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Obama, McCain at Saddleback faith forum give debate preview.

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In their first back-to-back appearance as presidential nominees -- at a forum aimed at evangelicals -- Barack Obama said Saturday his greatest moral failure was his selfishness, while John McCain said it was his first marriage.

The rivals were led through mostly identical questions by Pastor Rick Warren, who presides over the mammoth Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Obama went first, while McCain was sequestered so he would not know the specific question. While not a debate -- there will be three -- the Saturday session showed that Obama's penchant for nuance will face McCain's tendency for directness.

The Obama campaign has been making a major play for faith-based voters -- he has been to Saddleback before -- who in past presidential elections trended Republican or stayed at home.

On the hot-button issue of abortion -- Warren knew going in that Obama supports abortion rights and McCain does not -- Warren asked when a baby is entitled to human rights. Obama said, "Answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade," while McCain said, to applause, "At the moment of conception."

Highlights:

• • On the moral failure question, Obama related his youthful experimentation with drugs and alcohol and said that reflected "a certain selfishness on my part ... I was so obsessed with me ... I could not focus on other people."

McCain paused a moment and said, "The failure of my first marriage." McCain has talked and written about his divorce. In 2002, he told CNN's Larry King, "I was responsible for the breakup of my first marriage, due to my immature and very bad behavior."

• • Obama said he would not have appointed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- the second black on the nation's highest court.

"I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas," Obama said in response to a question about which justice he would not have appointed. "I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation."

Obama -- who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago -- also said he would not have picked Justice Antonin Scalia "because he and I just disagree."

McCain said he would not have named two picked by Democratic presidents -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer -- and, more important to McCain's quest to solidify his conservative base, two tapped by Republicans, John Paul Stevens and David Souter.

Conservatives consider the appointment of Souter, who turned out to be moderate on the court, a "mistake."

44 Comments

Disappointed about the style of form:
Although I found the questions asks were fair and well selected, I believe the style is questionable. I believe one should have ask a question at the time to each candidate such that each one has to answer one time a question at first.

McCain so is the man for the job

I am so disappointed that the two candidate and not going to be able to sit and openly discuss differing issues I can't express it. It is unfair to the public to not see each in action and evaluate the truthfulness behind the statments.

McCain has brought in Ralph Reed the corrupt bigot and founder of the extreme right wing Christian Coalition. What is in this game for Obama? Does he believe he can outflank McCain on the religious right? That is a complete waste of time and money and an insult to his more progressive supporters. Religion has no place in politics in a country founded upon separation of church and state. Beliefs should remain personal and private they are not a badge of morality. We live in a world where continuous death and destruction is reigned down on the innocent by religious fanatics who believe they have God on their side. Enough already.

McCain uses one word slogans for answers to difficult questions.

No thoughtfulness here just buzz words to get the unthinking electorate into his camp.
We need a president capable of thought, negotiation, reason.

He talks of "winning the war"; the war that was started because of the supposed threat of WMD's. Over two trillion spent on this debacle but McCain spouts "patriotism" or "terror" and gets credence from the simple minded.

THe war on terror is a war against international thugs mascarading as religuous extremeists.

McCain follows Bush in that he really wants to get elected but he really does not want to seriously address the critical issues of our time.

McCain is a political dinosaur when we need someone capable of rational and responsible thought and diplomacy.

Katherine Clark

I am always amazed...though I should be used to it by now...how much more print and air time Obama gets over McCain. Am I the only one this is so very obvious too?? I am guessing it is because there just is not that much bad to say about McCain and giving him too much print and air time would only help his presidential run.

Except that McCain wasn't sequestered backstage.
He arrived late. Warren admitted as much to Rick Warren this evening on CNN.

Well, it sounds like McCain's "directness" was aided by cheating--per an interview with Rick Sanchez of CNN, Pastor Warren admits that McCain was not in a "cone silence" in the building after all--i.e., there was plenty of opportunity for him to be given the questions in advance and get his stump speech lines/anecdotes quickly prepped.

