Posted tagged ‘Debate’

Live From New York…It’s Sarah Palin

October 18, 2008

UPDATE:

Here’s the video of Amy Poehler rapping about Sarah Palin:

Yahoo also has the opening sketch from last night’s show.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin takes the stage with an appearance on Saturday Night Live.

From CBS:

After spending the better part of her candidacy under the safe confines of carefully staged rallies and having struggled through a few high-profile interviews, Sarah Palin is coming out of her media shell.

She now holds daily interviews with local broadcasters and conservative talk radio hosts, she gave her first ever on-camera press conference with her traveling press corps on Friday, and tonight she’ll take the leap that everyone’s been waiting for when she appears on “Saturday Night Live.”

“Oh, man. I’m excited for tomorrow night,” Palin told reporters on Friday. “I have no idea what to expect because I haven’t seen any scripts or anything else yet, but it will be fun. The opportunity to show American television watchers anyway that you get to have a sense of humor through all of this or even just this really would be wearin’, tearin’ on you, so an opportunity to show that sense of humor and that side of all of this, I look forward to it.”

On the NBC show, Tina Fey has been relentless in portraying Palin as an unqualified joke over the last few weeks, and Fey’s satirical take on the Alaska governor has left its mark on the public consciousness. For that very reason, it would seem that Palin has much to gain and little to lose in tonight’s appearance.

If Palin can show an ability to laugh at herself, and perhaps even more importantly, succeeds in giving Fey a taste of her own comic medicine, she will reap the benefit of days of positive coverage on cable news and entertainment media outlets. “Saturday Night Live” may be a comedy show, but Palin’s appearance could very well have a serious impact on the election.

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Joe the Plumber, Not Really A Plumber?

October 17, 2008

Not that it really matters but say it ain’t so, Joe. Just a week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was another working man living in Toledo, Ohio, thinking about how to buy the plumbing business where he works.

But the day he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block to complain about taxes, he set himself on a path to becoming America’s latest celebrity. Unfortunately for Mr. Wurzelbacher, this sudden fame has come with criticism and scrutiny. My question is, why? If it were up to me, I’d leave him alone. Its unfortunate that he has now been thrust into the media spotlight. I guess that happens when you’re captured on national TV with the possible next President of the United States and take center stage in a VERY important debate.

This will obviously be a topic of heated discussion, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. So please feel free to discuss this here.

New York Times

Credit: New York Times

From Reuters:

After Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama made him into the most famous plumber in America, it turns out Joe Wurzelbacher isn’t a licensed plumber after all. Oh, and his real name is Sam.

The morning after he emerged as the unexpected star of Wednesday evening’s U.S. presidential debate, Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, found himself at the center of a media frenzy, with reporters camped out on his front lawn and his phone ringing off the hook.

But it wasn’t long before the Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics revealed that Wurzelbacher was not a licensed member of their trade.

“That means that he has not completed the training program necessary for him to sit for a license test,” said Tony Herrera, market recovery specialist for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 50 in Toledo, Ohio.

“It’s a shame that this guy has ended up in this situation because it seems like he’s misrepresented himself — and for that matter the plumbing and pipefitting industry.”

From the New York Times:

As it turns out, Joe the Plumber, as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday’s final presidential debate, may work in the plumbing business, but he is not a licensed plumber.

Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. Wurzelbacher had never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities. He also never completed an apprenticeship and does not belong to the plumber’s union, which has endorsed Mr. Obama. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he does plumbing work even though he does not have a license.

His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes back taxes, too, public records show. The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.

Who Won The Final Debate?

October 16, 2008

If you ask Time Magazine, the winner is Rebuplican candidate John McCain.

From Time:

Barack Obama

Substance:

Intelligent, knowledgeable, and an earnest explainer, as always, but to no real effect. Though he conveyed a general sense of his agenda, he did so without bothering to fight ardently for his case.

Grade: B

Style:

Appeared tired and irritable, and bore the ills of a poor make-up job. While initially seeming distracted and even resentful of the evening’s activity, he eventually realized he needed to step up his game, and became more conversational and involved. Recovered after the rocky start to avoid anything transformative for his opponent.

