Tonight’s Debate Winner? Jim Lehrer

I was trying to figure out what happened to the audience. Since I missed the first three-four minutes, I now see that Lehrer chided them to keep it quiet. And they listened. Then he chided the candidates to talk to each other and not the camera. Then he stayed out of the way, asking good solid questions and keeping the candidates in line. One weak question – right as I was tweeting about his mad skills – How likely do you think we are to have another 911? … It’s nice to have a debate where we aren’t left talking about the moderator. Lehrer is one of the few newsmen out there who is about the news and the facts without wanting it to be all about him, and it really showed after so many of the poorly moderated debates this cycle. All in all, we didn’t really learn anything new about our candidates, and their performance was tame compared to the drama on Capitol Hill (Paulson on one knee before Pelosi, really?). But shout out to Lehrer, tonight’s MVP.

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Agreed. I was hoping for a little conversation on public service which never really happened. Just the typical – everything in Washington is horrible. People have been getting elected for 70 years on that line. I don’t think blaming Washington (and government generally) inspires people to public service. Non-profits good. Government bad. That’s a key part of the recruitment problem.

Adriel Hampton

The time is really right for a very positive boom in government service. Retired folks giving back, new grads and gen-Xers going into public service – Thomas Friedman pumps it up in “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” If our leaders can’t inspire, we are in for a lot of pain over the next few decades.

Adriel Hampton

Tonight’s debate was really good – better than McCain/Obama from my end. Palin held up her end and her folksy image, and Biden connected at a heart level. Two points, though: the thugs who tried to kneecap Gwen Ifel going in are shameful; and, I really don’t like people who espouse contempt for government want to lead it – lack of vision.

Adriel Hampton

OK, so I missed the first 30 minutes today due to HOA board work. However, my strongest impression was that Brokaw did a terrible job as moderator. And then that it was a pretty stale event – kind of filler at this point. Had anyone not already heard 95 percent of those answers? And some of the questions, there was no way Obama or McCain could give a definite answer. Is Russia an Evil Empire? Please.
One point: I don’t like McCain’s plan, but I think he needs to make it clearer that it’s a full tax CREDIT. I’ve totally bought the line that my taxes would increase were employer coverage taxed as income. I’d probably benefit at my income level, but McCain just doesn’t sell his plan clearly (and I do my own taxes).