A High-Stakes Debate
Senators Obama and McCain at the second presidential debate. (AP)

Senators Obama and McCain at the second presidential debate. (AP)

They called it a “town hall” debate in Nashville, but in many ways it looked more like a dance. Two contestants, running through their steps.

Obama unflappable, cool. McCain passionate, on the attack. The polite town hall audience looking more than a little shell-shocked by the economic hurricane blasting the world outside.

Everything is on the line here. The election, with the days ticking down. The economy, with markets quaking.

The country’s future, with McCain and Obama battling to frame the challenges their way.

This hour, On Point: As the world reels, the debate in Nashville.


Jake Tapper, senior national correspondent for ABC News. You can read his live blogging on last night’s debate on his Political Punch blog.

Joining us from New York is Bob Shrum. A veteran Democratic strategist, he has worked on eight presidential campaigns, beginning with George McGovern’s in 1972, and was chief strategist for John Kerry in 2004. He’s the author of “No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner.”

Joining us from Los Angeles is Dan Schnur. A leading Republican strategist who has worked on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns, he was director of communications for John McCain’s 2000 presidential run. He is now director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.

Bill Schneider, senior political analyst for CNN. He is also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times, National Journal, and The Atlantic Monthly.

More links:

CNN has the transcript of the Nashville debate, and C-SPAN offers the full video on YouTube, here:

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