A blog that I post on whenever I see something that makes me want to go off on a Republican (Libertarian every once in a while) rant. I will cover stories from all over the nation and world, but I will try to cover as many stories about my home state of Michigan as I can (I'll also talk a lot about Texas, because Texas is awesome!).
So, go check it out, and if you’re a conservative student at Central Michigan, I’d encourage you to sign up. It’s a great, active group – we just brought in former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. (R-CA), and we’re planning a few things to promote fiscal responsibility and transparency of school spending for next semester, as well as a couple guest speakers (candidates running for state-wide office) both this semester and next semester.
So, come check us out – we meet at 9:00 P.M. in Anspach 168, and if you’re not already on the e-mail list, you can sign up on the website.
If you’re not a student at CMU, but you’re a young Republican in Michigan, check out the Michigan GOP Youth website for how you can get involved.
Alright, this news came in over the weekend while I was at the Michigan Republican Winter State Convention, and I’ve been swamped with stuff, so I’m just now getting to it.
President Machael Rao, who’s been at CMU for 9, decided that he’s going to leave at the end of this year, to take a job as president of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Personally, I think that Rao is leaving at a bad time. He just started his pet project, the medical school (which I strongly oppose because, in my opinion, it’s a waste of money that we can’t afford to waste right now), and now he’s leaving.
Personally, I hope that we have a president who’s more fiscally responsible than Rao was. He overspent money, raised tuition, initially refused to give a pay raise to the teachers, but then decided that a 3% pay raise was alright for him. Instead of cutting costs where we could (aluminum gutters on Warriner Hall, new street signs with university colors), lowering tuition for the students (or at least keeping it the same), and giving the teachers a pay raise, he gave HIMSELF a pay raise.
Probably the worst thing he did was get rid of the CMU promise, which promised that tuition would stay at the same level for students throughout their stay at CMU. That was a HUGE draw for CMU, and with that gone, CMU lost a lot of it’s luster.
I wish Rao the best as he leaves. He’s a really nice guy, but I think he could’ve done a lot better for CMU, and leaving right now is the wrong thing to do.
Good luck, Mr. Rao! At least it’ll be warmer in Virginia!
The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin. I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).
Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since it’s bigger).
Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?” I said, “Right there.” And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”
Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats. There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.
There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).
She’s saying welcome and thank you. She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.
She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year. And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.
Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.
We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.
“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.” She’s absolutely right about that. “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”
“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”
Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda. I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.” BULL CRAP!
She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people. COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!
“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.” True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.
“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.” Really? Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills. What’s to stop three more?
She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone. Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.
Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.” Good point there – I’ll give her that one.
Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%. That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.
“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”
She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country. I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.
She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government. GOOD CALL!
Talking about preserving our wetlands.
Talking about reducing corrections spending. We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months. Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street. More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!
Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!
We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.
We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry. When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.
Talking about the green auto industry being great.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000. “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.” Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.
Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.
Three major announcements:
Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)
Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs. That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.
“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.” Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.
Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.” And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.
She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that and nuclear power).
Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.
She’s getting really intense about this. “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”
We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.
We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan. Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan. 5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.
She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.
She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.
3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)
“We all know that we need more jobs – a lot more.” I agree with you there.
President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy. This will increase jobs in Michigan.
“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.” Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high. I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices. But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.
Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.
Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company. Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.
Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products. Good.
Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.
Create Michigan Energy Corps – creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.
Saying that we’ll need less coal power plants here in Michigan.
I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.
Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs. Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far. You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.
Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan. I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money. How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).
Saying people should buy Michigan products. Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.
Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students. Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.
Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale. Something about free education, and I missed the rest.
#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom. How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?
No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years. Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians. 52,000 people. Helping us to remake Michigan.
Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!
Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year. The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?
Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure. That’s absolutely insane. If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.
Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance. Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.
She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers. That should be up to the companies, not the government.
Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending. We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care! She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.” Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor. That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments. When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor? He didn’t! He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!
And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well? I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!
“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?” Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.
She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.
Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”
OK – I’m back.
Talking about hope and strength. “We together will build a better Michigan. God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”
Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs. He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.
She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government. I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it. Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of mandating it.
And now Mike Bishop’s response:
He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”
“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”
Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.” The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.
The House must pass Senate Bill 1. Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.
Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.
The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values. Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created. This would spur the housing market. And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.
Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!
We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.” Absolutely!
Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”
Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.
Well, my school’s news paper, the Central Michigan Life (Central Michigan University) has sunk to a new low. In a video article titled “Voters discuss their picks for president,” (the video has since been taken down, but there are still comments at the bottom of the page) they have students saying who they voted for and used that candidate’s logo as the image. The problem came when Adam Kaminski, the video’s creator, used a logo which read, “Make Me Viagra’s Next Spokesman” on Senator McCain’s logo.
The above video is owned by the Central Michigan Life and has been posted under the Fair Use Clause of the Copyright Act of 1976.
Now, had this have been a joke, I would have no problem with it. But when it is presented as a serious news story, I find this appalling. If the video would’ve included, “Allah’s Next Great Prophet” for Senator Obama, I guarantee that people would be outraged. And they should be!
This case is just a continuing pattern of terrible journalism by the CM-Life. Let’s ignore the blatant spelling and grammar errors that a spread throughout most every issue, and look at some other cases of poor journalism:
Political columnist hack David Peterson’s article about Proposal 2, the proposal that legalized embryonic stem cell research, where he merely stated that it legalized stem cell research. There’s a huge difference between legalizing stem cell research (which are already legal) and specifically embryonic stem cell research (which was illegal, up until the passage of the Proposal).
Here’s what Peterson wrote: “I’m sure everyone in the state of Michigan has seen the ads concerning roposal 2, the decision to allow stem cell research within the state of Michigan for the purposes of discovering cures for various diseases, disorders and organ replacement procedures…”
And how many times does he mention the word embryo (or any variation of the word)? Once. In the middle of the article.
I wrote the following letter to the editor, in addition to several requests for a printed correction (a request which was never honored):
First, you have a general lack of understanding of Proposal 2. Proposal 2 does not “allow stem cell research within the state of Michigan.” Stem cell research is already allowed. Proposal 2 will allow embryonic stem cell research. That’s a pretty important fact that you managed to leave out. This has been a common “error” that proponents of proposal 2 make. Just because a person opposes embryonic stem cell research does not mean that they oppose stem cell research overall.
I think the students of CMU deserve columnists with better knowledge of the issues than this.
These 2 cases show that the CM-Life is lacking in journalism ethics. And apparently it’s lacking in editors, and I’m not just talking about editors who should’ve noticed these “mistakes.” I’m talking about editors who should catch typos like “non threatening life injury” instead of “non life threatening injury,” or the various typos that plague almost every issue of the newspaper.
I hope the editors will honor my request for a correction this time, and if not, I will have lost all respect for the newspaper. Even my liberal roommate (the other one, not the one that I normally talk about on here) agrees that this went way too far.
Alright, we’re moments away from the beginning of the debate. As always, I’ll be watching CNN, who will have a focus group (undecided voters in Ohio) with a tracking rating of how people like what they’re hearing (broken up by men and women). WordPress just added an option to add polls, so I’ll see if I can get that working after the debate is over and post a poll about who won.
Tonight’s debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer (CBS’s Face the Nation).
We’re about 2 minutes away.
Schieffer: Why is your plan better than your opponents?
McCain: Thanks to everybody, my prayers go out to Nancy Reagan. “Americans are hurting and angry.” They’re innocent victims of greed. “They have every reason to be angry.” We have to have a short term fix and long term fixes. Short term fix: Fannie and Freddie cause the sub-prime lending situation, that caused the housing market to collapse. We need to reverse the decline in home ownership. People need to know that they can stay in there homes. Let’s take $300 billion of the $750 billion and buy mortgages so that people can stay in their homes. What about people who could already afford to stay in their homes? It’ll drive home value down if there are abandoned houses. I didn’t like the answer (because I’m staunchly against any of the bailout), but it’ll go over well with voters, and the focus group liked it.
Obama: I think this’ll take some time to work itself out. We need an economic package for the middle class. The fundamentals of the economy were weak before this crisis (it depends what you’re defining fundamentals of the economy as). Tax cut for people making less than $200,000. Buying mortgages could be a bailout to banks, so I disagree with McCain there, but we do need to help homeowners. Need to fix energy and health care.
McCain: Obama had an encounter with a plumber, Joe (somebody)Wurzelbacher. Joe wants to buy the business that he’s worked in, and he looked at Obama’s plan, and he saw that he’d be put in a higher tax bracket, and that’d cause him to not be able to employ people. Joe, I’ll not only help you buy that business and keep your taxes low, and provide a way for you to provide health care to your employees. You want to increase people’s taxes, like Joe the plumber’s. And he’s right there – he’ll kill small businesses if he raises taxes. The focus group liked that.
Obama: McCain wants to give tax breaks to some of the wealthiest companies, including oil companies. I want to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans. Income tax, capital gains tax. THAT’S A LIE ABOUT CAPITAL GAINS!!! He wants to take capital gains taxes back to levels before Clinton lowered them! I want to give small businesses tax breaks. He lies here – 11.5% of Americans don’t even PAY income taxes, because they don’t make enough money!
McCain: Obama says, “We need to spread the wealth around.” “I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around.” Why would you want to raise taxes?
Obama: I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Not true! I want to cut taxes for Joe the plumber before he was able to make $250,000. I want to give families with kids going to college a break. I’d prefer that nobody pay taxes, but we have to pay for the core of the economy to remain strong.
