6:40 PM: Here we go again. These debates are tiring – but very necessary. There are undecided voters out there who want information. They want to make a good decision – they know that bad decisions in the past two Presidential Elections have proved disastrous for our country and for the world.
Clinton has been in full attack mode the past few weeks. Whenever she tells another false story of her heroism and is called to task, she changes the subject by pointing out an Obama gaff. That is old Clinton politics. The basic rule is this: If we are talking us we are losing, if we are talking about them we are winning. Politics 101 by Bill Clinton.
The Fireside will be updating this post through the evening. We will try to capture exact quotes and the essence of the debate. As a warning, we have been unhappy with the attack mode of Clinton -this election must go to the Democrats – or we risk continued suffering.
7:00 PM: This should be a good debate. The moderators are not cable news junkies – they are professionals, Charlie Gibson and George the Greek. These men are credible journalists. George worked on the early Bill Clinton successes. Expect some challenges of character and truth.
The candidates are on stage, standing behind podiums. Gibson begins the deal. “Sort of round 16 in a scheduled 10 rounder.”
Gibson gives the guidelines and agrees to be permissive and to try to allow equal time.
Obama, “Thanks people. We have been running for 15 months and I am struck by generosity and by frustration…. Jobs moving and health care and expenses rising… This election offers us the opportunity to have real change…”
Clinton, “We are in Philadelphia, where this whole business started, there is concern across America that the government is not doing the job… I know that we can meet the challenges of today… ”
Gibson will quote from the constitution. First question the vice presidency from former NY Gov Coumo. Why not.
Obama, “This has be an extraordinary journey but it is premature to talk about vice presidential hopefuls.. After the convention we will come together to help the people of this country. The Democrats have a sharp contrast to John McCain. I am confident the Democrats will unite… ”
Clinton, “I am going to do everything I can to make sure that one of us takes the oath of office in January… When the nominee is resolved it is imperative that the Party come together to support the candidate…. I have seen the damage of the Bush years and the extraordinary pain of those who have suffered… Regardless of our difference they pail in comparison to our differences with John McCain….”
Gibson to Obama, You talked about small town Pennsylvania. Question on bitterness, Do you understand that some people find that patronizing. (See Esprit de corp)
Obama, “It is not the first time that I made a statement that was mangled. People are going through very difficult times right now. The point I was making is that when people feel like they are not being listened to then politically they focus on those things that are constant. Hot button issues begin to take prominence in our discourse. What we are seeing this election is the opportunity to see change…. ”
Clinton, “I am a grandaughter of Pennsylvania. He raise three sons. I don’t believe my father or grandfather cling to religion when Washington is not listening to them… I don’t think people cling to funs or church when things are bad… I can see why people would be offended by the remarks… ”
George to Clinton, Do you think Obama can beat McCain or not?
Clinton, “Either he or I will be the next President. We must beat McCain. Yes Obama can beat McCain, but I am better prepared… Obviously I believe I would be the best president and I believe I would be the better candidate… ”
To Obama, Can Clinton Win? “Absolutely, but let me say that it would be hard for me, a person of faith, to be condescending to people of faith. I have listened to gun owners. The problem we have in politics is that we take a person words, not properly stated, and beat them to death. But this does not help people pay the bills… The problem is that this is the kind of politics that we have become accustomed to… This is what passes for our politics… ”
Clinton, “My comments were about your remarks, that is important. People thought the same. The thing we must do as Democrats is what we stand for and what we have done over the course of our lives…. Over 35 years I have a proven record of results. I can impassion people by empowering them and this starts from a base of respect…. ”
Gibson to Obama, “What did you know about Rev. Wright?”
Obama, “Understand that I had not seen the youtube remakes… I have discussed this extensively… These comments were objectionable and the Church and the body of Rev. Wright’s work were not representative by those comments by Rev. Wright… I tried to speak to a broader concept – there is anger in the African American community and other communities as well… We have to connect with people… and we have done that throughout this campaign… ”
(The questions are a disapointment – they are asking about personal issues – not about the important issues facing America….)
Clinton, “The church is rooted in what one believes… For Pastor Wright to have blamed the U.S. for the attack would have been intolerable for me… I would not have been able to stay in the church… you get to chose your pastor… ”
Obama, “Absolutely many of these remarks were objectionable and I have said so… What I should also point out is that Senator Clinton’s pastor defended Rev. Wright… That church has done outstanding work for their community. We must bridge these divides to solve the problems of America….”
