Presidential Debate Liveblog #1: Live From Oxford
by Sean Quinn
7:53 CDT: [Sean] However, the GOP is in a bind. If Palin is removed from the ticket somehow, as was suggested on NRO today, here endeth the groundgame. I don't think they could survive that, and it would make McCain look like he was admitting he picked her for political reasons -- which he obviously did -- but that would make it hard for him to explain while introducing a second pick. Not to mention the logistics of removing her name now that she's been nominated, and early voting has started with her name on the ballot.
7:50 CDT: [Sean] The crisis also plays terribly with the Palin pick, because it's increasingly clear that regardless of the way she connects or doesn't connect with someone on the personality level, she doesn't pass the laugh test for qualification. I don't mean that in as partisan way as you might think. Analytically, she's obviously not qualified. It's inarguable. But prior to the crisis it was much easier to imagine a world where she could skate by for 60 days not facing questions and having an American Idol election. Now, I think people are honestly scared by the economic circumstances, and it may shock independents into refusing to take that risk of a McCain-Palin ticket.
7:39 CDT: [Sean] I think Obama's thoughtful style will play very well in this moment. People have been shocked into seriousness with the financial crisis. They really, really care about the substance of what these guys say during the debate. There's a meta communication that Obama gives off of being calm and nuanced, that he can explain something in depth. It's reassuring The simpleton "What do we do with evil, negotiate with it or defeat it? Defeat it!" Q-and-A that McCain is better at than Obama won't fly during this crisis. That's my take.
7:33 CDT: [Sean] If I ever get cited in an Obama memo (yard signs, anyone?), Ben Smith will still attribute it to Nate.
7:31 CDT: [Sean] Also, in case you missed it, the Obama campaign is citing "Nate Silver" in its obligatory lower-expectations memo.
7:27 CDT: [Sean] When we chatted this afternoon, Nate made the incisive point about tragedy versus crisis. We've had a flurry of posting activity today, so in case you missed it and it got buried below, check it out. It's exactly right.
7:24 CDT: [Sean] Hey, there's T. Boone Pickens. It's official. 2008 is the year of the wind turbine image in political ads.
7:22 CDT: [Sean] Our only outlet has been installing satellite radio when we were in Vegas, so we get the CNN feed. When the catastrophically insufferable Lou Dobbs comes on in the afternoon, Brett likes the "Coffeehouse" station. He's one of them liberals. I like "Classic Vinyl."
7:15 CDT: [Sean] Nate's on NYC radio for a little bit and will be joining us soon (see preceding post) so I'll be getting this party started from Oxford, Mississippi.
We've somehow driven over 4,500 miles in the past two weeks. Between Denver, St. Paul, and the On the Road series, it's been exhilarating nonstop travel through this election landscape. Still, we're in a bit of a bubble away from blogs and most of the news coverage, and it seems that as we were visiting field offices and talking to volunteers and communications directors and precinct captains, the economy is entering an apocalypse. So, that's bad. Look for that subject to come up tonight.
Every place you go there's a different flavor, and no less so here. Brett has some great pictures of the crowds we'll be filtering out during the night. Thanks for spending the night watching the debate here at FiveThirtyEight.