Come on, let's not start making up scenarios about where each candidate was before it was his turn. This was a fair and very telling forum, stop suggesting that there was cheating going on by either candidate. We need more of these types of forums, we don't need to listen to the candidates argue with each other over an issue. With each one giving their opinion on the same subject the public can contrast one candidate against the other and make a more informed decision on election day.

Not only is Obama so far to the left that he is
a socialist, he is very inexperienced. People need to get past the hype and see what his presidency would cost us as a country in taxes and concessions to those who hate and would destroy us.. There is nothing new about him and the "change" would take us down a very broken path. It is about the content of his character which I find deeply lacking for this important job.

IN MY OPINION IT LOOKED TO ME THAT SENATOR MCCAIN
ALREADY KNEW THE QUESTIONS, HIS ANSWERS SEEMED
TO BE MEMORIZED, MAYBE HE WAS JUST PREPPED WITH
THESE QUESTIONS, JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION!
NOTHING AGAINST THE PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OR THE
CHURCH, THEY SEEM TO BE GENUINE IN THEIR APPROACH
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH CANDIDATE, FOR A GUY
THAT CALLS EVERYONE MY FRIEND, MCCAIN SURE ACTS
LIKE A PERSON LOOKING FOR A FIGHT WITH ANOTHER
COUNTRY, PATRIOTISM IS ONE THING, TO LOOK FOR
TROUBLE IS ANOTHER!
TO SEAN HANNITY OF FOX NEWS TRYING TO BELITTLE
SENATOR OBAMA BECAUSE HE WAS ON VACATION WHEN
THAT BRIEF WAR BETWEEN GEORGIA AND RUSSIA BROKE
OUT IS A REAL CHEAP SHOT!
BUT THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE, A CHEAP SHOT ARTIST!
THAT'S WHY BARACK OBAMA WILL NEVER APPEAR ON
YOUR CREEPY SHOW!

aha, more on the smoke and mirrors game that Pastor Ric was playing on AMErica

” Senator John McCain was NOT in a so-called cone of silence on Saturday night while his rival, Senator Barack Obama, was being interviewed at the Saddleback Church in California.

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Related
In Forum at Church, Rivals Meet Briefly and Part Sharply on Social Issues (August 17, 2008)
The Caucus: McCain and Obama Address Faith Forum (August 16, 2008)

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Election GuideMore Politics NewsThe McCain campaign, which flew here Sunday from California, said Mr. McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed by the Rev. Rick Warren.

The matter is of interest because Mr. McCain, who followed Mr. Obama’s hourlong appearance in the forum, was asked virtually the same questions as Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain’s performance was well received, raising speculation among some viewers, especially supporters of Mr. Obama, that he was not as isolated during the Obama interview as Mr. Warren implied.

Mr. Warren, pastor of Saddleback, had assured the audience while he was interviewing Mr. Obama that “we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence” and that he could not hear the questions.

After Mr. Obama’s interview, he was joined briefly by Mr. McCain and the candidates shook hands and embraced.

Mr. Warren started by asking him, “Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?”

Mr. McCain deadpanned, “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

Interviewed Sunday on CNN, Mr. Warren seemed surprised to learn that Mr. McCain was not in the building during the Obama interview. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain said he was en route to the church.”

DUH?

MCCAIN IS IN BIG TROUBLE WHEN THE REAL DEBATES
COME ABOUT, THOSE ONE WORD ANSWERS WON'T CUT IT!

I was disappointed that Mc Cain wasn't sequestered backstage. It was very clear he had a chance to prepare before going on. I thought Obama's comments were thoughtful and honest and gave us a chance to hear details how he felt on these important views. McCain's stories were great, he is so likeable, but I felt like a seasoned politian he played to the audience and didn't answer the questions with much detail. Instead his answers were full of fluff and old war stories. I was hoping to hear what he's going to "DO" about the future of our nation. Again I am disappointed!

