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Debate Scorecard

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McCain Answer

Obama Answer

1. Ike: “Security and solvency” Where do you stand on financial recovery plan.

Classy thoughts from John McCain for Ted Kennedy Relaxed. Bipartisan. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” and adds oil.

The Ike story is very powerful. “Somehow we have lost that accountability.” “As President of the United States people are going to be held accountable.”


This is a final verdict on eight years of Bush economics. Smooth but partisan out of the gate.

Dodges follow-up in order to renew attack on “the past two years.” Well-delivered, but again, partisan at a moment audience wants bipartisan attitude?

2. Fundamental differences?

Spending discussion favors McCain every time.

“You can look it up.”

Advantage McCain

Obama tries to shift to a tax discussion, but argues that loopholes make for the lowest business tax rate in the world?

“It’s just no true.”

3. The foreign affairs discussion still has no questions about foreign powers or defense. Back to economy: “What would you give up?” to pay for fiscal crisis bill.

“We’ve got to cut spending.” Senator Obama most liberal member of the Senate. “It is hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”

“I’d eliminate ethanol subsidies.” Cost-plus contracts. Specifics. Argument –strong– from experience.

“A spending freeze on everything except defense, veterans, entitlements.”

McCain brings up energy transfer and demands offshore drilling and nuclear power. Nails Obama on this. 700,000 jobs in 45 nuclear power.

Strong McCain exchange and advantage McCain.

“I want to make sure we are not handing our health care system over to the federal government.”

It is well known….I have opposed the president on spending, climate change, torture, Gitmo, conduct of Iraq War. The American people know me very well. Nice word for Palin as well.

Some things have to be done. Talking points about spending money, ot giving up something. Dodge. Very obviously so.

Second try: Some things will have to be defered and delayed.” Like what, Lehrer adds. “There may be individual components of it that we can’t do.” Another dodge, less artful.

Obama rejects freeze.

Good jab on Bush spending: “To stand here after 8 years…”

4. So, we are now down to 53 minutes for foreign affairs?

Lessons of Iraq?

You cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to very nearly lose a conflict.

War was very badly mishandled. In 2003 called for a new strategy. I fought for it. Finally we came up with a great general and the strtaegy has succeeded. We will come home wiht victory and honor. Now that we will succeed, we will have a stbale ally and a fledging democracy. Consequences of defeat would have been….Thanks to Petraeus and troops, we will come home as we have when we have won other wars.

The next president is going to have to decide how we leave and when we leave. Taht’s the decision. Senator Obama said the surge could not work….cites Obama’s own words. Still says he would oppose the surge today. Incredibly never asked for a meeting with General Petraeus. Never had a hearing.

Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a taactic and startegy. Story of reenlistment. I was honored to be there. “Let us win.” Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq.”

Senator Obama did the incredible thing to vote to cut off funds for the troops.

Petraeus and bin Laden have one thing in common: Iraq was the central battleground, and references Obama’s first plan. Understands why Obama was surprised. Ouch.

Strong advantage McCan.

Senator McCain and I have a fundamental difference.

Six years ago I opposed this war…hadn’t finished the job re: al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

We’ve spent over 600 billion, lost 4,000 lives, 30,000 wounded, and al Qaeda is resurgent. We took our eye off the ball.

We shoudl never hesitate to use military force and I won’t.

I am very proud of my vice presidential selection Joe Biden, as he explains, critical issues don’t go through my committee, tries to dismiss as Senate inside basball.

Salutes troops and Petraeus. That was a tactic designed to contain the damage. “You like to pretend the war started in 2007. You said it was going to be quick and easy…”

Obama on the defensive here. I opposed funding a mission with no timetable. I understand the difference between tactics and strategy.

In 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan –a waffle on the Obama timetable?

5. Troops. How many and when?

I won’t repeat the mistake that I regret enormously that led to Taliban. We can’t ignore those lessons of history.

If you are going to aim a gun at somebody, you’d better be prepared to pull the trigger. I am not prepared to threaten Pakistan. We need the support of the people of Pakistan. “You don’t do that. You don’t say that out loud. You work with the Pakistani governemnt.” Ouch.

“I have been to Waziristan.” What he doesn’t understand is that it has got to be a new strategy, the same one he condemnned in Iraq. Going to be tough. They have intermarried. Vey specific, very forceful.

I am confident we will employ a new strategy. Specific on troop level. :”I know how to work with them.”

“I don’t think Senator Obama understands there was a failed state in Pakistan…”

Ouch again.

Talks about Lebanon in ’83. “Tragically I was right.” Litany of experiences with war. Bosnia, Somalia, First Gulf War. Contrast is huge. “Highest responsibility and toughest decision.” Matthew Stanley salute. “I will wear his bracelet with honor.”

