Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain, Obama get tough, personal in final debate

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, face off during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday. At right is moderator Bob Schieffer.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, face off during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday. At right is moderator Bob Schieffer.

October 15, 2008


Election 2008

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— John McCain assailed Barack Obama's character and his campaign positions on taxes, abortion and more Wednesday night, hoping to turn their final presidential debate into a launching pad for a political comeback. "You didn't tell the American people the truth," he said.

Unruffled, and ahead in the polls, Obama parried each charge, and leveled a few of his own.

"One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative," Obama shot back in an uncommonly personal debate less than three weeks from Election Day.

"It's not true," McCain retorted.

"It is true," said Obama, seeking the last word.

McCain is currently running all negative ads, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But he has run a number of positive ads during the campaign.

The 90-minute encounter, at a round table at Hofstra University, was their third debate, and marked the beginning of a 20-day sprint to Election Day. Obama leads in the national polls and in surveys in many battleground states, an advantage built in the weeks since the nation stumbled into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

With few exceptions, the campaign is being waged in states that voted Republican in 2004 - Virginia, Colorado, Iowa - and in many of them, Obama holds a lead in the polls.

McCain played the aggressor from the opening moments of the debate, accusing Obama of waging class warfare by seeking tax increases that would "spread the wealth around."

The Arizona senator also demanded to know the full extent of Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s-era terrorist and the Democrat's ties with ACORN, a liberal group accused of violating federal law as it seeks to register voters. And he insisted Obama disavow last week's remarks by Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat, who accused the Republican ticket of playing racial politics along the same lines as segregationists of the past.

Struggling to escape the political drag of an unpopular Republican incumbent, McCain also said, "Sen. Obama, I am not President Bush. ... You wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago."

Obama returned each volley, and brushed aside McCain's claim to full political independence.

"If I've occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush's policies, it's because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people - on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities - you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush," he said.

McCain's allegation that Obama had not leveled with the public involved the Illinois senator's decision to forgo public financing for his campaign in favor of raising his own funds. As a result, he has far outraised McCain, although the difference has been somewhat neutralized by an advantage the Republican National Committee holds over the Democratic Party.

"He signed a piece of paper" earlier in the campaign pledging to accept federal financing, McCain said. He added that Obama's campaign has spent more money than any since Watergate, a reference to President Nixon's re-election, a campaign that later became synonymous with scandal.

Obama made no immediate response to McCain's assertion about having signed a pledge to accept federal campaign funds.

Asked about running mates, both presidential candidates said Democrat Joseph Biden was qualified to become president, although McCain added this qualifier: "in many respects."

McCain passed up a chance to say his own running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was qualified to sit in the Oval Office, though he praised her performance as governor and noted her work on behalf of special needs children. The Palins have a son born earlier this year with Down Syndrome.

Obama sidestepped when asked about Palin's qualifications to serve as president, and he, too, praised her advocacy for special needs children.

But he quickly sought to turn the issue to his advantage by noting McCain favors a spending freeze on government programs.

"I do want to just point out that autism, for example, or other special needs will require some additional funding if we're going to get serious in terms of research. ... And if we have an across-the-board spending freeze, we're not going to be able to do it," he said.

Sen. Obama

¢ On his running mate's qualifications: "On the key issues that are of importance to American families, Joe Biden's always been on the right side, and I think he will make an outstanding president if, heaven forbid, something happened to me."

¢ On William Ayers, a 1960s-era radical, and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN:

"Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. : And he will not advise me in the White House. : Now, with respect to ACORN : apparently what they've done is they were paying people to go out and register folks, and apparently some of the people who were out there didn't really register people, they just filled out a bunch of names. It had nothing to do with us. We were not involved."

Sen. McCain

¢ On his running mate's qualifications: "Well, Americans have gotten to know Sarah Palin. They know that she's a role model to women and other - and reformers all over America. She's a reformer."

