Third Debate Thoughts, and Video of McCain’s air-scarequotes “health of the mother”

My first impression thoughts of the third presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, mostly grabbed from my twitter feed:

– McCain choked on addressing Obama as “Senator Obama” at the opening, unless there was a glitch in the CNN audio. “Mmmmfnator Obama”.

– Obama a very obvious winner with the worm audience on both healthcare and education. Also a winner on reproductive choice (though not with me; he’s merely the less-bad alternative here.)

– McCain lumped transplants and cosmetic surgery together as luxury health services only the rich should be allowed to have.

Looking for video on this: McCain pooh-poohed a health/life exception on late-term abortion, and someone said he put “health of the mother” in air-scare-quotes. I was looking away from screen at the time.

Edit: We now have video on this.

– Worm report: “Undecided” Ohio men loved McCain on abortion. Women hated McCain on abortion. Male fetus-fetishists still perfectly happy to let women die. You can see this in the full version of the above video, here.

– Obama assigned women agency to make their own reproductive decisions; McCain smirked dismissively in response.

– McCain talked directly to “Joe the Plumber”, over and over again. The worm did not believe him. Obama also talked to Joe Plumber. Why is no-one talking to Jane?

– Another twitterer on election.twitter.com wants to ask McCain, “What about when Joe Sixpack wants to marry Joe the Plumber? What then?”

– McCain thinks that one of Palin’s qualifications to be President is “her husband’s a tough guy. Heh heh.” A definite Bush moment.

– McCain lectured Obama: “education is the civil rights issue of the twenty-first century”.

– McCain somehow avoided “articulate”, but repeatedly called Obama “eloquent” as if it were an insult.

– Obama refrained noticeably from criticising Palin. Kept his cool, avoided getting sucked in.

– McCain keeps on saying that Sarah Palin knows all about what it’s like having a child with autism. Autism seems to be the new catchall term for people who know jack shit about anything. All adults with disabilities are in wheelchairs, all children with disabilities have autism. Blatantly ignorant bullshit.

– Reaction shots on the split-screen: Obama mostly cool or vaguely amused.; McCain cranky, condescending, contemptuous, angry, eyerolling, eyebrow-raising, huffy. Split screen does McCain no good at all.

– McCain harped on the planetarium projector again. Why do the Republicans hate public science education so much?

– McCain once again blamed Obama for the McCain campaign’s negative ads. Obama did not take that bait.

– Obama, when pushed, expressed concern about the “Kill him!” rally remarks. McCain giggled.

