We will be posting live on the final debate between McCain and Obama. Tonight we will refine our process to include live analysis, and possibly scoring points as the debate unfolds. The pictures framing this paragraph reflect our expectations and bias.
Stay with us:
Bob Schieffer is the moderator – the format is a sit down event. The moderator and candidates will be sitting at a table. This is in the comfort zone of each candidate. The unknown is Schieffer.
The subject is Domestic Policy and Schieffer is setting the stage. Enter the Candidates.
8:02 PM CST: Schieffer – Another bad day on Wall Street – both of you have new plans. Why is your plan better?
McCain: “Americans are hurting and they are angry – innocent victims of Wall Street and Washington. We have to have a short term and long term fixes… short term is housing crisis… until we reverse this housing trend we will not stop the problem… lets buy those home mortgages so they can stay in their home… ” He continues with his talking points.
Obama: “Everybody understands that we are experiencing the worst crisis since the great depression. I pushed for core principles to protect the taxpayers… We have not yet seen a rescue package for the middle class…” He is giving his stump speech. “Senator McCain I agree that we need to help homeowners, but I disagree how we do it. We don’t want to rescue the banks from bad loans… We have some long term problems we have to fix… ”
McCain: “The other day in Ohio Obama encountered a plumber, he saw that he would pay higher taxes with your plan, Joe was trying to realize the American Dream. Joe let me tell you, I want to help you… I will not stand for a tax increase on small businesses…. ” Good points – give McCain one.
Obama: “He has been watching McCain’s ads, Tax policy is a major difference – the problem is who do you cut taxes for – he wants to reduce taxes for the rich. I want to cut taxes for those less than quarter of a million dollar. 95% will get a tax cut. ” Good counter punch – earns points.
McCain: “Senator Obama said we want to spread the wealth around. I want the plumber to spread the wealth around. I want small businesses to spread it around. Why would you want to increase taxes on anyone right now.” Good try – he is trying to engage Obama directly.
Obama: “Number One I want to cut taxes for 95% of people. Warren Buffet can afford a little more. Exxon Mobile can afford to pay a little more.”
McCain: “Let’s not raise anyone’s taxes… ” Stump stuff about tax cuts. McCain is being more personable than we expected.
Shieffer: Both of your proposals will cost money – wont some have to be trimmed – give us some specifics.
Obama: “The 700,000,000,000,000,000,000 rescue package will get us some relief. What I have done is propose a net spending cut. I have been a strong proponent of pay as you go. Some cuts for examples – we have spent 15 billion to subsidize insurance companies. We should cut programs we don’t need… Senator McCain and I have different ideas about investing in the future of our country.. Health care, education, energy, … Once we get through this economic crisis we must embrace a culture of responsibility….”
McCain: “Back to home ownership. During the depression they bought up home mortgages and made money ” Shieffer interrupts McCain “We have to quit giving money to people who don’t like us. I would have a spending freeze…” Same old stump speech. Obama wins on points for answering the question.
Obama” Spending freeze sound good but it is a hatchet and we need a scalpel. I want to focus on programs that work. Earmarks account for 1/2 of 1% of the federal budget – that is not going to solve the problem… When Bush came into office we had a surplus and now have a deficit – Pursuing the same policies will not bring down the debt..”
McCain: “Senator Obama I am not President Bush. I am going to give a new direction to this country. He voted to tax those at 42,000 a year… ” McCain took a quick shot, it was effective.
Obama: Gives several examples of opposing his party “The notion that I voted to tax 42K per year does not hold water and it has been verified. On the core economic issues that matter to the people you have been a vigorous supporter of Bush… Essentially what you are proposing is eight more years of the same…”
McCain: ” I got the scars to prove it” Can’t stand this man’s continued bulls… “I fought my party a long time and a record of reform. Your argument is not very convincing.”
Schieffer: High road campaign – what happened? Say it to the others face.
McCain: “This has been a tough campaign. He should have sat down to do town hall meetings – that is what went wrong. It has gotten pretty tough. The fact is that it has taken many turns. Congressman Lewis made allegations that I was somehow associated with segregation. That to me was over the top and Senator Obama did not repudiate those remarks, I do when someone on my side says something. he spent more money on negative ads than at any time in history. He said he would take public financing and he did not. He did not tell the truth. That is unfortunate… ” What total bullsh..
Obama: “If you look at the records and the impression of the America people. 100% of your ads are negative. I think the American people are less interested and the American people ant to hear about the issues. The notion of not doing town hall meetings justifies the negative ads is foolish. The American people cannot afford four more years of the same economic crisis. I would love to see then next three weeks devoted to talking about the economy and health care and energy and educations.” Obama took a good shot.
