This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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October 2008
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Electoral College: Can Florida Please Sit Still?

Polls in 14 states today. Only one changes. And yes, it is Florida flipping back once again from “Weak Obama” to “Lean Obama”. Again, it seems like Florida is just hovering around my 5% Obama lead boundary line between these two categories, so it keeps bouncing back and forth. I am getting tired of moving it every day though, so I wish Florida would hurry up and make up its mind.

Having said that, it is bouncing around a 5% Obama lead, not bouncing around the 0% line, so while it makes the “Weak Obama” line on my chart look a little erratic, the state of the race doesn’t really change. We have Florida in a bit of an unstable quantum superposition between the two categories. At some point, the election at the latest, the quantum state will collapse.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 286, McCain 252
Obama Best Case – Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans – 364 Obama, 174 McCain

Not much else to say. Once again I think we are pretty much at Obama’s peak (or perhaps a bit below with Florida in the Lean category today). There are still a few states he might be able to pull in, but there are also some states that could easily swing back toward McCain…

Right now though, I think we are basically in a steady state. Of course if any events happen that actually start giving one or the other candidate some additional momentum, that could change.

And really, come on, I’d like at least a LITTLE suspense on election night. McCain needs to figure out some way to tighten this up a bit. Get to work on that John, OK? Thanks.

Not Fair, But…

No idea if this is real or Photoshopped, and it is so unfair, but I nearly fell over laughing when I saw it.

(via Daily Kos)

Zero? What?

(via DemConWatchh)

Prez Debate #3 Reax

OK, this one will be quick I think. I think McCain held his own better than last time around, where it seemed like he got pummeled. There were actually a few decent exchanges, and they did both throw some punches. But I don’t think there were any “game changing” moments, and McCain really needed one.

Once again, you’ll see nobody who had already decided changing their minds, and perhaps a few more of the stupid people who are still undecided because they haven’t been paying attention floating aimlessly to one side or another based on who looked best or whatnot.

But that will not be enough to make any difference. Obama is way ahead in all the polls right now. He must be close to his peak at this point, so the trend in that direction should be slowing and perhaps reversing a little any time now, regardless of the debate. But McCain really needed something big, that would convince people who had already decided on Obama to not be so sure any more.

I don’t think that happened.

Absent one of the candidates having a major health issue, one of them completely self-destructing through a self-inflicted mistake, Osama bin Laden being captured or a major new terrorist attack… we already know the outcome of this election, the next few weeks are just going through the motions.

Those kinds of big game changing events can of course happen. But the closer we get to election day, the less likely they get.

Oh, or it could rain and all the young under 30 Obama supporters could decide to stay home and party since it was going to be a landslide anyway and suddenly McCain wins after all. :-)

Liveblogging Prez Debate #3

Once again I’ll be liveblogging for anybody who cares. Timestamps will be in UTC. I will see IMs to “abulsme” on AIM. I will see comments added to this post. I may or may not see email to abulsme@abulsme.com, depending on if I decide to look at the other screen. I am in my office, so you can see me on the AbulCam. The commentary will start shortly.

00:44 – I’ve mentioned the following to several people in person, so I figure I’ll put it here on the record too. I think McCain’s best shot here is to actually just apologize for his campaign up to this date, and promise to run the kind of positive campaign he originally promised from here on out. I think that would get him an instant 5% pop in the polls. Not enough to win, but perhaps enough so start work on saving his reputation.

00:46 – A lot of commentators are also saying he should go with the “do you really want to give the Democrats both the white house and congress” route. This has some appeal. I really like divided government as someone who leans libertarian and generally prefers the government to do less. However, the last couple of years have shown that a Democratic congress does absolutely nothing to restrain a Republican president. Various years in the Clinton administration show that a Republican congress CAN check a Democratic President. So that is the combination I would prefer. But it doesn’t look like that will happen this year. Democrats in charge of everything DOES scare me. But John McCain as President is not better.

0:48 – Even though I said I wouldn’t, I’m watching on CNN again. I didn’t choose it, the Tivo did.

0:49 – It is very hot in my office. I’m going to open the window.

0:51 – Reb the stalker is here.

0:52 – Also, a lot of people are saying McCain should throw everything at Obama and go super negative. I think that would just backfire more.

0:53 – I don’t really expect much from tonight. I think it will be as boring as the last two. It will be exciting only if McCain makes it exciting. At this point I don’t think he has it in him. But he may prove me wrong.