– Obama first up to handshake at the end. ObamaMcCain shook violently, grinning like a chimp, and yelling “Good job! Good job!” like he was talking to a klutzy but well-meaning toddler.

~~~

Edit: to see the whole debate, start here. If you can’t find the subsequent parts, they’re all here.



Categories: education, health, Politics

Tags: , , , ,

31 replies

  1. I think you covered the salient points pretty well!

  2. I’m sad that Obama didn’t point out McCain’s own ties to ACORN. I wasn’t expecting him to bring up Liddy or Schenk but I hoped he’d make a gentle reminder to McCain that he’s supported ACORN too.

  3. Looking for video on this: McCain pooh-poohed a health/life exception on late-term abortion, and someone said he put “health of the mother” in air-scare-quotes. I was looking away from screen at the time.
    That moment made me just completely sick. I wanted to trash my TV. I can’t believe the level of condescension, of hatred for women, that he expressed in that moment.

  4. Otherwise, I loved the work Obama did up there.

  5. Yes, I’ve noticed that this post is McCain-centric. This is perhaps because he came across as erratic and huffy and offensive in this debate, whereas Obama largely kept his cool.
    CNN’s McCainites were spinning Obama’s demeanour as “professorial”, as though it were an insult; many of us would perhaps say “presidential”.

  6. Just finding video of the abortion part of the debate. Some is here at youtube. I’ll pull out the bit we’re talking about.
    Edit: It’s just processing now, and should be available within the post soon is now available within the post. This is absolutely enraging. McCain needs to go to the wall over this.

  7. A question: the worm is split into men and women? Why? Do they do that at every debate at every election?
    Don’t recall stations doing that in Australia, although I could just be remembering wrong. I get that it provides demographic information but if you’re looking for votes from “people”, and are assuming that women and men are both people, it doesn’t seem entirely relevant. Is this something to do with the US electoral system? Why not let the candidates do their own demographic polling?

  8. Great summation.
    McCain smirked and look petulant and rolled his eyes. Obama was incredibly calm, and I like the substitution of “presidential” for “professorial,” which I never considered an insult until CNN pundits started flinging it around like one. Mind-boggling.
    My favorite moment? When Obama tried to take the high road by calmly explaining that no one wanted to hear them talk about their hurt feelings vis-a-vis campaign ads and that they should stick to the issues. McCain just made himself look like an ass as he kept harping on all the negative campaigning.
    And, yeah, the reaction shots were pretty great.
    fourthwaves last blog post..Debate Recap

  9. Why is no-one talking to Jane?

    Or Tyrone, or Daisuke, or Cho, or Xochitl?

  10. On a total sideline – I wonder why BO chose to wear a red tie, and JM chose to wear a blue one?
    I would have thought those colours would be considered a bit odd, given the political connotations, and for the other team as well! I wonder why not yellow or something? Strange.

  11. I wonder if the two campaign teams communicate with each other about things like tie colour and the way their families will be dressed, to avoid any embarrassing similarities in wardrobe?

  12. Or Tyrone, or Daisuke, or Cho, or Xochitl?

    Obviously, they’re immigrants, and therefore don’t vote. [/sark]
    (Curious sideline: How heavily racially marked is “Tyrone” in the US? I think I’m a bit oblivious to it because the only Tyrone I’ve met in Australia was Anglo, and because the name sorts in my mind with “Tyler”, which seems to be in the top handful of whitefolk baby names at the moment.)

  13. A question: the worm is split into men and women? Why? Do they do that at every debate at every election?

    The first debate had the CNN worm split into Rep/Dem/Ind. The second and third, and the Veep debate, split into men and women.

  14. I think the use of “eloquent” may be yet another dog whistle – the phrase “eloquent liar” has been used quite a few times by Republicans to describe Obama. Totally in keeping with the rest of the thinly veiled nastiness.

  15. “A question: the worm is split into men and women? Why? Do they do that at every debate at every election?”
    It’s probably a lot more relevant in a US election than it would be in Australia. We have compulsary voting, so essentially everyone votes, and the overall percentages of who is going to vote for whom are all that counts. They don’t, and so they have complex information about *who* votes, as well as for whom they are likely to vote.
    In the 2004 US election, 60.1% of eligible women voted, as against only 56.3% of eligible men. So if you have an audience with a 50/50 gender balance and split them, you can then weight the results in terms of what they mean for actual voters more accurately.
    And of people who identify as Democrats, 58% are women. So it probably makes sense, really, in terms of trying to translate worm results to actual voting patterns – although of course the information still isn’t granular enough to give a really accurate picture.

  16. And of people who identify as Democrats, 58% are women. So it probably makes sense, really, in terms of trying to translate worm results to actual voting patterns […]

