Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Straight Talk Express lost the debate

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Barack Obama and John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the worst economic crisis in 80 years Tuesday night in a debate in which Republican McCain called for a sweeping new program to keep homeowners from foreclosure. "It's my proposal. It's not Sen. Obama's proposal," McCain said at the outset of a debate he hoped could revive his fortunes in a presidential race trending toward his rival. Democrat Obama said the current crisis was the "final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years" that President Bush pursued and were "supported by Sen. McCain." He contended that Bush, McCain and others had favored deregulation of the financial industry, predicting that would "let markets run wild and prosperity would rain down on all of us. It didn't happen." The debate was the second of three between the two major party rivals, and the only one to feature a format in which voters posed questions to the candidates. "It's good to be with you at a town hall meeting," McCain jabbed at his rival, who spurned the Republican's calls for numerous such joint appearances across the fall campaign. They debated on a stage at Belmont University in a race that has lately favored Obama, both in national polls and in surveys in pivotal battleground states. The audience was selected by Gallup, the polling organization, and was split three ways among voters leaning toward McCain, those leaning toward Obama and those undecided. Tom Brokaw of NBC, the moderator, screened their questions and also chose others that had been submitted online.
"The Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one," he said. He said his plan would only tax those making more than $250,000 a year, and most small businesses would not be affected. He also has a proposal for a tax cut that he said would cover 95 percent of Americans. Obama has solidified his national lead in polls ahead of the Nov. 4 election and gained an edge in crucial battleground states in recent weeks as the Wall Street crisis focused attention on the economy, an area where polls show voters prefer the Illinois senator's leadership. The economic turmoil continued on Tuesday, with stocks tumbling for the second consecutive day in a sign the $700 billion bailout of U.S. financial institutions did not ease market concerns about the economy. Asked about a possible Treasury secretary under their administrations, both candidates mentioned Omaha's legendary investor Warren Buffett, a supporter of Obama. The debate featured little of the anger and aggressive attacks that have been featured on the campaign trail in the last week. Polls judged Obama the winner of the first debate two weeks ago, but Tuesday's debate was conducted in a looser town hall format where questions were asked by the audience -- a favorite setting for McCain and a staple of his campaigns in the battle for the party nomination this year and in 2000. About 100 undecided Nashville voters identified by the Gallup polling company posed the questions. The candidates sat on stools and were free to roam the stage.
The number who say he's got the kind of experience it takes to serve effectively as president, while a majority for the first time, is only narrowly so, 52 percent.
Sen. Barack Obama is riding economic discontent to an advantage in Ohio, bolstered in part by financially stressed voters in the state's hard-hit industrial belt -- and following it up with a more extensive ground campaign in this key contest. McCain and Obama enter Tuesday night's second presidential debate at Belmont University with a real sense of a race that's slipping away from McCain -- and a growing realization in GOP circles that the Republican ticket has a dwindling number of chances to reclaim the narrative.
McCain gets the format he wants, but not the backdrop. If the debate follows the logical progression of the week, we will continue down the path of least subsistence into out-and-out, guilt-by-association name-calling -- led there, in all likelihood, by McCain, whose campaign is trying to thrust "character" into a campaign that may not welcome it. Does McCain want to go there? Will/should even nasty attacks register when compared to the psychological blows arriving in mailboxes these days, depicting shattered 401(k)s? And with Tuesday night's town-hall format, does a candidate want to throw bombs when there are civilians in range? It may be too late for those choices: It's on, and it's ugly. In the run-up to the debate No. 2, McCain and (particularly) Palin have gone personal -- and Team Obama responded by bringing up the Keating 5. "Who is the real Barack Obama?" McCain said Monday (with now-casual references to Obama's "lies"), per ABC's Jake Tapper and Bret Hovell. "Even at this late hour in the campaign there are things we don't know about Senator Obama or the record that he brings to this campaign." And -- going further, but still not as far as she wants to go -- Palin "invoked fear for the first time when discussing Sen. Barack Obama's connection to former 60's radical William Ayers," per ABC's Imtiyaz Delawala. "I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America -- as the greatest source for good in this world," said Palin, R-Alaska. Obama, she said, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist." No turning back from here: "Mr. McCain made clear on Monday that he wanted to make the final month of the race a referendum on Mr. Obama's character, background and leadership -- a polite way of saying he intends to attack him on all fronts and create or reinforce doubts about him among as many voters as possible," Adam Nagourney writes in The New York Times. "And Mr. Obama's campaign signaled that it would respond in kind, setting up an end game dominated by an invocation of events and characters from the lives of both candidates." "Look, I'm not sitting here with my feet up," said senior Obama adviser David Axelrod. "The back-and-forth, coming on the eve of a presidential debate tonight, represented some of the strongest language yet in a race that has grown increasingly negative and signaled that the final four weeks of the campaign could grow even nastier,"
The moderator, Tom Brokaw of NBC News, is sifting through those millions of questions to find six or seven that he might pose. The other dozen or so questions will come from among an audience of about 80 likely voters from the Nashville area who will be on stage with the candidates. Mr. Brokaw will meet with audience members on Tuesday as he seeks a balance between foreign and domestic topics. The live audience was selected over the last week by the Gallup Organization, which made thousands of calls to find people who are truly uncommitted - that is, they may be leaning toward one candidate or the other but could still change their minds. “Only a small percentage of the population qualifies as uncommitted,” said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. The format allows about five minutes for each question: two minutes for each candidate and one minute for what the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., described as “interplay” to be managed by Mr. Brokaw.