¢ On William Ayers, a 1960s-era radical, and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN:

"Mr. Ayers, I don't care about an old washed-up terrorist. But as Sen. Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship. We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."


Keith 9 years, 5 months ago

"Two words: Bradley Effect"This is Tom's last, best hope for the election.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

McCain is clearly desperate. Any time a candidate spends more time attacking his opponent than laying out his own plans and ideas, you know his campaign is in real trouble.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 5 months ago

McCain sure isn't graceful when Obama seems to be holding his campaign precariously above the precipice of a failed presidential run.

David Albertson 9 years, 5 months ago

McCain is dooooooone! The Obama era has begun.

Moonbat 9 years, 5 months ago

Well, the Ayers and ACORN question was asked and just like the conservatives said, Obama was exposed as a liar and a fraud! LOL wink wink

Moonbat 9 years, 5 months ago

Totally possible Tom. Sad, but possible.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 5 months ago

takestand: I'll bet that there are many on here who would disagree with that. In their opinions, it should more righteously termed BHO. Sorry, the acronym isn't as funny,

Strontius 9 years, 5 months ago

"I wouldn't make any bold predictions about this election; it's too close to call."While no one should rest on their laurels, a 53% to 39% in Obama's favor at this point in the election is probably the last nail in McCains political coffin. Serves the Republicans right for backing an elitist, multiple home owning murderer, racist, and adulterer. We've learned the lessons of Munich. The Fascists have hurt people too much to win again.

labmonkey 9 years, 5 months ago

To those of you who say McSame, ReplubicKLAN, Democraps, or any take on Obama's name you lose most any audience for your post as most people pass over them like they do Merrill's long cut-n-pastes or any of Tom's posts. If you want to make a serious argument, don't start out by being childish.Obama did plenty of changing the subject on his own. I really grew tired of listening to both of them. Two points though...Obama said that 100% of McCain's ads were negative. I seem to remember one congratulating Obama on his nomination... Although I am behind McCain, Obama finally did something that I wanted to see either one of them do. If someone is going to be the leader of the nation, they need to take the American people to task which candidates are afraid to do because that may lose votes (i.e. Palin and Biden when asked about where fault lies in the mortgage crisis and neither blamed the people who took loans they couldn't afford). When talking about education, Obama took parents to task by saying turn off the TV and video games and create an environment conductive to learning. Overall, I thought it was a tie, which is bad for McCain. The socialist years to come with the left leading this country scare the hell out of me.

josephbbl 9 years, 5 months ago

Terrorists are the least of our worries. Four top executives from AIG (Republicans) were caught just this weekend taking a $100K "hunting trip." This is AFTER the company received an $85 billion bailout from the U.S. government. Corporate welfare for the privileged?

dio 9 years, 5 months ago

I just went a watched slew of news reviews of the final debate and finally a few reporters have gone on to say that McCain was horrible except for his last two questions put to him and his closing. I took a look and projected polls. McCain is in the lead in almost every Southern State. better pray less young people vote this election. Apparently old white people might just save McCains campaign. sigh

dio 9 years, 5 months ago

Is it me or were people watching a different debate. I watched as McCain went at Obama with a fury of desperation. I think if you cannot have a debate or see that you have lost ,then bow out gracefully. I think he ruined a potentially what might have been a good debate. Yet on every news station i hear oh well McCain did better. In my opinion how can u not answer one question directly and stray from every issue? Yet still consider that a good debate. I know more about Obama then Obama knows about Obama it felt like an Obama history lesson. obama said this and Obama said that. It would have been good if Obama didn't have answers for his accusations. If America votes for McCain, you all deserve whats coming to you.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 5 months ago

"The rightwing is so history."People said the same thing prior to the 2004 elections shortly after "Fahrenheit 911" was released. I wouldn't make any bold predictions about this election; it's too close to call. Especially since religious nuts and old people vote in huge numbers while young people typically stay home on election day.

