I’ll be live-blogging the first presidential debate, scheduled to start at 9 PM ET. 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!

Here are the keys I’ll watch in the debate:

  • If they stick to foreign policy, McCain has to get aggressive with Obama and demand specifics.  McCain wants to emphasize his long experience on foreign policy and military affairs.  Obama needs to keep the debate on general themes and criticize George Bush while avoiding getting pinned down on specifics.
  • If the debate switches to financial policy, which I expect, the dynamics change a little bit.  Obama is perceived to be stronger here, and he will need to get specific in order to demonstrate that.  McCain still needs to aggressively push Obama on his inaction on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in 2005-6 and emphasize that government meddling created the financial meltdown.
  • Obama reacted poorly when Hillary Clinton went after him in Pennsylvania.  If he starts stammering his way through questions, he’s rattled.  And no one gets under people’s skin like McCain.

I’ll watch the debates on C-SPAN. No one is providing an embeddable live-stream for the debate, as far as I know.