Well, I'm here in Mike Krempasky's house, having taken up this offer. The debate is coming up in about an hour.
I don't know how much actual live-blogging I'll be doing, but I'll try. I'm not sitting in my apartment screaming at the TV by myself this time around.
CSPAN is carrying the pre-debate feed, where Jim Lehrer is coaching the audience, unaware that he's on live TV.
The candidates come out and shake hands.
CSPAN is breaking the debate rule that disallows split-screen views of the two candidates.
Kerry is long-winded. George Bush has started off very shaky, looks like he keeps losing his train of thought.
Bush still looks like he's grasping for words, leaving long pauses before continuing his sentences.
Seems like Lehrer is going to the thirty seconds every question now.
Pfffh. I'm not doing a good job of liveblogging. I'm paying too much attention to the actual debate, trying to catch everything for myself, to be able to critique every step coherently on here. :( I'll keep posting my thoughts and observations, but I can't vouch for their cogency.
Here's a thought, though -- Kerry is arguing that we shouldn't have brought foreign troops to help us in Afghanistan. Kerry is also arguing that we should have brought foreign troops to help us in Iraq.
Lehrer makes a good point. He points out that Bush is multilateral in the case of Korea, while Kerry is unilateral.
At this point, Krempasky's wi-fi seemed to overload, and I couldn't access the Internet anymore, so I had to stop liveblogging :(.
My final thoughts on the debate: Bush got his points across well, and so did Kerry. But Bush seemed preoccupied with something else; his mind wasn't into the debate, and that concerns me. I was wondering whether there were national security issues weighing on his mind, and my thoughts were (partially) confirmed after the debate: I was informed that Bush was involved in an all-day security briefing earlier in the day, and it was implied that the meeting's purpose was not debate coaching but rather talking about newly-discovered information. This is all hearsay, of course, but it fits in with my reading of the President.
President Bush also seemed, at times, to be expecting a crowd response. He would pause for a second as if waiting for some cheers or claps or something, and then seem to remember that the event is a debate rather than a rally. Bush is an extrovert; he thrives on the goodwill of others, on crowd reaction and participation, and he was uncomfortable with the reception he got from the crowd. Of course, the crowd reception wasn't his fault -- as I think I mentioned earlier in this post, Jim Lehrer coached the crowd beforehand, telling them to remain silent. At one point, he jokingly said "I'll kill you", presumably to someone who was speaking up while he was addressing the crowd. But I believe only CSPAN carried this pre-debate coaching.
Anyways, I think that Bush will do better in the townhall meeting. He'll be able to have more of a rapport with the crowd, so he'll feel more relaxed, more able to make jokes, more able to be himself. I'm looking forward to it.