Thursday, January 31, 2008

Alright, so I changed my mind. What can I say? I'm fickle.

Liveblogging the debate
(Because I seem to do a lot of that these days.)

8:03: In tonight's performance, the part of Doyle McManus will be played by Will Ferrell.

8:04: Wolf Blitzer is a such a joke.

8:06: Holy shit, have there really been 17 debates?

8:10: "The differences between Barack and I..." [are primarily grammatical in nature?].

8:12: CNN's cameras just cut to Ed Helms, in a clear homage to that time they cut to Dave Chappelle during the CBCI debate a few weeks ago.

8:15: We're only about ten minutes in, and both candidates have already made pretty blatant paeans to John Edwards and his brilliant policy savvy.

8:21: I'm fairly certain Wolf Blitzer believes he's actually moderating a debate between two candidates for student body president at L.A.'s legendary Kodak Middle School.

8:26: Obama: "And part of the reason, I think, that [past universal health care plans] have failed, is that we have not been able to bring Democrats, Republicans together to get it done." No kidding.

8:34: CNN's cameras just cut to Jason Alexander, in a clear homage to that time they cut to Ed Helms about 20 minutes ago.

8:48: Gratuitous references to the Bible: Clinton 1, Obama 0.

8:51: Obama: "The only point I would make is that Senator Clinton, you know, gave a number of different answers over the course of six weeks on this issue, and that did appear political. ... And the only reason I bring that up is, to underscore the fact that this is a difficult political issue." Riiight.

8:52: Clinton: "If I recall, about a week after I said that I would try to support my governor, although I didn't agree with it personally, you were asked the same question, and could not answer it. So this is a difficult issue." Boo-ya!

8:52: That last bit had the potential to get snippy, but Clinton pulled it back pretty nicely. Well done, HRC.

8:53: Also, Stevie Wonder is in the audience (and either cheering or having a seizure), along with this guy and some woman that I'm clearly supposed to recognize. We get it, CNN: they're in L.A.

9:02: These viewer-submitted questions are really pretty tedious. (Though both candidates got to tee off on it, which is fun, I guess. Clinton: "We have a president who basically ran as the CEO/MBA president, and look what we got." Obama: "Let me just also point out that Mitt Romney hasn't gotten a very good return on his investment during this presidential campaign.")

9:03: Josh!

9:04: Clinton gets what I can only assume is pity applause after touting her sad little second-string Kennedy endorsements.

9:10: James Bond is in the audience (Pierce Brosnan is apparently a U.S. citizen; who knew?). The camera also hits a be-hatted Diane Lane and a be-suited Rob Reiner. This is just like the Oscars!

9:24: I think they just showed what's-his-name, from Grey's Anatomy. Didn't he go to rehab for being a homophobe?

9:27: And there went a be-bearded Topher Grace. This is fun; it's like People Magazine's annual Politics Issue.

9:28: Good answer from Clinton on the gravitas point.

9:30: Obama: "I mean, they screwed up the execution of [Iraq] in all sorts of ways. And I think even Senator McCain has acknowledged that." Nice.

9:35: Would someone please fire Wolf Blitzer?

9:38: I'm being encouraged to go to to "watch this online discussion that's being waged right now."

9:45: I hope that when Wolf is fired, he takes Jeanne Cummings with him.

9:45: The Clinton campaign is really going to need to come up with another answer to the aggressive-campaigning question besides "both Barack and I have very passionate spouses." Because until Michelle Obama makes some sort of Geraldine Ferraro comparison, I'm not sure the analogy is particularly apt.

9:50: Is it just me, or was Obama's hesitance to say that Hillary Clinton would be on his vice presidential short list a little strange? I mean, what do you lose there?

9:51: Clinton's doing a town-hall on the Hallmark Channel on Monday. The Hallmark Channel. Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.

9:52: The debate's over, and CNN's doing that same weird thing they did last time: the candidates and the two questioners are milling about, the wide-angle camera is swooping around the stage, the audience is applauding, and all the while Wolf continues to babble, focused off-screen on some camera that's clearly not engaged at the moment. Cut his mic!

Tonight's winner: at the end of the first hour, I would have said Obama. But taken as a whole, I think they both did quite well. So I'd call it a tie: a half-point to Obama, a half-point to Clinton, and a half-point to Hollywood, which was clearly the real star here tonight.

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