McCain is much more qualified.

Obama is clearly "not" qualified to lead this country.

I am consistently amazed at how our liberal socialistic demonrats can not carry on a civilized debate, but when anything upsets their "apple cart," they resort to name calling or excuse making like the one posted ty Ruth A above. This appears to be to be another instance of a demonrat gone mad when he/she does not get their way. McCain was so superior to obama the the murdring abortionists in our culture simply can not believe it. McCain was fantastic and you people with all your rationalizations know it. For once stop rationalizing and accept the truth; a word which I hink you probably do not understand.

There are volumes already written about where these candidates stand on just about every issue, and clearly Obama is thoroughly unqualified to be POTUS. His dangerous associates, some of whom are convicted criminals or have questionable foreign ties (as well as his anti-US mentors) would alone have taken any other candidate out of contention. But it's racism, on Obama's part, keeping him in. How ironic.

"Well, it sounds like McCain's "directness" was aided by cheating--per an interview with Rick Sanchez of CNN, Pastor Warren admits that McCain was not in a "cone silence" in the building after all--i.e., there was plenty of opportunity for him to be given the questions in advance and get his stump speech lines/anecdotes quickly prepped."
------------
Ah, so the cries of cheater. Do you really think he would stoop to Obama's level? Do you really think his answers would have been different had he 'known' the questions? McCain is not the prevaricator and so-called negotiator (read panderer) that Obama is.

McCain is the real deal.

I too am consistently amazed at how the liberals can not carry on a civilized debate without resorting to name calling. LIke for instance, why not be more like kirk up there and raise the level of debate and say the liberals are all mad, murdering abortionists, and too stupid to understand the meaning of the word "truth".

See that is called "revealing yourself" to be the thing you claim to hate. Way to go Kirk. No go turn on Rush Limbaugh so he can tell you who to hate.

John McCain did a great job. He said life begins at conception.
Obama said the question was above his pay grade.
Now he wants to sign The Freedom of Choice Act as soon as he becomes President that will be pro-abortion, pro-partial birth abortion and actually will be for infanticide or baby killing.Read the book:The Case Against Barack Obama Chapter 10 to know how Obama stands on baby killing.
Last year 1.2 million babies were aborted. This is a disgrace to our Creator
Go John McCain 08
While were on the subject you Obama lovers all whine about how Rev Warren helped McCain. McCain was in a motorcade with the Secret Service and was put in a green room where he couldn't hear before the show.End of story!
But, you wait for the debates McCain is honest and direct and Obamas nuance won't save him.

quote Kirk below: "I am consistently amazed at how our liberal socialistic demonrats can not carry on a civilized debate, but when anything upsets their "apple cart," they resort to name calling..."

Wow! hypocrate? Way to carry on a civilized debate and avoid name calling!

Way to go jefflz. You've demonstrated your own intolerance, bigitry (against people of faith), ignorance of the Constitution and American history--all in one short paragraph!

Barack Obama's answer to when life begins was disingenuous to say the least!

If he really believed "when a baby is entitled to human rights" was a question beyond him, "beyond my pay grade", then the logical and compassionate response is to error on the side of the child.

Barack Obama does exactly the opposite. He's authorized the killing of unborn and born babies at every step of the way up to and including infanticide.

I have NO IDEA why Barack's campaign thought this was anything he needed to focus upon.

Obama was asked - and answered - a question about teachers and merit raises. McCain answered it, too - problem is, Rick Warren never asked McCain the question. Let's see - blurting out the answer to a question before the moderator even asks it. Yeah, I'm betting McCain did everything he could to get the questions beforehand - including not getting to the 'cone of silence' in time and listening in on the way.

Rick Warren is just as bad for helping him perpetuate the charade. Thank goodness some folks at CNN evidently saw McCain arrive late and Rick Sanchez stuck with it until Warren came clean about McCain not being there.

iHave been a dem. all my life but after listning to Obamma against McCain I will now vote for McCain.Obamma showed the world what a inexperianced fool he really is.BOY WAS I WRONG ABOUT OBAMMA.

