So, the debate is now over, and this is my summary of the event, blogged live while watching it.

5:57pm Welcome. I’m watching this on Fox News because I heard Megyn Kelly was involved in the coverage, though I haven’t seen her yet. She’s HOT! Currently they’re talking about how McCain has to keep his temper. Is this a dig at McCain? Or should we really be worried?!

6:00pm Here we go! Interesting intro reel.

6:01pm I don’t think Jim realized he was live on the air. Awkward pause. I wonder will these candidates look as knackered as they really are from the past 48 hours? Also, he says they’ll focus on the financial crisis: that’s appropriate.

6:04pm Man, Obama comes across well.

6:09pm McCain’s big on bipartisanship. (And gets a little defensive about his decision to go back to Washington.) Jim wants them to talk to each other. So far, Obama is talking to Jim. 🙂

6:11pm McCain: “I warned about Freddie Mac” and Fannie Mae. Obama’s watching intently. “People are going to be held accountable in my administration.” Optimistic! Obama thinks new regulation of Wall Street is part of the answer and balks at the idea that regulation is always bad. Is that an indication of the rest of his policies?

6:15pm Are there fundamental differences between the two candidates’ approaches to the economic crisis?, Jim asks? And if there aren’t, I’ll add, are we going to move this debate on to some good stuff upon which you disagree? Okay, McCain is answering. Wow, McCain is going to veto “every single spending bill” that crosses his desk with this “old” pen. First real shot at Obama!

6:19pm I’d like to bring in at this point the responses of Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr to this debate blogging live here: “[McCain] speaks out against $17 billion in earmarks, and then votes for a trillion-dollar buyout.” By the way, now we have a real debate. McCain = cut spending; Obama = we shouldn’t spend “unwisely”.

6:24pm I’m enjoying the smirks on the faces of the candidates as the others are firing their shots. This is the most relevant part of this debate for me: what are the candidates going to spend? How fiscally conservative, essentially, are they going to be? What is going to happen to taxes? They’re beginning to interrupt one another. Obama: if you earn less than $250k, you won’t pay an extra dime in taxes under my proposals. Back to the financial crisis. Great question now: what are you going to have to give up if the government bailout goes ahead?

6:33pm “A spending freeze.” Now you’re fucking talking, McCain. You want to make it permanent? 🙂

6:34pm Energy. And again McCain’s talking my language: nuclear power, drilling offshore. No time for Obama to respond, the moderator is bringing it back to the financial crisis. With all respect, I think this crisis is much bigger than the presidency… I’m not sure there’s that big a gap between the candidates on the bailout.

6:39pm Obama raises healthcare, and McCain refutes it by repeating his claim that Obama wants to spend $800 billion more: that’s definitely one of his key points, but it’s becoming tired-sounding. Obama: McCain agrees with Bush most of the time, and Bush presided over an “orgy” of spending! – that’s a talking point for later. McCain responds by repeating himself again with the ‘I’ve not been Miss Congeniality in the Senate’…. that’s not coming across so well.

6:41pm McCain: “We are winning in Iraq.” It’s true that Obama voted against the troop surge that succeeded in Iraq… it’s also true that he wouldn’t have been so quick to jump into the war in the first place. Obama: there’s a “fundamental difference” between him and McCain. We “hadn’t finished the job in Afghanistan.” Obama can score some points here.

6:45pm Obama is looking right at McCain and using the word “YOU” to attack his record on Iraq. Powerful move. McCain’s smiling while painting his picture of progress in Iraq doesn’t seem appropriate given the full quagmire of the war there. Eeek. Obama interrupts.

6:50pm Obama says he DOES understand the difference between tactics and strategy. Dictionary, guys? Bottom line is, on use of the military, the candidates’ acknowledged positions don’t differ that much. (What they’d REALLY do, in the situation, may be substantially different.) Now they’re talking over each other.

6:51pm “We cannot separate Afghanistan from Iraq.” Sound like the Bush administration? That’s OBAMA. I guess he’s talking strategy, at this point. Or is that ‘tactics’?

