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.
Earlier today, Marc Ambinder described an Obama campaign memo this way: "If it's 2pm the day of the debate, it must be an expectations-lowering memo."
Just a few hours later, he engaged in some expectations-lowering of his own -- on behalf of John McCain.
McCain has spent a lot less time preparing for this debate than Obama owing to McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington.
We'll probably see a lot of assertions like this, but how do reporters know it is true? McCain didn't actually return to Washington until yesterday afternoon -- and he was at home by 6 pm. Besides which, he can do debate prep from anywhere. So how does Marc Ambinder -- or anyone else -- know how much time the candidates spent preparing for the debate? Particularly with enough certainty to announce that one has spent "a lot less time" than the other?
Also: John McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Anyone who says he did isn't telling the truth.
And Marc Ambinder knows McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Here's what Ambinder wrote yesterday: "The campaign is 'suspended,' although we know it's a partial suspension of some activities designed to look like a full-scale suspension."
So, in a single sentance, Ambinder wrote something he knows isn't true, and something he cannot know is true -- both of which help McCain.
A new Associated Press article about seven top aides to Sarah Palin defying a subpoena in the Alaska Troopergate probe notes that the state Senate Judiciary chairman who threatened to hold the aides in contempt is a Democrat.
Then, in the next paragraph, the article noted that the state's Attorney General "filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation."
But nowhere does the article tell readers that the Attorney General is a Republican ... a Republican who was appointed by Sarah Palin.
Michael Calderone at Politico flags the wire service for trying to suggest Biden recently kept journalists at bay just like Palin has.
And yikes, even Fox News claims AP got the Biden/press story wrong.
Meanwhile, Greg Pollowitz needs to update his National Review's Media Blog. He chided Biden -- and the media -- based on that initial, false AP report.