.

8:24pm: Back to Iraq and the sacrifice it takes to send military personnel into conflict. Well, Obama doesn't not look presidential here. [Yeah, that double negative was on purpose.]

8:22pm: Well, Kentucky isn't a swing state. They aren't just touting folks from competitive environs.

8:21pm: And here's Joe Biden. Oh, and Scranton, too.

8:19pm: A lot of family moments here. Is it just me or was there a Clinton special like this in 1992? I don't know that it was on the major networks or primetime, but it seems like there was something the Clinton camp did 16 years ago.

8:17pm: On to college affordability and health care costs. It all has an economic tinge to it.

8:15pm: "Live Obama Event Later in Program" We're halfway in, how long is allotted for that segment?

8:12pm: Iraq war money elsewhere? This scene with these intimate audiences is like a throw back to Obama's community organizer days.

8:09pm: Uh, but no nuclear on that energy plan. McCain is likely to bring that up. I don't think it'll change any minds, but I think he'll bring it up.

8:05pm: On the anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression, Obama is focused on the economy. [And he's narrating, too.]

8:01pm: Introducing us to ordinary Americans. Yeah, this was the most effective thing about the final night of the Democratic convention other than Obama's speech: When they brought out regular person after regular person relating to us why they were supporting Obama.

8:00pm: And we're off.

7:56pm: Well, I just turned the TV on and there is the DSCC trying to take down Saxby Chambliss. They're everywhere today. Radio, TV, you name it. That senate race must really be close.

But that's not why we're here tonight. I thought I'd dust off ye olde live blog concept just for nostalgia's sake for the primetime Obama buy. What to expect? Well, I'm told it is an infomercial. NPR even had the King of Informercials on about whether Obama would be able to make the case tonight. He said yes (Yeah, I'll check on that name for you.). It was Ron Popeil, and here is that segment from All Things Considered this evening.

Recent Posts:
Update(s): The Electoral College from a Different Angle

The Electoral College Map (10/29/08)

The Debate Last Night

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live Blog and Open Thread: Final Presidential Debate

11:53pm: Well, I wanted to thank everyone for stopping by to read and comment tonight. Your participation is what makes FHQ fun. Thanks again.

Maybe Brian Williams misplaced that "boisterous" that he used to describe town hall debates following last week's rather tame affair between the two candidates. But I think it certainly applies to this one. Contrary to what we have typically seen from these sit-down debates, this one had some fireworks. What do you think, Joe the Plumber? Well, Joe has slipped into his Joe Sixpack cape and is off to fight for average Americans. The constant Joe refrain throughout was an interesting exchange. But the question of the hour: Who won? Honestly, I'm torn. The McCain offensive, to me, was a turn off early on, but after I got used to it, I took it all in stride. I spoke early on about whether McCain would receive a get out of jail free card on the going negative simply because it was perceived that he had to. But the answer to that question will have a large say in who actually won this one. If the attacks were normalized for everyone else, as they were in my case, then McCain may get the nod. If that's the case, though, does it change anything. Obama is seen as having the upper hand on domestic issues. Is it a blow to him if McCain was able to top him in friendly territory? And if it is, how much of a blow is it? I'm asking a lot of questions here, but this debate left many unanswered. I'll turn it over to the comments section for now. I may hang around and comment for a while, but I'd like to get the new electoral college map post out tonight. With Florida turning blue, it should offer some interesting analysis. Oh, now I'm trying to sell and hype myself simultaneously. This never ends well.

10:31pm: That is all. Well, "Good job, good job, good job, we did it" forcefully from McCain closes it. Let's see how long the McCain's hang around after this one. Of course it isn't the same as after a town hall debate.

10:29pm: Obama seems to be attempting to channel his inner-Bill Clinton in his closing remarks. It's the economy, stupid. McCain looks like he wants to offer a rebuttal to Obama on this.

10:28pm: McCain plays up the trust angle in his statements.

10:26pm: McCain ends the pre-closing statement portion on a snarky note. "There aren't enough vouchers," so we scrap the whole thing. "Got it."

10:26pm: Obama: "Senator McCain is absolutely right" returns in full force.

10:24pm: I'm guessing Obama lets the long since past McCain comments on abolishing the Department of Education pass. Perhaps that argument is being made in the Bizarro debate. That one is on C-SPAN2.

10:22pm: Obama agrees with McCain on charter schools and increased competition for public schools. But disagrees with McCain's stance on college accessibility and affordability. My student loans are listening.

10:20pm: More federal government involvement in education?

10:18pm: McCain: "It's the civil rights issue of the 21st century."

10:17pm: Question: Is declining education a national security issue?

10:16pm: Out of the troubled waters of abortion and on to education.

10:14pm: McCain is chomping at the bit to respond here at the same time Obama is trying to find common ground on this issue.

