Thus begins the open thread. I'll be commenting here all night, and other reasonoids will be commenting all over the blog.
9:02: "I have selected a great list of questions on domestic and foreign policy." It doesn't sound like Brokaw wants to ask about the bullshit-of-the-day attacks.
UPDATE: This was an inopportune time for a web slowdown. Responses won't be as immediate as your comments.
9:05-13: That was an interesting bit of attacking-without-looking-mean. Or trying to, at least. McCain's deployment of the Freddie/Fannie attack was something conservatives have been pleading for over the last week, and it hit the mark, but Obama might have deflected it with the attack on deregulation.
9:15: "You're not interested in politicians pointin' fingers." Palinesque!
9:18: "I wrote a letter, too. Senator Obama's not on it." Both of them seem more irritated tonight.
9:28: "We're not shotgun shots, my friends." I am going to miss elements of the McCain campaign when this is over.
9:31: Obama must be driving McCain insane with his speechmaking over McCain's easy-going conversation. He wimps out on the "what Americans can sacrifice" question. Clearly, he wants Americans to stop using so much gas. He wants us to pay more for it. But no way can he say that and keep his lead.
9:35: McCain's attempt to turn Obama into Herbert Hoover won't work. Unfair, but true.
9:38: Glad I didn't spread around my prediction that Obama could match McCain in the town hall setting, because McCain has adapted his style to this format better than Obama has. He's treating Obama like the far-away Washington politicians he bashes on the stump, and remembering the factoids that he needs to drive the points.
9:40: Anyone else having trouble telling the two of them apart?
9:43: Huge mistake for Obama to not stick the landing on Social Security, unless he's confident that he'll get the question again in the final debate. McCain's position (his actual one, not this "commission" crap) is unpopular; Obama's is popular.
9:47: "That one?"
9:50: For all the attention Clinton's 1992 pandering to the town hall audience got, Obama and McCain don't seem that interested in copying it. Obama's giving a short stump answer on what the question was about McCain's saying "thank you for the question" then doing the same thing.
9:54: McCain's far better on health care than he's ever been. By… sounding like Obama. "Everybody should have access to health care."
9:58: Health care is maybe the one issue where Obama is much, much more conversant than McCain. The difference: He knows what he wants. He has said before that if he designed a system from scratch it'd be Canadian-style single payer health care. He says tonight that "health care should be a right." He can't lose on this: It's 28 days to the election and people are panicked.
10:06: A great question—if you're against intervention in Iraq, why do it in Darfur?—leads to a spine-chilling round of humanitarian interventionism one-upping. That sound you hear is Bob Barr and Ralph Nader signing onto a murder-suicide pact.
10:19: The Russia exchange mirrored the back-and-forth from this summer. McCain knows specifics and wants to charge ahead. Obama… uh, you know, look, agrees that Russia is a problem, but is going to be nicer. Sadly, they both score points like this.
10:24: Big surprise on the Israel round. Neither of them will commit troops?