Live blogging: What was the question, again?

Both candidates start getting away from the actual questions to attack and counterattack on taxes.

Published October 8, 2008 1:43AM (EDT)

Mark this one down, folks: In tonight's debate, a Democrat was the first politician on stage to mention 9/11 unbidden. (And Rudy Giuliani was nowhere to be seen.)

Actually, Barack Obama's mention of the terror attacks worked pretty well, as he fit it fairly seamlessly into a discussion of how Americans might have to sacrifice during the current economic crisis, and how President Bush didn't ask the country to do that. On the other hand, John McCain's response to the same question seemed outdated. Fighting against earmarks worked for him at one point, but given the scale of the problem the country's facing right now, it doesn't really resonate right now.

McCain managed to make his entire answer to a question about the country's habit of bad debt and easy credit about Obama's tax plans. The answer was one long accusation against Obama; McCain contended that he'll raise taxes. As you'll know if you're a frequent reader of this blog, that's not really true -- most Americans, in fact, would see their taxes go down under a President Obama. (There's a question as to whether either candidate could stick to their plan, given the economic situation, but that's a separate issue.)

Obama didn't look great trying to get Tom Brokaw to bend the rules and give him time to respond, but he made up for that by countering effectively during his answer to the next question, which was about reforming Social Security and Medicare. (McCain then got up and made a joke about Obama not answering the question, which was ironic.)

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.