Saddleback Wrap

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Aug 16, 2008 9:54 PM
First of all, I thought Pastor Rick Warren did a fabulous job. He didn't follow the model I'd want a traditional moderator to follow in the upcoming presidential debates of course, but for a thoughtful forum on faith and politics it was insightful, productive and compelling. (And about a million times more interesting than that forum CNN held earlier this year for the Democrats.)

Now to the political stuff. What's everyone going to be talking about? Here are my thoughts, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Obama: Looked like he was still on vacation. Stammered and stuttered throughout the forum and failed to answer many of the questions decisively. Terrible answers on life issues. Saying he can't say when life begins because it is "above his pay grade" is unacceptable.  He did talk about his faith convincingly.

McCain: Has a lot to be happy about this evening, but there were two minor issues that could provide material for the Democrats (his joke about $5 million to be "rich" and for a moment he couldn't spit the word "Russia" out when talking about the Georgian conflict.) His performance tonight will excite conservatives, no doubt. His answers on "evil", energy, education and spending were steller. 

The biggest contrast of the evening between the two candidates came down to their ability to answer questions clearly and forthrightly. McCain did, Obama didn't. You can see this in the Q & A I transcribed below.  The very first  question alone shows how "safe" Obama stayed all night. When asked who he admires the most he said his wife, his grandma and didn't even name a third. Safe. He even ducked the softballs!

Ok, that's enough from me for tonight. Once again, great forum. Bring on the debates!