McCain: Companies will go overseas if we raise our business tax rates. “Of all times in America, we need to cut taxes and encourage business, not spread the wealth around.” Great answer – McCain actually did better with the focus group there than McCain, and that surprised me.
Schieffer: Talking about reducing the budget deficit. Won’t some of the programs you’re proposing have to be trimmed or eliminated?
Obama: If the $750 billion works as it’s supposed to, taxpayers will get their money back. I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Some of the cuts we’ll need are subsidies to insurance companies. “It’s just a giveaway.” I’ll go through the federal budget line-by-line, and eliminate what’s unnecessary. We need to invest in the American people. We need to prevent diseases when they’re young, so they won’t spend as much Medicare money. The same with college – they’ll drive up the economy. He’s getting very high ratings right now – he’s appealing to the average American people.
McCain: Back to home-ownership. During the depression, we bought homes and home values went back up. This was a plan that Senator Clinton proposed. We need to become energy independent. I need an across-the-board spending freeze. I oppose subsidies for ethanol. Sorry – got interrupted there. I will veto earmarks. Senator Obama put in an earmark for a projector in a planetarium in his hometown.
Obama: An across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we need a scalpel. Senator McCain talks about earmarks, but they account for 0.5% of the federal budget. Eliminating them will help, but it won’t solve the problem. When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus, and now we have a deficit. Pursuing Bush-esque budgets will worsen the situation, and McCain voted for Bush’s budgets, 4 out of 5 times.
McCain: I will give a new direction to this economy. I’m not President Bush. If he wanted to oppose him, he should’ve run 4 years ago. Mayor Bloomberg just put in a spending freeze in New York, so it can be done. I’ll eliminate spending. Obama voted for the last 2 budgets that Bush proposed (the only 2 that came up since he’s been in office!). I have fought against spending and special interest. When have you stood up to your party? He’s getting good ratings, and I really think that he’s appealing to American people.
Obama: The first major bill I voted on was against tort reform. I support charter schools. I support clean coal technology. I have a history of reaching across the aisle. If I mistaken your policies for President Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues, taxes, spending, etc…, you’ve been a supporter of President Bush. You’re been against him on stuff like torture, and I commend that, but for the majority, you want 8 more years of the same thing.
McCain: It’s been clear that I’ve disagreed with Bush and my party: climate change, opposition to earmarks, torture, conduct of the War in Iraq, Medicare prescription drugs, HMO patients’ bill of rights. I have stood up to my party’s leadership.
Schieffer: Both of you promised to take the high road, but both campaigns have turned nasty.
McCain: This has been a very tough campaign. If Obama had responded to my request to do town hall meetings, like he originally said, the tone of this campaign could’ve been better. The tone of this campaign has taken a nasty turn. I apologize for some of the negativity that has come out of my campaign. I hope OBama will repudiate the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis. Obama didn’t keep his word about taking public financing. He’s getting high ratings from men here, but average ratings from women.
Obama: 2/3 of the American people think McCain’s running a negative campaign, versus 1/3 of the American people thinking that of mine. 100% of your ads have been negative (BULL CRAP!). There’s nothing wrong with having a vigorous debate like we’re having now, but not having town hall meetings doesn’t justify the ads that have come out from your campaign and 527s. I don’t mind being attacked for 3 weeks, but we can’t afford 4 more years of failed economic policies. He’s actually getting negative ratings from women, and average from men here. He’s really attacking McCain during a question about negativity in campaigns, and I think he’s really making himself look bad here.
McCain: If you turn on the television, every other ad was an attack ad on my health care policy, saying that I oppose federal funding for stem cells. I don’t. Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money in negative attack ads on me. Of course we’re talking about Joe the plumber and restoring jobs to America. That’s what my campaign is all about. Again, I didn’t hear a repudiation of Congressman Lewis.
Obama: Lewis, made a statement with what he was troubled with hearing some of the rallies that your running mate was holding. People were yelling “terrorist” and “kill him,” and your running mate didn’t stop them. I do think that he gave a good comparison between what’s happening now and the civil right’s movement. What the Americans want is for us to focus on the challenges that we have now. We have serious differences on health care. When people bring up me being with terrorists, that’s not the issues.
McCain: Whenever you have big rallies, you’ll have fringe people, and that’s not appropriate. But for the majority of people, they’re not saying anything negative. These people are the most patriotic people in this nation (veterans and wives of veterans). There’ve been thingsat your rallies that I’m not happy with either. I have always repudiated out of line statements, and I will continue to do that, but we cannot stand for the things that have been going on. I haven’t.
Schieffer: Do you take issue with that?
Obama: What I think is most important is that we recognize that in order to solve 2 wars, a financial crisis, creating jobs, then we all need to be able to work together. “We need to disagree without being disagreeable. What we can’t do is try to characterize each other as bad people.”
McCain: We need to know the full extent of Obama’s relationships with Ayers and ACORN. If there’s nothing there, I don’t care about it, but we need to know what all went on there.
Obama: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign. Bill Ayers is a professor in Chicago. 40 years ago, he engaged in despicable acts. “I have … condemned those acts.” I served on a school board with him 10 years ago. “Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign … and he will not advise me in the White House.” ACORN: Apparently, they were paying people to get people registered to vote. The only thing I did with them was represent them with some thing in Illinois – I didn’t catch it all. I associate with Warren Buffet on economics. On foreign policy, it’s Joe Biden or Dick Lugar, or General Jim Jones. “Those are the people who have shaped my ideas and will be surrounding me in the White House.”
McCain: While you and Ayers were on that board, you gave money to ACORN, and you launched your campaign from Ayers living room. In 2001, he said he’d wished he’d have bombed more. We need to know all the details here. And my (not McCain) view is that with Ayers – it’s no big deal if Obama’s honest. With ACORN, there are some serious problems there – ACORN has supported Obama, and Obama has supported ACORN, and ACORN has shown to have some serious legal problems.
Schieffer: Why is your running mate better than his?
Obama: He’s been there a while – he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Biden has never forgotten where he came from. He fights for the little guy. He has always been fighting for working families. “After 8 years of failed policies [we] will have to reprioritize … give tax cuts to small businesses … and individuals who are struggling.” We need to become energy independent, and make sure that our kids afford can go to college. Biden has always been on the right side of the issues.
McCain: Palin is a reformer. She took on the old governor, who was part of her party. She’s given money back to taxpayers and cut the size of the government. “She is a reformer through and through, and it’s time that we have that breath of fresh air and sweep out” the old politics of Washington. “She understand special needs families, and understands that autism is on the rise.” She has united people all over America, and I’m proud of her.
Schieffer: Is she qualified to be President?
Obama: That’ll be up to the American people to decide. Her work on special needs kids has been commendable. He didn’t answer the question! If we have an across-the-board spending freeze, special needs kids will suffer.
McCain (on Biden): Biden is experienced, but he’s had some bad foreign policy ideas, such as dividing Iraq into different countries, and we’ve seen Iraq become united as one country. Every time Obama says we need to spend more. Why can’t we have transparency of these government organizations.
Schieffer: Energy and climate control. Presidents have said that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Give us a number of how much you believe we can reduce foreign oil during your first term.
McCain: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle East countries and Venezuela. Canadian oil is fine. We need nuclear power plants, and that’ll be how we eliminate those 2 sources of foreign oil. We need wind, tide, solar, gas, clean coal. He’s getting huge ratings, and for good reason – it’s a good energy plan. Especially the nuclear part!!!!
Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence so we don’t have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. “Nothing is more important than us borrowing … money from China and sending it to Venezuela.” We need to expand domestic production, by telling oil companies, “Use them or lose them” in terms of oil fields being leased here in the U.S. We need to drill offshore, but that won’t solve the problem. We need wind, solar, biofuel. We need efficient cars built here in America, not in Japan. And he’s got good ideas too, but I WISH he would’ve said he wants nuclear power – nuclear power is safe (we use it on subs) and VERY efficient. NAFTA didn’t have enforceable environmental agreements, and we should’ve included those. When it comes to South Korea, we have an agreement with them, and they’re sending more cars here than we are to them. That’s not free trade.
McCain: “Obama said, ‘We will look at offshore drilling.’ Did you catch that? ‘Look at.'” We need to do more than look at it, we need to do it. AGREED! Our businesses are paying money into Columbia, but because of previous agreements, they’re getting their goods into here for free. We need a free trade agreement with Columbia, which Obama has opposed. Obama hasn’t even travelled down there, and he doesn’t understand Columbia.
Obama: I understand it. Labor leaders have been persecuted, and we need to stand for human rights. Workers who are trying to organize for rights shouldn’t be persecuted, and that’s why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru. When I talked about automakers, they’re getting hammered right now, not only because of gas prices, but with the financial crisis. People can’t get car loans, so we need to get loan guarantees. We need more efficient cars and cars of the future. That’ll help create new jobs. He’s getting VERY high ratings – he’s maxed out with women, and men are rating him high too.
McCain: Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region, but wants to sit down with Hugo Chavez without preconditions. Jobs and businesses will be created if we open up those markets. Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes, and the last President who did that was Hoover. We went from a deep recession to a depression. I won’t let that happen.
Schieffer: Would you first lower health care costs, instead of providing more health care?