McCain: “Any objective observer would say that your ads are not true. Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money… I talked to Joe the plumber and about jobs….” McCain is on the ropes.
Obama: “Congressman Lewis made a statement on his own. You and your running mate let hate speech go on. Lewiss point was not appropriate to the civil rights movement. And we put out a statement to that effect… The American people have become cynical because all they see is a back and forth and they want us to focus on the really big challenges… ” Obama is kicking hard.
McCain: “I am proud of the people who come to our rallies… ” McCain is really missing Schieffers point – he is asking for trouble.
Obama: ” What is most important to solve the key problems, two wars and economic crisis, then we are going to have to work together. We have to disagree without being disagreeable. We cannot characterize each other as bad people and that is something wrong with Washington..”
McCain: “We need to know the relationship with Acorn and that washed up terrorist Ayers… ”
Obama: “I will respond. Mr. Ayers is the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign. Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. I have roundly condemned Ayers past actions. Mr. Ayers in not involved in my campaign. Acorn is a community organization. They paid people to register people to vote. Some of the people they hired violated the law… I have no association with them. .. Let me tell you who I associate with. Buffet, Biden, Lugar, Jim Jone of NATO – those are the people who shape my ideas… It says more about your campaign than it does about me…”
McCain: “You launched your campaign in Ayers living room. Obama associates with domestic terrorists. We need to know about that. My Campaign is about the economy and jobs….” McCain sits there and contradicts himself… big loser. Big swings, big misses.
Schieffer: Who will you bring into the government. Why is Biden better than Palin?
Obama: “Joe Biden is one of the finest public service records in this country – with the best foreign policy credentials, and he never forgot he came from Scranton. He fights for the little guy…” Great answer – good points scored.
McCain: “Americans have gotten to know Sarah Palin. She is a role model and a reformer – took on a governor of her own party. She gave money back to taxpayers. Faced down Oil Companies. She is areformer through and through – a breath of fresh air…” Whoooeee “She will be my partner. She understands special needs families…” What a weak response. McCain loses on points.
Schiefrer: Is she qualified to be president”
Obama: “She has excited the base in the republican party… Autism will require additional funding and we can’t do it with an across the board spending freeze.
McCain: “Bidin has been wrong on many foreign policy issues…” What a nut case. McCain is losing trying to defend Palin against Biden. obama wants to spend more…”
Schieffer: “Energy and climate change – all presidents say we must reduce our dependence. Would each of you give a specific number on reduction.
McCain; “We can eliminate our dependence on Middle Eastern and Venezuelan Oil. We need to build 45 nucular power plants right away. I saw one one time on a ship. ” McCain gives his stump speech.
Obama: “In ten years we can reduce our dependence – that is a realistic time frame. We cannot continue to borrow money from china and sending it to the Middle East. The 68 million acres that are approve for drilling should be used – use or lose – we have 3% of the world reserves and use 25% of world oil – we cannot drill ourselves out of the crisis…” more stump speech stuff.
McCain: “He said we will look at off shore drilling we have to drill now. I am a free trader… ” He tried to tie Obama to drug trade in Columbia – he is nuts..
Obama: “I understand the trade issues pretty well. Colombian leaders have been targeted for death. We have to be sure we stand for human rights issues… The important point is we have to have a president who understand the free trade…. Back to energy – we have to work with our auto makers to create new jobs and reduce energy consumption… ” Obama counter punches the wild swinging McCain.
McCain: “Senator Obama does not want a free trade agreement with our allies but will sit across the table with Hugo Chavez… There is not doubt that Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes… ” More stump talk…
Schieffer: “Heath care – would either of you favor cutting cost over expanding coverage.”
Obama “We have to do both – this is the issue that will break you heart over and over again… If you have health insurance you can keep your present insurance – we are going to cut costs. We will provide those who have no insurance we will provide health care at reduced costs…. We will negotiate with drug companies and implement efficiency with technology… We have to put more money in preventive care.. ” Good points
Mcain: “Premiums and co-pay go up, escalating cost are inflicting the pain. I am convinced we need to put health care records on line, community clinics, obesity in our youth is a problem.. I want to give every American family a 5,000 health credit. Obama will fin my buddy Joe the plumber -w hat is it going to be? He want bureaucracies, and set up a single payer system…”
Obama: “Zero fines. I exempt small business from having to pay into a kitty. Large business should provide health care or somebody has too. Average family pays 900 dollars more a year in premiums to cover the care of the people who do not have insurance.. McCain says he will give tax credit. here is the problem – for about 20,000,000 you will find yourself having no insurance – less health folks will not be able to afford the insurance. McCain will be taxing the health care benefits from the employer… ” Obama scores the points on Health Care….
