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Live Fact Checking Begins at 9

Please join the Fact Checker and Friends at 9 p.m. Eastern for live truth squadding of the second presidential debate from Belmont University in Nashville. Fact Checker Michael Dobbs will be joined by diplomatic reporter Glenn Kessler, White House correspondent Michael Abramowitz, campaign reporter Michael Shear, and research editor Alice Crites. The Fact Check team will analyze statements by the two candidates for accuracy and exaggeration.

Readers are invited to flag errors and misleading claims by either of the candidates by contributing to the online discussion. You can also use the "Contact the Fact Checker" tool to contact us privately with statements that you think deserve to be checked out.

The 90-minute debate will be in the format of a town hall meeting, so it is likely to cover a wide range of subjects, from the economic meltdown to the war in Iraq to presidential character questions. Since this is a live Fact Check, the team will dispense with Pinocchio awards this evening, and focus on giving you a quick guide on the truthfulness or otherwise of the candidates' claims. Join the Fact Checker online!

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 7, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Debates  
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Next: Palin Rips Obama on Social Security 'Fear and Panic,' but Tangles Health Policy Descriptions

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From:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/10/fear-and-loathing-in-town-hall.html

Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Fear and Loathing in the Town Hall: A Predictive Fantasy

(The camera looks at the hall from above, into the hall, from the POV of the stage. Red meat has been hung from the walls and rafters, along with dollar bills which, upon closer inspection, are Monopoly money.

The crowd is seated. They are strangely quiet. Their manner is that between those who are waiting for their instructions, post-op surgical recoverees, and post-war survivors. They are slightly slumped, in the same posture.

The candidates enter from opposite sides of the rear of the stage and walk to their podiums. The crowd rises as one and cheers with a loud, aggressive fervor reflective of their desperation.
Obama is standing tall in stride, looking a bit overcome by the experience, although genuine. McCain is smiling--his cheerful public grimace, although there is some genuine pleasure. His eyes have the slightest glaze of a gradually oncoming fog.)

MODERATOR: Tonight is a different format--one where you, the public, can ask your questions directly to the candidates. None of the questions have been screened in advance, and the candidates have been given no advance notice of what the questions, or who the questioners, might be. And with that, we begin. Our first question:

CITIZEN 1: My name is Jan, I'm from Murfreesboro? I've been watching the news, and I'm scared. I can't say that I've listened much about the stock market before? But I know that it's going down, and that's bad. I don't know what's going to happen to my job, or my house, or my kids. My question is for Mr. McCain? What will you do to help us understand what is going on, and to make it clear just what you will do about it?

(Crowd applauds vigourously as Jan sits down with a bit of embarassment).

MCCAIN: (Holding the top of the rostrum with both hands and smiling): Well, first, I want to welcome each of you here tonight. You know, I know what each of you are feeling. I think that each of you must be scared--as I am, of not verifying myself in my father's and my grandfather's eyes. But, that's not so important today--or, at least saying it isn't. What is most important is to appear that I understand an economy that just months ago I said that I had little understanding of at all. I want to win. I need it, frankly, as a way of overcoming my own personal horrors and demons, of overcoming the anger that was bestowed and thrust, unwillingly, upon me. And that's why I'm still willing, even as the sharpest edges of mental function fade, to propel myself through this mass of insult. I understand how to respond to insult. With anger. And impulse. And that's what I'll bring to the White House, come January of 2009.

(Crowd applauds vigorously)

MODERATOR: The next question is for Senator Obama.

CITIZEN 2: Thanks. My name is Ross, from Shreveport. First-time caller, long-time listener. My question is: Senator Obama, it's not an error that you were given the middle name "Barack". We know that that is the same name of the murderous. Communist leader of Iran--and that's no accident. (A slight murmur from the crowd. The moderator looks vaguely stunned, but does not interrupt). Now, when you were going to Russia, with Bill Ayers, and dodging the draft--just like William Jefferson Clinton--(speaking more quickly now, more aggressively, turning to the crowd)--why weren't you here at home, saving our banks from the Liberals and the Socialists who want to take our money away from us and just give it to the terrorists?

SARAH PALIN: (Poking her head out from the wings, with a big smile): You betcha'!

(She withdraws).

OBAMA: Well. First of all, I also want to welcome you all here tonight. You know, I know that this is a difficult time. Many of you are worried about your jobs, your families, your homes. There are times that test a man's soul, and every woman's as well. And I know that this may be one of those times. I can understand why you would be frightened, even angry at what this nation has done. But we are a nation that has risen up in adversity even in the best of times, we found our strength, and honor, and courage, our ability to work as one, when faced with the most difficult situations. And I want to call on each of you, in that spirit of patriotic sacrifice, to join with me in that effort in the days ahead.

(Silence. Then applause, as the recognition of actual thought begins to spread through the crowd. It swells, and finally, subsides).

MODERATOR: The next question is for Senator McCain.