Obama: We need to do both. My plan will allow you to keep your plan if you have health insurance. We will lower costs so that cost savings are brought back to you. If you don’t have insurance, you can buy into the same kind of federal pool that federal employees enjoy. Insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with preconditions. Drugs will be lower, and we need to look at preventative care. This will require more money up front, but will lower costs in the long run. VERY high ratings at the end there.
McCain: Premiums and copays are going up, and health care costs are going up and inflicting pain on Americans. We need walk in clinics and community health care centers. We need nutrition and physical fitness programs in schools to keep kids healthy. I want to give all American families a $5,000 tax credit. Under Obama’s plan, if you have employees and they have kids, if you don’t have a health care plan, Obama will fine you. I still haven’t heard what that fine will be.
Obama: Your fine will be $0. I exempt small businesses for the requirement that large businesses have to provide health care. Well, Senator Obama, what do you consider a small business??? The average family is paying higher premiums because of the uninsured. I’ll give small businesses a 50% credit so they can afford it. If not, you can buy into the plan I have. McCain will give you the tax credit, but what will happen to older folks who can’t afford the health care plan? McCain will tax the health care benefits you have from your employer, the first time in history this has ever happened. Insurers right now are restricted statewide. Those rules would be stripped away, and you’d see companies excluding people.
McCain: People like Joe are rich, because Obama said about him that we need to “spread the wealth,” so he’s rich enough that he would be fined. Under my plan, people will be able to go across the country, giving them the chance to choose their futures. “Senator Government–Senator Obama wants government to do the job.” Senator Obama and the Democrats have been in charge the last 2 years, and things have gotten worse.
Obama: Under McCain’s plan, there’s a strong risk that you will lose your health care from your employer. All I want to do is lower costs.
Schieffer: Could either of you nominate a Supreme Court Justice who disagrees with your view on Roe v. Wade.
McCain: I have never had a litmus test. I think the Court decided incorrectly there, but I’m a Federalist – it should be left up to the states. We need to nominate people based on qualifications, not if I agree with their ideology. There should be no litmus test. These nominees should be picked based on qualifications, who adhere to the Constitution, not people who legislate from the bench. (But people who stick to the Constitution would oppose Roe v. Wade). I’ll have no litmus test.
Obama: I’d agree that we shouldn’t have a litmus test. Fairness and justice should be given to the American people. It’s very likely that one of us will be making 1 or more appointments, and Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance. I support the decision in Roe v. Wade. I believe that women are in the best position to make this decision. The Constitution has privacy built into it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum or popular vote. “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding record … intellect.” McCain and I disagreed when the S.C. made it harder for some woman to bring suit for equal pay for women. The Court said that she waited too long. If a woman is being treated unfairly, the Court needs to stand up if nobody will.
McCain: You can’t waive the statute of limitation 20 to 30 years. Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide medical attention to babies who were not successfully aborted (essentially passive infanticide). Then he voted present on the floor. He did the same with partial birth abortion. Men are liking this, but women not so much.
Obama: That’s not true. There was a bill put forward that said that you need life saving treatment that would undermine Roe v. Wade, but there was a law alreay on the books. On partial birth abortion: I’m supportive of a ban on late term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the safety of the woman’s life. Both men and women are rating him a bit above average now. Surely there is some common ground, when both sides can come together and prevent unintended pregnancies. Communicate that sex shouldn’t be engaged in carelessly. Adoption choices should be out there. Those things are now in the Democratic platform, for the first time ever.
McCain: “Health of the mother” has been stretched to mean almost anything (such as mental health in some cases). Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We need to promote adoption and protect the rights of the unborn.
Schieffer: A question about education and national security – I missed what all it was.
Obama: No nation has had a bad economy and a good military. Education is a huge part of this. We need better pay for teachers. We need college to be more affordable. We’ll offer an exchange of community/military service with money for college. We can’t do this just in schools. Parents need to show responsibility too – encourage thirst for knowledge. And he’s absolutely right here. It starts at home. People rated him as high as they could.
McCain: Choice and competition among schools are some of the key elements – New York and New Orleans – where we find bad teachers another line of work. We need to give parents a choice in sending kids to good schools. Charter schools are one option.
Schieffer: Should the federal government play a larger role?
Obama: The states need to be in control, but the federal government needs to step in and help struggling local school districts. Bush did this with No Child Left Behind, “but unfortunately, he left the money behind.” That was a good line. McCain and I agree on charter schools. I think we need to encourage competition between schools. Bad teachers need to be replaced. “Our kids need to have the best future.” We disagree on vouchers, and we disagree on college accessibility. McCain doesn’t have programs that help college groups. (That’s because he’ll simplify the tax code to make finding tax credits for college easier to find).
McCain: Vouchers need to be provided, because parents WANT vouchers. They wanted to chose the schools where their children go (this was in Washington, D.C.). As far as NCLB, it had its flaws and problems, but it’s the first time we looked at this from the national perspective. Head Start is a great program. It’s not doing what it should do, so we need to reform it and fund it. We can’t just give more money, we need to reform it too. We need transparency, rewards, and funding. We’ll find and spend money to find the cause of autism, but to have a situation that the most expensive education is in America means that we also need reform. We can’t throw money at a problem without reform. Vouchers work.
Obama: On vouchers in D.C. The D.C. school system is in terrible shape. The superintendent there is doing a great job (McCain interjected that she supports vouchers). There’s not proof that vouchers solve the problem. We need a President who will tackle this head on.
McCain: Obama said that because there’s not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t have any. That’s wrong.
Schieffer: Closing statements.
McCain: Thank you. We need a new direction. “We cannot be satisfied with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years.” I’ve been a reformer. I’ve opposed my party. I’ve been a good steward of your tax dollars. We need to make health care and education affordable to all. We need to stop this wild spending. All of these promises made tonight will be made based on whether you trust us or not. I ask you to examine both my record as well as my proposals for this country. I’ve put my country first. “It’s been a great honor of my life, and I’ve been proud to serve, and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve again. I’ll be honored, and humbled.”
Obama: Washington has been unwilling to address the problems. We cannot adopt the policies of the last 8 years. We need change. You’ve invited me into your homes. “Our brighter days are still ahead, but we have to invest in the American people.” College needs to be more affordable. Wages need to be higher, and we need to grow the middle class. “It’s not gonna be easy. It’s not gonna be quick.” Republicans and Democrats will have to come together. “If you give me the … honor of being President, I will work tireously and honorably to ensure the future of our children.”
Bob Schieffer: As my mother would say: “Go vote now. It’ll make you feel big and strong.”
McCain/Obama: Thank you (to each other).
Alright, overall, I think this was BY FAR the best debate we had. I commend Bob Schieffer. He was by far the best moderator we had.
Overall, I think McCain won this won. This is the first time I’ve called a debate (other than the VP debate, where I called Biden the winner), and I think McCain won. He was VERY strong toward the beginning. I think Obama was weak at the beginning, but picked it up toward the end, but overall, I think that McCain was the winner.
Again, I think McCain was definitely stronger here. I think Obama was too weak. This was definitely the debate McCain needed, but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to recover.
Alright, we’re about 3 minutes away from tonight’s Presidential debate. This one will be held in Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Tonight, I’ll again be watching CNN and the focus group will be undecided voters in Ohio (this time it’ll be broken up by men and women). Tonight’s moderator will be NBC’s Tom Brokaw.
Alright, we’re now starting.
Allen Shaffer: “What’s the fastest solution to bail out” citizens, from economic turmoil?
Obama: We’re in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and many of you are worried. This is the final burden on the failed economic policies of the last 8 years. McCain agreed with Bush, and stripped regulations, and now we’re paying for it. Step 1: Make sure last week’s rescue package succeeds. Come on Obama, it won’t – the package sucked! The focus group is liking this. Step 2: Tax cuts for citizens. Help people stay in their homes. Help states create jobs. Health care. Have politicians thinking about middle class. Women really loved him, and men were pretty high up there too.
McCain: Americans are angry and upset and fearful. I have a plan to fix this problem: energy independence. Don’t send money to countries who don’t like us. “Let’s not raise taxes on anybody–today.” What was that – what was that “today” – that sounded bad. “We’re gonna have to do something about home values.” People can’t afford mortgage payments (well, that’s mainly their fault). Have government buy up bad mortgages so people can pay them off – come on McCain – that plan sucks. People had been liking him a lot there (more men than women), but it dropped down a bit toward the end.
Brokaw: Who would you appoint to Treasury Secretary?
McCain: Not you Tom.
Brokaw: With good reason.
McCain: Somebody who people can connect with. Meg Whitman – CEO of some company – oh – Ebay.
Obama: Warren Buffett would be a good person, but there are others as well. McCain said, “The fundamentals of the economy are sound.” That’s because they are. The principles of our economy, and the American work ethic is sound.
Oliver Clark: How will the bailout bill help people?
McCain: “You described bailout, I believe it’s rescue.” I left my campaign to go back to Washington to make sure that there were protections for the taxpayer – oversight and a way to pay back taxpayers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are what lit this thing on fire, and many hadn’t heard of them before this crisis. Democrats in Congress defended what Fannie and Freddie did while they got money from the two. Obamagot the second highest amount of money from Fannie and Freddie. Fannie and Freddie started this forest fire. And he’s not doing to well with the focus group during that, although it came up toward the end.