towanda54 9 years, 5 months ago

dio,McCain clearly did much better this time, he was not wandering about the stage aimlessly, he stayed more on track. Having them sit was clearly an advantage for McCain, he didn't have to walk and talk or listen at the same time. But, that being said, CNN as well as other networks post debate polls all say Obama decisively won this debate, all with the first two. It looks like Fox News is not doing a scientific poll at this point, they are having the viewers text in to them who they thought won. Overwhelmingly, Fox viewers think McCain won. So, obviously, no scientific sampling involved. Perhaps they are working on a scientific poll and just don't have the results available at this time. (10:49 pm) CNN acknowledged that a higher percent of the people they polled were Democrat versus Republicans 40%-30% which might have skewed their results somewhat. Democrats overwhelmingly thought Obama did better, Republicans overwhelmingly said McCain did better, and independents said Obama did better in the debate by almost 20% (~ 50% to 30%). hope Tom, rightthinker, is wrong about the Bradley effect. It is sad that continuing racism in our country is the only hope he has to cling to. Hopefully, our country has come along way since the Bradley election quite a few years ago. We shall see.

Bruce Rist 9 years, 5 months ago

First there was FDRthen we saw JFKThen LBJNot to be left out RFKAmerica say hello to BO

mwwkw 9 years, 5 months ago

Did you know you can go vote now in person, any Mon - Fri, now through Election Day? Just go to the Courthouse downtown at 11th & Mass, show your ID, and you can vote now in person, don't even have to wait for an 'advance ballot' in the mail -- nice way to avoid what will surely be long, long lines on Election Day, if you've made up your mind.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 5 months ago

'Zero' ha ha ha ha haaaaa! McCain must think I'm stupid or something. Obama has repeatedly reiterated who his tax policy benefits, yet McCain keeps squawking about raising taxes as if it will not be in the majority's favor. How much clearer can Obama be, besides saying, "I cannot clarify the issue any further than reiterating that 95% of Americans will get a tax break." Then McCain chimes in, "Senator Obama wants to raise taxes. (ooh, I'm scared... it just sounds so ominous when you say it like that...)." And you know, immediately, that Obama will sound like a broken record, again stating his position as clearly as he can, making McCain (in my opinion) look like an inane fear-mongerer. Then he begins talking about wealth redistribution as if the populace doesn't think that some people have far larger financial cushions than is necessary.

dio 9 years, 5 months ago

In voting all you can do is hope that you made the right decision in doing so. I mean what can you go on other than what the media has portrayed and the way the candidates carry themselves. I do believe McCain decided the outcome from the beginning. He made no real attempt to tackle issues other than in the Second debate. He spent too much time attacking Obama's character rather than tackle issues. Obama kept his cool as usual and answered everyone of his accusations. Palin i thought was a mistake and it is turning into the biggest mistake they have ever made. She doesn't have the experience that Obama has, don't even compare her Biden who has more Intelligence and experience than Obama,Palin and McCain put together. So lets hope that all these grand promises he is making of cutting taxes and dealing with the issues such as the war that the U.S already lost and is still losing. Only way for U.S to win that war is to drop 10 TON mega Bomb in that region. Otherwise only end all solution is to gracefully hand the country over to Iraq's new leaders and let them deal with their own issues. The U.S spends more time policing the world and in the end can't handle Home issues.

jaywalker 9 years, 5 months ago

logicsound: "I hope that moderates can see that McCain was talking out of both sides of his mouth. He was frantic, not presidential."He was frantic in a way, seemed like he was making up for lost time. There were a lot of points he should have been putting out for weeks now, had to squeeze them in before it was too late, which it may well be. Should have been raising many of these issues before last night, I fault those running his campaign, they dropped the ball a long time ago. And I certainly hope there is no Bradley effect here. What these debates showed me is that my stomach turns for both candidates. But BO should be judged as an American, a man, a politician. His race is human being. The incredibly ignorant should not be able to vote based on color shock.