Iowa Independent » Sun Setting On The Straight Talk Express: Live ...
Lost opportunity.) Pre-arrival, locals were posing for pics in front of the famous Straight Talk Express bus. ... reference to last night’s debate, he ...
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Straight Talk Express Poll - The Ellen DeGeneres Show
May 22, 2008 | Posted at 2:00 PM Straight Talk Express Poll ... is that part the passion.. when the passion is lost a ... So much of the debates have to do with people’s egos.
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Palin, pancakes, and the straight talk express | MetaFilter
Have the wheels come off the straight talk express? At least one sleeping ... The election would not be won or lost in Delaware. Now we're stuck until the debates, and I have a hunch ...
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McCain's Prickly TIME Interview - TIME
... denies — at times testily — that his campaign has strayed from the Straight Talk Express ... having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate
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All Aboard the McCain Express - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com
The Straight Talk Express is coming back. The bus trips that came to ... McCain has lost all of the support of the veterans ... Voters across Florida said the debate over how to fix ...
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Obama, McCain bring campaign positions to debate
... in the polls and besieged by the crumbling U.S. financial system, said in the critical second presidential debate ... Obama shot back, "Sen. McCain, I think the Straight-talk Express lost a wheel on that one," referring to the name McCain applies to his ...
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Source: International Herald Tribune
NewsDateTime: 52 minutes ago

McCain, Obama clash on economy
JOHN McCain and Barack Obama have battled over taxes at their second presidential debate but agreed middle-class ... The Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one," he said. He said his plan would only tax those making more than $250,000 a year ...
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Source: News.com.au
NewsDateTime: 30 minutes ago

First debate exposed McCain
The wheels came off John McCain's Straight Talk Express in the foreign policy/economy debate. In both substance, coherence, style and manners, he lost the debate. McCain's refusal to even look at Barack Obama was childish and petulant. Imagine McCain ...
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Source: Pensacola News Journal
NewsDateTime: 21 hours ago

Obama and McCain battle over taxes and economy
... Reuters) - Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama battled over taxes at their second presidential debate ... The Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one," he said. He said his plan would only tax those making more than $250,000 (142,792 ...
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Source: Reuters Africa
NewsDateTime: 37 minutes ago

LIVE Biden/Palin debate reaction
... economy outside the US, stock market, exports, jobs are not lost ... 2017 "I may not answer the questions, but I want to talk straight to the ... interest in Palin, the moose-hunting hockey mom who looks straight from central casting. This critical debate ...
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Source: BBC News
NewsDateTime: 10/3/2008

The format allows about five minutes for each question: two minutes for each candidate and one minute for what the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., described as “interplay” to be managed by Mr. Brokaw.
When the candidates meet tonight at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., for their second of three debates, the pressure will be on McCain, who is trailing in the polls, to convince people to reconsider their priorities as well as their votes. That means continuing his campaign's strategy of attacking Obama's judgment, analysts said. "He's got a very difficult task ahead of him," said Torie Clarke, a Republican strategist and ABC News political consultant. "He has to do something different. He has to say something that will change the game. He has to inject something into the system that will shake things up, because right now, it does not look good." Tonight's town hall style debate is moderated by Tom Brokaw of NBC News. Brokaw will ask six or seven of the more than 6 million questions submitted over the Internet.

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