Obama: Right now, the credit markets are frozen, so small businesses can’t get loans, and can’t make payroll, so they may have to lay people off. “That’s why we had to take action.” The biggest problem in this whole thing was the deregulation of the financial system. I argued for more regulation, but nothing happened. I never promotedFannie, but McCain’s somebody on his campaign–was something with Fannie Mae (I didn’t catch the whole statement). The President has to make sure that the homeowners are protected. He got pretty good ratings there.
Brokaw: Are you saying it’ll get worse before it gets better?
Obama: No, I am confident in the American economy. Isn’t that what McCain said when he said the fundamentals are strong? HYPOCRITE! He got great ratings there.
McCain: It depends on what we do. If we stabilize it and buy up bad loans, and get rid of special interests in Washington, we can fix our economy. Our workers are the best in the world. They’re the fundamental aspect of our economy. “We gotta give them a chance to do their best. … They’re the innocent bystanders of” this crisis.
Teresa Finch: “How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this global economic crisis?”
Obama: I understand your crisis and cynicism. “You’re right, there is a lot of blame to go around. … But remember, when George Bush came into office, we had a surplus … now we have a deficit.” We’ve almost doubled our deficit. Nobody is completely innocent. I’m going to spend money on key issues that we have to work on, health care and energy. Ratings are really high here. Invest in college affordability. “I’m cutting more than I’m spending.” And men just plummeted in their ratings there. And what exactly is he planning on cutting?
McCain: “The system in Washington is broken.” I’ve been a reformer and crossed the aisle, working with Senator Feingold on campaign finance reform. “The situation today cries out for bipartisanship. … Let’s look at our records as well as our rhetoric.” Obama is proposing 860 billion dollars of new spending, and voted for every increase of spending that came across the floor. He voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel spending, including a projector for a planetarium in Illinois. We need to get Americans working again, and get more jobs for Americans. We need nuclear power. We need to stop depending on foreign oil. Ratings were pretty bad there, but came up at the end. McCain was right – Obama’s earmarks are just atrocious.
Brokaw: Health care, energy, and entitlement reform – order of priorities?
McCain: Do all 3 at once. We won’t be able to provide same benefits for future retirees as we are able to today. I’ve worked across the aisle. We can work on nuclear power plants, create new jobs. We need alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal. Health care – everyone is struggling to make sure they can afford their premiums. We can do these all at once, and we have to do them all at once.
Obama: Your list of priorities. Energy, we have to deal with today. Gas is expensive, and it may go up. Some countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Iran are gaining from high oil prices. In 10 years, we need to be free of foreign oil. Just like Kennedy said we can go to the moon in 10 years, this can be done. That was a great analogy! I missed what he just said. I want to go line-by-line and eliminate programs in the federal government, and eliminate programs that don’t work, and make others cheaper. Women are rating him really high now. Money given to big oil companies, which McCain wants, takes money out of the system. Don’t mislead, Obama, he wants to give tax cuts to ALL companies, but that doesn’t exclude oil companies.
Brokaw: What are you gonna ask Americans to sacrifice to get out of the depression?
McCain: Talking about defense contracts that were done corruptly. Get rid of earmarks, and some of those are “good” projects, but they have to be eliminated still. Except for Defense, Veterans Affairs, and other crucial programs, we will have to have a spending freeze. Keep everything transparent. Don’t allow for the government to hide earmarks.
Obama: After September 11, everybody came together, and President Bush did some smart things at the outset. We need leadership to focus on problems inside and outside of government. We need to think about how we use energy – we need to tell oil companies to start drilling and invest in clean coal technology. We need to think of ways that we can conserve energy, and provide incentives to buy American cars that are fuel efficient. The young people of America want to serve, and we need to increase the Peace Corps. Ratings were really high there, especially among women.
Brokaw: President Bush last summer said Wall Street got drunk. Now many think that both Washington and consumers also got drunk. How do you get people to reduce easy credit and overspending?
Obama: We have to cut spending and increase revenue. There are $18 billion in earmarks, but McCain wants to give tax cuts to CEOs, and that’s not sharing the burden. Actually, it IS sharing the burden – it’s sharing it equally. All of us need to contribute and make sacrifices. We don’t need an across-the-board freeze. That way, we only help those who need it.
McCain: Obama wants to raise taxes. The last President who raised taxes during hard times was Herbert Hoover. We’ve lost 700,000 jobs in America, but300,000 jobs have been created by small businesses. Obama’s tax increases will increase taxes on over 50% of small businesses, meaning that jobs will have to be cut. Obama said he’d fore go his tax increases if the economy was bad. The economy is bad. I don’t want to increase tax cuts. I want to leave tax cuts alone, but give tax credits to people, and give credits for health care. Let’s get our economy going again.
Obama just tried to keep going and Brokaw shut him up! YEAH!
Brokaw: Would you tell Congress to do something about Social Security and Medicare within 2 years?
Obama: We won’t solve Social Security and Medicare without solving tax problems. I want to provide a tax cut for 95% of Americans. THAT’S A LIE! ONLY 90% of Americans even make enough money to PAY taxes! We provide a 50% tax credit to small businesses to buy healthcare. And the ratings are really high here, again, especially with women. McCain wants to give tax cuts to large corporations and the rest going to CEOs. “That is not fair, and it doesn’t work.” If we reverse the policies of the last 8 years, then we can deal with Social Security and Medicare, because we’ll have a health care plan that works for you.
McCain: “Hey, I’ll answer the question.” It’s not that tough to fix social security – we have to sit down and fix this together. Reagan and Tip O’Neill sat down and worked together. Have a commission come together withrecommendations. Then have Congress vote up or down, and not fool with it. Obama has voted to increase taxes and voted against tax cuts. I have fought to reform government. “We’ll get our economy going again, and our best days are ahead of us.”
Ingrid Jackson: Congress moved pretty fast with the economic crisis. How would you make sure they move fast with environmental issues?
McCain: “When we have an issue that we may hand our children a damaged planet–I have disagreed strongly with the Bush Administration.” We brought this issue to the Senate. We need nuclear power. Nuclear power is safe and clean, and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. My liberal roommate’s getting mad that the focus group doesn’t like this: “These voters suck.” And the ratings went up a bit at the end there.
Obama: “It is absolutely critical.” We need to create a new energy economy. We need to understand that this is a national security issue. I favor nuclear power as one component. OK, the focus group does suck. They’re now rating him high, and he’s saying basically what McCain said. The focus group seems kinda biased. McCain’s problem withenergy is that he hasn’t done anything with alternative fuels. It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but McCain hasn’t done anything. McCain talks about drilling, and that’s important, but there’s not enough here at home to “drill our way out of the problem.”
Brokaw: Do we need a Manhattan-like project to deal with the energy crisis?
McCain: We need government involvement initially, and then once it’s started, release it to the private sector. Obama (this is where he said “that one”) voted for a bill that Bush/Cheney backed with lots of money for oil companies, and I voted against it.
Lindsey Trella: Health care has become a profitable industry. Should health care be treated as a commodity?
Obama: Health care is a very important issue. Premiums have doubled over the last 8 years, and co-pays have increased as well. We have a moral and economic imperative to do something about this. Here’s what I would do: you can keep your plan if you like it, and we’ll work with your employer to lower your premiums. We’ll work on making forms electronic, instead of on paper. You’ll be able to have the same health care plan that Congress gets. McCain has a different approach. He’ll give you a $5,000 tax credit, but then tax your employer health care benefits. He’ll then take out regulations that states have that make sure that you get certain things covered under your insurance.
McCain: You’ve identified one of the major challenges that America faces (directed to the audience member). We need to impose efficiencies. There’s a fundamental difference between me and Obama. Obama will pose mandates. If you’re a small business owner or parent, and you can’t afford health care for your employees or children, Obama will fine you. How does that help the situation? He’s ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! How will that help you if you can’t afford health care already? 95% of Americans will have increased funds to get health care under my plan, except the really rich people.
Brokaw: Is health care a privilege, right, or responsibility?
McCain: Responsibility. The government shouldn’t mandate that health care must be provided to all. There shouldn’t be fines for these companies or parents, and Obama hasn’t said how much the fine is yet.
Obama: Right, for every American. Talking about his mother dying at 53, and arguing with insurance companies. He’s really rating high right now. If you have a plan that you like, you can keep it, I’ll just help lower the premium. Small businesses won’t have a mandate, they’ll get a 50% tax credit. We don’t want kids going to ERs for treatable illnesses like asthma. McCain voted against (something dealing with children and health care). Crack down on insurance companies cheating their companies. The problem with going across state lines is that companies will go to states that have laxed laws and cheat their customers, like banks do in Delaware. DID HE JUST USE HIS RUNNING MATE’S STATE AS A BAD EXAMPLE!!!
Phil Elliot: How will our economic distress affect our position in the standing of the world militarily?
McCain: Much of the criticism of our foreign policy is justified. We are peace makers and keepers. We need to know when to go in and when not. That question can only be answered by someone who understands these things. We need to prevent the spread of genocide. He’s rating really high here. My opposition to sending Marines to Lebanon, and my stance on Bosnia, Russia, and others show that I understand these things. Obama has been on the wrong side of some of these issues.
Obama: I don’t understand how we invaded Iraq when bin Laden is still free. McCain said that Iraq would be quick and easy. We’re spending money in Iraq when Iraq has a surplus. We need that money more than them, and they have a surplus. We are the greatest nation in the world, but we can’t maintain our military superiority if our economy continues to decline. He is right about that. We need to fundamentally change our foreign policy.