Grade: B-

Offense:
Rarely went after McCain, and when he did, was indirect and often too vague.

Grade: C+

Defense:

Unrattled by frequent McCain attacks, but a little peevish in addressing the allegations tossed his way. He strained to defend his positions on health care and taxes and failed to express a fully-formed alternative explanation. Relying on polling data to excuse himself for the campaign’s negative tone and implicitly for going back on his word on campaign financing, he seemed indifferent towards the recent mutual harsh words, placing the blame firmly with his opposition.

Grade: B+

During the first half of the debate, the Democratic nominee too often displayed his worst traits—petty, aloof, imperious—and behaved as if he had some place better to be, although he became warmer and more engaged as the evening progressed. He did not seem to have an explicit strategy, answering the questions piecemeal as they came his way, without driving a message or even a theme. He retained his consistently unflappable air, and had a few fine moments. If he was sitting on his lead, it worked—but perhaps at the expense of relinquishing part of it.

Overall grade: B

John McCain
Substance:

Avoided the policy weeds, as usual, but sounded more engaged on his economic program, presenting a clear, thematic argument. He was also good on climate change, trade, taxes, and spending. It was an impressive performance from a politician who is generally more comfortable offering broad statements and displaying his compelling personality, than focusing on detail and nitty-gritty.

Grade: A-

Style

For forty minutes, he was cogent, friendly, and yet sharp when he needed to be. Well aware of the stakes and his underdog circumstance, he worked hard to hit all his marks. Showed genuine empathy about the ramifications of the battered economy, small business struggles, and even childhood obesity. But he lost points during the second half of the session by falling back on the awkward, cranky tics that have marred his earlier performances.

Grade: B+

Offense:

Hit Obama again and again, almost always with authority and command rather than desperation. Repeatedly steered the evening’s discussion to a plumber named Joe who talked about taxes with Obama during a recent campaign event—and scored points. He deftly used opposition research on Obama’s record, and did so far more effectively than in the first two debates. Skillfully attacked his opponent for not keeping his word on campaign financing and for refusing to hold joint town meetings. At times, though, he became too agitated and lost focus, particularly when he raised the Ayers matter—still a negative bridge too far for many.

Grade: A-

Defense:

Dramatically proclaimed “I am not President Bush” with toughness and clarity, in one of the few true “moments” in any of the debates—the tangible ripple of reaction from the (albeit silent) crowd signaled that the video clip will be replayed many times.

Grade: A-

During the first half of the debate, the Republican nominee showed off the best of himself—dedicated, sincere, patriotic, cheery, earnest, commanding—all without seeming old or anxious. He even scored some points in the “change” category, against the candidate who has owned the theme. He was also clear, upbeat, and totally on message. To his detriment, however, he became more aggressive and distracted during the second half, and perhaps lost a chance for the truly dramatic event he needs to change the game. Still, if a silent majority of persuadable voters watched the debate, they saw why McCain’s advisers have faith in him and still believe he can win this race.

Overall Grade: A-

Meet Joe The Plumber…

October 16, 2008

There is a new celebrity in the United States. It was assumed that tonight would be the night for either John McCain or Barack Obama. But perhaps tonight turned out to be the night of a man known only as “Joe the Plumber.”

From the New York Times:

Repeatedly over the 90 minutes in which they sharply criticized each other, both candidates referred to Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio plumber, as a kind of proxy for all of the country’s working people.

How did that come about? Over the weekend, Mr. Obama was campaigning near Toledo when Mr. Wurzelbacher, a burly, bald man with a goatee, approached the candidate to confront him with the ultimate bread-and-butter question.

“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Mr. Obama. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Mr. Obama acknowledged that might turn out to be the case. He talked about the tax credits he plans to offer if elected, listened respectfully as Mr. Wurzelbacher offered the notion of a flat tax, but ended up defending his own position before shaking Mr. Wurzelbacher’s hand and wishing him well.

Mr. McCain seized on that encounter in Wednesday night’s debate, citing “Joe the Plumber” as a symbol of how Mr. Obama’s tax policies would hurt small businesses.

