Liveblogging the McCain/Obama Presidential Debate #2Politics — By Dustin R. Steeve on October 7, 2008 at 9:04 pm
*6:04 – Obama: ‘we are in a worse economic situation since the depression. The fault: the worst economic policies of the last eight years. They deregulated.’ Again, Obama spoke out against Fannie/Freddie, but he had no compunction against being the second biggest beneficiary of their monies. Obama says he wants oversight, yet when John McCain pushed for regulation and oversight two years ago, Democrats shut him down.
*6:07 – McCain: ‘Sec of Treasury would buy up bad mortgages. Until we stabilize the economy, we will not turn things around and get things working. McCain would possibly appoint Meg Whitman or Warren Buffet. Great answers. Contrary to Obama who runs to the government as a source of oversight, McCain would go to the private sector, to hard working, leading Americans to solve the problem. Not Wall Street regulars, not people within the American government. Obama did not name names as to who he would consider appointing as treasury secretary. That is very curious for the man who is assumed to be strong on the economy.
*6:11 – McCain: ‘Not bailout, it’s a rescue’ plan. McCain has confidence in the recovery in the economy. John McCain is right, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operated with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and the Democrats who pushed the sub-prime legislation. ‘Obama, the second highest recepient of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in history.’ Yep.
*6:14 – Obama: ‘Biggest problem is deregulation… 2 years ago I
said we had a sub-prime lending crisis.’ All Obama did was talk. He
made noise. Regardless if McCain took a year to jump on a regulation
bill, at least he jumped on the bill and recognized its importance.
– McCain has, once again, laid out precisely what he believes needs to
happen in order to fix the economy. Sen. Obama does not seem to have
such clarity or such precision in his answers. He keeps recycling his
“eight years of bad economic policies” talking points, but the Democrat
congress has less popular support than the president and it is congress
that sets the budget.
*6:20 – Obama: we need to shift priorities in
Washington. McCain: we need reform. The American people need to look
at records rather than rhetoric. Go to the national taxpayers union.
Obama has the most liberal, big spending record in the U.S. Senate.
McCain claims to have fought earmarks and it is true, John McCain has
rarely, if ever, requested an earmark in his 20+ years in the senate.
– Obama: ‘Priorities – Energy, Healthcare, Education. ‘ While I
disagree with the Senators usual attacks on big oil, I think that he
has a right motivation to develop and execute a strategy for developing
a new energy economy. Unfortunately for him, McCain has similar plans
so there is a difference without much of a distinction.
– McCain: ‘We need to have a spending freeze.’ McCain is speaking with
the experience of having watched good bills die due to backroom deals.
Sen. McCain knows how things operate and how they can be corrected. Sen. Obama requested $1 million in earmarks a day while he was a senator.
So, I guess we can say that Sen. Obama knows how things operate as
well, but one ought to be less inclined to believe that he would do
anything to stop them.
*6:30 – Obama: ‘President Bush, after
Sept. 11, said “Go out and shop.” That is not the kind of leadership
we need.’ Compare and contrast. McCain raised the same point in the
prior debate. He said that what we needed was people to join the peace
corps, to join the military. Sen. Obama said that we need to focus on
energy. One understands the threat abroad that must define how we
think of things at home. The other is focused not on meeting the
threats abroad, but funding idealist ambitions at home.
*6:37 – McCain: ‘Obama’s tax plan raises taxes on 50% of small businesses.’ Sen. McCain seems to be distorting the record on this.
– “Would you give congress a date certain to resolve social security?”
Obama: ‘We need to take on entitlements. I would like to do this in my
first term as president.’ Sen. Obama went back to taxes. No answer to
the question. I am a young guy and nobody in my peer group expects to
see a dime of social security. Sen. Obama appeals primarily to my
demographic and he just re-affirmed our belief that Washington is too
broken to pay me back the money I am to be owed in 40 years.
‘Social security problem is not that tough. We need to sit down at the
table.’ McCain pulls out experience story. Sen. McCain says that to
solve the problem, we need a commission to come up with
recommendations. Congress needs to vote up or down. No more fooling
with it. This makes a lot of sense to me and gives me hope about
*6:44 – A question about developing alternative
energies. I think that, at the end of the day, there is no meaningful
difference between the two candidates on the issue. Each wants to
pioneer a new energy economy. I do resonate with Sen. Obama’s claim
that, like the computer, solving the energy issue will power our
economy into a new era. Given the global warming hype worldwide, I
think there is a lot of money to be made selling new energy
innovations. Contrary to Sen. Obama, a new energy economy won’t be
built in a day and there are many operational infrastructure that
depend on oil. We need to drill now for oil to help give us the
necessary, domestic oil to ease us through the transition process to
*6:49 – “Should healthcare be treated as a
commodity?” Obama: ‘Healthcare is breaking family budgets. Many
people do not have health insurance or have seen their premiums double
in the last eight years. We have a moral commitment and an economic
imperative to do something.’ His solution: He will work to reduce
useless paperwork, invest in preventative medicine, and put you in the
same pool as government employees without health preconditions. The
former seems like something that is outside the capacity of the federal
government (think hospital paperwork is bad? Have you ever filed
paperwork for car to the federal government?). The latter seems
economically impossible. Does someone have expertise on this?
