Live-Blogging Second Presidential Debate Tonight
Because tonight's debate is a town hall-style session with people in the audience asking questions and via video, the live updates won't be coming as fast and furious as in my previous sessions. I'll try and update every five minutes or so. If you want to watch updates, you'll need to keep refreshing the page. See you back here at 9 p.m. eastern.
It's 9 p.m. and we're off...
Tom Brokaw is moderating this town hall meeting, which will allow people to ask questions from the audience and via email.
McCain is looking tired and old; Obama fresh and polished.
Question is how to get us out of economic crisis quickly? Obama falling back on talking points about failed policies of last eight years. Calls for strong oversight in bailout bill. AIG went on $400,000 junket...fire them all. Need tax cuts for middle class. Fix healthcare and energy that will take burden off taxpayers.
McCain says he has a plan to fix the problem...energy dependence, no tax increase, $500 billion owed to China. More talking points. Sigh. We need to do something about home values for senior. Buy up bad home mortgages and let people stay in their homes. It will be expensive though. It's not Obama's proposal or Bush's proposal, it's mine.
McCain hedges on who he would name treasury secretary. Likes Warren Buffet, Meg Whitman of eBay. Somebody who inspires trust and confidence. Don't have that now because of greed in Wall St.
Obama says Buffett would be a great choice for Treasury Sec. But it needs to be somebody who will help the middle class and not just the rich. Wages and incomes have flatlined. Harder to save and retire. I want to provide 95 percent tax cut to middle class.
Question is how bailout will help people? McCain says it's rescue, not bailout. I suspended my campaign (oh my god...drop that bullshit!) and went back to DC. You probably never heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Obama and his cronies caused all this. Obama got tons of money from Fannie and Freddie. Some of us stood up against Freddie and Fannie, some took a hike.
Obama says bailout will unfreeze lending. Shouldn't have been there in the first place. Let me correct McCain. Deregulation caused this. He bragged about being a deregulator. I said two years ago we have a subprime mortgage problem, and nobody did anything. Called for re-regulation and McCain said keep deregulating. With respect to Fannie Mae, it wasn't his own bill jumped on it a year later and it never got passed. McCain's campaign chair is a Fannie lobbiest.
Obama says he's confident about US economy but need leadership in DC. Need to coordinate with other countries, but we have to help ordinary families stay in their home, pay bills. McCain says Americans are strong and we have to help them do their best again. Oh, brother...
Question on how we can trust either party, when both got us into the economic crisis? Obama says he understand the cynicism. There is a lot of blame to go around. When Bush came into office we had surplus, but now we have 10 trillion in debt. Over the last eight years, biggest spending in our history. And McCain voted for those Bush budgets. We need to spend money on key issues: healthcare, energy, education. We need to make spending cuts, which is what I'll be doing.
McCain says system is broken in DC. He's taken on special interest, worked across the aisle, I have a clear record of bipartisanship. I have fought against excessive spending, earmarks. Obama is proposing $680 billion in new spending. Slams Obama on earmarks, including money for a projector at a planetarium in Chicago.
Brokaw asks what are priorities once in office? McCain says work on all of them at once, he'll be reaching across the aisle. Build a bunch of nuclear power plants. Obama says prioritize: deal with energy today, strain on the budget and bad for national security. I've called for investment of $15 billion over 10 years to be free of foreign oil. Healthcare is number two, because broken system is bad for families and business. Three is education. McCain posing $300 billion tax cut to give big oil companies and wealthy.
Brokaw scolds both about going overtime in discussion.
Question is what sacrifices will president ask us to make? McCain blathering about earmarks again and defense spending and some good projects will have to go away. I recommend spending freeze on everything but defense and veteran care. McCain says shouldn't prioritize but do everything at once. Obama calls for America to band together like in the days after 9/11. Everyone us to get involved in energy crisis, make changes in how we live. Young people want to serve and we can create a volunteer corp.
Brokaw asks how to break bad debt cycle and easy credit? Obama says McCain wants give Wall Street CEOs more money. People dont' think they are sharing the burden. It's hard to ask a teacher making $30,000 and ask them to give more when there are people living high on the hog not paying their share. I disagree with across the board freeze...using a hatchet on the budget and causing more problems. McCain says Obama just wants to raise taxes. Obama's secret is that taxes will increase on small businesses and have to cut workers. Not in favor of tax cuts for wealthy, but increasing tax exemptions, a tax credit for healthcare.
