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“Ladies and Gentlemen, This is a Street Fight”

Sen. John McCain is sticking to his Saddleback Church strategy of tapping his stump speech talking points where catchy statements make an impact. Example, former members of Congress residing in prison; railing against $3 million for bear DNA; hitting Obama for $932 million in earmarks; didn’t win Miss Congeniality in Senate.

Obama needs to pull him away from his talking points.

9:29 After Lehrer points out neither candidate appears to be saying they will do anything different in light of the financial crisis, light applause from the students. One calls out, “Jim Lehrer for President!”

9:44 I’m reminded of the final fight in Rocky IV. Both candidates appear very well prepared, both keep hitting each other way after the bell. Lehrer has to get between them. I’ll refrain from commenting on who’s Rocky and who’s Drago?

10:08 Just asking…Does McCain’s ridicule of Obama’s statement that he would meet w/ Ahmadinejad/Castro/Chavez really have the potency that McCain seems to think it does? He scores a lot of points with it on the trail. But as Obama explains it, to McCain’s face, it sounds pretty reasonable — especially after the events of the last eight years.

10:12 OHHH!!! McCain headbutts Obama — “I’m not going to set the White House visitor’s schedule…I don’t even have a seal yet” — and this crowd at ASU didn’t seem to catch it.

10:15 McCain just talked right over Obama re: talking to Ahmadinejad wiping Israel off the face of the Earth. Point scored. Obama’s got to prevent that from happening.

10:25 Obama has been mostly on the defensive since “talking to Ahmadinejad” came up nearly 20 minutes ago. That can’t be good.

10:29 Crowd check: There’s probably 60-70 ASU students here, many more than at the beginning of the debate. It’s totally quiet except for the big screen TV. The audience is rapt.

10:38 Debate over. A very unscientific “raise-your-hand” poll of those students who didn’t immediately bolt (Friday night on a college campus) reveals the respondents are surprisingly very closely split between supporters of Obama and McCain — with many abstaining.

10:42 McCain campaign releases statement on debate. No need to reprint here. Bottom line; McCain won, looked presidential.

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