Mark Halperin: "Obama said during the debate that Kissinger, a McCain adviser, supports presidential talks with the Iranian president."
This is false.
During the debate, Obama said Kissinger "said that we should meet with Iran -- guess what -- without precondition" -- not that the meetings should happen at the presidential level.
McCain repeatedly purported to correct this statement by saying Kissinger doesn't support presidential-level talks with Iran -- and each time, Obama made clear that was not his contention.
The transcript is here. See for yourself. Halperin isn't telling the truth. He's just parroting the McCain spin.
UPDATE: The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes: "McCain was able to turn a single question about meeting with rogue leaders into an extended colloquy that ended with him hitting Obama for misunderstanding Henry Kissinger. A very good moment for McCain."
This, too is false. Obama didn't misunderstand Kissinger. McCain misstated Obama's accurate statement about Kissinger. Again, read the transcript for yourself. Obama doesn't say Kissinger favors presidential-level talks; he says Kissinger favors talks. And the AP notes: "Obama was right that Kissinger called for meetings without preconditions."
So it's only a "very good moment for McCain" if you think that misstating your opponent's comments for the purposes of rebutting them is a "good moment."
CBS polling suggests Obama won among undecides, and won big:
CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.
These figures are still preliminary and could change as more respondents complete the survey. But here's what we have so far:
Forty percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-two percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-eight percent saw it as a draw.
Of course, as we learned from 2000, the media have a few days to change viewers' minds about what they saw.
Let's hope this time they focus on fact-checking the candidates' claims rather than engaging in theater criticism.
UPDATE: Politico's Roger Simon isn't wasting any time trying to change voters' minds.
In the post-debate spin room, should journalists at least try to differentiate what's being said? Jeralyn at TalkLeft notes as an example Nicole Wallace's claim on CNN that Obama would raise taxes "on the vast majority of the American people."
A YouTube you will see before the clock strikes Midnight
Barack Obama repeatedly saying: "I agree with Sen. McCain" or "I agree with John."
Along with Martin and Fox, some right-wingers seem to think this is a big deal. It isn't.
First, it's a little odd to see a journalist chiding a candidate for finding areas of agreement with an opponent; usually the media complains of excessive partisanship.
Second, this just isn't that unusual. It's how candidates talk: they acknowledge areas of agreement.
Look, for example, at how often Gore and Bush agreed during the second debate in 2000:
GORE: I agree with that. I agree with that.
MODERATOR: You agree with that, Governor?
BUSH: I do.
GORE: I don't disagree with that.
MODERATOR: And you would agree?
GORE: I would agree.
GORE: I agree with that
GORE: first of all, let me say that the governor and I agree on some things where this subject is concerned.
GORE: I also believe in the Golden Rule. And I agree with a lot of the other things that the governor has said.
BUSH: Yeah, I agree.
GORE: I agree with Governor Bush that we should have new accountability, testing of students.
Or the first Bush-Kerry debate in 2000:
BUSH: I agree with him.
KERRY: The president and I have always agreed on that.
KERRY: I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free.
BUSH: In terms of Darfur, I agree it's genocide.
BUSH: I agree with my opponent that we shouldn't be committing troops.
BUSH: Well, I think -- listen, I fully agree that one should shift tactics, and we will, in Iraq.
BUSH: I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network.
Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza is commenting on the debate via Twitter: "McCain -- happy warrior. He's taking the more in sorrow than anger approach to hitting Obama."
Lehrer just stepped all over Obama's criticism of McCain for saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong -- he basically interrupted Obama mid-sentance.
Lehrer always says debates are about the candidates, not the moderator -- but he just injected himself into it in a completely useless way, derailing what could have been an actual sharp exchange between the candidates.
UPDATE: Time's James Poniewozik describes Lehrer's interjection as an attempt to "stage-direct drama into a debate."
Over at time.com, they're liveblogging the debate with two people, somebody who writes about politics (that's Karen Tumulty) with somebody who watches TV for a living (that's Jim Poniewozik). And wouldn't you know, it's the TV writer who makes this key point. After he referred to how McCain had "suspended" his campaign, Poniewozik explained the use of quotation marks around the word suspended:
The quotation marks need to be used, because this term has been parroted too uncritically. McCain has given interviews, done speeches, run ads, raised money and sent out surrogates. Essentially the man took a plane ride and got the media to call it a suspension.
On Thursday, the cabler started running the controversial spot that CNN had rejected and Fox News personalities had criticized. Late Friday, MSNBC reversed course and announced the ad, produced by independent liberal groups, would no longer run.
Here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, moments ago, suggesting Barack Obama is "elite" in part because Obama was wearing sunglasses:
Can Barack Obama, a man of elite education if not elite background, break into the middle class and talk regular? Can he talk to regular people in their kitchens tonight, in their living rooms?
Everybody thinks Barack is too cool. In other words, there he is with the shades, getting on the plane. A little bit too elegant, a little bit too proud of his own bearing. Is that a problem, that he's just too cool for words. In other words, elite.
And here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, sitting beside the pool outside his Nantucket vacation home, wearing sunglasses:
She reported from Congress tonight and summed up the status of the bailout negotiations, which hit a major snag on Thursday but seem to be progressing more smoothly now.
Yellin concluded her update by saying: "The attitude here is nobody can really explain what went wrong yesterday but now they're back on track." [Emphasis added.]
Hmm, what was different about Thursday and Friday in Washington? Who made a surprise appearance Thursday when the bailout talks fell apart but left Washington today? Hmmm.