Exhibit 13.1

Debate Thoughts

* My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends, My Friends.

* I'll admit it: for the first time since he started cozying up to the base of his party, I felt sorry for John McCain. As with Dole, his war injuries really make him awkward whenever he's not behind a podium and the way he wandered around during Obama's answers was less 'dynamic maverick' and a little more 'grandpa's gotten lost.' Unlike with Dole, McCain is not going to come out of this as a venerable American doing Pepsi and Viagra commercials. We all liked Dole so much better after he lost (mostly because we didn't have to worry about him being president), but a McCain loss is going to leave behind an isolated and angry old man who may not have the years left to cool down and regain everyone's respect.

* It's abundantly clear that the only way McCain knows how to compete is by forcing himself to hate his opponent which, I suppose, is an effective trait in a war but not so much in politics. Maybe South Carolina in 2000 changed him (though suddenly it seems a little more plausible that McCain himself played a hand in fermenting the bitterness which the Bush camp ultimately took to the next, deplorable level). Whatever the case, I don't think there are many of us who wouldn't have preferred a McCain presidency to a Bush one if those were our only two options. That at this point the two are more or less equally dishonorable in my mind is a little sad. From Palin to the negative ads to the way he treats Obama when they share a stage, McCain has likely cost himself a chance to be remembered as anything other than the candidate who ran a racially charged campaign against our country's first black president. If Obama does win, and at this point it's seeming very likely, that anger is not going to be remembered well once any context goes away.

* Obama was great, speaking clearly and with authority while not letting himself take the bait and get bogged down in a shouting match. I thought he could have been more forceful in defending his grossly mischaracterized health care and tax policies, but, as is often the case with his candidacy, he did a better job selling his vision and himself than the details. I'm fine with that, and at this point America is too. It's clear that people just want someone they can believe in and Obama's that guy. It was hard not to think of Obama every time McCain said that, "we need a cool/steady hand on the tiller."

* Speaking of which, whoever let McCain say that tiller line should be fired. Not only does it recall Obama much more than McCain, it sounds archaic. My guess is they tried to beat it out of him with a different phrase but McCain couldn't help himself (hence the first "cool hand on the tiller" oddity).

* It's good for all of us that none of the personal attacks came up in this debate. Apparently the McCain camp is now going to drop any mention of Ayers and Wright, but it's too late for them to take the high road. For Obama's part, I thought one of his campaign's few missteps in the last month was launching that Keating Five website on the same day they knew McCain was stepping up his attacks. Instead of two days of "McCain ramps up personal attacks" headlines they gave the media the opportunity to run more even-handed "Campaigns turn personal" stories. It's the wrong year for pettiness.

* Tom Brokaw was pretty horrible. I don't think he was biased or anything, but there definitely wasn't a question asked of McCain as loaded as this one to Obama, "So are you saying, Senator Obama, that the world is going to end and that mothers will have to smother their children rather than watch them starve?"

* I should point out that I was paraphrasing there.

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