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McCain at Saddleback

You know the drill, here goes:

Who are the three wisest people you know and who would you rely on in your administration?

General David Petraeus "who took us from to defeat to victory in Iraq." Rep. John Lewis, "he can teach us all a lot about the meaning of courage and commitment" and Meg Whitman, Ebay CEO because took a 5-person business to great success and that's important in these economically challenging times.

What's been your greatest moral failure and what's been the greatest moral failure of America?
"The failure of my first marriage." Says America's greatest moral failure is not devoting "ourselves to causes greater than our self-interest." Says we should have told people to join the Peace Corp or the military after 9/11 instead of to go shopping.
Give an example of when you bucked your party? (Warren jokes, "Oh this is hard.")

Climate change, spending, torture and "the list goes on." Says he opposed Reagan when he wanted to send Marines to Beirut and "it was tough, that vote, because I went against a president I believed in."
What's the most significant position you held ten years ago that you do not hold today?
"Offshore drilling. We've got to drill now and we've got to drill here." Slam dunk. Says "There are some here in Caleeefornia that disagree." (Slamming Gov. Ahnold).
What's the most gut-wrenching decision you ever had to make?
When he turned down an offer to leave his prison camp early in Vietnam, ahead of his prison mates. "Not only the toughest decision I made" but the one he is happiest he made. "It took a lot of prayer, it took a lot of prayer."

COMMERCIAL BREAK: I'll offer my thoughts again, same style. McCain is doing well. He seems much more at ease than I expected and is tempering tear-jerker recollections with hilarous jokes about the Caleeefornia Govnah. I really appreciate getting more insight into how Vietnam shaped his relationship with God. He's also answering questions forthrightly, even when he doesn't want to. (He was practically gritting his teeth when he had to mention his divorce.)

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ on a day-to-day basis?

Discusses being "rope tortured" in Vietnam and his captor who drew a cross in the sand one Christmas Day. (Most TH-ers know this story.)
Abortion question. What point is a baby entitled to human rights?
"At the moment of conception." Touts his 25 year pro-life record. Says he will continue it as president. "That's my commitment to you."
Define marriage.
"A union between a man and a woman. A man and a woman...Doesn't mean people can't enter into legal agreements" but "we should preserve the unique status of marriage" between a man and a woman. Would favor a constitutional amendment if states got into the practice of recognizing gay marriages from other states.
Would you favor or oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?
Says "this is a terrible dilemma." Says he supports it and hopes scientific advances make this debate "an academic one."
Does evil exist and what should we do about it?
"Defeat it." Says he will follow Osama Bin Laden "to the gates of Hell" to get him. "Of course evil must be defeated."  Says Iraq is ground zero for evil and that's why we need to win there. "We must face this challenge, we can face this challenge and we must totally defeat it."

Which existing Supreme Court Justices would you NOT have nominated?
Ginsberg, Breyer, Souter.  Applauds Roberts and Alito.

[I missed the question on faith based initiatives. Had to tend to my puppy.]
Do you support merit based pay?
Yes, yes and yes and "find bad teachers another line of work."  Says he wants, "choice of competition, choice of competition, home schools, vouchers, everything!" Gets in a dig at Obama by saying he wants all children to have the opportunity his children and Mr. Obama's children have had by choosing their schools. "It is a civil rights issue of the 21st century."
Define "rich" for tax purposes.
"Rich should be defined by a home, a good job and education and the ability to hand to our children a more prosperous nation. I don't want to take anything away from the rich, I want everyone to get rich. I don't believe in class warfare" Jokes, "if you are just going to talk about income, how about $5 million...and I am sure that comment will be distorted." Bashes the government for spending too much. "We should not and cannot raise taxes in tough economic times."

Commentary: Someone tell McCain to stop saying "my friends" and "seriously." Seriously!! He's knocking it out of the park, but this is distracting.

BONUS ROUND QUESTIONS [Obama didn't answer some of these because there wasn't enough time. McCain gave shorter answers, so Warren has time for extra questions for him.]
What about privacy and wiretapping?
Says we have to keep up with technological capability. "We are going to have to step up our capabilities to monitor those, sometimes there are calls from outside the United States, from inside the United States, all different kinds." Says there needs to be bipartisan support instead of "constant fighting" that "compromises our ability to keep American from under attack."

COMMERCIAL BREAK: I gotta say, Rick Warren is doing a great job. I expected this to be more of a love-fest with softer questions. I am pleasantly surprised. Way to go Pastor Warren!

As an American, what is worth dying for?
"Freedom, our national security, our security as a nation." Wants to talk about Georgia.
What do we do about the killing in Georgia and Darfur?
"Our obligation is to stop genocide whenever we can."
What's happening with Russian/Poland?
"Killing, murder, villages are being burned, people are being wantonly ejected  from their homes...the Russians are coming in there in an act of aggression." Says it's also about energy. "Energy the Russians are using as a tremendous lever against the Europeans." Says we need to send a message to the Russians that "this behavior is not acceptable in the 21st century."
What would you do to increase religious freedom around the world?
Would use the bully pulpit. Recalls how Reagan made the call to "tear down this wall!"
What should we do about orphans around the world, should we have an emergency plan like President Bush did for AIDS to help orphans?
Says we have to make adoption a lot easier in this country. Praises Teddy Roosevelt for highlighting the importance of adoption. Talks about his wife Cindy bringing home his adopted daughter from Bangladesh.
Why do you want to be President?
"This is a time for us to come together...Americans believe it's time to put country first." Says he will "always be the president of all Americans and will always put my country first."

What would you say to people opposed to you answering my questions in a church?

Says church is important in our country and "I'm happy to be here...I'm honored to be here."

All right, that's a wrap! I'll offer my ending thoughts and compare and contrast in another post. I hope you'll join me there to discuss this some more.

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