This pre-debate Newsmix is later than it should be. The news itself felt more sparse — perhaps lost in bytoday's round of hard economic news, perhaps simply waiting till things got started. But here are some gems to soothe the antsy if you don't want to listen to yakking commentators.

  • At the New York Times, Katherine Seelye gives her usual even-handed assessment of what each candidate needs to establish tonight:  that their plan for the economy will get us out of the current recession and the country back on track.
  • MomLogic points out that this is also Hillary Clinton's night: she'll be in the audience at Hofstra.
  • Ann Althouse, who will also be live-blogging at her site, offered some brief advice for both candidates: "Obama only needs to run out the clock, not make mistakes, be boring, etc….Let him be the fusty, phlegmatic professor. It doesn't matter. But McCain may be looking at his last chance to make something happen. Now, I think the danger for him is trying too hard. My advice is: Act the way you would act if you knew for certain that you would lose.
  • "As for me, I'm just glad we don't have to watch anymore debates after tonight," adds Taylor Marsh, from the other side of the aisle. "They've been anything but inspiring." Noting that "the coverage of this race at this point has become tortured, " Marsh shares Althouse's assessment: "[McCain's] only hope is to unmask himself and be totally transparent in a way that challenges the Obama candidacy fundamentally, saying he's not ready and McCain is. Trouble is, with the economy flat lining, along with McCain's poll numbers, it's as close to being too late as it gets."
  • CitizenJanePolitics, a young women's political site run by journalist Patricia Murphy (a former aide to Senator Max Cleland), offers a handy "Compare Your Candidates" page. CJP also promises a side-by-side analysis of the two men's economic plans before the night is out. 
  • Don Frederick at the L.A. Times has a whole list of "Debate Day Reading," including Richard Cohen' list of fairly provocative questions the candidates won't be asked
  • Last but not least, Jan at Happening Here tipped us off to the video below, showing that Campbell Robinson is keeping up her commitment to telling it like it is.

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