more_cowbell 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm tired of watching the two major parties sleepwalk through election after election, which is what happens when they know they won't face a legitimate challenge from other parties or independents.Once the candidates make it to the debates, the percentages take care of themselves. Perot received close to 20% (!) in 1992, and about half that in 1996. But getting into the debate is the key to getting the turnout. That's why the two major parties set up the CPD, to control access to the debates and keep it a two-party duopoly (not to mention more boring than an infomercial).There are four additional Presidential candidates who are on the ballot in at least 30 states:Nader (Independent): 46 statesBarr (Libertarian): 45 statesBaldwin (Constitution): 37 statesMcKinney (Green): 32 states(the next highest candidate is on the ballot in 12 states)from and Barr will likely get the highest percentage of the popular vote among the four listed, and while those percentages may turn out to be less than 5%, in some respects excluding them from the debate is an intentional tactic to keep them from getting more public attention--and thus, to that 5% threshold. It's a catch-22.Of course, the events being staged by the CPD this year could hardly be called "debates". They're side-by-side stump speeches. The key is that the two major parties (again, who control the CPD) think the public won't demand an alternative.The sad fact is that they're probably right. We get the leaders we deserve. If both candidates are the "lesser of two evils" to the other side, then we're still left with the "evil of two lessers"--facing two mass-marketed and corporate-spun hype machines.When enough people get fed up, the two parties do notice. If it gets to the point where their precious gravy train (elected office and the money that flows through it) is threatened, then and only then will they truly listen.It's time to speak up and take responsibility as a citizen. If you're disappointed and angry with both parties, show that actively, by voting for a 3rd/4th party or independent... whether it be president, senator, congressperson, etc.The only certainty in life IS change. Our responsibility as citizens is to make our voice heard, and our political will count, by researching the candidates, making an informed decision, and going to the voting booth.Our elected officials, and those who wish to be public officials, are public servants. They serve us, the public; we do not serve them. Remind them of that on Election Day (or before).

monkeyspunk 9 years, 5 months ago

Log, I would like to respond to your military superpower statement.I think you are wrong here for a couple of reasons. First, no other nation would be capable of the current deployment we are maintaining at this time. Most countries would not be capable of such a thing in even a decade's time. Second, our technological lead in many areas is still well beyond even the closest competitor. Our stealth technology alone gives opposing military planner's fits. I think that an Obama presidency enhances our military might, and that is through energy independence. If we reduce our dependence on oil by 25%, we completely negate the need for oil from the Persian Gulf. By removing our money from that region, we weaken the regimes in that area and we leave the policing of those areas to other powers who must import oil. Let the Chinese guard the oil that our soldiers have been fighting for. No, I think an Obama presidency, based on energy independence through new technology and renewable resource will enhance and improve our military and its role in the world. It will free them up to be used in situations where their presence is respected and wanted, rather than resented. One of the reasons I am voting for him. (not that my vote matters in Kansas!)

james bush 9 years, 5 months ago

With McCain, you get what you see and I'm not crazy about him. But with Obama, you don't know what you get because he's not what he makes himself out to be: To the terrorist-bomber-turned-college-professor Ayers and his wife, Obama is their way into the government via the highest office in the country. Ayers and his wife have already infiltrated the the university system.

camper 9 years, 5 months ago

Oops, I meant stranger than fiction.

james bush 9 years, 5 months ago

Years ago I remember the admonition of those trying to persuade radicals like Ayers to stop the violence and work to change "things" by working within the system. They did and they are Indeed within the system, especially places like Columbia, Obama's alma mater. Ayers is doing his professing within the system in Illinois where Obama found his way to the US Senate though his community organizing endeavors and his association with ACORN is not a coincidence in that regard.

