so we come to the 40th (!!) and last of the debates. thanks goodness.
a couple of points –
VOX is sucking harder than usual, so I expect there be delays in the liveblog due to updates going into the lalasphere, missing in transit, etc.
as I'm sick and on anitbiotics, I shan't join in the partaking of refreshing adult beverages – I'm about to experience a debate while… sober. y'all go on and start mixing something.
Bob Schieffer is my favorite of the moderators. he's serious and professional but has a wicked strain. look forward to it.
debate venue is Hofstra University, Long Island, NY.
updates below these pictures
the focus is domestic issues and teh economy. the format has all three participants sitting at a table.
9:02 – BS: you've both proposed economic plans to solve the current financial crisis. "why is your plan better than his"
JM: Americans are innocent victims of greed. they are angry. we need short and long term fixes. it's Fannie and Freddie's fault!! bad, bad children! my proposal is to buy bad home loans (?) and negotiate with the owners.
BO: need to ensure that taxpayers get their money back, that CEOs don't get rich. my proposal is to rescue the middle class by encouraging job creation. we should not waste taxpayer money by buying overpriced mortgages
MC to BO follow-up question: there is a plumber in Ohio who wants to buy the business and under BO plan he couldn't because taxes be too ^. "you are messing with Joe the Plumber"
BO: tax policy is a major difference between us. we both believe it cutting taxes but differ in who we cut them for. MC wasnt tax breaks for corporations, I want tax breaks for the middle class.
JM: BO told Joe the Plumber "I want to spread the wealth around" <——- COMMUNIST!!!!!
BO: I believe that there are many who can afford to pay a little more
JM: we shouldn't raise taxes on anyone. at all.
9:14 – BS – the deficit in ^ at an amazing rate. both of you say you want to cut the deficit, but both your proposals ^ the deficit by 200 billion or so. what will you cut? <—- Jim Lehrer asked this on the 1st debate and didn't get an answer
BO: I will go through the budget line by line and cut what don't work and keep what does.
JM: back to homeownership. during the 30's depression there was a corporation that bought bad mortgages like I propose and eventually those houses went up. I will have across-the-board cuts. government spending is out of control. I know how to save billions in defense. I'll eliminate ethanol subsidies.
BO: we obviously disagree. I don't support across-the-board cuts. JM talks a lot about earmarks. they account for 7% of the budget. so they are an issue, but eliminating them is not going to solve our budget woes.
JM: "I'm not President Bush. Senator Obama, if you wanted to run against President Bush you should have ran four years ago".
BO: I have stood against my party leaders and have reached across the aisle. if I confuse your policies with GWB, is because on most issues, your positions are indistinguishable.
JM: I disagree with GWB and the party leaders. "I have the scars"
9:24 – BS: both of you pledged to take the high road, but your campaigns have turned nasty. can you tell to each others' face what your campaigns and surrogates are implying?
JM: it's BO fault! I invited him to go on townhall meetings with me and he didn't. Congressman John Lewis called me and Sarah Palin names and BO has not repudiated his remarks. I find that very hurtful.
BO: to say that because I don't go to your townhall meetings your negative ads are justified is ridiculous. John Lewis point was that the inflammatory nature of your rallies can be cause of concern. and he was right.
JM: I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies. gonna have some bad apples. but overall they are dedicated and patriotic. people yell nasty things at your rallies too, BO.
BO: we can keep on talking about who's better, but what's important is to talk about issues
JM: Bill Ayers! Bill Ayers! BILL AYERS!!!! ACORN! FRAUD!!! COMMUNIST!!
BO: Bill Ayers has become the centerpiece of the MC campaign. Bill Ayers did despicable things 40 years ago. 10 years ago we served on a board together. he's not part of my campaign or will be part of my administration. my involvement with ACORN was several years ago where I represented them in a motor-voter challenge in Illinois. the fact that these minor issues have become so central to your campaign JM says more about you than about me.
9:40 – BS: why would the country be better of with your VP choice than your opponents?
BO: Joe Biden is extremely well-educated and informed. he never forgot his roots and he is dedicated to help the little people, the working families. we share values and outlook.
JM: Americans have gotten to know Sarah Palin. they know she's a role model to women. she's fought her party, she's fought corruption, she's given money back to the taxpayer. she's a reformer and a breath of fresh air. she'll be my partner. she's for special needs families. I'm proud of her. she's igniting her base.