Both of them were basically told what the questions would be in advance. McCain is direct and answers the questions with his opinion, Obama tries to avoid saying what the polls say would hurt him. The people who think Obama will outdebate McCain are the same ones who thought John Edwards would outdo old man Cheney...then Cheney made him look stupid. Everything Obama does is scripted and lacks substance, when he has to think on his feet his inexperience will show even with the media 100% behind him.

Right---and let's not forget Ralph Reed's tainted roots. Bill Moyers did a GREAT expose on these rats. It was 3 fridays back and it's called 'capitol crimes'---must see tv! And you can catch up with it on line.
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal
/08012008/profile.html

Although my guy Governor Romney is sitting on the sidelines, my perception of McCain has favorably risen since the Saddleback ordeal. Both candidates are bought and payed for by separate interest groups and are beholding to them indefinitely. Vote with your wallet folks, the democratic party will take what they can, when they can from you if they control the Presidency, the House, and the Senate. Not too mention the Supreme Court Justices that will step down immediately with a democratic win, and will be replaced with left wingers who make law from the bench, instead of interpreting it..

Obama proves once again that he can not think on his feet or his own. Take those speech writers and teleprompter away and he is lost in the fog; a babling fool; with no real point of view. He has no desire to debate McCain face to face, he wants total control of the questions and has shown why. As any far left liberial he has shown he could not give an honest answer to what he thinks because even they relize how idiotic they sound. For all you liberials out there all you could do was cry that McCain must of known the questions ahead of time. After all how else could your rock star have looked so bad, what can the man change when he doesn't even have a clue to the question?

NEXT TIME THEY HAVE A FORUM LIKE THIS, BOTH OF
THEM SHOULD BE OUT THERE AT THE SAME TIME WITH
THE ONE NOT ANSWERING WITH HEADPHONES ON LIKE THE
QUIZ SHOW GAME, ONLY MAKING SURE MCCAIN ISN'T
RECEIVING THE ANSWERS THROUGH HIS HEADPHONES!

Well, Obama never shoulda done anything BUT a 'real' debate.

To Katherine Clark:
Growing up, we teach our kids not to take the easy way out, so they can work hard and learn that nothing comes easy and for free. The hope is when we get older, we begin to thinking logically and try to make processes more simple. What is wrong with a one-word answer? Nothing, especially when he did follow it up with an explanation. So it wasn't a one word answer. "Defeat them" should be an initial reaction for everyone concerning evils that threaten us.

McCain is clear and concise. Obama starts with thoughfullness, but ends up avoiding the question or over-talking an answer. The sad thing is that too many Americans get caught up in the words, when Obama rarely gets to the ACTUAL point of his answer. Even sadder, he begins to stumble on his words. Still sadder, it is very clear that when he is on point with no teleprompter, he fails miserably.

As for a 'negoitating' president, do you really believe that negotiating with Iran is effective? They have been stepping all over negotiations and using them to stall us all while continuing plutonium production in the background. They blatantly said they want to wipe Isreal off the face of the Earth. One of the few hopes I see to avoiding war and a nuclear holocaust would be the rather intellectual Iranian population stepping up against the already not-so-popular government.

Please tell me how McCain is not addressing the critical issues? Energy. Smart-minded people, or maybe the simple minded as you referred, realize that we need to attack ALL forms of energy production. Drilling, nuclear, coal, conservation, everything! Obama says,"Drilling won't lower prices now, or in five years." SOOOOO, don't do it??? Yea, that is smart! Come on! Would you really like to know whty it would take 10 years for oil to come to market? Eight years of environmental red-tape and court hearings! It would only take two years to drill, refine, and bring the gas to the pump. And the price will fall well before then, simply because the intention of new supply will force OPEC to lower the price.

I give Obama a chance every time he answers a question, and he makes my choice this November always clear. He wouldn't stand a chance at getting my vote anyway since he is extremely socialist. To be continued...

