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VIDEO: The Fix Breaks Down the Debate

Check out the Debate Decoder for an interactive video and transcript annotated with analysis, fact-checking and opinion.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 8, 2008; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Nashville Skyline Debate: First Thoughts
Next: McCain Changes Tactics?


Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 9, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ouch. Obama +12 in Pennsylvania (Morning Call 10/8).

Either the McCain MI staff hasn't made it there yet, or Palin is wasting her time in "solid" states like Nebraska instead of rallying the bitter gun-toters Zouk thinks are in McCain's pocket.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 8, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

New Gallup Tracking:

Obama 52, McCain 41.

Nothing else need be said.

Posted by: cam8 | October 8, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Still not convinced? Ok, how about:

(From the last 48 hours)

WI: Obama +10 (Rassmussen & SurveyUSA), +5 (CNN/Time)

OH: Obama +6 (PPP), +3 (CNN/Time)

PA: Obama +15 (SurveyUSA), +13 (Rassmussen), +10 (Morning Call Tracking)

NH: Obama +8 (CNN/Time)

CO: Obama +6 (Insider Advantage/Poll Position)

MN: Obama +14 (MN Public Radio)

Posted by: cam8 | October 8, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Obama led McCain by 47 percent to 45 percent in the national poll, within the margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Obama led by 3 points in Tuesday's poll."

There you go again.

Ipsos McClatchy 10/8 - Obama +7
Rasmussen 10/8 - Obama +6

For the adults paying attention to the electoral votes that count, Obama is +10, +10, and +5 in Wisconsin in the most recent Rasmussen, SurveyUSA, and CNN polls. So much for McCain's inroad strategies.

Since it is failing even worse in Dairyland than in Michigan, when will the McCain camp be folding the tent in WI?

Posted by: bondjedi | October 8, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I seem to remember that President Kerry was about 5 points ahead right about this time last election.

one point a day is going to result in Mccain taking the lead next week and sailing to victory over the terrorist sympathizer, snObama.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 8, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse


Obama 73
McCain 26

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 8, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

going down with the ship, Zouk sputters:

sinking fast


"Ipsos finds Obama up 7 points nationally. The beauty of this poll is that it does 3 three things that few if any other pollsters are doing:

1) it includes the names of 3rd-party candidates;

2) it calls both landlines and cell phones (so as not to under-estimate Obama's support); and

3) it gives respondents a choice between English and Spanish.

The polling in Spanish may be one reason that this poll finds Obama especially strong in the West (he leads there 53% to 32%). Many polls are likely under-sampling Hispanics, which hurts Obama and helps McCain. Obama's strength in the West points to him flipping NM and NV.

McCain is now 0 for 6 in national polls released today."

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 8, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Obama led McCain by 47 percent to 45 percent in the national poll, within the margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Obama led by 3 points in Tuesday's poll.

sinking fast"

Wow. One whole point. Sound the alarm.

Posted by: cam8 | October 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a slim 2-point lead on Republican rival John McCain in a tight White House race, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Obama led McCain by 47 percent to 45 percent in the national poll, within the margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Obama led by 3 points in Tuesday's poll.

sinking fast

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 8, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Mccain and Palin, we already knew palin is a racist people in Alaska have said that. She is quick to use terms like "Arctic Arab" one of her favorites. Mccain I am a little shocked about Mccain though.

October 8, 2008
Politics of Attack

It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.

They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia. Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison.

Despite the occasional slip (referring to Mr. Obama’s “cronies” and calling him “that one”), Mr. McCain tried to take a higher road in Tuesday night’s presidential debate. It was hard to keep track of the number of times he referred to his audience as “my friends.” But apart from promising to buy up troubled mortgages as president, he offered no real answers for how he plans to solve the country’s deep economic crisis. He is unable or unwilling to admit that the Republican assault on regulation was to blame.

Ninety minutes of forced cordiality did not erase the dismal ugliness of his campaign in recent weeks, nor did it leave us with much hope that he would not just return to the same dismal ugliness on Wednesday.

Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.

That line follows passages in Ms. Palin’s new stump speech in which she twists Mr. Obama’s ill-advised but fleeting and long-past association with William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and confessed bomber. By the time she’s done, she implies that Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government. The Democrat, she says, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.