Brokaw: Let’s establish doctrines for using force when national security isn’t at stake, but in humanitarian issues?
Obama: Would’ve stopped Rwanda and the Holocaust. When we stand idly by as genocide occurs, that diminishes us. We should intervene when possible, but we can’t be everywhere all the time. We need to work in concert with our allies, such as in Darfur. We need to lead the international community.
McCain: If we had withdrawn from Iraq when Obama wanted to, it would have been a travesty. Genocide is terrible, and we never want it to happen again. We need a person who understands the limits of our capabilities. We went into Somalia being peace makers, but had to withdraw in humiliation. I stood up against Reagan with Lebanon. We have to be able to beneficially affect the situation, realizing that we’re sending Americans into harm’s way. I won’t make these decisions lightly. We can’t have another Holocaust or Rwanda, but we can’t make the situation worse.
Katie Hamm: Should we respect Pakistani sovereignty and allow terrorists to stay there or invade like we did with Cambodia during Vietnam?
Obama: We got distracted from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, and went to Iraq. They’re now stronger now than any time since 2001. They’re plotting to kill Americans right now. We need to end the war in Iraq, put troops into Afghanistan, eliminate drug trafficking, and change policies with Pakistan. We need to encourage democracy, and if we have bin Laden in our sights, and Pakistan won’t or can’t take him out, we will take him out. That’s our number 1 national security priority.
McCain: Obamawants to announce when we’re going to attack Pakistan. It’ll turn public opinion against us. We drove Russians out of Afghanistan with Afghani freedom fighters, and that led to bin Laden coming to power. General Petraeushad a strategy of getting the support of the Pakistani people, and working with them to get Al Qaeda. Don’t threaten to attack them, but talk with them.
Obama: Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan, but to strike inside of Pakistan if bin Laden is available to be taken out. And I agree with Obama here on this one. McCain IS twisting his words, and not taking bin Laden out when Clinton happened is one of the things that led to September 11th. Pakistan was not promoting democracy, and it undermined our fight on the war on terrorism.
McCain: I have supported efforts that the U.S. had to go in militarily, but opposed it when it wasn’t necessary. I was joking with a veteran about Iran (Obama used McCains “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” quote). I will act responsibly as I have through my military career.
Brokaw: In Afghanistan, the senior British Commander has said that we’re failing in Afghanistan. The Afghans need to take over. We need an acceptable dictator. What’s your opinion?
Obama: We need to withdraw from Iraq responsibly, and make the Iraqis take control so that we can put more troops into Afghanistan.
McCain: The same overall strategies between Afghansitan and Iraq are the same. We need more troops, like Obama is saying. Obama still won’t admit that the surge worked, and that’s the same strategy that we will need in Afghanistan. Once they feel secure, they can lead normal lives, the same thing that’s happening in Iraq today. And he’s absolutely right here.
Brokaw: How can we get Russia to behave better without starting another Cold War?
McCain: We won’t have another Cold War. I warned about Vladimir Putin a long time ago – I saw a “K,” a “G,” and a “B.” He was wrong with Georgia. Ukraine is in Russia’s sights now (it’s in the sights of the Somalians too – that whole pirate thing is just weird). We need to talk, such as in the G8 summits. Russia must realize that this is not acceptable, and we need economic and diplomatic means to show that that this is not acceptable. Really high ratings there, and he’s absolutely right.
Obama: Russia will be an issue that we’ll have to deal within the next 4 years. I agree with Senator McCain on most of that. We can’t just have diplomacy. We need to support, financially, former U.S.S.R. countries, such as Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, etc. Georgia is suffering, and that’s probably what Putin wanted to happen. Russia was trying to obtain territories, and this is unacceptable. We need to be proactive, not reactive. He is right here – we have to be a step or 2 ahead of Russia. Energy will be key in dealing with Russia, that’s one of the things that happened in Georgia’s situation.
Brokaw: Is Russia under Putin an evil empire?
Obama: No, but their actions are sometimes.
McCain: If I say yes, it reignites the Cold War. If I say no, it seems like I’m ignoring it. Energy is a key issue. My liberal roommate just said that both want to say yes, but it’d be political suicide to do so.
Terry Shirey: If McCain attacks Israel, would you send troops or wait for UN Security Council approval?
McCain: We wouldn’t wait, because Russia and China would pose obstacles to sending troops. Iran with nukes is a threat to the stability of the Middle East – other countries would acquire nukes. Obama would meet with them without preconditions. I would impose tough sanctions, and we can abridge their behavior, and hopefully they’ll abandon this quest for nukes. We can never allow a second Holocaust to take place.
Obama: We cannot a nuclear Iran. “It would be a game changer in the region.” It would threaten Israel – one of our strongest allies. As well, it would lead to nukes in the hands of terrorists. I will never take military action off the table. If we can work more effectively with more other countries to tighten sanctions, we should. He’s getting rated higher, but said the same things as McCain – the focus group is biased folks. Neither of them answered the question about if Iran ATTACKED Israel. When we stopped talkingwith Iran, their nuclear pursuance increased, as did North Korea’s when we stopped talking.
Brokaw: What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?
Obama: It’s the challenges that we don’t expect that consume most of our time. I wouldn’t be standing here if my country hadn’t given me great opportunity. The question in this election is will we pass on this same American dream? That dream has diminished – people are losing health care and going bankrupt. Kids can’t afford college. We can’t keep doing the same for the next 8 years. We need fundamental change. Really good ratings there!
McCain: I think what I don’t know is what’s gonna happen both here at home and overseas. What I don’t know is what the expected will be. I know what it’s like in dark times. I know what it’s like to fight and hope through dark times. “I know what it’s like to have your comrades and neighbors reach out to you and put you back in the fight. That’s what America’s all about.” It’s been my privilege to serve this country, and I’m asking for an opportunity to serve you more. I’ve always put my country first. Good ratings at the end, but not as good as Obama’s.
Brokaw, thank you… “You’re in the way of my script.” Thank you, and goodnight from Nashville.
Alright, overall, I thnk that both candidates performed pretty poorly. Overall, I can’t really pick a winner. I hate doing this again, like I did after the last debate, but I’m going to have to call this one a tie. McCain wasn’t as strong on foreign policy as he could’ve been (and that’s his strong point). On economic issues, he had some good plans but he didn’t seem to appeal to the average Joe citizens. The media has been commenting on McCain calling Obama “That one” when he was talking about Obama voting for money given to oil companies (and I’ve put it in italics in the text above). Apparently it caught some people as awkward. The consensus on CNN was that it was intended as “that one” versus “this one” (meaning “me” from McCain’s stand point). Sure it was maybe bad wording, but I don’t think it was anything to get worked up about (and again, my liberal roommate agrees here). Look, politicians use poor choices of words all the time. I’m not saying McCain should’ve said it, but it’s nothing that people need to complain about.
Also, Obama seemed to get a little overconfident at the end, and he was stuttery at times.
Both candidates wanted to violate the rules of the debate, and just keep talking. I think Brokaw needed to do a better job of moderating. Instead of just saying, “You didn’t stop when the red light turned on,” he should’ve said, “Your time is up.”
At some points, some of McCain’s humor was just sucky (kinda like my fathers at times – he’ll tell these lame jokes when he’s doing announcements at church that he’s got this reputation, and people just kinda laugh to humor him, and the fact that he’s tried to tell a joke becomes the joke – it’s not always a bad thing, but it was with McCain).
Again, I do think that this was a tie, and this was one that McCain could not afford to lose. McCain is going to need a couple small miracles to actually come back from where he’s at now. I’m not giving up hope, but it’s definitely Obama’s race to lose at this point.
CNN just released a poll – Obama gained favoribility and lost unfavorability, but McCain stayed the same on both. Overall, those polled thought Obama won (56%-30%).
Folks, I’m going to be straight with you here. I think we all know that it’s going to take a miracle for McCain to win Michigan (I won’t say it’s impossible – I’ve learned my lesson once before).
And I’m still hearing McCain and Republican Party people saying, “We can win Michigan!” Well, true, we can, but I don’t think we will (I will say that things could change after tonight’s debate – tonight’s debate will be McCain’s best debate).
First, my appeal to Obama supporters (especially those of you who have registered at your college – I know up here at Central Michigan University, around 5,000 students have registered to vote putting their permanent address as Mount Pleasant): Don’t just vote straight party ticket. I don’t do this, and I’m a hard core Republican. Either 1) Don’t vote for the races that you don’t know anything about (county races) or 2) Do some research and vote for the best candidate.
I’m not trying to keep you from voting for Obama – I realize that you’ll vote for him. I don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it. But people like the Register of Deeds, Sharon Brown, and the County Clerk, Joyce Swan, who have been in office for years, and have perfected the jobs that they do. Having a bunch of college students (most of whom will leave the county in 4-6 years) elect 2 people who have no clue what they’re doing over 2 competent public servants is WRONG! But do you know why it might happen? Because Students for Obama and the College Democrats here at CMU are telling people to vote straight party ticket Democrat. Now, I’ve gone up and asked the Students for Obama President, Matt Sous, if he’s doing this and he’s told me no. But I’ve heard him encourage students to vote straight party ticket while he’s getting people registered to vote. So again, I implore students (all over the state): look into these local races. Don’t vote straight party ticket (don’t even do it if you’re going to vote for all Democrats – just vote for them individually).
