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Oct 15, 2008

Obama - McCain #3: The BAG's Pics Of The Night


(Click on any pic to expand)
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Without sound, McCain was very scary tonight.  There were several times (top image) I thought he was going to throw an embolism.

Rachel Maddow's first reaction was interesting for the way it fit with "the caffeine theory".  She described how McCain's initial energy and excitement level was over-the-top, filled with anger and eye rolling.  It wasn't till later he finally calmed down.

It's not just the fact McCain's affect is so extreme.  When Obama was speaking, McCain's expressions and reactions consistently showed him aloof and disconnected from what Obama was saying (3, 7).  When people latched onto the fact McCain didn't look at Obama in the first debate, what they were plugging into was something running deeper than just eye contact.  In 3, McCain can't help mocking.  In 7, he's wearing a smile on the outside but the lower jaw is tense.  Just ceding the floor seems like a challenge, if not an affront.

Check out number 8.  There was a stretch where McCain went on the attack and Obama, rather than getting mad (like he did, in a controlled way, in Tennessee), just couldn't help but laugh.  It wasn't mocking, however.  It was more incredulity.  In 4-6, Obama listens, then expresses what looks like a combination of disgust and disappointment in reaction to McCain's distain, before coming back and answering him.  It's this kind of thick skin and stronger character which has enabled Obama to easily win these contests.

Number 6:  McCain does a lot of interrupting.

Like I concluded after the first debate -- the one I thought McCain did best in -- the man is odd.  Also, check out the tweets below which I was firing off as I watched.  I never noticed this before, but McCain keeps using language and rhetorical postures evoking terror, torture or victimization.  It now causes me to think that the "prisoners" slip the other day really was telling.  Beyond his insufferable arrogance, McCain does seem to re-live that POW experience.

The BAG's tweets, in chronological order....

My one question going into debate: How caffeinated is McCain? I Americans as "victims." McCain on prisoner theme again? I They're letting McCain be McCain -- and he's already hanging himself with venom and petty meanness.I Hatchets and scalpels. Revealing analogies for a guy with a hostility problem.I This format -- sitting so close together at same table -- killing McCain. Accentuates the ill will. I "I've got the scars to prove it." More tortureIprisoner analogies from McCain. I  Mac railing about Obama negative campaigning. Ex-POW compulsively plays the victim. He can't see otherwise. I  Really McCain comes to the fore tonight. If he's going down, he's going to do it in flames. I The video of this could become a classic-- in psychiatry class. Mac either busting at the hinges or shifting his contradictions onto Obama. I Why O wins: McCain has been so edgy and hot that this interlude -- with Obama getting boring -- is actually a soothing relief. I McCain: "Time a few years ago when Congress was about to blow up." This guy's analogies scare me to death. I Obama talks about finding common ground on abortion. McCain's comeback? Accuses Obama of eloquence.

(Last revision 11:20 pm PST)

(screen grabs: BAGnewsNotes via MSNBC)


I thought about your caffeine theory all during the debate tonight. By George, I think you've got it.

I think McCain just crashed another plane.

I thought this quote from Ezra Klein captured McCain perfectly tonight:

"McCain looks angrier and more petulant than any participant in any major debate I've watched. Watching him try to stay seated is like watching a furious child try and obey a timeout. He can hardly hold still."

As the mother of a 5 year old boy, I saw exactly what Klein saw.

Wow! What's that thing on McCains neck? Never noticed it before. Looks like some sort of open wound. All red and wide-opened. Can anyone explain it?

Is it me or did it look like Robert Blake was playing the role of John McCain tonight?

Obama talks about finding common ground on abortion. McCain's comeback? Accuses Obama of eloquence.

Also, he uses scare quotes with the word "health". It came across as very belittling. I'm sure it was just red meat to the base, but scoffing at concerns about women's health in an answer about abortion turned off a lot of people who consider themselves moderate on the issue.

There is a very awkward moment for McCain at the end of the debate as Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain are coming onstage. Michelle is making a beeline toward Barack, and McCain starts to move toward Michelle, then realizes that she is not approaching him with open arms, she is reaching toward her husband. McCain turns on his heel, grabs his wife in a superficial hug, then turns straight back toward the Obamas (who are still embracing) and breaks up their moment together. He then hightails it offstage, forgetting his wife, who trails several steps behind him. The man was a freak show tonight.

He's wearing a ton of makeup to hide the fact that he looks so ill. He's fairly plastered with it; he looks covered with a coat of house paint. Nobody can miss how unwell he is, despite these efforts. He shouldn't even be running at this point.

Does caffeine dilate your pupils? Them are some weird eyes he has.