CITIZEN 3 (He is a man who appears to be in his early 40's wearing blue jeans that are stiff and obviously brand-new. They are perfectly creased. He is wearing a tight fitting, also obviously new T-Shirt that says "Average American...And Black With Rage!" beneath which is an American flag. He is wearing black wing-tip shoes. ). Senator McCain, I'm just an average American, just an average Joe, just your Average Joe-Sixpack (Blackberry begins ringing)...Oh...
excuse me...just...a...sec...my boss's phone...(whispering tensely into phone:) "No...I said sell. Sell. Yes, the entire portfolio. No, not Ghanan timber, for god's sake, gold, the lot of it. Jesus H....(tucks Blackberry back into pants pocket and then readjusts his stance to that of average Joe, slumping to one side again and changing his voice back to it's original tenor). Like I said, just an average Joe Sixpack. And I'm wonderin'. I heard what Mr. Hussein just said about "rising up", and I'm wonderin' if that's exactly what he wants to do! Oh, sure, he wants us to band together to rise up--where have we heard that before? Socialists! That's what they do! (crowd begins to murmur, and in the rising heat, the smell of the fresh meat begins to waft faintly through the hall). Rise up! That's what he wants to do! Well, we need to rise up! Against those kind of Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Atheist, Marxist policies! (the crowd is talking, some nodding their heads). And so what I want to ask you, Sen. McCain (crowd quiets), as an average everyday American, is this: What is it like, being a fighter pilot and all, when you know that Barack Hussein was out there, palling around with his Communist friends?

MCCAIN: Well, my friend--and by that, I mean that all of you are my friends--I'm glad you asked. Not everyone has had the luxury of gaining an education merely on the basis of their own talent, or the opportunity to travel the world learning how to be separate from important family members without their having significant pull, or to be able to experience the variety of foods that one has the chance to consume when they are paid for by the State. And, I can say that, in that way, I haven't been quiet as lucky. But I will say this--I will not look such fortune in the face and say: 'Fine, I'll work on education with the Bill Ayers of this world', "I'll be at the top of my class at Harvard", when I can be down, down there with you at the bottom! I know what it's like to be at the bottom when I've had all the opportunities--and I want to share that experience with those of you who have had none. You're angry. I'm angry. We have that in common. Let's be angry together, satisfied that, for another for four years, we've put those who have the arrogance to think for extended periods in their place, content in knowing that we're right--even if we're wrong.

CITIZEN 4: Hiya. My name is George, from Midland, altho' some would say Kennebunkport, heh, heh. I have a question for ya, John, and it's this. Listen: I'm goin' to be out of a job soon. Oil futures aren't lookin' that good, and I've got to tell ya', I didn't have too much luck there in the first place. So I'd like to ask ya, one flyin' man to another--what do you think I oughta do?

PALIN: (emerges from wings with purposeful strides to McCain's podium): I've got to take this one, John. Mr. Bush, if you can't figure out what you want to do after you leave and we move in, take a little time off, and then you come right up to Alaska. They love hunting just like you--and you can fly, you can learn to do it from a plane! The pipeline's big enough for any number of mistakes. So you come up here when you're finished--we've got plenty of bars with plenty of bowls of nuts and plenty of televisions right on Wasiila Main street--we'll take care of you right!

(Bush smiles and sits, crowd applauds, Palin, smiling and waving, exits).

CITIZEN 5: Well, look. This is a serious question. I'm John, from Carpenter. It's for both of you. I've got two kids, 4 and 6, a boy and a girl--so sweet. You know. My wife, she was working for the WaMu branch, center of town. It's closing next week. She's been looking in the ads, the newspapers, online--nothing. It's all she can do to keep a smile on her face for the kids. Myself, I built a commerical trucking business from the ground up. Sixteen years. Sweat everyday, grease on my hands, I can never get it out. We were never rich, but I made a good living. I didn't know about investing--who does, you're not born with it! Anyway, I went to an investment advisor, it seemed like the safe thing to do, protect the kids, plan for the future, not use my own dumb head (smiles). Well, he was so smart, and he was so sure, and he had it all planned out. And it looked so impressive on paper. Now--all of a sudden--it's gone. Everything is changing. It's changing so quickly. It seems like nobody--nobody knew. Not even the people who were supposed to! Everybody was talkin', makin noise, thinkin' of one thing: Themselves, themselves, themselves. Never worrying to think about someone else, about the future, about the next moment.

Well, now the next moment is here. And I wanna know--what are the two of you really gonna do about it?

(The room is quiet as his last word echoes in the hall. The raw meat is rocking, slowly in the air, and the paper bills are gently fluttering). You can see Palin in profile, standing in the wings, holding her chin in her hand. The two candidates stare straight ahead, holding the podium. They are silent).

Cite:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/10/fear-and-loathing-in-town-hall.html

Posted by: robthewsoncamb | October 7, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

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