Now, to my Republican friends: I’ve heard people now saying, “Now that McCain’s out, I don’t need to vote.” HOLD IT! There’s still races for the House of Representatives, as well as State Senate and House. There’s races in the counties and in the cities (but like I said before, don’t vote stupid – don’t just vote party – vote candidate).
People like Representative Joe Knollenberg (9th District) still need your votes. These are still close races. Go out there and vote for McCain/Palin, even IF we’re going to lose (and again, we may not). Go out there and VOTE on these other issues. We also have 2 very important ballot issues. Don’t give up your right to vote, the right that our troops have died for just because you think that the Presidential candidate that you support might lose!
This election is far from over. Tonight’s debate (which I will live blog) will probably go well for McCain (he does well in town hall settings), and he could rebound. Who knows. I don’t think he’ll win Michigan, but stranger things have happened.
**My apologies for any typos – I tried to catch all of them, but live blogging a debate is hard, and my keyboard acts up from time to time (especially the space bar), so if you see a typo, just leave a comment and I’ll fix it.**
We’re about a minute out, I’ll be live blogging the whole event. Jim Lehrer (PBS) is the moderator. I’ll be watching CNN (it would be FOX, but they weren’t ready on time).
The Ku Klux Klan is in the audience, we’ve heard, but not in robes and not protesting.
First question, “Where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”
Obama: Thank you to everybody – the usual beginning. “Worst financial crisis since the great depression. … We have to move swiftly and we have to move wisely.” Talking about oversight, since it’s a lot of money. Taxpayers need to be able to get the money back. Shouldn’t be padding CEO bank accounts. Talking about trickle down economics not working. That’s not going to help him win over any Republicans.
McCain: Senator Kennedy is in the hospital. Thank you to the sponsors, etc. Talking about seeing Democrats and Republicans sitting down and working together, and the magnitude of the crisis. Emphasizing that we have to work together, something that Obama didn’t mention – that was good from McCain. Talking about having options for loans for businesses, not the government taking over those loans. GOOD – not a pure bailout! CNN has an audience reaction, and McCain is getting a pretty good response from the Independents (must be some keypad rating system or something). Talking about a lot of work to do if this will work. Eliminate dependence on foreign oil – good.
Lehrer: Do you favor this plan?
Obama: I “haven’t seen the language yet.” “How did we get in this situation in the first place?” Talking about him warning 2 years ago that mortgage abuse would lead us down a trail we can’t afford to go down. “Yes, we have to solve this problem short term, … but … look at how we shredded so many regulations … and that has … to do with an economic philosophy that says regulation is bad.”
Lehrer: “Will you vote for the plan?”
McCain: “Sure.” Talking about warning about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Talking about getting flack for calling for resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission. And the Independents’ rating has skyrocketed. Republicans increased too. It was good – him calling for the resignation, and people like that.
Obama: Talking about people struggling before this crisis. It’s interesting – the Dems are rating Obama higher than the Indies, but the Indies rated McCain higher than the Reps. Talking about holding ourselves accountable, all the time, talking about nurses and teachers, and politicians not paying attention to them. Good – he’s appealing to the average Americans here, and that’s who he needs to win over.
McCain: “We have a long way to go.” Need consolidation of regulatory agencies who failed and let us slip into this crisis. Talking about the greatness of the American worker, and the Republicans like it, but it’s not that appealing to Independents, but it will appeal to a lot of average Joe Americans, as long as they believe he’s sincere (and the audience must not have).
Lehrer: How do we get out of the crisis?
McCain: Spending control. And the Reps and Inds, liked it – and this is one of McCain biggest points, and now he’s talking about Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a huge anti-earmark politician. Talking about the DNA testing of bears. I LOVE McCain saying he’ll veto earmarked bills. It’s one of his best stances. He’s talking about Obama asking for earmark spending. Talking about not being able to rein in spending with a plan like Obama’s.
Obama: The earmark process has been abused. Lobbyists and special interests introduce these things, often times. Contrasting the cost of earmarks against tax cuts (by allegedly McCain) for CEOs and big companies. “Grow the economy for the bottom up.” Tax cut for 95% of working families. HOLD IT! Only 90% of working families even PAY taxes!!!! Come on Obama, don’t lie.
McCain: Obama suspended those earmarks after he started running for Congress. YOU TELL ‘EM MCCAIN! He’s saying that earmarks have tripled in 5 years, even though “it’s only $18 billion” (as pro-earmarkers say). He was called the Sheriff. That’s pretty sweet. As I was saying before, we need to take Coburn’s example and STOP EARMARKS!
Obama: Interrupted McCain (must be kinda less formal). Talking about priorities, and shipping, and I missed the rest. Saying he’ll keep us from spending unwisely. Earmarks alone won’t get us back on track. The Democrats are loving this, but the Independents, aren’t really liking it.
McCain: Talking about the business tax, that we pay the 2nd highest in the world, 35%. “I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it.” “It’s a lot more than $18 billion in pork barrel spending.” And he’s right, it’s SO much more than that, and it’s hidden in so many bills. The Independents are liking this. “I want every family to have a $5,000 refundable tax credit” for healthcare. Double the dependent amount refund for children.
Obama: “Here’s what I can tell America 95% of you will get a tax cut.” LIAR. 10% don’t even PAY taxes. And another 5% make over $200,000, and he won’t give them a tax cut. LIAR! Saying McCain wants to add an additional tax cut over the loopholes. Talking about McCain’s health care tax credit. Saying McCain wants to tax health benefits. That’s not true.
McCain: Talking about an energy bill with breaks for oil companies, and McCain voted against it, but Obama voted for it.” Obama tried to interrupt – that just looks tacky when he keeps doing it. Saying that Obama has shifted on a number of occasions.
Obama: Talking about Obama lying about the oil companies. “I was opposed to those tax breaks … tried to strip them out.”
Lehrer: “As President … what are you going to have to give up … as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?”
Obama: “Right now, it’s hard to anticipate what the budget is going to look like next year.” He’s right about that. “Energy independence.” Talking about solar, wind, biodiesel here at home. And the Independents REALLY loved that – highest rating I’ve seen all night. Fix our healthcare system. Compete in education – science and technology. “Make sure our children are keeping pace in math and in science.” Make college affordable for all. That’s not even useful. Not EVERYBODY needs college. America needs plumbers and other basic labor workers too.
McCain: “No matter what, we have got to cut spending.” Obama has most liberal rating. “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.” Do away with cost-plus contracts. Talking about defense contracts and needing fixed-cost contracts. And he’s absolutely right. One of the big areas we need to save money is in defense contracts. Talking about fixing a contract with Boeing, and people ending up in prison because of it, but hte Independents didn’t like that too much.
Lehrer: Neither of you are really going to have big changes?
Obama: “I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to [break off from] foreign oil.” Right now, even the Democrats aren’t giving him a good audience reaction. The Republicans are giving him a higher rating! Saying that him being wildly liberal is just him opposing George Bush. And that spiked the Dems’ rating. Saying that he’s worked with Coburn so that taxpayers can see who’s promoting spending projects.
Lehrer: “How [will] this effect you in the approach you will take to the Presidency.”
McCain: Spending freeze on all but Veterans, defense, and I forget what else.
Obama: You’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel. But heck, that’d have to be a big scalpel. But he does have a point here.
McCain: We’re sending money overseas, and some of that goes eventually to terrorists (through oil). We need nuclear, solar, wind, offshore drilling, etc… Get 70,000 (?) jobs by building nuclear plants throughout the country. And Obama is against this. And that’s one thing that really angers me about Obama – WE NEED NUCLEAR!
Obama: “There is not fact that it [economic crisis] will affect our budgets” even if we get the $700 billion back. “If we’re lucky and do it right, that could potentially happen.” “We can expect less tax revenue.” And he’s really not getting a good audience response here. Talking about not being able to leave out healthcare, and the Independents’ and Republicans’ approval just dropped.
McCain: Families should make decisions between themselves and doctors, not federal government. “I have fought to cut spending.” “Obama needs to cancel new spending programs.” Talking about taking care of veterans. Healthy economy, lowering, not raising taxes, with spending restraint. And the independents liked that. Talking about owing China money, and saying he’s fought against excessive spending. And the ratings are skyrocketing – and again, I LOVE his stance on spending!
Obama: It’s been your President who presided over this spending. But Bush and McCain aren’t the same. Stop pretending they are. That still got a good reply from the Independents.
McCain: I have opposed the President on spending, torture, Guantanamo, climate change. Talking about being an Independent and Maverick, and having Sarah Palin as the same. His ratings stunk right there. He lost Dems, Reps, and Inds.
Lehrer: On to Iraq.
McCain: “Our initial military success … Baghdad, and everybody celebrated.” Then the war was mishandled. Came up with a new strategy. It’s succeeding. The Inds and Dems rating has fallen a lot, but hte Reps are rating him high. Talking about the consequences of defeat being Iranian influence higher, more sectarian violence, and U.S. having to come back (referring to defeat before the surge). And the Inds just started to rate him a lot better. I think he did as good as he could back there.
Obama: I would’ve voted against it. “We hadn’t finished the job in Afghanistan … caught bin Laden … and put Al Qaeda to rest.” Talking about soon to be a trillion dollars spent, plus 4,000 lives lost. Saying that Al Qaeda is stronger than ever. “We took our eye off the ball.” Talking about Iraq having a surplus while we’re losing money. He’s bringing up a LOT of good points that I thought would appeal to people, but he’s not rating THAT great, although the Dems really like him. Now it’s peaked a bit more.