McCain: Who knows what this man is talking about. He is being sarcastic and anecdotal, avoiding the issue. “95% of people will receive more money under my plan. ” McCain is selling snake oil as a health care plan. He will do anything to get elected.
Obama: “you all just heard my plan. Under McCain’s plan people will lose their employers financed health plan…” Obama kicks but she is pretty.
Sheieffer: Roe V. Wade.
McCain: “I would never impose a litmus test on a supreme court nominee. I believe the decision should remain in the hands of the States. The nominees should be based on their qualifications.. I voted for Bryer and Ginsberg because I thought they were qualified. Obama voted against Roberts based on ideology…. I want strict adherence for the constitution…” McCain makes good points on this issue.
Obama: “We should not have a litmus test. The most important thing is for the judge to provide fairness and justice for the people… Roe V Wade was rightly decided. Abortion is difficult – but women, in consultation with family and doctors should be able to make their decisions… i will look for those judges who have an outstanding records… ”
McCain: “We have to change the culture of America. Obama voted against immediate medical attention for child born in a failed abortion… ” Gives other examples of Obama’s voting record – McCain did this well – scores points – this writer does not agree – but McCain did this well.
Obama: “If it sounds incredible, that is because it is not true. The fact is that there was already a law on the books… The Illinois Medical Society voted against that law… partial birth abortion should be banned except when the mother’s life is in danger… There surely is some common ground that we can come together on to prevent unintended pregnancies. Sexuality is sacred and provide opportunities for adoption and assistance for a woman who has a child.”
McCain: “Obama is eloquent and misleading. Cindy and I adopted a kid one time. We will protect the rights of the unborn…” McCain is so full of closed mindedness – hoooeeeeey
Schieffer: “Education, American measurements trail other countries. Do y ou feel this is a problem”
Obama ” Education has more to do with our national security and economy than any other. Teh debate has been wrong – it is not just more money or reform – it is both…. We know ways to improve education and we should do that… Make college affordable. ” Obama is in his element on these municipal issues.. Good points….
McCain: “This is the Civil Rights issue of the 21st century. There is no advantage in sending a child to a failed school. The answer is in competitions, to give parents the same choice to send kids to the school of their choice. … Don’t throw money at the problem. ” Stump speech time – he has this memorized but does not sound like he really understands the issue….
Schieffer: “Should government play larger role.”
Obama: “Federal Government should stand up and help the local districts. President Bush did “No Child Left Behind” but forgot the funding. McCain and I agree on two things that he does not understand…”
McCAin: “I am sure you are aware of the voucher program in Washington D.C. because those parents wanted choice is schools. I am surprised you did not pay more attention. No Child Left Behind was a great program – it had some problems but spending more money is not the answer… ” McCain is sarcastic and cynical about democrats in general – .
Schieffer: “Time for the closing”
McCain: “A healthy discussion. These are difficult times for Americans. American needs a new direction. I have a record of reform of taking on my party or the other party on a variety of issues. We have to make health care affordable, we have to stop spending that mortgages our children’s future. All of this is based on who you can trust to be steward of your money.. ”
Obama: “We all know about tough times and Washingtons unwillingness to tackle tough issues. the biggest risk we can take right now is to support more of the same. Brighter days are still ahead but we have to invest in the people again, in the middle class, in education, in energy. I have fought for these things all my career. Republicans and Democrats will have to come together… I promis you I will work every day tirelessly on your behalf.”
McCain had a strong debate – it was well moderated. McCain was aggressive and energetic. McCain hammered home some conservative points – this was McCain’s best performance. McCain swerved off track when the issue of the personal campaign came up.
Obama started flat but gained ground as they went on. Obama had a different tone than McCain – McCain continued the attack that has been offensive to the public – Obama calmly explained himself. Obama was on the defense several times but seemed to fight his way off the ropes.
McCain did not score the knock out he needed…
This writer has a different understanding of anger that the talking heads on television. When McCain was being forceful – I thought he was just acting out of resolve – the talking heads pointed to his anger. This writer does not mind forcefulness – but thought that McCain frequent use of sarcasm was more indicative of his anger than merely staying with a topic in an offensive posture.
Sarcasm is toxic. Sarcasm poisons deliberation or discussion or conversation. Sarcasm has no place in the White House. Obama did not respond to the baiting remarks of sarcasm – so Obama scored better in those exchanges. McCain did not act Presidential when he snidely took his sarcastic shots.
One more thing – this writer is extremely grateful that the debates are over.