(George and Charlie are disappointing)
George to Obama, what will you do if those video continue, “We know there will be all kinds of attacks leveled, there have been many in the primaries, I have confidence in the American people that when they se my track record they will rally behind my campaign….”
Geroge – Is Rev Wright as patriotic as you? (WHAT? – what does that have to do with anything???????????)
Clinton on lying about Bosnia, ” Clinton, I am not dumb You are right. On a couple of occasions I spoke about things that are not in keeping with what I wrote in my book. I did go to Bosnia and it was a war zone…. Unfortunately I was not as accurate as I have been in the past…. My experience gives me a tremendous advantage in this campaign… ”
To Obama on Clinton’s honesty, “I think that Senator Clinton has a strong record to run on. I have not commented on the Bosnia issue. Both of us are working as hard as we can to deliver to thAmerican people about what we want to have changed… Senator Clinton deserves the right to make some errors, I have made some. We must not lose sight of the fact that this is a defining moment in our history…. ”
( I wish that the ABC folks would get their head out of the personal issues and as some important questions.)
Gibson on elect ability, do you believe in the American Flag? (What is wrong with ABC?)
Obama, “I revere the American Flag and I would not be running for President if I did not revere this country. There is not other country in which my story is even possible… I could not help but love this country for all that it has given me. I try to show my patriotism by how I treat veterans and how I address the Iraq war, by talking about how we have economic fairness in this country. That is what I love about this country… When I am in a debate with McCain the people will not question my patriotism… I wore a flag yesterday when a veteran gave me one…. This is the kind of issue that distracts us from real issues….”
It sure looks like ABC is subordinate to the Clinton Campaign – or are in cahoots with John McCain. I am really disappointed in Gibson and that Greek fellow. I Gibson taking cues from his former buddy Brit Hume over at FOX News?
Do you have a real plan to get us out of Iraq?
Clinton, “I am going to order the troops to come home. We have a system of government where we have civilian control of the military… I am convinced that it is in the best interest of all to immediately plan to withdraw within 60 days… I will make it clear to the Iraqis that they no longer have a blank check…. I will begin an intensive diplomatic effort to get everyone to understand the fate we all face when it comes to Iraq…. ”
Obama, “The Commander in Chief sets the Mission, that is not the role of the military… President Bush has passed the buck to Patreaus… I will give them a mission to proceed in an orderly fashion out of Iraq… I have to also look at Al Qaeda in Pakistan… ”
On Iran and nuclear stuff by George the Greek: Should an Iranian attack on Israel be considered an attack on the U.S.?
Obama, “First we have to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran… We must be clear about the things we find unacceptable… I will take no options off the table to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons… An attack on Israel is an attack on our strongest allie in the region… ”
Clinton, “We should be looking to make a deterrent umbrella for the entire region… Iran continues to try to obtain the materials for weapons and to have their way when it comes to the support of terrorism… We must use skillful diplomacy in the region so the region and the world will understand how serious we are about it…. We have to deter other countries from feeling like they have to have nuclear weapons…. ”
On the Economy from George the Greek: McCain says both of you will raise taxes. Can you say there will be no tax increases for those under 200K?
Clinton, “I have made a commitment to let the taxes go back to what they were and I do not believe it will not have a detrimental affect on the economy… blah blah blah… there she goes again, same stuff… go to Hillary.com to see her stuff.”
Obama, “I will not raise taxes for lower economic status. We will offset the payroll taxes for those less than $75K.” More of his detail stuff on tax breaks to lower paid people. “We have learned form George Bush and McCain that pain trickles up…”
8:20 PM: On Gun Control.
Clinton, “What can we do with local folks to bring down the crime in our great cities. I will be a good partner with cities to help drive down the crime rate. I will work to bring back the assault weapons ban… I will work to make sure that police department get access to federal information to track illegal guns… I respect the rights of lawful gun owners… but we must keep those guns out of the wrong hands…”
Obama, “As a general principle the constitution protects the individual right to own guns but that does not mean that individual states cannot restrain ownership. Much like you have a right to property but communities have zoning ordinances… I have never favored an all out ban on hand guns… We must make sure that criminals do not have guns… The point is that we must get beyond the politics of this issue… ”