10:12pm: McCain rolls his eyes in response to Obama denying that he voted to deny care to these infants of failed abortions. Obama says there was another law on the books already dealing with that.

10:11pm: Ah, and now McCain brings up the present votes and one was on an abortion-related bill before the Illinois senate when Obama was there.

10:09pm: Obama thinks Roe v. Wade was correctly decided. Then he leans on the classic Democratic argument on the issue: choice.

10:07pm: When did Obama vote against Justice Breyer? Maybe it was a "present" vote, but I doubt it.

10:06pm: Alright, Roe v. Wade. Here we go. Supreme Court nominations. Litmus tests? McCain says no.

I apologize for skipping over the substance of that health care discussion, but there was a lot of good stuff in that exchange.

10:05pm: Awesome Freudian slip there from McCain. "Senator Government, uh, Senator Obama." High comedy.

10:04pm: Gold-plated Cadillac?

10:04pm: Welcome to the Joe Debate! Can we get this guy on stage, please?

10:01pm: I sincerely hope that Joe the Plumber is the same person as Joe Sixpack. I'll be disappointed if they aren't one in the same. But which one is the superhero name and which one is the mild-mannered reporter name. Well, I just answered that one. It would be mild-mannered plumber in this case.

10:00pm: Obama: "Here's your fine, Joe [the plumber]. Zero." McCain: "Zero?"

9:59pm: $5000 tax credit from McCain. Buy into the same coverage we get from Obama. Ah, McCain revisits the fines. Well, you knew that was coming.

9:58pm: McCain is smiling with a response to Obama seemingly at the ready. This has been more entertaining than the other debates, I'll say that.

9:56pm: On to health care.

9:55pm: "I just recited to you the benefits of that agreement." Was McCain talking to Obama or Schieffer on that one?

9:51pm: McCain goes after Obama on semantics. "He will look at -- did you get that -- look at off-shore drilling." And then he returns to free trade, stressing the Columbia agreement and Obama's not having been south of the border. Obama leans on the specifics and his understanding of the situation in response.

9:50pm: McCain has his pen out and ready for Obama's response to his line on unilaterally renegotiating NAFTA. Obama calls for a reexamination of these trade agreements.

9:48pm: How much in four years? Obama says those "bad" sources can be eliminated in ten years time.

9:47pm: New Question: Climate change and oil importation decreases. How much can you lower that level during your time in office. Canadian oil is fine, but Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil is not according to McCain.

9:46pm: McCain is all in. Angry or not, here I come. He honestly has nothing to lose here.

9:44pm: Is Palin qualified to be president? Obama: I'll leave it up to the American people. Translation: I'm not touching that one with a ten foot pole.

9:43pm: Sorry, I got interrupted during the Biden explanation. I'll watched that back later.

9:39pm: Moving on...

Question: People involved in either administration. Starting with the running mates.

9:36pm: ACORN has been a topic here recently. Obama flat-out denies any link between his campaign and the organization.

9:35pm: Obama is trying to work back to the issues. I don't know that this segment has helped either candidate. See, negative campaigning hurts both candidates. Oh, and McCain brings up both Bill Ayers and ACORN.

9:34pm: Yeah, this is silly now. Move on Schieffer.

9:31pm: Wow! We are definitely in the internet age. The "kill him" comments have come to the debates. I like this line of questioning, but I don't know that it necessarily have a place in a high-profile debate. I don't know. Maybe that's just a preference.

9:30pm: Are comparisons in ads the same as negative ads? That one from McCain is on thin ice.

9:28pm: "100% of your ads are negative, John." Obama does seem to take the high road here. He can afford to as the candidate in the lead. He also brushes off the town hall argument before moving on to the "turn the page" comments from the McCain campaign.

9:26pm: And here are the John Lewis comments. McCain was hurt by them and by Obama's lack of a repudiation. And on to the pledge to not opt out of public financing.

9:25pm: Ooh, negative campaigning question. McCain seems to think town halls would have cured it all. I don't think I follow. Seems pretty clear cut to me. The one behind in the polls has to go on the attack.

9:24pm: "I've opposed the Bush administration. I have the scars to prove it." And he calls out Obama on his statements about standing up to the leaders of his party.

9:20pm: Balance the budget? "Senator Obama, I am not president Bush. If you wanted to take him on you should have run four years ago." Indeed. Pursed lips from Obama. He recognizes the offensive from McCain but really doesn't seem to like it.

9:18pm: McCain is definitely on the offensive. Ooh, and there's the projector again. Jon Stewart just last night talked about Republicans not supporting McCain because he recycles (speeches). He's recycling the projector now. Oh, he's not alone.

9:17pm: Schieffer is after them on this one. Well, someone should answer these spending questions. Ah, there's the hatchet.
...from McCain? "Some people will call that a hatchet, then I'll get out the scalpel."

