The second John McCain/Barack Obama presidential debate will start at 9 PM ET, and Hot Air will be at the forefront of instant commentary! I’m using the Cover It Live system again tonight, but I’m combining it with the Ustream chat room from my show. That way the community can interact with each other as well as with me while I live-blog the debate. Jazz Shaw from The Moderate Voice will be moderating the chat, and don’t forget to register at Ustream to participate!

I believe that this embed will have the debate live, and you won’t need to go anywhere else to watch:

What keys should we keep in mind tonight?

  • McCain – He gets his preferred town-hall format, but that really doesn’t mean much, since Tom Brokaw has already selected the questions.  The format won’t allow for follow-up questions, either, which probably helps Obama more than McCain, who does a pretty good job counterpunching.   Instead, McCain needs to hammer Obama on Fannie Mae, taxes, and spending, and paint him as a backbencher who has no accomplishments other than getting himself elected.
  • Obama – He has an easier task tonight.  Obama knows McCain will get aggressive, just as he does in every debate.  He’ll do better to speak to general themes of discontent, ignore McCain, and stay positive while focusing on his own plans for government.  Every time McCain forces him to defend himself, he plays more and more on McCain’s turf.
  • Tom Brokaw – I’m more optimistic about Brokaw than some others, although I think I’d prefer Brit Hume or even Jim Lehrer.  Brokaw has enjoyed his senior-statesman status at NBC, and I suspect he also enjoys being the anti-Olbermann there as well.  Watch for bias in topics and question construction, but I predict that Brokaw will give a balanced performance tonight.

After the debate, I’ll talk with Hugh Hewitt to give my perspective, at around 10:30 pm CT.  I’ll also work on a final summary of the debate, probably for posting tonight.  Don’t miss a moment of it here at Hot Air!

Tags: Barack Obama