BO: Sarah is a capable politician but whether she can be President is up to the American people. and it is commendable for the support of special needs, requires $$$$
JM: Joe Biden is qualified in mnay things but has been wrong in important ones. he voted against GulfWar ! and wanted to divide Iraq in three provinces and instead Iraq is now peaceful and together
9:46 – BS – everyone promises energy independence. give me specifics as to what you'd do on your first term
JM: I'll end dependency on arab and venezuelan oil. canadian oil is fine. and I'll build 35 nuclear plants
BO: it will take 10 years, but it can be done in that time frame. expand domestic production. should consider offshore drilling. we can't drill our way out of this since we have 4% of the reserves and use 25%. expand solar, wind industries. we need to lead in the development of new cars.
JM: I admire BO eloquency. he's just words. I'm a freetrader. we need to send our displaced workers to community college. BO who's never traveled south of our borders is against the Colombia freetrade agreement.
BO: labor leaders in Colombia have been targeted and hit without consequences. we must defend human rights. the President needs to be able to stand to unfair agreements.
JM: BO wants to sit across the table with preconditions with Hugo Chavez but he is agains't the Colombian freetrade agreement. BO wants to raise taxes and limit trade just like Herbert Hoover
9:55 – BS: given the economic situation would you rather control health care costs than expand coverage
BO: we must do both. it is imperative. we will cut costs. if you have insurance, keep it. if you don't, we'll give you the option to join the federal program. we'll make the system more efficient. more money on the preventive front. it costs money to begin with but is necessary
JM: we need to put health care records online, community clinics, walk-in clinics. every American family gets $5K from me to buy the insurance wants [turns to camera and talks to Joe the Plumber] hey Joe, BO will screw you over. might as well move to Canada.
BO: hey, I can talk to Joe too. hey joe, you'll be fine with my plan as is. JM will tax health care benefits for the. first. time. in. our. history. also insurance companies need to be regulated at the federal level, not only state level
JM: hey joe, BO wants to take your money and redistribute it. 90% of Americans will net more money under my plan than under BO. and it'll be good across America.
BO: under JM health plan you may lose your employer-paid health care program
10:06 – BS: on Roe vs. Wade would you nominate to SCOTUS someone who disagrees with your position
JM: I'd never support a lithmus test for a judicial nominee. never. nominees whould be judged on their qualifications. don't legislate from the bench.
BO: I agree no lithmus test. I support Roe v Wade. I believe that abortion is a moral issue and that women are the ones to make that difficult decision. the constitution right to privacy allows for this. for judicial nominees I will look for exemplar judges and scholars.
JM: we have to change the culture of America. I'm proudly prolife. when BO was in Illinois legislature he voted against a ban on late term abortion. BO is aligned with the extreme wing of the abortion movement
BO: I voted against that law because there was a law already in the books. I'd support a ban on late term abortions if there is a n exception for life and health of the mother. as the proposed law offered no exception, I voted against it. our focus should be in preventing unwanted pregnancies. nobody is proabortion
JM: "health of the mother" bah. the women of the proabortion movement have stretched the term to mean anything. I'm an adoptive parent
10:17 – BS: we spend more than any other country in education but lag behind in competency tests. what you gonna do about it.
BO: our education system needs both more money and reform. we need to improve early childhood education, which is critical. recruit and support teachers. college must be affordable. parents need to be involved
JM: there is no doubt we have reached equal access to education (?). access and choice (i.e. vouchers) are the way to go. !yay! charter schools. some of the worst school systems get the most perpupil money. more student loans for college kids.
BO: the federal govn't should take more of a role in schools while respecting local control. vouchers are not the way to solve our many many problems. and besides, JM does not even have a plan to help college students
JM: there is a program in DC with vouchers and there is a waiting line to enroll because parents want it. No Child Left Behind had its issues but is basically good. HeadStart has a good rep but is really not that good, so we need to review it. we will cure autism
BO: again, I disagree with vouchers. JM idea of an education program is to expand the dc program by 2K. and what then for those of you in the other 50 states.
JM: these are hard times, America needs a leader. I have taken on my own party and the other party. I'm a careful steward of your tax money. we have to stop spending. all of the commitments mean nothing if you don't trust us. I ask you to examine my record. I have spend my entire life serving this country. COUNTRY FIRST!
BO: tough times and the policies of the last eight years have left us in a mess. we can't continue the old failed policies and politics. over the last 20 minutes you, the people have talked to me, shared with me, and reassure me of our American character and spirit. things won't be easy or quick, but we must come together in a spirit of sacrifice and service.
well, thhaaatttsss all, folks. I think all that's left is to watch the spinners spin for each side.
Bob Schieffer did not disappoint. as he said at the beginning, "you are encouraged to ask follow-up questions from each other. if you don't, I will". and by gum, he did.
now, to read your comments. you are too kind to spend part of your evening with a sick and cranky me