9:16pm: Profligate ways? Well, that went over Joe Sixpack's head.

9:15pm: Obama's up first. Pay-go elicits a smile from McCain. Are we going to work our way back to the scalpel/hatchet line? Third time's the charm they say.

9:14pm: New Question: Deficit adding. This will be good.

9:12pm: Is it me or is McCain playing with fire by continually jumping in on Obama? Or does he get the benefit of the doubt because he has to be on the offensive?

9:11pm: Redistributing the wealth. Is the class warfare argument going to work in this current environment? The McCain campaign has been going that route recently. The media won't let you hear because they're too focused on Bill Ayers. Obama is shaking his head at this. He seems moderately exasperated.

9:08pm: Is Joe the Plumber the real Joe Sixpack?

9:07pm: Schieffer: "Would you like to ask him a question?"
McCain: "Uh no."
Anecdote time.

9:06pm: Split screens are making it really difficult to follow. McCain is blinking like the next one will be his last. Very distracting. Maybe this is his way of attacking Obama.

9:04pm: I stand corrected...again. Split screens on C-SPAN. They listened to my request. This message brought to you by C-SPAN.

9:03pm: Wow! Who would have though? The economy leads us off.

9:00pm: We're about to get underway here.

7:46pm: Live from the Hofstra University annex in Athens, GA -- talk about distance learning -- it's the FHQ live blog of the third and final presidential debate of 2008. Three weeks from tonight the campaign will have been over for nearly a day -- assuming everything is on the up and up as far as recounts and the like are concerned -- and that means that after this evening we will have dipped into the teens for the numbers of days left. [I'm already nostalgic. Can we hit reset and do it all over again? I see a hand raised in the McCain section. Do I have a second? Seeing none, other than everyone here associated with the McCain campaign raising both hands, we'll move on.]

What can we expect tonight in New York? Well, dare I say McCain needs a game-changing performance? Nah. In fact, I pledge to avoid that word in all its derivatives this evening. To say that the Arizona senator has to alter the dynamic of the race at this point would be to utter one of the contenders for understatement of the year. For the second debate in a row, though, McCain is up against it because of the format. Tonight's debate is a sit down affair (It is this time, I swear.), and that makes McCain's efforts to go on the attack more difficult simply because of the conversational tone these types of debates take on.

We are a little more than an hour away, so let's sit back and prepare for our last go-round on the debate ride for 2008. I'll be back shortly. And once again, I'll be following the festivities on C-SPAN. I doubt they'll have split screen coverage during a sit down debate, but I'll start there in the hopes that they will.

Recent Posts:
Breaking: Florida to Turn Blue

The Electoral College Map (10/15/08)

How Big a Margin is Too Big to Make Up?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Live Blog and Open Thread: 2nd Presidential Debate: Town Hall Meeting

11:05pm: Folks, I'm off to plug in a few straggling polls to the data set for the electoral college. I'll be back mid-morning with an update. The comments section remains open, but I just don't think we witnessed anything tonight that is going to shake this race up in any noticeable way.

10:51pm: Obama is still working the room. Did McCain head off to a Palin-type rally like the Alaska governor attended after last week's vice presidential debate in St. Louis?

10:41pm: Wrap up. Well, if you were looking for a game changer, this wasn't it. I think McCain was certainly in his element tonight. But, in the end, he just didn't do enough to turn this thing around. I will say this: He did avoid the angry trap, but his trademark sarcasm reared its head a couple of times. Not to the extent that it did in those back and forths with Romney in the winter, but still it was there. McCain stressed a steady hand, and I thought Obama's performance was just that. Does a debate performance project White House success? Absolutely not, but that was an ironic twist to this: that Obama's performance was steady. McCain has left the building but Obama remains. He's talking with the guy who asked the Israel question now, the military vet. This is strange. Obama is still there working the crowd, but McCain has literally left the building. C-SPAN even found it necessary to come on and announce that they weren't following Obama around on purpose. Indeed.

10:37pm: Back on C-SPAN Brokaw's mike is still on. He is overheard saying, "You see what I was up against," no doubt referring to the timing issues that plagued this debate.

10:34pm: McCain has the last word and stresses the need for a steady hand. Both candidates block Brokaw's teleprompter trying to shake hands as the moderator tries to wrap things up. A light moment to end the debate; an otherwise tame affair. Brian Williams just called past town halls "boisterous." This one didn't pass that bar. I assume he was referring to 1992 or the infamous "chest bump" debate of 2000. Well, that's what George W. Bush thought Gore might do. If you haven't seen it, google, "Debating Our Destiny" and watch PBS's documentary on past debates. What am I? I'm the blogger here. Above is that link.

10:29pm: Last question: "What don't you know and how will you learn it?" Obama treats it like a closing statement and leans on the biographical section of his stump speech, stressing opportunity and change. McCain asks what will happen here and abroad? Read: Obama is a risky choice. And he, too, moves into the biography segment of his stump speech. But at least he sort of answered the question.