Sen McCain: We have got to give people choice. Give people a $5,000 refundable tax credit.
“Is Health care a privilege, a right, or a responsibility?”
A responsibility. Obama: A Right. Sen. McCain sees it as a
responsibilty for Government and people to work together to solve the
problem. Sen. Obama sees government involvement as an imperative
because we are a wealthy nation and, therefore, people have the right
to health care. We need government regulation.
*7:00 – Sen.
McCain: “America is the greatest force for good in history.” When we
are strong militarily, we must be strong economically, and we can be a
powerful force for good in the world.
*7:02 – Sen Obama: ‘I do
not understand why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with
9/11.’ This same, tired narrative reveals a profound ignorance on Sen.
Obama’s part about military strategy and the relationship of terrorist
powers in the Middle East. He is hoping that Americans will be
confused by anything more than arm-chair military strategy. However,
thanks to the work of Gen Patraeus and new media journalists such as Michael Yon and Victor Davis Hanson, Americans are aware of the importance of the work being done in Iraq.
– “The McCain Doctrine?” McCain opens fire by pointing out that Obama
would have brought our troops home in defeat – this is undeniable.
McCain: ‘We must have a cool hand at the tiller. We need a person who
understand the limits of our capabilities. We went into Somolia as
peace keepers, had to be peace makers, and we lost. We have to temper
decisions with understanding of what we can actually accomplish.’ We
must be wise with American blood. We have to be sure that we do not
bleed and make a crisis worse.
*7:10 – Sen Obama: ‘We will
kill Bin Laden, this has to be our biggest national security
priority.’ Sen McCain: ‘Sen. Obama wants to announce that he will
attack Pakistan. Remarkable.’ Clearly this is bad, diplomatic
strategy from people who are assumed to be strong on diplomacy. Listen
to how McCain and Obama discuss this issue. McCain is very keen on
strategy and he outlines it like an old professional who has been there
and done that. McCain speaks in high ideals. Obama denies attacking saying that he would invade Pakistan, but his claim is false.
– Sen. McCain, once again, talking knowledgeably about strategy. Sen.
Obama points out that there are problems in Afghanistan and that we
need more troops, but does not speak in terms of strategy, he speaks in
terms of ideals. It is idealistic to think that withdrawing our troops
from Iraq will somehow translate into making the Iraqi government more
powerful, more able to handle affairs in their country.
The candidates are debating the idea of a new cold war. Neither thinks
it terribly likely, but they differ on the active role we should play
in the former soviet regions.
*7:24 – “Russia the new evil empire?” Each candidate: Perhaps.
– “If Iran attacks Israel, would you commit troops to defend Israel or
would you wait for UN Security Council?” McCain: ‘We would obviously
not wait. Russia and China (in the council) would pose significant
obstacles.’ Sen McCain is able to speak knowledgably about the
relationship between the powers in the Middle East. Sen McCain reminds
people that Sen Obama would meet without preconditions with Ahmadinejad.
This is very troublesome. Sen. Obama: ‘Iran cannot get a nuclear
weapon – it is unacceptable. It is important for us to use all the
tools at our disposal to prevent us from making those kind of choices
(military force. We need to impose sanctions.’ Sen. Obama thinks that
Ahmadinejad is operating on a rational, decision calculus such that
money will change his behavior and his deepest desires to eliminate
Israel. This fundamentally ignores the nature of the deep seated
hatred that truly fuels conflicts in the Middle East.
– “What don’t you know, how will you learn it?” Sen. Obama: ‘Ask
Michelle.’ Senator Obama tells his interesting life story about his
rise to success. He asks if we are going to pass off that dream to the
next generation? Sen McCain: ‘What I do not konw is what all of us do
not know. What will happen to us here and abroad. There are
challenges around the world that are new and different. What I do not
know is what the unexpected will be, but I have spent my whole life
serving this country. I know what it is like in dark times. I know
what its like to rely on others for support, to keep this country going
through tough times.’
Sen. McCain’s life story is one of
experience, having worked through tough times. Sen. Obama’s story is
one of an American who is young to the world, having observed the
service of people like his mother and grandmother and the struggle they
faced. It’s observation v. experience. Which is more compelling?
Thanks for reading.
**Please note, all quotes are approximate**