And who exactly aided McCain in 'cheating' before taking his turn at the forum? And for those who really are taking cone of silence literally, are you serious? It was a term from a Get Smart episode. McCain wasn't even there yet. If you are going to say he cheated, or say that it 'sounds' like he cheated, then why not follow up with who was actually handing over the questions?

And don't make the mistake of saying McCain cheated because he answered so well. It was because Obama could not answer so well. Anyone can anticipate what questions would be asked. I would hope Obama would to, but his answers are so bad that it doesn't seem to matter. What scared me more is that he has good answers, but he is stumbling over his words because he is trying to change those answers out of fear for the reaction to his real thoughts.

Someone please explain to me Obama's refusal for the open-forum style townhall meetings that McCain suggested right out of the gate?

Let me offer my answer. Obama is not good on his feet. To answer questions directly from the people that would vote for either candidate would be disastrous to his campaign. His advisors know this. There is no good reason Obama can give as to this refusal. As a result, I have heard no good explanation, yet any at all.

Would everyone just assume that McCain would know the questions from randomly selected audience members? Out of desperation, some would. At Saddleback, McCain appeared to be a man ready for commander-in-chief, and the only thing Obama supporters can come up with is that McCain cheated. Be an adult, admit Obama did very poorly with his answers.

Sad. Americains deserve to see a real debate. If Obama doesnt have the guts to debate McCain openly how can he possibly have the strength to be President. Perhaps he can send the terrorists nice letters and ask them to stop while he meets the girls for coffee on some silly am show ;/

To be honest...I think America deserves better people than those that continue accusing each other of their party being the bad guys...etc. Doesn't it get a bit old and stupid applying the same bogus comments toward your enemy party that you remembered reading/hearing from your favorite show/newspaper/blog? The question of "experience" in our candidates is out the window now because last I checked the republicans have been in office the last eight years and they were supposed to be experienced. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove...the list can go on naming people who had prior experience and it summing up to what in the last eight years? I hope all of you concider your choices wisely instead of sinking within party bounds.

I see some people say that Obama gets more press coverage because there is more bad things to say about him. I believe he gets more press coverage because they've been covering McCain's policies for that last 8 years with President Bush. Their policies are very similar.

McCain is a warmonger with below average intelligence. His whole persona is based on his losing his fifth aircraft as a military pilot (sic) and the fact that he emerged from a very prominent family. Without their protect and influence he would own a car dealership in Phoenix and we would never heard of him. The Pentagon saw to it that the fact that he was out of position and flying too low when shot down has never been made public. That plane was the fifth he ushered to an untimely demise.

He lacks the ability to control his most primal instincts. Anyone considering making him President is either wealthy and wants to stay that way or a fool.

McCain Won. Obama Looked like a little kid (smirks and all). He is no match for McCain, who (yes) is older and much wiser. Mac is more experience hands down, very evident through his answers. McCain is a true American patriot who has our country's best interest at heart.

yo
I don't agree with what you said really....
please ellaberate a bit more for me ;D


thank you

Oxford English Dictionary definition of LIBERAL:

1. Directed to a general broadening of the mind.
2. Free in giving;; generous, open-handed.
3. Given or offered unstintingly.
4. Unprejudiced, open-minded, free from bigotryor unreasonable prejudice in favour of traditional opinions or estaablished institutions.
5.. OPEN TO THE RECEPTION OF NEW IDEAS.
6. Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms.
7. Favouring free trade and gradual political and social reform that tends towards individual freedom or democracy.

More Republicanism means less of the above. It is a narrow-minded, illiberal, selfish, me-me doctrine which cares only about making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Stuff your Republicanism. Three cheers for Obama!

Spoil what? Waste what? Steal what?

Barack Obama we do not doubt your intelligence. To be an effective leader one must display honesty, compassion, & guts. Stand with Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, & Cynthia McKinney. NOT John McCain. Your choice - your move.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 17, 2008 9:00 AM.

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