ELDER MUSIC: 1962 Yet Again
The Day After the First Presidential Debate of 2016

Watching the First Presidential Debate Tonight

UPDATE ON TUESDAY EARLY MORNING: Comments are shut down on this post and you are directed to the "morning after" post here for reactions and commentary on the first presidential debate that was held Monday night.

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It's been 14 years now I've been at this blog and I'm pretty sure 99.99 percent of the posts relate to ageing no matter how much I sometimes stretch the definition of that word to fit whatever I'm writing.

None of that pretense today. And there won't be any during the next times I write about this political season until we vote on 8 November because it is the most crucial presidential election of our lives, however old or young you are.

The consequences of choosing the Republican candidate puts our country, the countries of the rest of world and the ideals we hold dear at the greatest risk we have ever known. His election could change the future of the world in ways no other American president has done and that are terrifying to contemplate. And that is why this debate and the next two are the only things we should be talking about right now.

Sometimes I still think it is impossible that this man is a real candidate for the presidency with a real chance of winning. In all its years, I never saw an episode of The Apprentice. I could not have told you when it was broadcast or on what network.

He came to public attention about the time I arrived to live in New York City in the late 1960s and he became such a media presence that he couldn't be missed. But for me, it went no deeper than the garish headlines leaving me with the impression that he was an ignorant, vulgar boor, not someone I would ever need to pay serious attention.

Amazing now, how wrong I was. This evening, he and the Democratic candidate go head-to-head in the first of the three debates that will help decide the future of the world.

UPDATE AT 6AM: Last night, John Oliver returned from hiatus to his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. His main essay is too important not to post right now, before tonight's debate, and here it is:

There are predictions of more than 100 million viewers tonight - that's approaching Super Bowl levels - and that 73 percent of registered voters are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to watch, according to Morning Consult Poll [pdf].

You don't need me to find all the information you need to prepare for tonight's debate (if you think you need to at all) - it's everywhere. But in the interests of detail, here are some facts:

• TIME: The debate begins at 9PM eastern U.S. time and lasts for 90 minutes. There are no commercial interruptions.

• MODERATOR: The anchor of NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt, is the moderator.

• LOCATION: The debate is, of course, live and being held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Long Island.

• FORMAT: The debate will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other.

The moderator will use any remaining time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

• TOPICS: Moderator Lester Holt selected the topics: America's Direction, Achieving Prosperity, Securing America. Each will last for two segments.

Or, at least, that's what is planned so far. Events could change the topics and maybe the format.

• WHERE TO WATCH: These television channels will carry the debate:

Fox News

The debate will also be streamed online at least at these locations and there may be others:

Most networks' websites

Also: Undoubtedly at a bar or two near you.


• FACT CHECKING: Unlike Chris Wallace who will moderate the third debate, Lester Holt has not announced he will refrain from fact checking the candidates, although that does not mean he will.

Certainly, Hillary Clinton has some mis-statements and/or outright lies on her record but nothing to equal Donald Trump who has so many that most of us cannot recall them all.

As a reminder so you can keep track during the debate, here are some helpful reminders:

Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post has rounded up a Fact Check Cheat Sheet. As he explains in his introduction:

”The list is longer for Trump because, frankly, he has been exceptionally fact-challenged in this campaign. His average Pinocchio rating is 3.4, which is extraordinary; the highest average rating in the 2012 campaign was Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who earned 3.08.

“Clinton has an average Pinocchio rating of 2.2, which is slightly higher than President Obama and slightly lower than Mitt Romney in 2012.”

You will find Kessler's Cheat Sheet here.

Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns at The New York Times have created a list of Trump's most commonly repeated "whoppers" that occurred in just one week.

Two other things:

  1. Many pundits have said that if Mr. Trump manages to get through the 90 minutes without dropping any of his signature verbal bombs or other craziness, he will “win” the debate. That is not the criteria for a win or, rather, shame on the media for thinking so.

  2. Normally, I do not publish on Tuesdays but tomorrow will be an exception. Whatever happens tonight, I'm sure we will want to talk about it so a new TGB page will be open for commentary on Tuesday and comments will be closed on this page.

Meanwhile, how do you intend to watch the debate? Here on the west coast, it will be 6PM. That's early for most people but due to my odd sleep disorder, it is late evening for me so the cat and I will snuggle in among the six bed pillows, me with pad and pen to take any notes I might want for later. You?


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UPDATE ON TUESDAY EARLY MORNING: Comments are shut down on this post and you are directed to the "morning after" post here for reactions and commentary on the first presidential debate that was held Monday night.


I don't intend to watch, as I've never liked the debates, nor the hyped-up media atmosphere of importance put onto them. This is the media's fabrication, and they soak it for all it's worth, not necessarily with regard for the audience nor the solid, valuable information they could be providing.

Thank you for the follow-up tomorrow. I won't miss reading your and the other comments given in this forum, which I do value.

However, Go Hillary!

Thank you for the link to the fact checker Ronni. I've saved it and shared it with others on my FB page. I also find it surreal that we are at this point in history watching something like this unfold. I don't know any more, whether to wish it to hurry up and be over or to wish that we would suddenly discover that we are on a time treadmill where we never actually reach that destination. And we thought the sixties were weird!

