Presidents to represent me

Liveblogging here:

10:31 That was a great job moderating. I think Obama had it--not by much, but he had it. I think John McCain just looked petty for much of the debate. It ain't his year.

10:25 Great the McCain campaign. He's laughing because he doesn't know how much he's bleeding.

10:23 "That was vouchers Senator Obama. I'm surprise you didn't pay more attention..." Lecturing again. Condescending again. Does that approach actually reinforce the age problem?

10:18 I think that parents part is critical.

10:15 That eloquence attack is a nonstarter. It's a debate. You can't attack someone for being eloquent in a debate.

10:14 Why does McCain keep sighing into the mike?

10:12 The kitchen sink comes out.

10:05 McCain rambling...Obama swats him.

10:02 From Andrew:

"Maybe you ought to travel down there." C'mon, McCain, this is weeeaaak. And petty. And incoherent. McCain's veep only got a passport last year and McCain is attacking Obama for not visiting Colombia.

10:00 Doesn't "Joe the Plumber" sound like a 70s porn star?

9:59 OK, now he turns to Joe the plumber. But he turns to attack Obama.

9:58 Look, he's looking at Bob. It's like he doesn't know the camera is right there.

9:57 One thing I just noticed is the Obama is--and has been--much more aware of the fact that he's on TV. Dig how he turns to the camera. McCain is caught in the moment. The battle, for him, is right there at the table. He doesn't project out.

9:55 "There isn't any doubt that Senator Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes..."

9:53 McCain can't stop himself from lecturing and condescending, can he...

9:51 More passive-aggressive. "I admire Senator Obama's eloquence..." It just says you don't take the guy seriously.

9:39 You just heard why John McCain will lose. He pivoted from an attack on ACORN and Ayers to his campaign getting the economy back on track. Worst segue ever. The two don't line up. Ayers and ACORN don't take you to a larger campaign theme. This isn't "Swiftboating" which took you to the War on Terror. This isn't Willie Horton, which took you to crime. This isn't "States Rights" which takes you to busing and the Voting Rights Act. It's just empty demagoguery. It doesn't say anything about what is foremost in the electorate's minds.

9:38 Devastating. "Says more about your campaign, than it says about me."

9:36 "Destroying the fabric of democracy!" Who knew ACORN was a herald of Galactus?!??

9:35 Here it comes...

9:34 Damn, McCain looks angry.

9:29 Boy Barry pounded him on this one. The "Woe is me" BS never plays well.

9:26 WEAKSAUCE!!! We get whining about John Lewis instead of Ayers?? WTF?

9:25 Here it comes. I smell Ayers...

9:23 Good come back. He's steady as hell. It's amazing, even sitting down he looks erratic. It feels like that "I am not President Bush" argument should have come up earlier.

9:20 Good. Good. "Senator Obama, I am not president Bush." Said it looking right at him.  I think he's learning kids.

9:16 Is the "buying up mortgages" idea popular? Who is the constituency for this?

9:10 Again with Joe the plumber! McCain should stop laughing and smirking when he doesn't actually mean it. It telegraphs passive-aggressive.

9:09 Barry's smooth, slipping punches "I think he's been watching some McCain ads," and then coming back and countering with "the plumber, the nurse, the firefighter..."

9:07 Finally McCain talks to him. Good move, I think. Oh, but the turning to the camera to talk to "Joe the plumber," not so much.

9:05 Still, something more than "Cut taxes." Respect due.

9:03 Ugh "Americans are innocent victims." No we aren't. But I guess it's what people want to hear.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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