10:25pm: From the audience: If Iran attacks Israel will you commit troops to defend them? McCain: Pressure Iran with joint sanctions from the Allies. Obama: Focuses on a nuclear Iran. But says military options are not off the table. But he doesn't specify whether he's talking about the questioner's particular hypothetical.

10:23pm: Brokaw: Is Russia still the Evil Empire under Putin? McCain: Maybe. Can't say yes or no. A pretty good answer.

10:19pm: On to Russia. Again with the KGB Putin line? Alliances against Russia sounds a bit like the Cold War. Obama: Protecting former Soviet satellites is important. Was Poland a Soviet satellite? Now, it was under communist control, but was it a satellite?

10:18pm: A lot has been made of Obama saying, "he's absolutely right" about McCain in the first debate, but Obama McCain just said Obama was right on Afghanistan.

10:16pm: And now a Brokaw follow up. This time on Afghanistan. "Briefly, if you can," Brokaw adds. British commander: an acceptable dictator. Obama stresses democracy.

10:13pm: And we're bending the rules now on time. A follow up. Obama asks for one and McCain calls for equal time. Obama goes after McCain on "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran," as an example of McCain not "speaking softy and carrying a big stick." This bickering is not a positive here. Who will get the blame if this is a highlight of the debate? Obama asked for the follow up, but McCain gets the last word.

10:10pm: McCain has two heroes. First, Reagan and now Teddy Roosevelt. And he moves into an attack on Obama announcing he'd attack Pakistan. Like the first debate, "I've been there." This time to Waziristan.

10:08pm: Ooh, Pakistan. And it cuts right to the heart of an Obama statement on going in to get terrorists there. This should be good.

10:06pm: McCain is going the experience route here. Calling for a steady hand and judgment and that Obama is a risk for decisions like the withdrawal call, pre-surge.

10:04pm: Brokaw: Let's see if we can figure out the Obama doctrine or the McCain doctrine.

...for intervening in humanitarian causes when US security is not at stake.

10:00pm: Keeping the world peace. Does the economic situation affect the US's ability to do this? Well, Obama doesn't understand foreign policy according to McCain. "We don't have time for on the job training." Obama admits he doesn't understand.

...why the US invaded a country that wasn't a part of 9-11. Clever. Also clever? Pivoting to the amount of money being spent in Iraq and how that affects the US domestically.

9:58pm: In my best Dwight Schrutte voice: Question. Why is it Sarah Palin was made fun of on SNL the other night for cutting off the Gs on -ing words in last week's debate? Obama does it too. I may have answered my question already. Ha!

9:55pm: Health care, privilege, right or responsibility? McCain leans toward people having the freedom to choose what they want. Obama says it is a right.

9:53pm: McCain plays the "He will fine you" game. Arizona and Tennessee are neighbors now? "If you cross over the state line" and like what's offered in Arizona and not Tennessee...

9:50pm: Next question: health care coverage and costs. I crunched numbers all weekend, but I got to catch enough of the news to catch this "He giveth with one hand and taketh with the other" line from Obama on what he calls McCain's plan to tax this stuff.

9:48pm: "You know who voted for that. That one," motioning to Obama. Oh, and it was a Bush plan on an energy bill loaded with goodies. That "that one" part will be analyzed later in the MSM. This all sounds like Senate inside baseball to me.

9:47pm: Brokaw again on the time issue. This will be a long one. They have to make up for not doing a series of these over the summer, right?

9:46pm: But Obama also goes after McCain on drilling.

9:44pm: On to climate change. In this corner, nuclear. McCain has been on a ship with nuclear power and insists it is safe. In that corner, opportunity. Obama touts green jobs.

9:42pm: McCain is energized and sharp here in referring back to one of the earlier questioners.

9:40pm: "It's not that hard to fix Social Security," says McCain. Of course that followed, "I'll answer the question." Ah, another commission to solve problems.

9:37pm: Second internet question? Entitlements (social security and Medicare). Brokaw adds to the question by asking if action is possible within two years. Obama doesn't sign on to the two year thing, but does say he will address it in his first term. He had better hope the Democrats retain control of Congress in 2010 if he wins. Otherwise the first term thing will be tough. It will be even if the Dems hold control in 2010, perhaps.

9:35pm: Has McCain not learned from his Republican primary debates? That sarcasm never served him well. Obama is now proposing a tax increase and is a protectionist. Well, we'll get to that McCain promises.

9:30pm: Obama uses 9-11 to talk about a call to service in the US. Who bet on Obama bringing up 9-11 first? Whoever it was is not in the midst of an economic crisis anymore.

9:28pm: Ooh, the first internet question.

...from a 78 year old. Awesome!