Extremely scary! In the past, I've often commented about the fact that McCain never smiles that much. Not that big sincere grin that has become so synonymous with Barack. McCain usually has more of a cheezy condescending grin. However, tonight he pasted on a BROAD, WIDE-TOOTHED smile...and let me just say...That's one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my entire life.

I listened to the debate on the radio. Even without the visuals, McCain came across as a disturbed individual. He had no focus on the issues. It actually sounded as if he was attempting to badger Obama into a fight. And like the bully in the school yard, when he didn't get the response he wanted from Obama, he got agitated even more.

McCain looked like a jackolantern. Made out of one of those white pumpkins.

Do these photos actually capture something McCain did in last night's debate? If so, does anyone know the context? Why would a politician running for POTUS do this on the teevee?

HurlCheck™ 1

HurlCheck™ 2

I wonder if any photographers caught this - this seems to be ascreenshot form the dailyKos site:

/Users/stephenferry/Desktop/debate 10-15-08 kos.jpg

nuff said. Stephen

What struck me is how often McCain said that "the American people are angry". I think he was clumsily using the "I feel your pain" gambit, the emphasis on anger made it seem more like projection of his own state of mind.

hurl check

that was a very awkward sequence at the end of the debate. mccain reached across the table to shake scheiffer's hand, but scheiffer was already getting up and heading around the table.

mccain did a little back and forth two-step with that strange facial expression, as if to say, "i thought you were going that way," like when two people try going this way and that in order to avoid walking into each other.

it was certainly a strange visual and i'm sure no one in his campaign is overjoyed, but it was actually a humanizing moment.

it looks like they let mccain be mccain.


It was a Jim Bourg/Reuters photo shot at the end of the debate. For reasons we may never know, McCain likes to stick his tongue out in public. He looks like he's gagging.

Thanks, folks. Adding one more explanation of that amazing shot to the mix.

The more I see McCain, the more I see behaviors (some subtle) that remind me of my father who was a Japanese POW in WWII. He survived the Bataan Death March. My dad was a wonderful person; however, there were times he would get angry about something just out of the blue! I really think it had to do with the issue of control. And I think that McCain, likewise, exhibits this kind of emotional behavior. It either "fight" or "flight" when one feels out of control of a situation. That's what scares me about him being so close to the nuclear button. My father became much more gentle and calm in his older years; he talked alot about this experiences. I just don't think McCain has and he might never do so.

This is my favorite photo from last night.

It makes me so happy to know that Obama wants to find common ground on abortion. God help us.

It makes me so happy to know that Obama wants to find common ground on abortion. God help us.

ref : “If you wanted to run against President Bush, [then] You should have run four years ago!

Apparently concocted for its Snap! Crackle! Pop! effect as herd heard SoundBite value. . .

You should have run four years ago !

. . .has an entirely different message when we strip its aural mean-ness, apparent ~ and consider its meaning literally :)

Indeed it sounds like something an Obama supporter might blurt in that brief happenstance when the candidate unexpectedly shakes her hand, and she finds herself in that fleeting moment when He is there, there with you ~ and she doesn't have time to ponder some precious message, yet somehow manages to express something profound : as her personal praise to/of Him, nonetheless.

i imagine that the genesis of this phrase was, e.g., the result of some Bull Session meeting, where the roundtable "shouts out" possible retorts to the expected rhetorical weapon: "McCain = Bush" association...

...for a writer, not a sounder would have immediately seen the dilemma of this message being a devastating double entendre.

“ Yes! You have no idea how many Republicans tell me the same thing, Senator !

MadameGonzo screamed at the screen (^_^)

To better analyze McCain at the conclusion of the debate, including the "hurl" moment (mostly McCain's reaction to getting stuck behind the desk) and, more strangely, McCain's shift-in-direction to greet Michelle Obama after he was already moving toward Cindy, here's the video of the post-debate minute or so.

in the video, look how McCain actually calls for Cindy, then suddenly pivots to somehow greet Michelle. 

Given his extreme impulsivity (combined with his social awkwardness and maybe even some conflict toward his wife) it seems like McCain's pivot was primarily in reaction to Obama's sudden turn.  It's hard to tell exactly because C-SPAN changes camera angles right as McCain and Obama turn, but it seems like Obama, after beckoning for Michelle, turns to his right to acknowledge the audience in that direction, and recognize Cindy moving toward the stage.  At that point, however, he makes the sharp turn to his left to greet Michelle ... and McCain comes along. 

(If it's microseconds after the fact, there is a also a pull here to think maybe McCain also wanted/needed a hug.)

Thanks, The BAG. What an unfortunate sequence. I almost feel sorry for McCain. I'm quite sure he wouldn't want my sympathy for this ... but, he has it anyway.

John, this question in the final debate was a hoot.
thanks again its a keeper ~ definitely no MAYBE about it.

