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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate #1 Obama-McCain

First in debate business is I am surprised that there was one at all! I really thought since McCain thought the financial crisis grounds for suspending the campaign, canceling the debate, returning to Washington (to do who knows what), and urging Obama to do the same that he wouldn’t show. It was really a lose-lose situation. If he goes, he has to flip flop, if he stays in Washington, he lets Obama have the forum unopposed at a time when he’s really not serving a critical function or doing anything constructive at all. I guess this just goes to show that McCain’s big announcement and effort to look presidential and take charge really was as crazy as I thought it was. The McCain response to the debate, released about a minute after it, said McCain was presidential and Obama was political. McCain’s actions clearly show that at best, both are political! If this is true, this is also rather political- an ad was placed announcing McCain won the debate before it was known if he’d go or not. I hope the ad thing is some kind of joke the media picked up thinking it was real because that is really lame if it is in fact real. I was going to say it wasn’t presidential, but actually damage control and false information has become presidential, so that’s up in the air.

A second observation is how mad McCain appeared at the beginning to even be there. Or was it embarrassment?

I was disappointed that Obama didn’t focus on McCain’s history of pushing deregulation when talking about the current financial crisis. I think it was mentioned in voting with Bush or very briefly. McCain took the opportunity to mention a Fannie or Freddie tie with Obama’s campaign, but Obama didn’t return the favor by pointing out how many were/are working for McCain. Sometimes I think the time and format were to blame for either candidate not getting in a last dig.

Obama’s “John is right”…will we see this again? If not by comedians or Fox commentators, then in another McCain ad filled with half truths and lies (like the Messiah and sex ed ads).

McCain claims that Pakistan was a failed state before Musharraf. Not true. Ouch. Not looking good if foreign policy is supposed to be his strong point.

McCain also said he warned us about the financial crisis, but in November 2007 he said he hadn’t seen it coming.

The candidates argued over Kissinger’s position. Obama said Kissinger agrees that there should be talks without preconditions. McCain said Kissinger said there should be talks with low level officials and that he’s always supported that. Obama’s point was the preconditions issue, not high level vs. low level and McCain hasn’t supported talks with Iran. McCain did say that Kissinger doesn’t support high level, only low level talks and it appears he supports high level talks after all. I don’t know if McCain considers Secretary of State low level, though…

Kissinger’s position:
"Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic..." Sesno: "Put at a very high level right out of the box?" Kissinger: "Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are -- what the outcome is that you're trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to. Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They've never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we're trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can't achieve what we're talking about? But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government." (CNN's "Live Event," 9/20/08)

McCain: "And I -- and I honestly don't believe that Senator Obama has the knowledge or experience and has made the wrong judgments in a number of areas, including his initial reaction to Russian invasion -- aggression in Georgia, to his -- you know, we've seen this stubbornness before in this administration to cling to a belief that somehow the surge has not succeeded and failing to acknowledge that he was wrong about the surge is -- shows to me that we -- that -- that we need more flexibility in a president of the United States than that."
*OK, McCain tries again to compare Obama to Bush. Still funny. Especially since McCain repeats the false statement about Obama’s initial statement about Russia and Georgia and the campaign let Palin repeat the bridge to nowhere half truth, etc. The whole thing about the surge working is not the whole truth in the first place, so Obama has nothing to “admit”. It is a little more involved than McCain would like to lead us to believe. There were apparently several factors independent of the surge that contributed to a “success”.

MCCAIN: "It's well-known that I have not been elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate nor with the administration. I have opposed the president on spending, on climate change, on torture of prisoner, on - on Guantanamo Bay. On a -- on the way that the Iraq War was conducted. I have a long record and the American people know me very well and that is independent and a maverick of the Senate and I'm happy to say that I've got a partner that's a good maverick along with me now."
*Obama was talking about tax plans and how McCain voted with Bush and wants to keep his tax cuts and McCain used the time to bring up his legendary maverick label and how he picked another maverick as a running mate. Not the reply with the most substance. But staying on topic would mean convincing us that voting with Bush on budgets, increased spending and tax cuts has helped our economy. Instead, lets talk about how he didn’t vote with Bush on climate change and torture. Bravo, McCain! You don’t agree with torture! Way to reach across the aisle!

Speaking of reaching across the aisle, one example McCain gave was working with Leiberman. I’d argure that Leiberman was the one reaching…

McCain managed, for good measure, to work this into talk about the possibility of another 9/11- “And I want to tell you that one of the things I'm most proud of, among others, because I have worked across the aisle. I have a long record on that, on a long series of reforms.”

Kudos to McCain for only saying "my friends" once or so! Maybe that was due to the fact that they were supposed to be talking to each other in this format?

Here's factcheck's summary:

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