It will be at 9 here in Michigan. I don't have a TV and did not watch any of the
previous debates, but I will be at my upstairs neighbor's and watch with her.

A friend of mine has a birthday a couple weeks before the election. I found a card
that expresses our disgust in a humorous way.

It says:

Voter 2016 options
1. a 1 1/2 cartoon drawing of a pompadoured Trump
2. a similar cartoon of Hilary
3. a set of suitcases with decorated with a red maple leaf.

Since I live just across the river from Windsor, Ontario, I am sorely tempted
to move if the Donald wins.

Ronni--I am confused. Didn't you mean 9:00 eastern standard time, not 6:00? You correctly stated the west coast begin time at the end of your blog, but in the TIME section, you misstated the begin time as 6:00 Eastern time. If you send out a correction, you may delete this comment.

I should have paid more attention to a previous blog about typos.
The first 'with' should not be there.

I will watch it, probably with an unaccustomed stiff drink in my hand. Frankly, I dread the thought of listening to an hour and a half of that buffoon.

I suffer from the same sleep schedule as you, Ronni, so am beginning to wind down by 7 pm. Being on the East Coast, am not certain I'll hold out until 9, but even so think I'd rather read all about it tomorrow bright and early rather than listen to Trump carry on with his usual bombast. I'm fearful though that his new team will have urged him to change the message completely and he'll come across as somewhat knowledgeable. Especially so to those undecided voters who'll think, therefore, that he's quite a good choice. Heaven forbid!

I am going to watch until I get mad - then I will turn it off and have a nice rest of the evening. I just hope that my candidate doesn't embarrass herself. That makes me more nervous than anything Trump might say.

Yes, Linda. I made a mistake. It is 9PM eastern and I've made the correction in the text. Too late to fix the email/rss/FB subscriptions. My apologies, but I'm pretty sure we'll all figure it out.

I will try to watch it, although the whole thing is painful. I will always be sorry that Hillary didn't continue to serve as U.S. senator from NY. And Trump is the best argument against democracy that I could ever imagine.

I'll probably watch because with something this important, I don't trust the media to give me the straight, unbiased truth. I want to see, hear, and interpret it for myself. It will be tough to watch, however. I've made a point of turning off both candidates because they so disgust me.

I will not be one of the 100 million watching. Just the thought of looking at Trump for 90 minutes makes me sick, and the thought of him possibly becoming our next president makes me even sicker and terrified.

I also, will not watch. I never expected that we would have dropped the bar so far in this country & it literally sickens me. To think that this buffoon of a man would have reached this point is extremely difficult for me to comprehend. It's like a bad horror film. In the area I live I'm utterly amazed at the number of Trump signs in yards & utterly amazed to hear the women I speak to (mostly socially) don't believe that Hilary will make a good president. So many believe that "Bill" will be once again be running the country...........it's a mess & extremely depressing. I'm fearful for all on many levels. Dee (:

I'm with you Ronni! Too much is at stake to not be involved! Unfortunately the media has an awful lot to answer for too, especially in creating a "circus" out of the democratic process, but that's for another post! I'll be watching as I've watched all past debates, but this one is particularly unusual and the stakes couldn't be higher! That someone as unqualified. unbalanced, and uninformed as Trump could possibly be elected, fills me with horror! My international friends are aghast at what's happening here!

Thanx, Ronni. You're doing whatever you can do to help turn the tide. I'm so pleased that you are using your 'podium' to alert/guide your readers to be informed, - - and thus vote intelligently. Which, of course, means for Hillary. Keep it up.

I wouldn't miss this for anything and will view it from Canada. Whatever happens in the US
will reverberate everywhere in the world. The world is watching.
The whole election process is like a circus. How can other countries have an election in
approx 3 months and it takes a couple of years in US?
Whatever about Ms Clinton's faults she is not "crazy" and in a career as long as hers there are bound to be some low points.
I believe her heart is in the right place and it's time to see what a woman leader of the West
can achieve in our disordered world.
Go Hillary!!

Here in Canada, I will be watching online – on CSPAN streaming if that works. (We don't have a TV. ) I want to see the debate first as if I were right there in the hall, without a bunch of talking heads. I know the media spin matters, but I can always catch up on that later.

This time around the spin may not even be as dismayingly wrong-headed as it has been in past years. For this past week, ever since Trump trolled the media with his bait-and-switch birther announcement that turned out to be an extended infomercial for his new hotel, I've sensed they're in a different mood. (It's fine to trick voters, it seems, but now he's made it personal. Don't know if that will last.) It's quite possible they'll even do some real-time fact checking.

All the same, false equivalency is still a thing. I want the unvarnished debate first. Then I'll turn around and try to figure out what most American voters saw, and how that was different.

Since I don't have TV, I'll be watching on my iPad. (I don't want to, but can't stay away from it.) If Hillary isn't elected, all of the progress that has been made in my lifetime will go away. Depressing. I just hope that enough people realize what a disaster that a Trump presidency would be & will get out & vote.

Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your blog tomorrow!

I'll watch, for the same reason I watched the FBI siege of Waco. National spectacle fraught with disaster. (I used to watch the Superbowl on the theory that it's a national religious event, but finally cut that out.)

Somewhere I saw an announcement saying something like "Watch the candidates debate the issues!" And I thought, if only. Hillary may discuss the issues, but Trump will be doing his usual Punch-and-Judy act. (Hey, we've laughed at Gary Johnson for not knowing what Aleppo is. Does Trump know what Aleppo is? Probably not.)

As for Glenn Kessler's comments, "fact challenged?" "FACT CHALLENGED?" How I loathe euphemism.

Ronni, I'll think of you, propped up in pillows a few hundred miles north of me. I'm a night owl, and will be on the edge of my couch, surrounded by the adorable dog and cat. I'll let you know what they think of the whole thing.

Another Canadian here. Not my country or election, but I still don't think I can bear to watch the debate live.

Just want to give some credit to my home-town reporter Daniel Dale (covering the election for the Toronto Star) who has been doing regular bullet-point fact checks (or lie-lists) on DT for many weeks. Several prominent US political Twitterers recently commended him for that, and the following week the NYT and the Washington Post started doing the same. Better late than never.

I am still in shock to think that 50% of the voters in the U.S. are such gullible loons that they are actually considering voting for this con man. This does not speak well for our educational system. How in hell can an adult reach the age of 60+ and fail to see that they are being brainwashed by a charlatan?

I will have to watch on my PC monitor because I gave up TV long ago. I hope I can get CNN, but may have to watch on another site with captioning. But, watch I will. I know it well make my blood pressure soar and that's not good, but I will watch in the hopes that Clinton cleans his clock.

Unfortunately, even though Clinton will win hands down on knowledge and facts, it won't matter to those uneducated followers of Trump who still believe he can build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it. And why don't they know that it will cost trillions to build and ongoing trillions to maintain? Voting with your gut is a bad way to put the future of this country at risk.

I'm watching with a friend--because neither wants to be alone with this, and we need someone with whom to swear and comment. We'll order food and watch with my two dogs. I'm not expecting a real debate--how could I when one candidate is without substance, but I'll be rooting for Hilary to hold her own in the face of all the nonsense and, I so hope, smack him down. He's never, as we've been told, debated one on one or for such a long time wherein he'll be required to do more than present a word salad. I do hope he will not be declared a winner for not losing it, or imploding, or not uttering any of his worst insults. I cannot imagine, however, that his misogyny will not be apparent as he "debates" a strong woman.

I hope Hillary and her team have realized Trump's Achilles heel and use it to their advantage and can change the way his supporters view his vile tantrums. Clinton needs to expose his weak vain side. If she can "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" multiple times, he will get so enraged at the attacks of his grandiose self, his supporters will surely see his madness in full throttle.

The American president really has no checks or balances when it comes to pushing the big red nuclear button; that one thing, and it alone, makes him a VERY dangerous threat not only to the U.S. but to the entire world.

All to say Trump's profile is that of a man extremely unfit for public service of any kind.

I'll be watching, and I so agree with Cowtown Pattie and others. The Drumpster is absolutely a threat to democracy--besides being a racist, sexist, xenophobic, narcissistic adult schoolyard bully. In my view he is so mentally undisciplined and ego-driven that he might actually push the red button out of pique or if he feels slighted or "disrespected". Gang bangers shoot each other with Saturday night specials if someone "disses" them, but this guy would have the world's largest nuclear arsenal at hand. Very scary!! I think that about covers it for me.

I certainly won't be watching. I'd like to be able to say the result won't affect me since I live halfway across the world but unfortunately the outcome of your election will have ramifications worldwide. I cannot get my head around the fact Trump is still in the race, I just hope enough people will vote for the better candidate rather than blindly voting for their favourite party.

Not American, but now fascinated by the election drama. +1 to all comments above.

I watched the debate. In my opinion, Hillary won. For the first time I really admired her - what a performance under GREAT pressure.

DT did well in a few parts, but overall gave negative impression. I just can't figure out how educated Americans can believe DT's con-game (I was taken aback initially when I found his base included some very well educated people). Yes, Hillary has her faults and is not my favourite person - BUT, given the binary choice, she wins without any need to ponder!! Of course, DT's surrogates will not give an inch that their god's presentation was NOT great .

The moderator was excellent - my second prize goes to him.


MSNBC today falsely spinning that Trump won. SAD! (I don't think polling numbers will be affected by the debate, but hate it when media misleads). I really dislike Mika's preening and breathless delivery - she comes across as dumb with her infantile remarks. Also dislike Kellyanne Conway, but to give her due, she's whip smart. She'd be my lawyer if I shot someone on 5th avenue in broad daylight at rush hour - and pleaded "Not guilty", adding that I wasn't even there and the VERY idea was ridiculous!!

Interesting that the same MSNBC's later programs tonight: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell will say that Hillary won. I know that these guys have their 'masters' but while FOX follows a consistent line of supporting DT blindly, don't understand how MSNBC does a zig-zag.


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