"We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of MAYBE perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, MAYBE destroying the fabric of democracy."

JT; ref : “ We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama's relationship with ACORN

..! oh, JT (ROF-LMAO) you can't make this sh*t up, man :))

Gore Vidal => The Best Man (1964 play/film)

ref : “ I don't care if he has carnal knowledge of a McCormick reaper!

Wow! While I meant only to comment on the fact that I, too, had the caffeine information staunchly on my brain while watching the debate, I hadn't expected to see such a gaffe, and the very unusual body language in the stills of the post debate moments. Wow!

My comments regarding the debate are something I haven't seen much of today, about McCain saying he believes that his campaign has upheld a moral standards. Given all the racist and anti-Obama sentiments you've reviewed here the past week, I just don't know how he could possibly sit there with a somewhat straight face and say such a thing! Whether it be delusion or simply ignorance, I found that to be the most amazing statement in the debate.

Until this Campaign, I never REALLY noticed John McCain that much. Certainly I had heard ABOUT him and even SAW him via TV -
several times over the years!

My gut reaction to him was always "McCain as PHONY". I always had heard about this "MAVERICK" status he supposedly had and how "TERRIFIC" he supposedly was ( for a REPUBLICAN ) - on and on it went with the POW Thing ALWAYS, ALWAYS in there when he was mentioned as THE MAVERICK - as if that was ALL HE WAS - a MAVERICKY POW.

I never instinctively "LIKED" him. AND - I NEVER felt that he was a "MAVERICK".

I was called that name once by my Art Supervisor in a corporation where I worked and I felt TERRIBLE being referred to as THAT! But - unbeknownst to ME - I WAS a "MAVERICK". I didn't do this on purpose - I was just a very honest person and for an Artist/Graphic Designer - I took all that went on – in The Corporate World very seriously! Working in many "Fortune 500" corporations had taught me to "WATCH IT" and "BE CAREFUL" - almost every second because even in really great Art Departments - there was "NASTY FOOLERY A-FOOT".

My whole point is this - I never recognized McCain as a fellow "MAVERICK" - unwilling to be a "MAVERICK" - OR - CALLED such, as I was. I did do some soul searching and came to the conclusion that perhaps "MAVERICK-NESS" is part of the territory of being a "CREATIVE PERSON" and I GOT OVER IT - eventually! I really tried very hard to NOT be one (Maverick) and used as much skill as I could to "GET ALONG"!

Then comes this Election Season - and - there he is - AGAIN - The ORIGINAL MAVERICK, himself - John McPOW-Scary-Guy!

I flinched every time I heard him use The Word - "MAVERICK". I'd be thinking : THE REAL MAVERICKS - MANY TIMES DON'T EVEN know it - until they are called by THAT WORD and certainly DON'T STRIVE to be THAT WAY, at least, I DIDN'T – and to be SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PROUD of being THAT? Huh? What IS wrong with this guy?

I KNOW The Idea was to sway any bush-mongers into believing he wasn't/isn't REALLY a bush-guy - but he IS!

So, here he is - McCain - and LOVING IT! Why? He really isn't one - in the TRUE sense of the word anyway - but even so - what is so wonderful about being a MAVERICK? I'd still like to know. I was never happy being labeled with that and just could/CAN NOT understand how he can emotionally roll around in it and still does. Sally does too - (That's Sarah P. - his running-soul mate . . . ).

Looking at the pics you have here on the site – which I also saw real-time at the debate – actually made me think of something that had been lurking in the back of my mind all these years! !

McCain is BASICALLY a MEAN, NASTY guy – probably 24/7. I think that's what I instinctively FELT years ago when he came onto my radar screen. All of the photos show him as a just plain NASTY – BULLY.

He tries to use the word MAVERICK to describe what 'd LIKE to be - maybe! He REALLY is this very NEGATIVE THING yet he thinks "MAVERICK" will COVER for his totally lousy personality and even his lousy character.

He "smiles" and that makes me cringe too. It is NOT a "SMILE" but the facial movement of a BEAST who wants to devour! His less adorable facial grimaces and fluctuations REALLY put me off.. These are probably MY own issues - because many people do not SEE him this way - at least the ones willing to hand over our TOP SPOT to him!

Are they just missing what his FACE tells us?

Like most artists, I am a FACE-FREAK! I LOVE looking at all the thousands/millions of different faces - even the ANIMALS – I even see the subtleties in identical twins.

McCain actually has nice enough features but it's his SOUL and personality that shines through – not JUST through his eyes – which are menacing enough – but also through each feature.

His face is an open book and it's a very BAD novel. Of course, his ACTIONS are also a barometer of HIM – HIMSELF – his SELF.

I loved your analyses – I felt it was right on – as I usually do!

God help us all if he and the Moose-Slayer win . . .

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