Mr. McCain’s aides haven’t even tried to hide their cynical tactics, saying they were “going negative” in hopes of shifting attention away from the financial crisis — and by implication Mr. McCain’s stumbling response.

We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics. He was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries by this sort of smear, orchestrated by some of the same people who are now running his campaign.

And the tactic of guilt by association is perplexing, since Mr. McCain has his own list of political associates he would rather forget. We were disappointed to see the Obama campaign air an ad (held for just this occasion) reminding voters of Mr. McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five savings-and-loan debacle, for which he was reprimanded by the Senate. That episode at least bears on Mr. McCain’s claims to be the morally pure candidate and his argument that he alone is capable of doing away with greed, fraud and abuse.

In a way, we should not be surprised that Mr. McCain has stooped so low, since the debate showed once again that he has little else to talk about. He long ago abandoned his signature issues of immigration reform and global warming; his talk of “victory” in Iraq has little to offer a war-weary nation; and his Reagan-inspired ideology of starving government and shredding regulation lies in tatters on Wall Street.

But surely, Mr. McCain and his team can come up with a better answer to that problem than inciting more division, anger and hatred.

Posted by: popasmoke | October 8, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse


Mccains stock on intrade is doing about as well as the DOW

Mccain has dropped to 26.3 (lowest since January) while Obama has zoomed to 73.5 (Highest since trading began on the election back to 2007)

They have Obama winning 353 electoral votes.

Posted by: popasmoke | October 8, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Want a foreign policy run by foreign lobbyists? Vote for McCain. This is not only dangerous buy absolutely REEKS.

"McCain Lobbies For Taiwan Arms Sales After Taiwan Signs Lobbying Contract With His Adviser’s Firm

The Bush administration is currently in discussions to send $6 billion in arms to Taiwan. Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to “add more submarines and new fighter jets to the package” as Taiwan had requested:
“The package will not include submarines or new F-16 aircraft. I urge the administration to reconsider this decision, in light of its previous commitment to provide submarines and America’s previous sales of F-16s,” McCain said. “These sales — which could translate into tens of thousands of jobs here at home — would help retain America’s edge in the production of advanced weaponry and represent a positive sign in these difficult economic times.”

McCain’s desire to increase arms sales to Taiwan, however, raises questions about yet another conflict of interest involving his chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who previously lobbied for the Taiwanese government. The Washington Post reports:

In 2005, Scheunemann signed the contract between his firm, Orion Strategies LLC, and Taiwan’s Washington office. On June 4 of this year, his partner, Mike Mitchell, signed a renewal of the contract, which calls for quarterly payments of 50,000.

Scheunemann represented Taiwan from 2003 to March 2008 at Orion. The LA Times reported that McCain has pushed for pro-Taiwan legislation, as Orion’s lobbying forms cite “bills benefiting Orion’s other foreign clients: Latvia, Macedonia, Romania and Taiwan.”

Scheunemann introduced McCain to a representative of Taiwan as it lobbied for free trade. In all, Scheunemann’s firm has lobbied McCain or his aides on at least 47 occasions since 2001 on behalf of the governments of Taiwan, Macedonia, Romania and Latvia.

Matt Duss notes that Scheunemann has lobbied for Lockheed-Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, which manufactures the F-16s that McCain is demanding the U.S. give to Taiwan. Scheunemann had also been employed as a lobbyist for Georgia at the same time he was providing foreign policy advice to McCain, lobbying McCain himself nearly 50 times between 2004 and 2007."

Posted by: drindl | October 8, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I think that McCain did better last night than he did in the previous debate. However, he is still yet to come up with the game-changer he needs to get back into this race.

The state-by-state polling continues to indicate that McCain's chances of pulling off a win in the Electoral College are fading fast. Within the last week, he's fallen off the cliff in PA, MN, WI, and NH. His chances of flipping a blue state from 2004 are all but dead, save a major event.

From what we're seeing, he is in a situation where every state that could be considered a pure toss-up (not leaning either way) is a state that Bush won in '04. And, with the exception of NV, a loss for McCain in any of those states would put Obama over 270.

I expect VA to go blue. I think that a lot of the conventional wisdom in this election cycle points that way.

The first bellwether of election night will be at 7:30 ET, when the polls in OH and NC close. If either of those states is called for Obama (especially NC), it's already over.

Posted by: cam8 | October 8, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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