0:54 – Going to go fill my water bottle before it starts. Should have made popcorn. But I did not.

0:55 – Someone I didn’t recognize briefly looked at the camera, then left.

0:56 – Hillary is there. Woo! And McCain called her for advice. Wha?

0:58 – Can we start yet?

1:00 – Starting! Woo!

1:01 – Bob Sheiffer is OK, but doesn’t excite me much. Wolf Blitzer just annoys me.

1:02 – Asian markets down 10% too right now. Which sucks. Please stop. Oh, here come the candidates.

1:03 – I like sitting better than standing for these things.

1:04 – Does McCain start every debate with a shout out to some elderly person in the hospital?

1:07 – Nothing big on this first question. Fairly standard answers. I should resist looking at the focus group chart.

1:08 – First attack from McCain. Something about Joe the Plumber. I see Mario.

1:10 – Can’t… resist… the… focus… group… lines…

1:11 – McCain can never get his line more than halfway up.

1:13 – Flash of anger from McCain. Or was it frustration?

1:14 – CNN is showing the “Watch Parties”. Please don’t. I just want to see the debate.

1:16 – Obama is talking about going through the budget line by line again. As if the President can do that. I mean, he can go through it, but there is no line item veto.

1:17 – McCain makes the Clinton call out.

1:18 – McCain just topped out on the green line for Men. That is the first time in this debate or the last I’ve seen him peg either line. People like his answer on what he would cut.

1:19 – The overhead projector again? Really?

1:21 – Can either of them balance the budget? McCain actually said yes. Wow. That is delusional. He will have a Democratic Congress. “I am not Bush”. Good shot from McCain.

1:23 – “Even Fox News Disputes it”. Nice.

1:24 – Obama actually went negative on the little charts when he was attacking McCain. Watch it. He doesn’t need to do that.

1:25 – I think these lines are bad. I really should change the channel. The affect my opinions too much.

1:26 – “Say it to his face”. Here we go.

1:27 – McCain isn’t repeating Ayers, and he is misrepresenting what John Lewis said. Odd.

1:28 – McCain spent most of the time attacking, just on new things. Obama is …

1:29 – Crap, Amy came in and asked about dinner. I am completely thrown off. I am going to have to rewind several minutes, and then I’ll be all upset about being behind real time.

1:30 – Screw it, I’ll stay on real time, but I completely missed Obama’s answer. Amy was in here less than 10 seconds, but it broke my concentration. It will take me several minutes to get back in the zone. Urgh. I may have to rewind after all. I’ve lost several exchanges now.

1:32 – Rewinding to 1:29.

1:33 – I can’t stand being behind real time.

1:34 – Now Brandy interrupted too. I’m going to be more than 5 minutes behind now. Very unhappy Sam.

1:35 – Back to McCain before Obama. 1:27 or so. So I can get all of Obama.

1:36 – Obama is going after McCain for his negativity.

1:37 – Still very upset about being behind real time. Head is spinning.

1:38 – No commercials, so can’t catch up. Maybe I’ll try to fast forward through the questions.

1:39 – McCain is being calm as he says Obama is negative too.

1:40 – Obama is defending the Lewis statements. Complete non-reaction from the focus groups.

1:41 – McCain is proud of the people who come to his rallies, there will always be some wackos. Probably the best answer to the Lewis stuff.

1:42 – Ivan is here now too, and is further behind than me. That makes me feel better. McCain doesn’t like the T-shirts at Obama rallies.

1:43 – This was probably the most sparks of the debate. If this is it, then there is nothing. Oh! McCain mentioned Ayers finally!!! And ACORN!

1:44 – Obama is just smiling. He has a response prepared.

1:45 – Straight, sober, just the facts answers to Ayers and ACORN, although neither with all the detail you can find online of course, especially on ACORN. It will probably be enough.

1:47 – McCain pushes it further. Focus group is flat. Oh, negative now. Getting no traction on this. Only hurting himself. Just like most people said would happen if he did this.

1:48 – Ivan mentions that Obama was not really talking about the line item veto, but going through the budget to propose cuts. But of course the way the budget works is that FIRST the president proposes a budget. He wouldn’t have to propose cuts in that, he could just not include things in the first place. Of course, those budgets are almost always DOA. The budget that comes back is from congress, and Obama can go through it line by line all he wants, but it won’t do anything. Damn, missed some again, rewinding more. My fault this time.