McCain: President will have to decide how and when we leave and what we leave behind. He’s absolutely right. Obama saying surge worked, but he’d still oppose it. And he lost a lot of Indy rating points just back there. But he’s right. Obama is simply sticking by what he said even though what he said was WRONG!
Obama: Talking about McCain being right about reduced violence. Saying troops and Petraeus doing a good job. But that made up for mismanagement before that. War started in 2003, not 2007. Saying McCain said it’d be quick and easy, but he was wrong. Saying we’d be greeted as liberators, but we weren’t. And he lost a lot of support from Inds, but he’s still doing better than McCain has on Iraq.
McCain: Saying Obama doesn’t have military experience, he’s got some better support form Inds and Reps now. Saying that this strategy and general are winning, but Obama refuses to acknowledge this. (Obama: “That’s not true.”) Talking about elections and peace coming to Iraq, and the strategy will be employed in Afghanistan in a McCain administration, and the Inds went up a bit there. Talking about Obama voting against troop funding.
Obama: McCain opposed funding for troops in a timetable bill. Had a difference on timetables, not funding. And Obama’s right. It always looks bad on paper when you vote against funding, but if you don’t agree with the overall bill, don’t vote for it. I have to side with Obama here, and the Inds liked that a lot, and even the Republicans aren’t that negatively rating him. Reduce combat troops in Iraq. “Capture and kill bin Laden.” We don’t have enough troops to deal with Afghanistan.
McCain: Saying that military leaders saying that Obama’s plan would be bad for the troops. Talking about Petraeus praising the progress we’ve made. Saying that under Obama’s plan, we’d have been out before the surge could have even succeeded. Saying that Obama’s plan will “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”
Lehrer: How many and when (if more troops in Afghanistan)?
Obama: As soon as possible. Saying that this year has been the year for highest troop fatalities. Can’t separate Afghanistan from Iraq. And the Independents are rating him lower than the Repubs now – that’s surprising. Saying that Al Qaeda is the greatest threat against us, and that we have to deal with them in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iraq. Press the Afghan government to make sure that they’re working for their people. And he’s absolutely right – we need to press the Afghani government. Talking about needing to reduce the poppy trade over there. And that’s another area we need to work on.
McCain: Talking about not being ready to threaten Pakistan, because that’d be dangerous. We need to get support of the people of Pakistan. And the Independents are rating him pretty high here. Saying that Obama doesn’t understand that we need a new strategy. Saying that Pakistani terrorists are married to Al Qaeda and Taliban. Ratings are very high from Reps and Inds. Although it’s dropped now. Saying we need more troops in Afghanistan, but saying that we have put more in already. Talking about Obama publicly saying he’d attack Pakistan.
Obama: Saying that if we have Al Qaeda in sights, and Pakistan won’t help us take them out, then we need to take them out. Again, I have to side with Obama here. Talking about McCain singing “Bomb Iran.” And that was so stupid of McCain, and really makes him look like a hypocrite a bit here. Although he lost a lot of ratings there surprisingly. Talking about not going after Al Qaeda, and they’re more powerful than ever.
McCain: Talking about him being a new Congressman – Reagan wanting to send Marines into Lebanon, and McCain voting against it, because he didn’t think that 300 Marines could make a difference, and saying that he was right – many Marines were killed in the bombing. Talking about voting for going into Bosnia, when it wasn’t popular. Saying that we need more than a peace-keeping force in Somalia. And he’s right. We need to do what’s RIGHT, not what’s popular! Saying that our mission NEEDS to succeed. And he’s absolutely right. We don’t want defeat, and we cannot afford defeat! “We won’t come home in defeat and dishonor and probably have to go back if we fail.”
Obama: “No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain. … We honor the service they’ve provided. … Are we making good judgments” for keeping America safe, because sending troops is such a huge issue. “We are having enormous problems in Afghanistan.” Saying it’s not true that McCain has consistently cared about Afghanistan. Saying McCain said we could “muddle through” Afghanistan.
McCain: “I’ve visited Afghanistan … and I know what our needs are. We will prevail … and we need a new strategy.” If we adopt Obama’s plan, we’ll fail in Iraq, and that will have a great effect on Afghanistan. Obama fails to see that the 2 are connected.
Lehrer: “What is your reading from the threat from Iran?”
McCain: If Iran acquires nukes, it’s a threat to Israel and other countries. Others will feel the need to get nukes. “We can’t afford a second holocaust.” Proposing a league of Democracies who would impose sanctions on Iranians, since the Russians won’t do it. “The Iranians have a lousy government, so their economy is lousy, even though they have significant oil revenues.” A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world. They’re putting IEDs in Iraq. They’re a sponsor of terror. And he’s getting some pretty good ratings right now, from both Indeps and Repubs.
Obama: Talking about the thing that strengthened Iran was the War in Iraq. Their involvement has grown. They’ve tried harder to get nukes. “We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.” It would threaten Israel, and “create an environment [that would] set off an arms race in the Middle East.” We can’t have sanctions without Russia and China. Well Obama, you’re not going to get Russia OR China to side with you! You’re dreaming if you think you will. Saying we need to talk to leaders in Iran and North Korea, and he as President will.
McCain: Senator Obama twice said he’d sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Castro. Ahmadinejad is in New York now talking about extermination of Israel. Saying that we can’t sit down without preconditions. And he’s right. NO President has ever sat down without preconditions (Reagan didn’t, JFK didn’t, and Nixon didn’t). And now McCain is using examples that I just gave. “I’ll sit down with anybody, but there’s gotta be preconditions.” GOOD job McCain! You’re absolutely right.
Obama: Ahmadinejad isn’t the most powerful person in Iran. Saying as President, he can sit down with whoever he wants if it keeps America safe. Saying that we CAN meet without preconditions, but not do with what we’ve been doing where we say you must do X or we won’t meet with you. “Of course we need preparations.” “It may not work. Iran is a rogue regime.” Obama is getting pretty much the same ratings now as McCain was getting a minute ago (about a third of the way between neutral and as positive as you can go). “The Bush Administration and McCain’s advisors (Kissinger)” think we should meet without preconditions. Saying McCain said we can’t meet with Spain, a NATO ally.
McCain: “Kissinger never said that the President could meet with Ahmadinejad.” “Obama doesn’t understand that without precondition … you legitimize those comments [against Israel]. … It’s dangerous.” Talking about North Koreans breaking everything they’ve ever said they’d do.
Obama: McCain keeps saying that I’ll meet with somebody without preparing – this isn’t true. “We do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.” The Bush administration realized this doesn’t work. “The notion that we’d meet with Ahmadinejad as he spews his comments is” wrong.
McCain: Kissinger would not say “that Presidential, top level” communications should be made without preconditions.
The two are going back and forth, and ratings are dropping a lot.
Lehrer: How do you see the relationship with Russia?
Obama: “Our entire Russian approach needs to be reevaluated. … Actions in Georgia were unacceptable and unwarranted.” They need to get out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Democrats really aren’t liking what he’s saying here. The Inds are rating him higher than Dems are. We can’t go back to a Cold War status with Russia. We need to deal with loose nuclear weapons when it comes to Russia. “Deal with Russia based on [our] national security interests.”
McCain: Obama doesn’t understand that Russia committed aggression against Georgia when he said that both sides need to back down a bit. He’s compared Putin to the KGB. We can’t go back to the Cold War. The Georgian War “had everything to do with energy.” McCain’s rating a bit better than Obama, but neither are performing well right now with the audience. “The Russians ought to understand that we’ll support … the inclusion of Georgia, and Ukraine … into inclusion of NATO.” The Russians violated their cease fire agreement. Saying that Russian intentions toward Georgia – just waiting to cease the opportunity. Expecting Russians to behave as a country who will respect boundaries. And he’s right – Russia can’t be left to keep doing what it’s been doing. It HAS to respect the sovereignty of other countries. McCain rating pretty decent now, compared to an average rating before.
Obama: McCain and I agree for the most part on these issues. Says he disagrees with McCain a bit on Georgia. I don’t think the Dems liked that – Obama is doing a decent amount worse than McCain was doing. Talking about Russian peace keepers in Georgia not making sense and that we needed international peace keepers there, and that might have avoided the situation. And Obama is right there. Talking about energy. We need to increase offshore drilling. “We can’t drill our way out of the problem.” Talking about needing wind, solar, and nuclear. And now he’s rating higher than McCain was at the end of McCain’s last statement. Saying McCain voted against alternative energy 23 times.
McCain: Saying that Obama is really against nuclear, and that offshore drilling would help more than Obama says it would. McCain is getting pretty low ratings now, especially from Dems.
Obama: I have never said that I object to nuclear waste, but I’d store it safely.
McCain: I’ve always been for alternative energy.
Lehrer: What do you think the likelihood is of another 9/11 attack?
McCain: Much less than the day after 9/11, but we’re not safe yet. Talking about working across the aisle to establish the investigation commission. Saying we need interrogators who won’t use torture. Saying that we are safer now.
Obama: We need to do more in terms of securing transit and ports. Biggest issue is not missiles coming over skies, but from a suitcase. Spending billions on missile defense, which we need because of Iran/Korea, but we need more for other areas as well. Ratings are pretty high for him here. We need more cooperation with allies. “The way we are perceived in the world” will affect the cooperation we get. He’s right here. We have slipped in terms of how we’re viewed by the world. McCain has a good stance on terror. And the ratings right there are the highest they’ve been at any time during the debate, even Reps rated him decently high.