“I know what it is like when an army is defeated.”

You might think with thqt kind of concern, Senator bama would have gone to Afghanistan. Ouch again.

Strong McCain advantage

More troops as quickly as possible.

Two or three additional brigades. More Iraq talking points. Brings up “strategic” again. McCain clealry scored on that and Obama is defensive.

Obama denies having threatened Pakistan. What? Brings up “songs about bombing Iran,” leaving an opening for McCan as it conflates McCain joke with bama serious policy.

“A 20th century mindset,” “we lost legitimacy in Pakistan” –blame America first.

“I’ve got a bracelet too.”

” No US soldier ever dies in vain.”

You don’t muddlke through…

6. Iran threat. If Iran aquires nuclear weapons it is an existential threat to the state of Israel and a threat to the region as other countries will feel the need to aquire these weapons as well.

League of democracies. Russians are preventing significant action in UN Security Council. We could impose significant sanctions. Iranians have a lousy govt. I am convinced, with French, British, german, we can affect Iranian behavior, but have no doubt they continue on a path to a nuke. Notes Iranian interference in Iraq.

Brings up Obama’s opposition to RG amendment by Kyl,

Brings up Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Korea. Now in NY talking about wiping Israel off the map, and we are going to sit down wuith a person without precondition espousing the destruction of state of Israel?

Reagan wouldn’t sit down with Brez, Chern, to be preconditions. Senator Obama said “without preconditions”

“I don’t even have a seal yet.” Heh.

“What Senator Obama doesn’t seem to understand….” Powerful. It isn’t just naive, it is dangerous.

As far as North Korea is concerned, our SecState Madeline Albright went to NK

We know they have broken every agreement they have agreed to.

“Oh please.”

McCain has him on the ropes.

Key exchange of debate. Obama outclassed completely.

I believe the IRG is a terrorist org, but he refers to a mandate expanding measure.

Seems to say it was a bad thing to get rid of Iraq. Policy over the last 8 years have not worked. Game changer. Nice words for Israel. Arms race.

We do need tougher sanctions. I don’t think we can do this without Russia or China!


Our efforts at isolation has increased their drive for nukes.

“I reserve the right to meet with anybody if I think it is going to keep America safe.”

Understand what this means. It doesn’t mean invite them over for tea. Difference between preconditions and preparation? I was called naive when I suggested exploring contacts with Iran, and President Bush recently did just that.

Brings up North Korea? Does he not understand the reality of NK’s behavior? Wow. Our fault? We have made some progress, although right now….Stumblign here badly. He doesn’t understand NK at all.

Figures this out and lurches to Spain.

“Nobody says that. Mischaraterization of my position.” Obama in quick sand here. The notion that we would sit with Ahmadinejad …

“I am not parsing words.

“Please go ahead.”

Please Jim, get me out of here.

7. Russia

I was interested in Senator Obama’s reaction to Georgia. He doesn’t undersatnd…

A KGB apparatchik run operation, and McCain walk through the door oepned by Obama.

We need to bolster our firends and allies. Has everything to do with energy. Presidents of young countries, talks knowingly of leaders and Georgia and ghis travels there. “I thinkt eh Russians ought to understand…” Been to Georgian territory with Putin poster.

Watch Ukraine, the base of the Russian fleet, names the key leaders.

We know if we drill offshore it wil help and it wil have an importantt effect on prices.

McCain advantage again.

Actions in Georgia were unwarranted and unacceptable. They must leave.

An area I have led on in the Senate….

Bings uop Bush’s “soul” comment. Error. Open door to McCain

I disagree with this notion that “we” did not object forcefully to invasion of Georgia. Oops. People are watching. You cannot rewrite the record.

Issue of energy: Russia is in part resurgent because of petrodollas, we have to have an ebergy strategy because we are one of the greatest consumers of oil. 3%/25%

“We cannot drill our way out of the problem.”

Simply not serious to start with Russia and end with solar/wind etc. Rambling.

I have never said that I object to nuclear waste…

8. 9./11 risks. Lousy question as almost cetainly will not elecit any differences. Much less than it was on 9/12. I have worked across the aisle, after 9/11 Joe Lieberman and I decided we needed a Commission, and we were opposed by Administration and we got that legislation passed. We have got written into law most of those reforms. Bipartisan. We have a long way to go, and we need trained interrogators so we don’t torture a prisoner ever again. I can tell you that Ameica is safer but we have a long way to go

We are safer in some ways. Airport security. We still have a logn way to go.

I actually believe we need missile defense, but I also believe we need to spend more on nuke proliferation.

Afgahanistan and Pakistan./ The way we are prceievd ibn the world matters. We are less respected now….

Close McCain makes powerful close on experience gap.

Obama disses America at the end.


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