Final Obama-McCain debate open thread

Barack Obama has a big psychological edge going into his final debate with John McCain. He leads McCain in all of the recent nationwide polls and in most of the key swing state polls, giving him a big lead in the projected electoral vote. McCain desperately needs to have the debate of his life and hope that Obama makes a big mistake.

Deep pessimism appears to have set in among the Republican political and pundit class, as you will learn if you read this Daily Kos diary: GOP Rats Deserting the USS McCain in Titanic Proportions. It’s chock full of quotes from angry or dejected Republicans.

Another piece that’s gotten a lot of traction today is this e-mail Ben Smith received from a demoralized Republican operative. This guy convened a focus group to test a hard-hitting ad linking Obama to terrorists among other things. The group believed his ad but are planning to vote for Obama anyway. Even though they think he’ll be a bad president. Even a woman who thinks Obama himself was in the Weathermen is planning to vote for him because of the health care issue. You really should click over to read this post.

McCain does have one thing going for him: he’s got a long relationship with Bob Schieffer of CBS, who is moderating tonight’s debate.

I probably won’t watch the debate live, but please share your comments in this thread. I will weigh in later when I’ve had a chance to listen.

I leave you with Obama’s latest tv ad, a good positive spot about education:

UPDATE: I caught the beginning of the debate, but then fell asleep while putting my kids to bed. Maybe I can catch the rerun on C-SPAN at some point. McCain seemed to be doing ok while I was watching, but apparently it didn’t go over well when he brought up William Ayers later in the debate. All the focus groups and snap polls gave the debate to Obama.

Note to aspiring politicians: No matter what your position is on when abortion should be legal (if ever), it’s a bad idea to use your fingers to make air quotes while saying “the health of the mother.”

Also, it’s best to avoid letting yourself be photographed or videotaped looking like this or like this. Not presidential.

Here’s a good summary of the post-debate focus group and polling data.

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