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McCain and Obama Meet For Debate #2 After Day of Clashes

The second presidential debate is on tonight in Nashville, TN, and it stands to bring the candidates closer to each other — and to voters than they've been to date. The townhall format could be a dicey proposition given the . . . strong turn talk has taken in the last couple of days.

With fewer than 30 days left, McCain said since Obama was "taking the gloves off," he leveled a strong criticism of Obama's accusations over the credit crunch. He said, "I guess he believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed." In Albuquerque, McCain continued saying, "For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book. It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that."

To see what Obama's said lately, and how the the new format changes the whole game,


Obama isn't taking the criticism lying down. He's planning a multi-media campaign to hit McCain on his involvement in the Keating Five scandal. He's adding a stringent ad saying, "Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject."

With all of the strong words lashed back and forth, facing off on the same stage tonight in Nashville, townhall-style, could stand to be a little more than tense. What do they need to do to deal with the change in format? Slate's John Dickerson has the nuts and bolts on how to deal with a townhall audience — especially given the dark turn the campaign has taken lately.

Have the hard hits been equal? Are you geared up for the townhall format?


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