Again with the projector. By the end of the night this will be the most famous planetarium projector in the world. This planetarium will be well off after this.

9:27pm: Alright. No split screens on C-SPAN. I'm off to HD land.

9:25pm: McCain gets the first crack at the first year priorities follow up for discussion time. He goes with energy and health care. Obama? Energy? Check. That one's tops. And education. And "our records"? Obama pivots to a discussion on taxes. I think he's gone over a minute here. Brokaw thinks so too.

9:22pm: "Most liberal big spender." Now there it is. I really thought Palin would be the one to do it, but hey here it is. And examples: a projector for a Chicago planetarium.

9:21pm: Scratch that. Cynicism is alright. McCain used it too. Maybe I'm too PC. Uh oh.

9:20pm: Twenty minutes in, I've got to say both candidates like this format.

9:18pm: How can we trust either of you to deal with the economy? Obama wades into the firestorm first. "I understand your frustration and cynicism." I would have steered clear of that last one. But I'm typing on a computer now, not in front of those folks.

9:16pm: Worse before it gets better? Obama says no and that revamping the regulation regime is a must. McCain? "Depends on what we do." Clever way to bring up this "risky choice argument" that the McCain campaign has been making about Obama.

9:14pm: Obama lets it go to directly address the questioner. Or not. Here comes Obama's side on the Fannie/Freddie charge from McCain. "I need to correct" McCain..."not surprisingly." Not surprisingly, Obama touts the deregulation charge. And we've traded barbs on Fannie/Freddie. McCain's lobbyist consultants have ties as well.

9:12pm: I'll be interested to see if Obama responds to McCain bring up the campaign suspension. Obama and his cronies? Obama is smiling.

9:10pm: There may be a dead horse in the room in Nashville. This "fundamentals" thing has been run into the ground. But hey, for good reason, it could be argued.

9:08pm: How are you not able to answer that question (on who to choose to replace Paulson in the Treasury)? And if not answer it, at least not pause like that. Meg Whitman? Isn't she going to run for governor in California?

9:08pm: Stylistically McCain is already in his element on this first question.

9:06pm: McCain subtly (or not so subtly) jabs at Obama for not appearing at any town halls over the summer.

9:03pm: Good start for McCain. He looked at Obama when he shook his hand. Check that one off the list. I'm looking at you MSM.

9:01pm: And we're off!

8:29pm: Alright folks, we are just a little over half an hour away from showtime in Nashville. [No, I'm not there.] I've been asked several times since the VP debate Thursday night if I thought we would see a "different" McCain at tonight's debate. I have no idea and I certainly don't think that it will be "angry" McCain if he does try to roll out -- Al Gore style, mind you -- an alternate debate persona. However, one thing McCain must do is find a way to shift this race in some meaningful way toward him. But with Obama up in the polls, McCain is back in the role of underdog (not that he wasn't there during the first debate) and that is a role he has relished in his time running for president. For Obama, the mantra is "steady as she goes," but with an audience asking questions the dynamic may be a bit different. One thing to keep in mind about tonight's proceedings is that there are no follow up questions from the audience or the moderator. I'm assuming that includes that candidates as well.

My goal? I'll be trying to extend my streak of non-booing live blogs to two (I kid, CBSmith.). I may even try to embed some of the footage here to go along with my comments. We'll see if I can actually pull that off. As always, I'll be watching on C-SPAN. I doubt we'll be getting the full time split screen in the town hall format. [I also doubt I'll be getting that royalty check from C-SPAN.]

Also, feel free to follow along and drop comments along the way.

Recent Posts:
The Electoral College Map (10/7/08), Part II: The Changes

The Electoral College Map (10/7/08)

The Electoral College Map (10/6/08)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Live Blog and Open Thread: The Vice Presidential Debate

10:40pm: Oh, Gwen Ifill is on crutches heading out of the hall (on C-SPAN). Not that it matters, but that is something I've never seen. I always thought presidential debate moderators were invincible. Another childhood dream shattered.

10:34pm: That's all folks. An interesting debate. Palin played it folksy and certainly surpassed the extremely low bar that had been set for her. Biden avoided all the potential pitfalls. [I think. I did briefly catch something about a wink at some point in The Fix's twittering of the proceedings. I'll have to investigate that. Update: The wink was from Palin early on apparently. Now I'm going to have to go to the tape.] But I don't really think this one changed anything. There was no train wreck (Palin bumbling through answers or Biden saying something he shouldn't have.) and no one really provided a wow performance. Thoughts?

10:31pm: I'm starting to see Tina Fey doing those poses while Hillary Clinton/Amy Poehler spoke in that SNL sketch. She's looking off in to the audience and smiling. Meanwhile Biden is wrapping up trying to hit all the points here from the middle class to the troops abroad.

10:29pm: The media is out to get Palin. She's unfiltered here though, she adds.