1:50 – Rewinded back to 1:39. 11 minutes behind now.

1:51 – Want to know about their cabinet via their running mates. Ha!

1:52 – Yeah, yeah, OK, semantics. Bottom line, the only proper role of the president on the budget is to sign it or veto it. The rest is up to congress. And yes, they can bully pulpit all they want, but it is still up to congress.

1:53 – While I was answering Ivan, Obama drifted from talking about Biden to talking about other things. Oh, back to Biden at the end.

1:54 – The men in the focus group like the defense of Palin.

1:55 – I agree Ivan, lets bring back Newt! That is one thing he did that I really liked!

1:56 – This is where they are attacking each other’s Veeps, but even here there aren’t really any big fireworks.

1:57 – New topic. Good. Oh, I haven’t been fast forwarding through the questions. Oh well, too late.

1:58 – McCain: “Canadian oil is fine!”

1:59 – McCain just came close to pegging both the male and female meters on his energy independence answer. Too bad what both of them are saying is mostly fantasy.

2:00 – Just got an email from the McCain campaign, asking if I want to host a “Super Saturday” McCain event on October 25th. I’m thinking no.

2:02 – McCain rolls his eyes a lot.

2:03 – McCain points out weasel words from Obama. As if he doesn’t do the same thing. Is there any politician who doesn’t? Otherwise you can’t say anything, because people will nail you for lying.

2:04 – McCain “Maybe you should travel down there”. Obama starts answering showing that he knows the region even if he hasn’t been there.

2:05 – BTW, no longer bothered by being behind real time. Even considering pausing for a bathroom break. Nah…

2:06 – So far this is a more even debate than the last one (I’m tainted by watching the focus group lines of course). But still nothing big that will make any difference in the race I don’t think.

2:07 – McCain mentions Hoover. Because he remembers.

2:08 – Obama explains his health care plan again. ZZZzzz…

2:10 – Joe the plumber again? Is he in the audience?

2:11 – Obama says “Zero”. McCain looks horribly confused. Doesn’t understand the answer.

2:13 – Attack parried, makes McCain look stupid.

2:14 – Oh, and since Ivan mentioned the Newt Gingrich government shutdown… we all remember what happened on one of the days when the government was shut down and Clinton wanted a pizza, right?

2:15 – Or was that how it happened? I forget the details, so should not talk without checking my facts. :-)

2:16 – McCain just called Obama: Senator Government. It looks accidental. It would have been good if it was on purpose.

2:17 – They all talked to Joe a lot. Oh god, Roe v Wade. Bleh.

2:18 – I don’t get the context of Ivan’s latest comment. We’re too far out of sync. Oh well!

2:20 – Pizza is here. Pausing for a second to sign the thingy.

2:23 – Got food. Did bathroom break. Now 15 minutes behind.

2:24 – The most important question on judges is NOT Roe v Wade. It is opinions on balance of power between the branches of government and the proper limits of executive authority.

2:26 – GH updated his facebook status to let us know he is not watching the debate.

2:27 – Ooo… McCain is going after him on the semi-aborted fetuses born alive thing.

2:28 – McCain eyerolls again.

2:30 – Both candidates got pretty positive results from the focus group on the abortion questions. These undecided voters really are the stupidest people in the country.

2:33 – If it ended on time, the real debate is over now. I’m still 15 minutes behind. Finished my pizza though.

2:35 – Education stuff for a last question. Bored again here.

2:36 – Reb says it ended on time. Still no word if McCain pulled down his pants as Reb keeps predicting.

2:37 – GH comments on the judge issue based on my comments, not the debate, since we know he did not watch. Yeah yeah, just qualified people, blind to knowledge of their actual thoughts on things. That would be nice, but doesn’t happen in this world.

2:38 – Was it Joe?

2:39 – I haven’t been paying too much attention to the education question. I probably should care more. My kid is in private school right now, but that won’t be true for long if the economy keeps tanking.

2:40 – It started raining here.

2:41 – Don’t actually disagree with Greg. So won’t argue. :-)

2:42 – Final snarky comment and a snort from McCain before the closing statements.

2:46 – Pretty standard closing statements. It is over.

2:47 – Big obvious handshake this time.

2:48 – Pausing now to avoid hearing CNN commentary until after I post my own initial thoughts, unspoiled by anything other than those damn focus group lines and the commenters here on this post. This liveblog is now over. But feel free to keep commenting here if you would like. :-)