We’re going to try a whole-team liveblog of the debate tonight, with me and Eli switching off as the scribes, and working comments in from other contributors.

(Swopa didn’t mean to make this girlie when he photoshopped it.)

It’s now 8:30 (I’m streaming CSPAN), and boy, from far away, the entire stage looks too bright red and bright blue. The guy from the Commission on Presidential Debates is lecturing the audience about turning off their cell phones and how this is not about the audience.

8:43: Rut roh. The muckety-mucks are doing thank yous. Wachovia Securities got a big thank you. Are they still in business?

8:45: A WashU student says the candidates will be judged by their qualifications. Promise? I think that’s sexist (she’s female).

8:48: Gwen Ifill helped in by two students. Thanks them, says they’re the best thing that has happened to her in weeks. Gets applause when she sits down. "I fell, I wasn’t pushed."

8:51: The rules: 90 minutes in length, no breaks. All topics are fair game. 90 second answers, followed by 2 minute discussion, 2 minute closing statements. 

8:56 PM  My fervent wish:  Caribou Barbie slips and says "President Obama." (Pach)

9:00 Still waiting. I hear Biden backstage (I think). Whatup? Stop blowharding backstage, Joe. Or, at least get it out of your system.

9:00 PM Hey Gwen, break a leg!  xo  (Pach)

9:04: Ifill now announcing the debate. Divided into 5 minute sections. Order determined by coin toss. Subjects chosen by Ifill, not shared with Palin’s little ear piece. No cheers, applause, untoward outbursts. Welcome Palin and Biden. 

9:05: You hear Palin saying, Can I call you Joe? She’s sweet.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.