10:27pm: Change the tone of Washington? Hey, a Jesse Helms reference from Biden. He learned not to question other senator's motives. Palin attempts to tie herself to Biden and McCain by talking about doing similar things in an attempt to isolate Obama.

10:24pm: Last question: Changing positions based on circumstances. Biden: judicial nominations and ideology. Palin: "Quasi-caving?" Ooh, I wouldn't have used that language. But I probably wouldn't be up there. But this is a broad answer that doesn't really say anything.

10:22pm: Honestly, I'm shocked we have not heard the L word this whole time. I really thought we'd hear "maverick" and "most liberal" mentioned an awful lot tonight. Well, one out of two ain't bad.

10:20pm: Discipline? Biden's weakest trait. He counters it may be his passion. That one falls flat and even elicits uneasy laughter from the audience. He rebounds well by going into his biography.

10:18pm: Palin on gubernatorial experience and her experience generally: Alaska is a huge state? Well, in terms of area perhaps. It ain't California, though.

10:16pm: Palin from tripping over Supreme Court questions with Couric to answering constitutional questions on her potential position as VP. Biden calls Cheney dangerous and gets into specifics of Article I. Different definitions on display here. Legislative role for VP? Biden says only to break ties.

10:11pm: "Say it ain't so, Joe" Palin on Biden looking back at Bush policy and attacking them.

10:03pm: Palin's very authentic in talking about her outsider status in response to Biden's discussion of Bosnia and Darfur. And she moves effortlessly into her talking points. But what we have on display is not age versus experience but outsider versus insider and there is some overlap between the two.

10:02pm: Bosniacs? I'm not familiar with that ethnic group, Joe. Oh, can I call you Joe?

10:00pm: Palin is forcefully talking to Biden on the tactics/strategy in Afghanistan. Biden stumbles getting out of the blocks in response.

9:56pm: We are about an hour in. This is a good debate. More entertaining than the one the other night, but I still don't see it as a game changer. Palin is doing well, but not enough to sway a significant portion of those 34% of voters who think that this debate is consequential to their vote decision.

9:54pm: Oh, good line of attack from Palin. [And I'm paraphrasing to borrow a phrase from Biden tonight.] "For a ticket focused on change, you sure are focused on looking to the past and attacking the Bush administration."

9:51pm: On to Israel. Palin supports a two state solution. Biden thinks the Bush administration has been way off on Israel. Wrong on everything from Hezbollah and Lebanon to Hamas in the West Bank.

9:48pm: I love that we now refer to the leadership in Cuba as the Castro brothers. It sounds like a band. A communist, America-hating band, but a band nonetheless.

9:47pm: Iran and Pakistan? Biden pivots to Afghanistan and the Democrats' definition of the central front on terrorism.

9:44pm: And now on to funding of the troops. Barack Obama hasn't according to Palin and Biden still doesn't think McCain understands what's going on.

9:42pm: "
We will end this war!" Biden.

Palin, after an awkward pause: "Your plan is a white flag of surrender."

And on to foreign policy. How about the surge? Palin takes the McCain line. Biden: "With all due respect, I didn't hear a plan." Shifting response to the Iraqis.

9:38pm: Palin: the traditional definition of marriage. Biden: the traditional definition of marriage. Hey, agreement can happen.

9:36pm: Ah, (non-economic) domestic issues. Why not bring up a wedge issue first? How about gay marriage couched in terms of what is happening in Alaska with benefits for gay couples.

9:34pm: And Palin corrects Biden on the "Drill, baby, drill" chant. She's awfully good in a debate format. Interviews maybe not. But she's warmed up tonight.

Ooh, Biden brought up clean coal. Palin is writing notes on that one. Here she goes.

"If you don't understand the problem, you can't come up with a solution." Biden on the differences in the two tickets' approaches to the climate change issue.

9:27pm: "Toxic waste on Main St. is affecting Wall St. ." She flip-flopped that line. Not that she has lines.

9:25pm: If you aren't watching the full time split screens on C-SPAN, you are missing half the debate. The reactions are classic. And no, I don't work for C-SPAN, nor are they paying me.

9:21pm: Biden: "I call that the ultimate bridge to nowhere."

9:18pm: This is right where this debate is, both internally and externally: This tax discussion is about Reagan era, small government ideals versus a governmental role assisting citizens. Is the pendulum swinging back on this one? Public opinion on this government bailout sure is low.

9:14pm: Palin's good. Her debating style will play well in Peoria. The nerves are gone and she's warmed up.

...enough to get cut off by Gwen Ifill.

9:10pm: Palin apparently got the memo on the eye contact thing. She's trained on the cameras but she's already looked at Biden in rebuttal to his discussion of McCain's "fundamentals".

9:08pm: And there's the rebuttal to McCain voting 90% of the time with the Bush administrator line. "Obama has voted along party lines 96% of the time."