    I do wonder how they find these “undecided” voters for the worm, how undecided they really are, and what characteristics the people have who are still truly undecided at this stage of the game. A lot seem to have suddenly “decided” in the post-debate focus group sessions. It’s all rather contrived.

  17. (Curious sideline: How heavily racially marked is “Tyrone” in the US?

    Heavily. Tyler is marked white for me too, by the way.

    On a total sideline – I wonder why BO chose to wear a red tie, and JM chose to wear a blue one?

    Red and blue are considered pretty strong colors, I think. Probably the patriotic undertones (a red and blue tie would be so very tacky.)
    Note that tonight, Cindy was wearing red and Michelle was wearing blue. For the last debate, though, it was the other way around. I’m left to think Beppie’s idea is right. Be a weird job, coordinating the outfits with the opposition.

  18. I agree with the outrage at the scare quotes thing on substance, but what I was struck by when it was happening was: why the hell is he playing solely to the the base like that? Is this the time? You picked Palin for them, you went after Ayres and Acorn for them — you need persuadable and independent women to vote for you! You can make the point — every one knows the fault line on abortion, nothing new there — in many ways. I guess their strategy really is just to hold the Bush states and forget about the swingers.
    On the undecided thing, I think they include in “undecided” people who will “probably” vote one way but indicate they could change their mind. I read a comment by the African-American man who asked the first or one of the first questions at the “town hall” debate and he said he told the people who rang him randomly he would be voting for Obama and when they asked if anything could change his mind he answered, “of course, anything’s possible.” And so he became undecided for these purposes. I presume that was the debate commission gathering those folks, and CNN gets the worm people (worm people, heh) but I imagine the same vague process goes on.

  19. Here’s Obama’s exchange with the actual ”Joe the Plumber”, Joe Wurzelbacher. The guy says that he is planning to buy a business that makes over a quarter of a million dollars a year, and asks how Obama’s tax plan would affect him.
    This is McCain’s attempt at shouting out to middle or working class America? He has no. clue.
    Obama answers the question straightforwardly and in detail, without weaselling, attempting to evade the question, or blowing him off.

  20. - McCain lumped transplants and cosmetic surgery together as luxury health services only the rich should be allowed to have.
    This. Blew. My. Mind.
    I think I lost the next several sentences just trying to process the fact that he had just said that one.
    The man is unhinged. And again with the general look of profoundly ill health, utter lack of self-mastery so extreme it is impossible for me to even unleashing this man’s rage-tics, explosions, and juvenile behaviors onto a world stage, and relative unintelligibility next to Obama. The only thing keeping my pity in check is the very real danger he poses – and that’s not meant in a patronizing/dismissing way, but quite seriously. He is so f*cked up in so many ways it’s embarrassing.

  21. …’impossible for me to even imagine unleashing…’ that is. And this linky-ID. Sigh.
    Theriomorphs last blog post..The final debate.

  22. @Rebekka
    I had no idea that Australia has compulsory voting. After our recent pathetic turn out for the Canadian elections I think that might not be such a bad idea.
    As for the debate last night, to me Obama was the clear winner. When McCain went on about his hurt feelings after being compared to George Wallace I found it almost hilarious. Then he had the nerve to demand an apology. Yeah his supporters can say death threats while he and his running mate do nothing until forced to by the press but yeah he is no George Wallace.
    Renees last blog post..Tanglad On Microcredit

  23. I speculate that when he said “transplants” he meant “hair transplants”, since he also made that “joke” in the previous debate. But he screwed the gag up.

  24. Rebekka (and others) thanks for the detailed response, it makes more sense with that information. I was wondering why a geographic split wouldn’t make more sense, but with all that detail I understand now.
    On the wardrobe, all I’m thinking is red and blue are really good colours for TV – doesn’t matter what the background is, what the lighting’s like, they’re still strong, decisive colours and are very unlikely to clash with anything else.
    WRT compulsory voting in WA’s last election the turnout was the lowest since the 1930s, 89 per cent, if memory serves.

  25. Although technically it is not compulsory voting, but compulsory attendance at a polling place. You can go, get your name ticked off and leave without voting, if you want.

  26. McCain thinks that one of Palin’s qualifications to be President is “her husband’s a tough guy. Heh heh.” A definite Bush moment.

    What was that? He just threw it in there for no reason I could fathom. Then, when I started thinking about it, I figured he was probably apologizing for Jeff Palin’s not *wearing the pants in the family.* And I’ve noticed that they’ve been doing this with him. When I watch pro-Republican pundits talk about Sarah Palin, they often work in that Jeff Palin is a *laid-back guy* or the *strong, silent type* or something to that affect, to assure people that he performs masculinity in some dudely-sanctioned way even though his wife is in a more publicly powerful position.

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