McCain: If we fail in Iraq, Al Qaeda will establish a base in Iraq. McCain isn’t rating too good right now, especially with Inds and Dems. We can’t have specific dates for withdrawal. We’ve had great success, but it’s fragile.
Obama: Saying that this administration has been solely focused on Iraq, and we haven’t captured bin Laden. Talking about borrowing from China, and they’ve been active around the world, while we’ve been focused on Iraq. We’re spending so much money, we can’t invest in health care or science/technology. “We’ve never seen a nation who has a failing economy but maintains military strength, so this is a national security issue.” The next President has to have better strategy for all the challenges we face. Pretty good ratings there
McCain: Saying he’s been around involved in challenges. Saying Obama doesn’t have experience, but he does. Talking about Obama failing to admit the success of the surge. McCain is right here. Obama is just being stubborn. Saying that he’ll take care of veterans, that he has right judgment to keep nation safe and secure. “I don’t need any on the job training. I’m ready to go right now.”
Obama: Talking about his father being from Kenya, and that there’s not nation like America, where you can become so successful. “Part of what we need to do … is to send a message to the world that we’ll invest in issues like education … how ordinary people can live out there dreams.”
McCain: Talking about coming home from prison and seeing veterans treated poorly, and working on bipartisan bills to see our veterans treated better. I know how to deal with our adversaries and how to deal with our friends.
Lehrer: We’re done. “Thank you and good night.”
McCain/Obama: “Good job.”
And there you have it – the wives are coming out and kissing each other. A little more than the 90 minutes scheduled, but that’s ok.
OK, so who won? Both Obama and McCain had some pretty good moments, but I don’t think there was a clear cut winner here. I think both performed pretty much on the same level. I’m not saying that the two were identical in debating, but I don’t think one did better than the other. I absolutely hate saying this, because I love objectivity and clear cut answers, but I really do think it was a tie.
I’d love to go on more and more, but my hands are just killing me right now (hey – it was a lot of typing), so I think I’ve said most all of what I wanted to say.
By the way – a big thanks to my roommate who helped with correcting quotes and what was said. It’s hard to keep up with typing and trying to listen, so a huge thanks to him for helping me out with this!
This is breaking news – I just heard about it from the CM-Life.
Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick has said that he will not be pressing charges against the 28-year-old male engineering student who hung a noose in the Industrial Educational Technology Building back in November. (My previous posts on this subject can be found here, here, here, here, and here).
Burdick released a press release, saying, “I am confident of the work performed by the CMU police, in conjunction with the FBI. The facts determined due to the joint investigation does not support a charge of ethnic intimidation, and the intent needed for that crime cannot be proven.” And that’s basically what I said in my retraction to my original statementssaying that he should be charged. The fact is, even IF he did it in an intimidating way, without a verification for that, Burdick can’t win the case, and if he tried, he’d be a bad prosecutor, in my opinion.
Burdick goes on to say, “The student’s e-mail to the campus newspaper was, in my opinion, both insensitive and demonstrative of a complete lack of knowledge and understanding about the historical significance of the hanging of nooses. His explanation, however, as to the reason he constructed and hung four nooses last November was corroborated by two of his classmates, which I found to be very credible and forthright concerning the incident.”
Again – that shows that although the student made a very poor/stupid decision, it wasn’t intended to be a threat of force (and even if the student is lying, 2 witnesses would be hard for Burdick to argue against).
Burdick continues, “Because intent lies at the heart of the charge that was under consideration, both we and the FBI felt it important to fully and carefully examine the individual’s personal computer to see if there was anything to suggest his actions were racially motivated. … What happened on campus should not just serve as a badly needed educational experience for one college student, but enlighten all of us as to the detrimental effect of this symbol.”
Again – this was a good call by Burdick.
But now that Burdick has said all of this, this means that CMU cannot release the student’s name (under FERPA, only a person who commits a violent or sexual crime can have his/her name released). As I said before, if Burdick doesn’t prosecute, as he now has decided not to, I’d wonder what rule CMU used to suspend the student. The fact that no crime was committed gives the student a possible case against the university to overturn his suspension. I really can’t give my opinion on this, since I don’t know what the university charged him with.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite the student to do an interview with me. I have a few questions, some about the incident, but mostly about the aftermath and what will happen here. So, to the student who hung the noose, if you’re out there reading this, and wouldn’t mind answering a few questions, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll keep you all updated as this story keeps on developing.
The following post is also being syndicated on Right Michigan, where I was offered a position to cover Michigan’s 9th District:
I would first like to thank Nick for allowing me the opportunity to cover stories on the race for Michigan’s 9th District for his site.
First, what exactly is Michigan’s 9th District?
It’s Oakland, Bloomfield, Southfield, and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford townships; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills (bold indicates where Representative Knollenberg won; italics indicate a close margin; villages were not categorized since they do not vote on their own). Or, for you visual people, it’s this:
What are the demographics?
0.5% Native American
So, how does the district vote?
The district has been given Cook Partisan Index of R+0, meaning that the district is more Republican than other average districts, but by less than 1%.
The district voted for George Bush in 2004.
The district voted for Al Gore in 2000 (although the make-up of the district was different from now).
The district has voted for Joe Knollenberg since 2002.
Why is this race so important?
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) placed this district in the top 13 districts that they are targetting in their Red to Blue campaign.
What exactly is the Red to Blue campaign?
The DCCC put out this press release explaining the campaign:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced the first round of Red to Blue candidates challenging Republican incumbents. This is the second slate of Democratic congressional candidates that have qualified for the competitive DCCC Red to Blue program, the first slate was for candidates in open seats. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.
These candidates have come out of the gate strong and the Red to Blue Program will give them the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November,” said Chairman Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The candidates for change in our first round of challenger Red to Blue are strong examples of Democrats who represent a commitment to new priorities for the families in their districts.
The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive candidates in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.
Chairman Van Hollen joined Red to Blue co-chairs Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), and Bruce Braley (D-IA) to announce the first 13 challenger candidates for change who qualified for the Red to Blue:
Kay Barnes (MO-06)
Anne Barth (WV-02)
Darcy Burner (WA-08)
Robert Daskas (NV-03)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
Red to Blue was a proven success in the 2004 and 2006 cycles. In 2004, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $7.5 million for twenty seven campaigns across the country with an average of more than $250,000 per campaign. In 2006, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $22.6 million for 56 campaigns with an average of $404,000 per campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.
Soon after the DCCC put this up on their website, they got some comments about these candidates not being what’s best for the party in terms of stances, but the fact that they’ll be able to raise large amounts of money:
Your only criteria for inclusion seem to be fund-raising ability, not issues.
Isn’t this what scuttled the progress of the party over the years since
you deep-sixed progressive programs and started going to corporations hat in hand?
Soon after other negative comments, the DCCC disabled comments on that press release.
What were the results of the 2006 Election?
Joe Knollenberg (R) 142,290 51.56%
Nancy Skinner (D) 127,620 46.21%
Adam Goodman (L) 3,702 1.34%
Matthew R. Abel (G) 2,468 0.89%
Is this actually close?
For Knollenberg, it is somewhat close, since he was a 14-year incumbent, but he still won by over 5%.
So, who exactly is Gary Peters?
Gary Peters is running against Representative Knollenberg. He was a state Senator from 1994-2002, when he was term-limited out. He then ran against Mike Cox for Attorney General in 2002, where he lost the general election.
He was the Michigan Lottery Commissioner from 2003-2007.
He was hired to teach at Central Michigan University, where he was the center of controversy (that’s a way too long story to tell, so just read The Peters Report or my category of posts on him here, or just search “Gary Peters” here on the Right Michigan website).
Who is Jack Kevorkian?
Jack Kevorkian is a doctor who was sent to jail a few years ago for assisting a patient in committing suicide. Dr. Kevorkian hired attorney Geoffrey Fieger to represent him in that case, but obviously, he lost. He was sentenced for 10-25 years, but only served 8, after the parole board let him out early due to his kidney illness. He was expected to die within a year of leaving prison in May of 2006, but instead, he decided to run for Congress, against Joe Knollenberg and Gary Peters.
How will having Dr. Kevorkian running affect the race?
That is somewhat hard to tell. I have done some calculations. In 1998, Proposal B was brought before voters to allow for assisted suicide. Although it failed statewide as well as in Oakland County, it did better than average in the 9th District (33.05%-66.95%). I did some calculations, and if we assume that only 75% of voters who voted against the proposal vote for Knollenberg in 2008, Knollenberg would still come out with a win just above 50%. Peters would received around 45%, and Kevorkian would receive 5%.
This assumes that Kevorkian only gets 5%, and I think he will get a little more from the Democrats who are unsatissfied with the direction of the party. So, if we assume that Kevorkian gets 8%, 2% more from Peters and 1% from swing-Knollenberg-voters (libertarians), we would have Knollenberg with 49%, Peters with 43% and Kevorkian with 8%. This leaves plenty of room for Knollenberg to lose a few voters who are mad at the Republican party an the Iraq War, but I think Knollenberg is pretty safe this election.
Again, I’d like to thank Nick for allowing me to report on this race.
Next week, I’ll be looking into some of the fundraising of this race.