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Debate Scorecard

Friday, September 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt


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, Andropov..got 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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Debate On

Friday, September 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From the McCain Campaign:

Statement By McCain Campaign On Negotiations

John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis. [# More #]

In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington. At a moment of crisis that threatened the economic security of American families, Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution that would avert a collapse of financial markets without squandering hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ money to bailout bankers and brokers who bet their fortunes on unsafe lending practices.

Both parties in both houses of Congress and the administration needed to come together to find a solution that would deserve the trust of the American people. And while there were attempts to do that, much of yesterday was spent fighting over who would get the credit for a deal and who would get the blame for failure. There was no deal or offer yesterday that had a majority of support in Congress. There was no deal yesterday that included adequate protections for the taxpayers. It is not enough to cut deals behind closed doors and then try to force it on the rest of Congress — especially when it amounts to thousands of dollars for every American family.

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday where Barack Obama’s priority was political posturing in his opening monologue defending the package as it stands. John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.

Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.

Obama’s Folly: Putting Himself First

Friday, September 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

John McCain is in D.C. working to bring his own party to a reasonable deal with the Democrats.

Obama is demanding tonight’s debate go forward and is not pushing his party to treat with House Republicans.

Which figure is more likely to be able to bring the base of his party to work with the responsible figures in the other party after November: The one who tried to do so before the election or the one who attempted to turn a national crisis to political advantage? Right now that is John McCain, and the comparison isn’t even close.

Obama’s Chicago roots are showing, as well as his disdain for the consequences of the crisis to the country. Below I posted on the House GOP’s responsibility to act. The best response I have received doesn’t disagree with the urgent need for the package but does ask why House Republicans should put aside politics when Obama, Reid and Pelosi are attempting to manipulate the situation for political advantage. (See, for example, this chronology of the many faces of Harry Reid.) My response to that is that the country will see through the maneuvers and will trust the party and the presidential candidate who show leadership while putting aside politics. Right now that’s John McCain. It remains to be seen who else joins him.

“A Wall Street Rescue that Makes Every Player a Winner”

Friday, September 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A guest column on the financial crisis:

A Wall Street Rescue that Makes Every Player a Winner
By Clark S. Judge

With the Wall Street rescue talks on the ropes, there is a deal waiting to be done that fixes the Paulson Plan’s problems and gives each key player a win.[# More #]

The key objectives of the rescue are: 1) to restore stability and liquidity to a US financial system currently threatened by the collapse in value of a large class of assets, a collapse which has led to catastrophic shrinking of the balance sheet equity of many financial houses, 2) to do it without inappropriately favoring one firm over another, 3) while minimizing US taxpayer exposure, as well as 4) minimizing US government acquisition of privately held assets.

Here is what such a plan would look like:

* Build up good assets:

Everyone has focused on the bad assets that the financial houses hold. Start instead with the good assets, mainly corporate stocks, which are currently depressed, and build up their market value. Some have suggested zeroing out the capital gains tax to do this. It is true that pending expiration of the 2003 cuts of the capital gains and dividends taxes is regarded as a drag on the markets. But large classes of market players-pension funds and 401k investors-are not sensitive to tax considerations, so concentrating exclusively on capital gains and dividends would not do the trick.

Both presidential candidates have made statements that can be applied here.

Barack Obama has said that in a shaky economy letting the 2003 tax cuts expire (at least on capital gains and dividends) would not make sense. So, giving him credit, lock in those cut now.

John McCain has advocated cutting the corporate income tax, a move that would impact all market participants. Giving him credit, bring the corporate income tax rate down to a level competitive with the other major industrial countries now.

In other words, give both candidate claim to a win, while building up the value of good assets in the hands of the financial houses, thereby building up their balance sheet equity and reducing their need to turn to the government for help.

* Create a temporary lending facility for the securities industry:
Instead of making the government’s major role that of buyer, make it first that of lender. To financial houses holding instruments for which there is no current market, the Treasury’s first offer would be a loan, if necessary with the troubled paper or other assets as collateral. The interest rate should be an attractive one to the American taxpayers, assuring them that they were getting a good deal from the lending of their money. Lending first would also minimize the government’s problematic role as an acquirer of private assets and its extremely difficult role (according to those who worked on the S&L bailout) as a disposer of those assets. Equally important, it would give a win to House Republicans, who want to have the rescue program rely on loans rather than asset acquisition.

* Create an exchange for the troubled assets with the government as the market maker:
This is essentially what the Paulson Plan would do, but it would open the government to disposal of assets via on-going competitive bidding. Any firm that sold its troubled assets to the government would come under restrictions that have already been negotiated, including limits on executive pay, coming off of them only after all the paper it had sold was out of government hands. It would also give Congressional Democrats and the Administration a win, incorporating the proposal they have already hammered out and agreed to.

By expanding the value of good assets in the hands of financial institutions (and the rest of us), this package would minimize the demand for other government assistance. By relying primarily on loans, it would minimize the need for the government to get in the business of acquiring assets. By making the government’s asset acquisition role that of market maker, it would keep the markets functioning, even as it minimized the time any asset remained in government hands.

Both presidential candidates, both parties in Congress and the Administration could all claim wins-as could the global financial markets and the American people.

Clark S. Judge is managing director of the White House Writers Group. He was a special assistant and speechwriter to President Reagan.

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