ilovelucy 9 years, 5 months ago

Tom: you need to come up with better excuses to spew your vicious right wing b.s. than that you hate the liberal media. THAT is almost laughable. I just can't believe that every ounce of your hatred is based on that. Conservatives also have their biased b.s. down pat.I loved that McSame could not even mention that the beauty queen could reliably step up if something happened to his aging body if he bacame president. I guess he plans to live forever and dispel ANY chance of her stepping in as POTUS. God forbid that happen.

josephbbl 9 years, 5 months ago

Turns out Joe the Plumber is unlicensed, owes back taxes, and now may have been a GOP plant sent to Obama's campaign location as a setup for the debate.Also, it's been revealed that Sarah Palin had an 841 SAT score, and some are again questioning having her and her husband running the military, CIA, and FBI in the event John McCain becomes president, becomes ill, and is unable to continue office.Things don't look good for the GOP.

feeble 9 years, 5 months ago

@MonkeyI would posit that if China actually have infrastructure in place for long term overseas deployment, they could also mount a military deployment similar to what the US has going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, as China's PLA has no overseas forces, the point is pretty much moot.

bd 9 years, 5 months ago

Barack Osama Obama is the anti-christ!

monkeyspunk 9 years, 5 months ago

Registered RepubLICKan voting for Obama here, made up my mind yesterday. Reasons?1. I reviewed the two most recently produced economic plans from both campaigns. Obama's was more to my liking. Hit some points I have been selling for some time.2. McCain should not have voted for the bailout if he opposed it. Period. 3. VP candidates, you really can't draw a comparison here. You may not "like" Biden, but you KNOW he would be a better VP than Moose Hunter. My only hangup is on the tax plans. While I like McCain's more, unless he can come up with a do-able spending reduction plan, it will never work. Obama's could lead to massive unemployment if his green energy job program tanks and the economy doesn't improve. But I am optimistic enough to think that Obama's plan will catalyze a new attitude about energy and independence.

bad_dog 9 years, 5 months ago

Here's an interesting development about "Joe the plumber".Apparently Joe isn't licensed (might be important if he ever wants to transition from employee to employer), doesn't make anything approaching $250K (nor, apparently does the business) and has an outstanding tax lien against him. Nothing against Joe personally, he seems like a hard working guy. It appears McCain sure didn't do him any favors placing him in the limelight.Draw your own conclusions from the comments below the article-I don't have time to start vetting all the allegations about Joe's relation to Keating, etc, etc. from Joe's hometown paper...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

"But with Obama, you don't know what you get because he's not what he makes himself out to be:"Even if that's true, I certainly don't think he's whatever the wingnuts can imagine him to be.

meggers 9 years, 5 months ago

jimincountry says: "I think Professor Ayers is at work fulfilling his goal to destroy the financial and governmental system of this country and to replace it with marxism/socialism from within by subverting the young people he is misleading in his educational endeavors and now through his friendship with Barack Obama if ACORN has been successful."If we had a prize for the most ignorant post of the day, I think we'd have a winner. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

akt2 9 years, 5 months ago

They are both political animals. They eat and breathe politics. In that respect they are one and the same. McCain would just be in for one term. Obama will be held to his promises and if he can't deliver he will only be in for one term too. In the big picture 4 years is nothing.

james bush 9 years, 5 months ago

I think Professor Ayers is at work fulfilling his goal to destroy the financial and governmental system of this country and to replace it with marxism/socialism from within by subverting the young people he is misleading in his educational endeavors and now through his friendship with Barack Obama if ACORN has been successful.

james bush 9 years, 5 months ago

Continued: ....if ACORN has been successful in getting Obama elected.

camper 9 years, 5 months ago

After watching the debate on FOX, the post commentary included a caption of "Joe the Plumber" and Barack. I only thought to myself, this is something you'd only see in a slapstick comedy or something. I can only imagine Joe at work the following day and the reception he must have got. "Hey Joe, how's it going? Saw you on TV last night". Sometimes truth is greater than fiction......but real-life is rarely funnier than comedy. Unbelievable though somewhat scary too.

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