9:07pm: Biden is in attack mode.

9:06pm: Palin seems slightly nervous. Playing up John McCain and hasn't moved into the attack dog role. Ah, it's the first question.

9:04pm: Huh? The economy? I'm shocked this was the first lead question. Biden's off first and he's pointing out deregulation already.

9:03pm: "Can I call you Joe?" Nice, folksy icebreaker from Palin.

8:58pm: C-SPAN is showing podiums and unless Biden and Palin are sitting on them, I'd say this one will follow the presidential debate on Friday as a stand-behind-the-podium deal.

8:43pm: Here's a note on the format tonight (Yes, I think I've got it right this time.). From the Commission on Presidential Debates:
Vice presidential debate: all topics, moderated by Gwen Ifill
Thursday, October 2, Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

-Ninety-second answers, followed by two-minute discussion for each question. Two-minute closing statements.
I couldn't glean from the press release whether this is a stand up or sit down debate. We'll know shortly.

8:24pm: Incidentally, I'll be watching the debate tonight on C-SPAN. Hopefully they don't pull the ol' switcheroo on me like the did last week when the presidential debate was on C-SPAN2 -- a channel FHQ does not have access to -- and left me scrambling at the last minute to find any channel in time. Anyway, C-SPAN does have a nice resource in their Debate Hub, which will not only be streaming things live tonight, but has some nice features as well.

7:10pm: We are t-minus one hour and fifty minutes until go time at the vice presidential debate in St. Louis. I'm going on record now -- and I may hate myself in the morning because of it -- to say that this debate will be watched by a greater audience than the first presidential debate last Friday night. It is a classic Howard Stern scenario. People are tuning in for two completely polar opposite reasons. Either potential viewers like Sarah Palin and want to see her do well or they can't stand her and are awaiting the train wreck. Regardless, Joe Biden seems almost ancillary to tonight's debate (...unless he puts his foot in his mouth in a major way.).

And that brings us to the goals for each candidate tonight.

Biden simply needs to avoid the George Bush (circa 1984) trap and continue his convention attack on McCain.

For Palin, the bar has been lowered significantly by a few rocky interviews and the fact that the moderator, Gwen Ifill, has a forthcoming book about politics and race post-Obama.

For me, I'm trying to make it through one of these things without being booed again. But I digress...

Tonight should be fun and while you're waiting for the festivities to begin, why not interview Sarah Palin yourself? Thanks to the folks at the Princeton Election Consortium for the link.

Recent Posts:
Where is McCain Playing Offense Now that Michigan is Off the Table?

Is the Obama Campaign Planning for This Contingency?

Cracking the Muhlenberg Code

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Results

There's enough "what to watch" stuff going around about what is worth keeping tabs on tonight as the results come in from precincts across Pennsylvania (see here and here). 10 is the number du jour; the number Clinton has to clear tonight to have a fighting chance going forward into Indiana and North Carolina in two weeks. With a new contest come visions of the end game. Anything less than 10 points maintains the status quo and an Obama win likely ends things for Clinton by the end of the week. I've said before that her performance thus far and standing in the delegate count has earned her the right to compete until the last contest has been held, but a loss in Pennsylvania is an ominous sign in light of the $10 million hole her campaign is in according to the recent FEC reports. Those are the stakes on this Earth Day where the record turnout of the 2008 primary season stretched to the Keystone state. On to the results:

10:39pm: Margins and delegates, part II: I'll be back in the morning with more on PA and what's ahead. This should make for an interesting discussion group meeting tomorrow afternoon.

9:37pm: Why is it assumed in media accounts that Hillary voters won't vote for Obama if he is the nominee? The opposite scenario isn't getting as much play because Hillary is playing catch up. This is an interesting question though. Why is the media automatically assuming that Obama running behind among certain groups is ominous for him in the fall? Sure, there are polls to suggest that some among the supporters of each would rather vote for McCain than their favored Democrat's rival for the nomination. Is Clinton closer to McCain than Obama though? This seems like a stretch. In a swing state like Pennsylvania, it may matter. But they aren't saying that. This continues to baffle me as this race continues.

9:32pm: Margin and delegates. That's the focus now. Clinton will talk about the win. Obama will talk about the delegates. Does he dare invoke the name of Huckabee and the idea of the miracle he needed to overtake McCain when the math was up against him? I doubt it, but it is an interesting comparison.

9:17pm: CNN has followed suit on the Clinton projection. The question now? What will the final margin be? That's where the true spin begins.

...and the new bickering too. "Clinton was supposed to win!" "We were outspent and still won!" Voters in North Carolina and Indiana must be so excited. FHQ will be reaching out in the next couple of weeks to satellite members in the North Carolina viewing markets for their take on the ads running there.

