8:36 PM ... So I'm coming in a bit late here. I was on the Polk panel this evening at Long Island University, which ended at 8 PM. And rushed home to get here. So what'd I miss?
8:44 PM ... Hillary: The Republicans are so bad that I have to become one to save the Democratic party.
8:48 PM ... Can Hillary just come out and embrace a culture-war, swift-boating campaign against Obama? Please? Instead of this gonzo Lee Atwater by proxy stuff? Sigh...
9:01 PM ... She certainly seems more self-assured on the Iran question than Obama did. The question of extending an American security umbrella to Israel is very dicey. And he could clearly see he was on delicate territory. Are we really extending to Israel and Saudi Arabia the nuclear guarantee we made to Europe under NATO? Is it only for nuclear attacks? Conventional attacks?
9:09 PM ... Obama's making a good point on the capital gains tax. But he's making it in a very bedraggled, painful, drawn out way. This is not good at all. All the right points are there but just not put well ... Charlie Gibson's 'history' of the capital gains tax? Please. There's a good answer to that. But he didn't seem to have it.
9:16 PM ... Did someone tell Charlie Gibson that he knows something about economics? There are a heck of a lot of people people who make over $97,000 a year? Really? I think like 12% of the population makes more than $100,000 a year. And his capital gains point is a canard.
9:24 PM ... I was disappointed that Charlie Gibson seems to spout off right-wing bromides as established facts. I was even more disappointed that Obama didn't seem able to knock them down.
9:29 PM ... I don't watch a lot of nightly news. Is Charlie Gibson usually this bad?
9:31 PM ... This is awful.
9:35 PM ... Are there any questions in this debate that aren't based on Republican attacks? Is affirmative action a major issue in this campaign? Did I miss that?
9:40 PM ... I like Stephanopoulos. But using former presidents? Is this a major issue?
9:44 PM ... TPM Reader KB checks in: "Josh, ABC's News' posture tonight makes perfect sense. Don't you get it? In GOP primary debates the media inquisitors take on the role of the true conservative pressing candidates to clearly and unequivocally state their answers on hot button social issues and economic talismans like the capital gains tax. In Democratic primary debates, by contrast, the media inquisitors take on the role of the true conservative pressing candidates to clearly and unequivocally state their answers on hot button social issues and economic talismans like the capital gains tax." Now MB gets in the mix: "When gas hits $4 a gallon will the average American making $250,000 a year be able to afford to drive to work?"
9:46 PM ... No Charlie. It hasn't been a "fascinating debate." It's been genuinely awful.
9:50 PM ... What happened to the League of Women Voters? Can we give the debates back to them? This sort of episode really sickens me. KB's point above is sadly accurate. It's stuff like this that really makes me think that whole big chunks of the established press needs to be swept away.
9:56 PM ... As I noted above, I missed roughly the first half hour of this debate. But from what I heard about those thirty minutes and what I saw of the subsequent ninety minutes was basically debate by gotcha line with basically no discussion of any of the big questions the election is turning on.