Mark Halperin’s Three Things

1. Watch John McCain as he prepares for the big debate. Watch him in the debate. Does he have the ability to drive the message he wants to drive? Does he have a plan? Is it clear what that plan is and does he execute it? Does he come prepared to deal with all the challenges he faces in this debate?

2. Watch Barack Obama. How does he react to McCain? Does he act cautious? Does he go hard back at McCain if he’s challenged? Watch to see if Obama is able to hold his own in the town hall format, a style
often considered McCain’s strength.

3. Watch how the public and the media watches this debate. Will there be a big audience amid all the headlines about the financial turmoil? Is the debate something that captures the national attention, gives McCain the kind of big audience he needs in order to have a transformative event –– which he needs –– in this debate. McCain and Obama square off at 9 pm ET at Nashville’s Belmont Univerity. NBC’s Tom Brokaw will moderate the debate, choosing questions submitted by audience members and the general public.
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