Political News

McCain, Obama trade barbs in debate

Posted October 8, 2008

— John McCain dismissively called rival Barack Obama "that one," Obama mocked McCain's "Straight Talk Express," and both left the debate stage to return to the campaign trail Wednesday.

It took just eight minutes into Tuesday's presidential debate for Republican candidate McCain to land the first blow, blaming Obama and Democrats for the collapse of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

"They're the ones that, with the encouragement of Senator Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back," McCain said.

Obama responded: "I've got to correct a little bit of Senator McCain's history, not surprisingly. ... In fact, Senator McCain's campaign chairman's firm was a lobbyist on behalf of Fannie Mae, not me."

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has a stake in a Washington lobbying firm that received thousands of dollars a month from Freddie Mac until recently.

Davis is one of the many figures in both campaigns and near them who have been targeted as reasons why each should not be supported. As they head back on the road Wednesday, both campaigns say those associations would again be highlighted.

McCain running mate Sarah Palin has questioned Obama's ties to William Ayers, who 40 years ago was a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group that claimed responsibility for a series of bombings. Obama had a limited relationship with Ayers, who lives in the same neighborhood and teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Democrats have criticized McCain for his role in a 1980s banking scandal. He was one of five senators who had accepted contributions from Charles Keating Jr., a real estate speculator and savings and loan owner. Keating's institution failed and cost many investors in uninsured financial products their life savings.

Neither figure came up during Tuesday's debate. Nor did either candidate call the other a liar, a familiar charge in this contentious campaign.

The closest: "You know, Senator McCain, I think the Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one," Obama said.

McCain suggested some evasiveness on Obama's part: "Nailing down Senator Obama's various tax proposals is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. There has been five or six of them and if you wait long enough, there will probably be another one."

In one pointed confrontation on foreign policy, Obama bluntly challenged McCain's steadiness. "This is a guy who sang 'bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,' who called for the annihilation of North Korea - that I don't think is an example of speaking softly."

That came in response to McCain's accusation that Obama had threatened to invade Pakistan.

McCain said his rival "was wrong about Iraq and the surge. He was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia. And in his short career he does not understand our national security challenges. We don't have time for on-the-job training."

Obama countered with a trace of sarcasm that he didn't understand some things - like how the United States could face the challenge it does in Afghanistan after spending years and hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq.

During a discussion of an energy bill McCain offered up a two-word phrase that immediately got a reaction.

"You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one," McCain said, pointing at his opponent.

The debate at Belmont University was the second of three between the two rivals, and the only one to feature a format in which voters seated a few feet away posed questions to the candidates.

The audience was selected by Gallup, the polling organization, and was split three ways among voters leaning toward McCain, those leaning toward Obama and those undecided.

Tom Brokaw of NBC, the moderator, screened their questions and also chose others that had been submitted online.

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  • daisey Oct 9, 2008

    Daisey, where is your brother-in-law located in Iraq? Was he a part of te surge or is he regular rotation?

    lilloan: Not sure if he is part of the surge. He has been there since June and does rescue missions as a medic and crewchief of his unit's blackhawk. He is in some out of the way base (pretty small and they don't get any entertainment there!) that I can't remember the name. However, he did get inside pics of the us embassy and posted them on his myspace page. I'll have to ask my mother in law becasue he can't say anything over the internet and phone.....

  • gunny462 Oct 9, 2008

    "Wasn't the rocket that went off on the USS Forrestal a zulu rocket? Bill"

    I think it might have been called a zuni, unsure as I didn't deal with them very much, thank gawd.

    http://news.webshots.com/photo/1077878287034705795DLlrVX

    Small munition but VERY deadly to handle. Pix also shows what APPEARS to be 1000lb bombs in the background.

    If I remember my history right, (unsure of which war) Korea or Vietnam, we had a major accident in which an entire munitions depot blew.

  • pitbull0373 Oct 8, 2008

    Brasky- I apologize if I took it wrong then. No problem with that question. That's what makes it America, our ability to agree to disagree.

    Mxteam44- Thank you and all Americans for their support, thoughts, and prayers!

    Just curious as to why there is not much talk about each candidates views on the 2nd amendment? I really feel this is important.

    McCain/Palin '08

  • lilloan Oct 8, 2008

    Daisey, where is your brother-in-law located in Iraq? Was he a part of te surge or is he regular rotation?

  • lilloan Oct 8, 2008

    Bill, you're exactly right. The level of violence seen from last fall and into the spring had decreased substantially prior to the additional troops landing on the ground...as evidenced by our patrols decreasing not in frequency but in duration...we were finally able to get a full eight every night. These radicals from both sides don't care about the surge. They've been debating who represents the true bloodline of Mohammed for 1300 years...mobilization of surge in forces won't phase their efforts one iota. We're starting to recognize the reality of this all little more every day!

  • daisey Oct 8, 2008

    'now' you don't know what you're talking about. I just got back from Baghdad in August and not one single man or woman on the ground, regardless of rank, will tell you that we are winning the war. The only strategy we employ is to try not to get killed and demonstrate our "presence". One thing I am certain of though is that there will never be an end to the Sunni/Shia confrontation. It took the rule of dictator and tyrant to force both sides into the underground by using fear....there is no solution and will never be a solution until Iraq is divided into multiple territories for the Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds. They can not and will not tolerate coexistence...period. Our presence in Iraq now is futile and any member of the US army on the ground in Iraq now will tell you! Winning???? We're just surviving!

    I'll be sure to aks my bro-in-law who is currently serving on the ground as you say in Iraq when I talk to him on yahoo im. Will report his comments asap!

  • mxteam44 Oct 8, 2008

    pitbull0373, THANK YOU for your service to our country! You have my utmost admiration and appreciation!

  • Bill Brasky Oct 8, 2008

    lilloan,

    You said exactly what I suspected. Do you think the surge worked? I've heard different things:

    1. Ethnic cleansing caused the drop in violence

    2. There was a ceasefire among the Shia and Sunni one month before the surge. We have been able to maintain that ceasefire by giving money to Al Sadr. This in turn made the surge look like it worked.

  • Bill Brasky Oct 8, 2008

    Pitbull says
    So I don't think you or brasky can question my dedication and committment to my country!

    I don't think you read my post on page 3. I'm not questioning your dedication and committment to this country. I'm questioning your decision to vote for McCain.

  • lilloan Oct 8, 2008

    'now' you don't know what you're talking about. I just got back from Baghdad in August and not one single man or woman on the ground, regardless of rank, will tell you that we are winning the war. The only strategy we employ is to try not to get killed and demonstrate our "presence". One thing I am certain of though is that there will never be an end to the Sunni/Shia confrontation. It took the rule of dictator and tyrant to force both sides into the underground by using fear....there is no solution and will never be a solution until Iraq is divided into multiple territories for the Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds. They can not and will not tolerate coexistence...period. Our presence in Iraq now is futile and any member of the US army on the ground in Iraq now will tell you! Winning???? We're just surviving!

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