6:53pm Obama: “We’ve got to deal with Pakistan.” Are you anti-war anti-Bush probamas hearing this?

6:54pm Not only that, McCain says, unlike Obama, he’s not ready to threaten Pakistan. Get this: Republican candidate, the dove; Democrat candidate, the hawk! You lefties have got to be loving this.

6:59pm Obama: “Coming from you….”, someone who has “sung songs about bombing Iran…” – HAHAHA! I love how Obama swaps between addressing the moderator and addressing “John”. I also love how McCain continues constantly to draw upon the fact that he was around for all of these decisions Obama is drawing precedent from – Obama’s a newcomer in comparison (though, as I’ve said, that’s not a mark against him any more than Palin’s lack of experience is a mark against her, in my opinion).

7:05pm They’re trading soldier testimonials to back up their positions. Bleh. New question now about the threat posed by Iran. McCain: if Iran gets nukes, it’s an existential threat to Israel. “We can’t allow a second holocaust.” We can sanction rather than bomb ’em. But “have no doubt” they want nukes and they’re working on it.

7:09pm Bob Barr, incredulous: “The collective foreign intelligence assessment was that Iran can’t development nuclear weapons.” Obama is demonstrating his knowledge on Iran. Says sanctions won’t work. Man, I totally agree with this: he says, “This notion that by not talking to people we’re punishing them” is wrongheaded. We need “tough diplomacy” with Iran. Good call.

7:11pm Are McCain’s examples of Reagan and Nixon withholding direct diplomacy from enemies valid in this respect?

7:16pm Obama says McCain has indicated he might not even talk with the president of Spain! If this general anti-diplomacy attitude is correct, it’s very worrying. The question here seems to be: do you legitimize someone’s position by sitting down with them and talking about it? Diplomacy’s a weird thing. Maybe the answer is that lower-level talks can take place but there may be some legitimizing being done by state leaders doing the same thing…. – wow, McCain just won some points by making Obama look stupid regarding appealing to Kissinger, who he’s known for a long time – he even made the audience laugh – which is rare enough – at Obama’s expense.

7:21pm Russia. Boring…. but McCain still appealing to Obama’s “naivity.” I notice both senators are wearing ties with red in them: gives a very ‘red, white and blue’ feel to the event. And I’m beginning to very easily see Obama as president of this country. Maybe it’s because he pulls it off better by adding a white shirt (McCain’s is blue)! Obama responds by agreeing directly with everything McCain said. Not sure that’s such a smart move – even if you agree don’t say it that way – although he’s going on now to legitimize his knowledge on this by going into specifics which may help.

7:26pm Only 5 minutes left. McCain shoots at Obama on the issue of nuclear waste and refuses to stop talking despite knowing full well that Obama has been trying to respond. When he finally gets the chance to respond, McCain interrupts him, and he backs down very quickly. Does that prove the difference between them on talking/listening skills?!

7:28pm Are we safer since 9/11? McCain: yes, and points out differences he had with the Bush administration. Obama: in some ways. He says he believes in missile defense because of the threat of nuclear weapons. That’s good to hear. One last point by Obama: “the way we are perceived in the world” is important, and he plans to change anti-Americanism.

7:32pm McCain’s back talking about Iraq. Where the hell did that come from? The question wasn’t about that. I suspect it was just a parting shot. Obama doesn’t bite, but responds by saying that bin Laden is still alive and free, and our focusing through the “lens” of Iraq is to blame for that and much else.

7:37pm McCain says he’s got the “knowledge” and “experience” to deal with this shit and Obama doesn’t. Obama sniggers. Good Lord. Obama looks into the camera and talks about how his family came to America from Kenya, and blah blah. McCain gets another word: he “came home from prison” and wants to “heal the wounds of war”. Haha! And the debate is over.

7:39pm “Good job, John,” says Obama, shaking hands, and “Good job,” says McCain back, with half the enthusiasm. Then they both go to opposite sides of the hall to meet their respective bitches, and it’s all over. Fox News describes the affair as “spirited.”

Thanks for joining me; now, time to hit the rest of the web and find out what everyone else thinks!