Since his initial exchange with Mr. Obama, Mr. Wurzelbacher has become a favorite of anti-Obama bloggers and television commentators. On Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News, for example, he was asked if Mr. Obama’s response about “spreading the wealth around” satisfied him, and gave an explanation that the McCain campaign was quick to send around to reporters.

“His answer actually scared me even more,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said. “He said he wants to distribute wealth. And I mean, I’m not trying to make statements here, but, I mean, that’s kind of a socialist viewpoint. You know, I work for that. You know, it’s my discretion who I want to give my money to; it’s not for the government decide that I make a little too much and so I need to share it with other people. That’s not the American Dream.”

From USA Today:

Wurzelbacher had expressed concerns to Obama on Sunday that he wouldn’t be able to afford to buy his own small business because of the tax burden he would face if Obama were elected.

“Joe, I want to tell you, I’ll not only help you buy that business … I’ll keep your taxes low,” said McCain, who first raised Wurzelbacher as a sort of iconic American voter, then laced his “Joe the Plumber” moniker through the 90-minute forum.

Obama said Joe’s concerns about his tax policies were misplaced. “He’s been watching some ads of Sen. McCain,” he said, wryly.

From CNN:

As the candidates butted heads over tax policy, both made frequent mention of “Joe the plumber.”

Last weekend, while Obama was canvassing for support in Holland, Ohio, the Democratic nominee ran into a man since dubbed Joe the plumber.

In that exchange “Joe” asked Obama if he believed in the American Dream — he said he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year and was concerned that Obama would tax him more because of it.

Obama explained his tax plan in depth, saying it’s better to lower taxes for Americans who make less money, so that they could afford to buy from his business.

At the debate Wednesday, McCain characterized Obama’s plan as trying to “spread the wealth around.”

“We’re going to take Joe’s money, give it to Sen. Obama, and let him spread the wealth around. I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around,” McCain said.

He added, “Why would you want to increase anybody’s taxes right now? Why would you want to do that to anyone, anyone in America, when we have such a tough time?”

Obama countered that both he and McCain want to cut taxes, but that his plan would cut taxes for “95 percent of American families,” more than McCain’s plan

Final Debate Between Obama, McCain Tonight

October 15, 2008

Is the third time the charm for Senator John McCain? McCain will have to have a strong showing if he hopes to recoup losses in the polls he sustained this week. Prior to the debate, both candidates released proposals this week designed to boost the economy as financial institutions falter and voters feel the stress of a struggling economy.

From the Associated Press:

With the economic crisis fueling public unease, Obama has built leads nationally and in key states as the turmoil has returned the nation’s focus to the policies of the unpopular President Bush. The burden now is on McCain to try to reverse his slide.

To that end, the Arizona senator took a new approach this week, positioning himself as a fighter for the American middle class and easing off his most direct attacks on Obama, an Illinois senator. McCain also took pains to separate himself from Bush.

“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. … As president I intend to act, quickly and decisively,” McCain said Tuesday in battleground Pennsylvania.

He announced a $52.5 billion economic plan Tuesday that calls for halving the tax rate on capital gains and reducing the tax on withdrawals from retirement accounts, among other measures. A day earlier, Obama unveiled a $60 billion proposal that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, a 90-day freeze on home foreclosures, penalty-free withdrawals from retirement funds and a $3,000 tax credit for each new job.

Both candidates call for doing away with the tax on unemployment benefits.

McCain has suggested that he is likely to bring up Obama’s links to William Ayers, a radical during the Vietnam War era. Ayers was a member of the violent Weather Underground group but later became a university professor in Chicago and an expert on education. He and Obama both worked with some of the same charity foundations in Chicago, and Ayers hosted a reception for Obama when he first ran for the Illinois state Senate.

“We’re always prepared for him to be hyperaggressive in his attacks,” Obama campaign aide Robert Gibbs said of McCain. “I just think that doesn’t work in an environment where so many people are concerned about the issues in front of them, not scare tactics they don’t see as helping to pay the bills.”