9:11pm: ABCNews is calling PA for Clinton. That came out of left field. "Despite Delegate lead Obama can't wrap up nomination" is the secondary headline. I've drawn parallels between this race and the Democratic race in 1980 before. That was in terms of the two years' calendars, though. The two races are similar in other ways too. Jimmy Carter gained something of a comfortable lead in the early going but Ted Kennedy had all the big wins coming down the stretch. The result was an extremely divisive convention an a loss in November. Democrats are hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

9:00pm: What am I saying?!? Of course we know more than we did an hour ago. John McCain has won the Pennsylvania primary. I'm somewhat disappointed given the level of chatter among Ron Paul supporters over the last week. Since my Ron Paul post last week, I've been keeping tabs on the chatter and the news from that end of the Republican Party and a lot of the talk concerned how Paul could win in the Keystone state. I'll have an update on the efforts to secure Paul a presence at September's GOP convention later this week.

8:58pm: Nearly an hour in and we still don't know much more than we did an hour ago. We have some numbers trickling in, but it is still too close for a call from any of the networks.

8:41pm: Ah, numbers. Clinton has opened up a nearly two to one lead on Obama.

...with 2100+ votes counted so far.

8:35pm: This is fun. This just popped up in the sidebar of the live blog over at The Caucus: Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC? Unless you've been under a rock for the past two or three years, you are familiar with the Apple ads with the "cool" Mac guy and the "square" PC guy. [I suppose I could have gone with another descriptor for the PC character, but I thought I'd use a 50s/60s throwback.] An interesting parallel to the Democratic race. We could see a reprise in the general election if Obama wraps up the nomination.

8:29pm: As of 8:25, the New York Times Election Guide is still showing 0% reporting. It could be a long night.

8:25pm: The Caucus is reporting that two of the big battleground counties, Bucks and Montgomery (both in suburban Philly) will not have any results until 9pm and 10pm respectively (see the 8pm and 8:20 posts over there). The winner of those counties will be in good shape overall, but we won't know who that is for a while...apparently.

8:20pm: The Drudge Report has 0,000,000 beside each candidates name. Will both candidates surpass one million votes? That is a far cry from four years ago when Pennsylvania was an also-ran and only managed a shade under 800,000 votes in a Democratic primary that was after the point at which Kerry had been crowned the nominee.

8:07pm: ABCNews says it's too close to call. Does that mean a large turnout for Obama in the quick-reporting urban centers? If so, this could go on for a while. Not really what the Clinton camp wants.

8:00pm: I've got eight o'clock here. Polls are closed. Start counting.

7:53pm: Seven minutes to go. The Caucus is running a report from watchdog group, Committee of Seventy, that contends that in the Philly area there are some voter identification/registration problems (see 7:50 post at the Caucus). People who were registered as Democrats were appearing as independents on the voter rolls. That's a problem in a closed primary. Send in the provisional ballots. There aren't any hard numbers as to how widespread the problem is, but that could really be a headache for elections officials in the city of brotherly love.

7:35pm: Something else to pass the time: The Monkey Cage has a new post up discussing a paper looking at momentum in the primaries. The authors, Knight and Shiff find that in 2004 Iowa voters were six times more influential in determining the outcome than Super Tuesday voters. That's a lot of influence for such a representative state. Michigan and Florida just got even angrier.

7:32pm: If you need something to do to pass the next twenty-some odd minutes, head over to the New York Times where they have a delegate scenario calculator for "Clinton's Challenge" over the course of the rest of primary season. You can set her percentage of the vote for the remaining contests and determine the percentage of remaining uncommitted superdelegates she needs to win to take the nomination. A neat little gadget.

7:30pm: Polls close in half an hour.

7:25pm: The most interesting nugget from the exit polls so far is that two-thirds of those surveyed think Clinton hit below the belt in her attacks on Obama. That jibes well with the theory I proposed yesterday: that blame attribution for the negative attacks will go a long way toward deciding who wins in Pennsylvania. Of course, those polls also show few last minute deciders, so it may not have matter much anyway.

7:14pm: I will fall back on my old stand-by sneak peek at the exit polls from The Drudge Report. As of 5pm they had these numbers up (REMEMBER, these are exit polls.):
Clinton 52%
Obama 48
Here's the breakdown among whites, blacks, men and women:
Clinton 55%
Obama 44

Clinton 47%
Obama 53

Clinton 60%
Obama 40

Clinton 8%
Obama 92
None of these numbers are particularly surprising, but it would be interesting to see how things look among different age groups. Remember back to Wisconsin (That was eight weeks ago, two weeks prior to Texas-Ohio.) when Obama was cutting into Clinton's support among women and blue collar workers? Things have changed and Clinton seems to be avoiding that scenario among women at least. Again, these are exit polls so we don't know where the data is coming from or if it is an accurate depiction of the Pennsylvania electorate today. With just four points separating the two, Clinton certainly won't be making up much, if any, ground in the delegate count.