Town Meeting Presidential Debate
Curb Event Center
Belmont University, Nashville, TN

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

: All topics.

: Tom Brokaw.

: Two-minute answers, followed by one-minute discussion for each question.

Overview: This debate occurred on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508.39 points (5.11%) and at a time when Sen. Obama appeared to have gained a definite edge in polls.  The McCain campaign had recently signaled its intention to take a more critical tack, focusing for example on Obama's association with William Ayers, and the Obama side in turn had launched an effort highlighting Sen. McCain's role in the Keating scandal.  There were thoughts that this back and forth might extend into the debate, but the candidates did not bring these attacks to the stage.  McCain's preference for the town hall format was seen as a factor that might help him somewhat.  The debate broke little new ground, and seemed at times more of an exchange of talking points.  Moderator Tom Brokaw chafed under rules prohibiting follow-ups.

Source: Nielsen, based on
live coverage on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC.


Pre-Debate Stage Setters/Rapid Response/Post-Debate Spin

"Barack Obama won a resounding victory in John McCain's favorite debate format because he made the case for change that will rebuild the middle class. The American people asked tough questions tonight, and only Barack Obama was is in touch with their struggles and offered clear and passionate answers about creating jobs, reducing health care costs, cutting taxes for 95% of working families, and responsibly ending the war in Iraq. John McCain was all over the map on the issues, and he is so angry about the state of his campaign that he referred to Barack Obama as 'that one' – last time he couldn’t look at Senator Obama, this time he couldn’t say his name. The McCain campaign said, 'if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose,' and John McCain definitely lost tonight."

Obama-Biden campaign manager David Plouffe
"Tonight, John McCain won the debate. He was the only man who demonstrated he had the independence and strength to take on everything that's broken in Washington and on Wall Street. John McCain had a clear plan for improving the lives of Americans -- keeping them in their homes through his American Homeownership Resurgence Plan. From Barack Obama, we heard half-truths and contradictions between what he says and what he has done. He said he supported offshore drilling but has opposed it for months. He talked about tax cuts but he voted for higher taxes 94 times and promises increased taxes on small businesses. He talked about reducing the size of government but has proposed hundreds of billions of dollars in new government spending. Tonight, Barack Obama had an opportunity to level with the American people, but instead all we heard was more of the same."

McCain-Palin 2008 Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker 

On the Front Page
New York Times: "Economic Woes Set Tone for Rivals in 2nd Debate: Obama Assails Deregulation--McCain Offers Mortgage Plan"
Adam Nagourney.
Medium wide shot of McCain standing and speaking, Obama seated and looking on, and a bit of the audience (about 5 people).
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Washington Post: "Economic Crisis Dominates Debate: McCain and Obama Differ Over Causes and Solutions"
Dan Balz, Anne E. Kornblut and Michael Abramowitz.
and... below the fold "For the New Contagion, the Same Old Prescriptions" (Analysis) by Steven Pearlstein.
Medium wide shot of McCain standing and speaking, Obama seated and looking on, and a bit of the audience (about 18 people).
Gerald Herbert-Associated Press.

Wall Street Journal [on the fold] "McCain, Obama Square Off Over How to Fix the Economy"
Laura Meckler and Christopher Cooper.
Medium shot of Obama and McCain reaching towards each other to shake hands before the debate.
Agence France Presse/Getty Images.

USA Today [on the fold] "Economy dominates debate: McCain, Obama stick to issues, avoid personal attacks"
Kathy Kiely and David Jackson.
Medium shot of Obama and McCain waving to the audience before the debate.
Pool photo by Charles Dharapak.

Washington Times: "McCain pledges homeowner help: seeks to buy up bad mortgages; Obama blames Bush for crisis"
Joseph Curl.
Medium close up of McCain talking and Obama looking on.
Getty Images

The Examiner [Washington, DC tabloid]: "No knockout: Candidates spar on economy, taxes, health care." Medium shot of McCain standing and speaking, Obama seated and looking on, and a bit of the audience (about 6 people).

fundraising e-mails tied in to the debate
Obama for America
McCain-Palin Victory 2008

interest groups

CBS News

Partners : AT&T  -  Athens Distributors  -  Athens Paper  -  Avon  -  BBJ Linens  -  Best Brands  -  Kix Brooks  -  Cassel International  - CBS Outdoor  -  centre{source} -  Cisco  -  Classic Party Rentals/Grand Events  -  Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum  -  Dell, Inc.  -  Dury's  -  Eakin Partners, LLP  -  Earl Swensson & Associates  -  Fastsigns (Hickory Hollow)  -  Gaylord Entertainment  -  Greer Stadium  -  Hersh Media  -  Interior Design Services  -  International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)  -  Lamar Advertising  -  Lellyet & Rogers Company  -  Liberty Rentals  -   Lipman Brothers  -  Nashville Convention & Visitor's Bureau  -  Nashville Public Library  -  Nissan North America, Inc.  -  Pepsi  -  Porridge Paper  -  R.J. Young Company  -  The Rendon Group  -  Richards & Richards Office Records Management  -  Sharon Johnson Catering  -  Sodexho, Inc.  -  Southcomm  -  Standard Candy Company  -  Stewart Transportation Solutions  -  Tennessee Car and Van Rental  -  Tennessee T-Cakes  -  US Imprints  -  Tony J. Vaughn  -  WDEF News 12 (Chattanooga)  -  Whole Foods Market  -  WSMV Channel 4 (Nashville)  -  WTVF NewsChannel 5 (Nashville)

Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action