He said Obama will try to project an aura of calm leadership during the debate, which Gibbs said he achieved in two previous debates with McCain.

Joe Biden’s Reaction To SNL Portrayal of Recent Debate with Sarah Palin

October 10, 2008

I guess Joe Biden enjoys Saturday Night Live. As you will see in the video below, Biden just can’t stop laughing.

From the Washington Post:

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday, Biden laughed, and laughed, and laughed — and laughed some more — when host Diane Sawyer played a clip of last weekend’s gut-busting vice presidential debate skit. Biden was laughing so hard after watching the clip of actor Jason Sudeikis lampooning Biden’s admitted soft spot for GOP presidential nominee John McCain  that he was rendered something he rarely, if ever, is: speechless.

Between uncontrollable chuckles, Biden told Sawyer, “Oh God. I wish I had that much hair.” Still unable to stop laughing, Biden said, “These guys are incredible, I don’t know what to say.”

Sawyer, who got the giggles over watching Biden’s laugh attack, asked if that was the first time Biden had seen the SNL video. “I have watched it,” Biden said, laughing, “but every time…” he trailed off, trying, without success, to contain himself.

When the ABC interview ends, the camera stays on Biden, who sits there still laughing to himself. Looking down, he shakes his head and utters, “Oh God.”

Should We Be Afraid of “That One”…

October 8, 2008

So it appears that the Obama campaign is not too happy with John McCain’s reference to him last night as “that one”. I missed that part of the debate but have seen it over and over again on the news this morning. I’ve included video of this portion of the debate below.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obama spokesman Bill Burton sent a one-line message to reporters after McCain made the comment that said, “Did John McCain just refer to Obama as ‘that one’?” And again at the conclusion of the debate, the Obama campaign emailed reporters, “Did John McCain refer to Obama as ‘that one’?”

McCain made the remark tonight when discussing a 2005 Senate vote on an energy bill. “There was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one,” he said, pointing to Obama. “You know who voted against it? Me.”

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also referenced the remark in his post-debate statement. “John McCain was all over the map on the issues, and he is so angry about the state of his campaign that he referred to Barack Obama as ‘that one’ – last time he couldn’t look at Senator Obama, this time he couldn’t say his name,” Plouffe said, referencing the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi.

UPDATE: Asked about the remark, McCain campaign adviser Charlie Black said he didn’t believe McCain meant any disrespect and that Obama’s campaign was spinning the remark. “I’d have to go back and look at it. It appears to me that the Obama campaign decided before the debate that they would come in the spin room and instead of debating the issues they would say ‘John McCain is erratic,’” Black told reporters, “The American people think a lot of things about John McCain, but they don’t think he’s erratic. They [the Obama campaign] don’t have any substance in this debate, so let ‘em say it.”

From MSNBC:

Per NBC/NJ’s Mike Memoli, Biden said this morning that he didn’t think McCain meant to diminish Obama last night when he referred to him as “that one,” chalking it up instead to his discomfort in being the aggressor. “When John knows that he’s on the attack and he’s not feeling good about it, John never looks you straight in the eye,” Biden told TODAY’s Ann Curry. “If you notice, John didn’t make a whole lot of eye contact last night because I think John when he’s on the attack mode and making the other guy a bad guy, it’s just not his style.”

From the Huffington Post:

When McCain uses dehumanizing phrases like “that one” to refer to Barack Obama, he is implementing long-standing military techniques for dehumanizing one’s opponent during wartime.

According to military wisdom, dehumanization is a necessary technique during wartime because it enables human beings to kill other human beings without hesitation in combat situations.

Think about that.

Now, think about that in the context of an election in a country where racism is still prevalent and McCain’s opponent is the first black Presidential nominee in our nation’s history.

When McCain refuses to look at Barack Obama and refuses to use his name, he is employing modified versions of this same technique – and versions that could be said to fall on the acceptable side of the line of strategic judgment. But when McCain tolerates expressions of “Kill him!” targeted at Barack Obama during pro-McCain political rallies, he steps over the line – very, very far over the line.