Brokaw asks about entitlements. Obama says McCain's straight talk express has lost a wheel. I want to provide tax cut for 95 percent of Americans. Says McCain wrong on small businesses. They will also get tax cut under my plan. We will offer tax credit to small businesses to help pay for healthcare. McCain wants to give billions to CEOs on Wall Street and the wealthy. McCain says fixing Social Security isn't that hard. (??!!) Medicare will be tougher. Need to start a commission and give recommendations. Obama has voted to increase your taxes 94 times (a total lie...proven by independent organizations over and over!)
Question to McCain about moving Congress on climate change? He disagrees with Bush, need more nuclear power. Obama says it has to be safe "or something like that"(what a moron!) Obama says it's absolutely critical we invest in solar, geo-thermal, and I do favor nuclear as one component. McCain has voted 23 times against alternative fuels. McCain talks a lot about drilling, but we can't drill our way out of problem. It's no the solution end global warming.
Question is should healthcare be a commodity? Obama says healthcare is breaking budgets, millions don't have it, premiums doubled in last years, crushing burden on small businesses. We have moral commitment to do something. Obama says he will work to lower premiums, but also give coverage to those who doesn't have it. McCain's tax credit will take money from businesses. McCain says Obama will pose mandates, small businesses and parents who don't insure children will be fined. His $5,000 tax credit will work give 95 percent of Americans increased funds for healthcare.
Brokaw asks if healthcare is a right or a responsibility? McCain says everyone's nervous about Obama's fines. Obama says healthcare should be a right. Mother died arguing about paying for her treatments. Obama says he will help lowering premiums, small businesses will not be under a mandate. McCain voted against extending healthcare for children. I do think it's important for government to crack down on insurance companies and hold them accountable.
How will economic crisis affect our ability to police the world (that was basically the question put to McCain by some Republican plant). McCain going off on freedoms, blah, blah, blah.
Obama says he doesn't understand how we invaded Iraq after 9/11 with a country not involved. That was McCain's judgement, not mine! Wrong judgement and it's cost us. Iraqis have $79 billion and we're still propping them up. America's respect and power had diminished. Can't help in Dafur. It will change when I'm president. Foreign policy must change.
Brokaw asks about sending troops in to help in humanitarian crisis? Obama says we cannot stand idly by and we must consider intervening where it's possible. Can't be everywhere all the time, but we must work in concert with allies. In Darfur there is peacekeeping force there trying to stop genocide. We could be helping logistically, but we can't afford or lead there. McCain says Obama wants a withdrawl from Iraq and bring troops home in defeat. McCain says we must do what we can to prevent genocide. It requires a cool hand at the tiller. He's basically saying we can't help because it won't be beneficial. Oh, here we go, I was a POW...
Question on Pakistan. Obama says we got distracted by Iraq, Bin Laden escaped and now Al-Qaida is stronger than ever. They are plotting to kill Americans right now. We must end the war in Iraq and get to Afghanistan where the real problem is. We can't coddle Pakistan. McCain fumbling for a response. Obama says he wants to be clear...no one called for the invasion of Pakistan. If they are unable or unwilling to hunt down Bid Laden, then we should. It should be our policy. Obama brings up McCain singing "bomb Iran," destroy North Korea and next stop Iran. McCain says "bomb Iran" was just a joke with an old military buddy. Too bad it was on national tv. McCain is losing it tonight big time.
McCain says we need a surge in Afghanistan! The generals have all said no on this. What a moron.
McCain says Russia is coming to get us, Putin has KGB in his eyes. He's going after the Ukraine next. Does McCain have crystal ball?
Obama says resurgence of Russia is a central issue in the next presidency, but we need to provide more than moral support to former Russian territories, but anticipate the problems. We're only reactive. We can't muddle through in Afghanistan like McCain said we should. Energy is key in dealing with Russia.
Is Russia evil empire? Obama says they engage in evil behavior. McCain can't say yes or no, but he wants to bomb the shit out of them. He didn't say that, but he's thinking it.
Would America send troops if Iran attacks Israel? McCain says he would not wait for UN Security Council. Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons. Obama wants to sit down without preconditions and talk to Iranians. Obama says we cannot allow Iran to get nukes. Will never take military options off the table, but use all tools to prevent scenario that would cause us to send troops. Tighten sanctions on Iran. I believe we should have direct talks with friends and enemies to deliver tough message and if they don't change, there will be tough consequences. Bush won't talk and look what's happened.
Zen like question by email -- What don't you know and how will you learn it? Obama says it's never the challenges that you expect, but the ones you don't that eat up time. I wouldn't be standing here if this country hadn't given me opportunity. Came from modest means, single mom, food stamps. We need to pass on American dream to next generation because in last eight years it's diminished. McCain says he doesn't know what we all don't know -- what will happen here at home and abroad and at places he can't find on a map. Well...that sums it up.
Obama wins again!