Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Debate Preview

Go read the excellent preview of how John McCain will perform in the debates, by DeanDemocrat at Dailykos. It has many videos of McCain's answers in the Republican debates. Here are some of his points about McCain's debating style and how to beat it:

There is a wide array of issues that McCain is not very well read on and Obama should use this at every chance he gets. The key to taking advantage of McCain's ignorance is having the facts at your disposal and getting specific. Very specific. Especially any time you're asking a direct question of Senator McCain. No closed ended questions designed to get a yes or no. He likes those questions because they don't require him to think or explain himself. He can just say yes or no and call it straight talk.


[] [B]eyond the shadow of a doubt [] in the debates when McCain is faced with his own words he simply lies. So any of you who are holding out hope that Obama can pull a John Stewart, quote the many faces of John McCain, call him a flip flopper and that'll be the end of it; I have some bad news for you.

McCain is going to lie through his teeth.

The man has no shame, he will not allow himself to be caught in a flip flop. He will lie lie lie straight to the moderators face just as he did with Tim Russert. And here is where the theme I mentioned begins to emerge with McCain. He makes shit up because he doesn't know, and when he gets caught he accuses you of lying, and then makes up more shit.

To combat this you HAVE to have the facts in your hands and online ready to go. It is not enough to say McCain is a flip flopper and then just sit back and expect it to stick. Obama has to be ready to hit back when McCain lies. He has to be ready to call him on it. Use the goddamn L word (lie) if you have too and then either have the original quote in your hand, or tell the moderator and the people at home where they can go online to find the truth. []


[] McCain cannot stay on topic. Because of this tendency to stray off course Obama should attend all three debates fully prepared to address topics of every variety and nature. Being prepared for whatever McCain decides to throw at him will go a long way toward winning these debates.


First, as I said before Obama needs to have the facts at his finger tips, McCain likes to pull things out of his pocket and say "Well look at this" Obama needs to be able to do the same. He needs to have facts and figures ready to go either on his website, linking to factcheck.org, or in his hand with specific dates and ads to scite. The goal of which is to paint McCain as a serial liar and create a post debate narrative that revolves around McCain's many errors and lies.

Second, once again Obama needs to face down McCain and look Presidential doing it when McCain tries to talk over, interrupt and filibuster Obama. Obama would be wise to stick to the debate rules as often as possible. He did a pretty good job and making sure he got his side of the story out there during the heated debate moments with Senator Clinton I just hope Obama understands that McCain is about 10 times more likely to break the rules and format of the debate than Clinton ever was.

Third, expect McCain to pull out and recycle every single thing Senator Clinton threw at Obama during the primaries. The fact that McCain's campaign basically told reporters to dig up stories on William Ayers in a recent conference call tells me that is exactly where their campaign is heading. Expect McCain to use Ayers, Louis Farrakhan, Tony Resko, The Bitter Comment and of course Rev. Wright as sort of throw away lines throughout these debates the same way he just sort of passive aggressively bashed Romney on flip flops you can expect him to just sort of throw out a "Well at least I don't hang out with members of the Weather Underground on the weekends" type of comment off hand.

Remember the clock is McCain's biggest enemy at these debates. He will be trying to waste as much time as possible. So what better way to do that than by throwing out distractions like these? It allows him to change the subject, force Obama to reiterate the truth as well as point out that these charges are recycled and have been dealt with and disproved mere months ago. This eats up time and robs Obama of an opportunity to reach out to new voters.

I think Obama has handled these issues in the past effectively but he needs to step it up. Call McCain a liar straight up when he makes these accusations so that anyone who may have not heard these ridiculous lies in the past will see Obama forcefully defending himself and calling McCain out for outright distortions and lies.

Forth, Obama needs zingers. I cannot stress this enough. Why do people watch Nascar? To see the cars crash. Why do people watch political debates? To see one guy verbally pwn (thats a gamer term) the other. Zingers are the key to doing that. Now obviously you don't want an entire night of one liners that make you look like a one dimensional fool. But one or two well placed, well executed zingers can not only steal the headlines but single handedly win the debate.

I don't know why Kerry didn't understand this in 2004 but it's pretty damn obvious if you ask me. People watch a debate to see the fireworks, its the same reason they watch shows like Hardball. They want to see these guys tear each other a new one (metaphorically speaking) and see who can out think the other.

Think about it....

There you go again. You Senator are no Jack Kennedy. Are you better off now than you were four years ago? I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.

Those are but a few of the legendary zingers that have won and forever characterized debates in the past. If Obama comes up with some good lines (and we all know he's great at that) they will be repeated over and over again after the debate and he could very well be crowned the winner on that and that alone.

So with that in mind, Obama should be listening to McCain's stump speech picking out the anecdotes he tells over and over again and coming up with good comebacks just in case McCain uses those anecdotes again at the debates.

Fifth and perhaps most importantly Obama needs to keep his cool while doing whatever he can to push McCain's buttons and provoke an outburst. Whether that means bringing up the Keating 5 Scandal, which I say is fair game if McCain uses William Ayers; or simply contradicting everything McCain says in a manner that doesn't kiss his POW ass. McCain's temper is legendary and if he loses it on National Television, its over for him. He will be done.

And finally if Obama has any big news such as, say an unexpected endorsement from Colin Powell or something similarly headline worthy I would do it late Thursday. Friday will be spent preparing for the debate depriving the press of any comments from Obama on the matter allowing the debate to be the first chance anyone has to ask about it. It would be a great way to steal the thunder and despite Powell's involvement in the Iraq debacle I do not see such an endorsement hurting Obama's chances as he heads into a debate focused on Foreign Policy and National Security.

No comments: