McCain’s Surprise Triumph at Saddleback

posted by dgilgoff

saddlebackforum.jpgTeam Obama was depending on John McCain, with a reputation for opting out of discussions about faith and hot-button issues, looking like a fish at a water at last night’s Saddleback Civil Forum (here’s the video). Didn’t happen. Not by a long shot, One of the big surprises of the evening was that McCain shone.
The other big surprise was the the forum was that it hung largely on the hot-button concerns of the old Christian Right rather than the new agenda items of the supposedly post-Christian right evangelicalism. It was a poignant reminder that despite all he media hoopla about a burgeoning evangelical middle and left, culture war issues like abortion, gay marriage, judges–and culture war-related items like school vouchers, the right of faith-based organizations to discriminate in hiring, the war on terror–still hold a special place in the hearts of evangelicals.
How can you tell? Just watch for the biggest applause lines of the event. They come in response to McCain’s conservative statements on culture war issues.
It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Look at this description of the issue areas from Saddleback’s press release about the issues the Saddleback forum intended to cover:

“The primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues. While I know both men as friends and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in these four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask. This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights.”

Poverty. HIV/AIDS. Climate change. Human rights. The purported agenda items of the post-Christian Right evangelical movement. But they didn’t get much air time last night. That gave McCain an open to rack up major points on topics he usually shies away from, with zingers that included a wish that Ginsberg, Stevens, Souter and Breyer would have never been appointed to the Supreme Court, a terse, unequivocal pledge to preside over a pro-life White House with pro-life policies, and a full-throated condemnation of the California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. Those lines brought down the house.
Obama got points for showing up in the lion’s den, making it a lot harder for Christian Right leaders to demonize him, for expressing great sensitivity to evangelical concerns on issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research, and for talking openly about his Christian faith. But God-o-Meter wonders whether Obama was caught off guard by the fact that Warren’s questions were largely plucked from the conservative playbook. That’s what gave McCain the opportunity to remind conservatives he’s one of them–and God-o-Meter occasion to wonder if evangelical conerns have changed a lot less than the mainstream media would have us believe.


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posted August 17, 2008 at 11:55 am

I wrote this in response to a Stephanie who claimed to have been THERE at the forum. She said he looked squirming.
Obama did not look “Squirming” Stephanie. I agree with you that he did not give the knee jerk “right” answers that many Evangelicals seem to want. He actually tried to give his personal deep feelings some voice.
He tried to explain his feelings on pro choice even if he knew he would face opposition from this group.
On the other hand, adulterous, untruthful and war mongering McCain, spouted the usual “pat the doggy on the head” platitudes – WAR, DEFEAT EVIL, DROP A FEW JOKES.
I too thought John McCain had a better night than OBAMA…but simply because in MY OPINION, he did what was politically expedient…Sadly, this is all about the dumbing down of AMERICA. YOU ARE 19th in EDUCATION. YOU NEED CATCH PHRASES TO UNDERSTAND. OR ANECDOTES. A sentence which includes a colon or semi colon is too long…thank you MULTIPLE CHOICE TESTS!!
Obama is much more clever than you give him credit for…
While McCain pandered to the immediate audience – who according to polls will be voting for him anyway – OBAMA made sure that the wider public understood his position on a WIDE variety of issues including DIPLOMACY vs WAR – tolerance vs hatred or inquisition- Criminalizing women and doctors VS teaching sexual morality, love of those fallen and Christian charity- you’ll see, GOD will make this work for OBAMA, because he played by the RULES!

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Paul, seeking wisdom.

posted August 17, 2008 at 11:15 pm

McCain only scored points with the “choir”. The opened minded Christians, Jews and secular viewers saw a different interview. We saw a baited interview that focused on issues that favored McCain, Conservative viewpoints and agendas.
While Obama answered the questions carefully and honestly, he knew that the crowd was mostly against him. Even so, He did very well for such a “hostile” audience. Among the independents, he did fair better I would think. We will let the polls answer that. McCain’s answers were to pat and showed no insight as to who he is other than just another Hawk, seeking another conflict.
So don’t be so quick in declaring a victor in the interviews. If McCain is a two horse buggy ride down the road of war and debt, then maybe we should get another wagon, one that will keep us secure for the long haul.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 12:35 am

I guess “straight talk” now means plagiarism. McCain’s cross in the dirt story was taken straight from Solzhenitsyn’s biography: http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/politicalinsider/2008/08/is-mccain-now-copying-solzheni.html
Interestingly enough, McCain himself wrote an article on Solzhenitsyn. I guess he’s taking his story a little too much to heart. http://www.nysun.com/opinion/solzhenitsyn-at-work/83117/
Sad. When will the media actually report the sham?

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posted August 18, 2008 at 1:14 am

You can fit the voters who actually care about poverty, AIDS, climate change and human rights into same broom closet with the soccer fans.
There aren’t enough votes on those issues to elect a dog catcher.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 8:05 am

I have a question? Is there nothing that McCain won’t say to
pander? John McCain recounted a story about when he was in Vietnam.

“One night, after being mistreated as a POW, a guard loosened the
ropes binding me, easing my pain. On Christmas, that same guard approached me,
and without saying a word, he drew a cross in the sand. We stood, wordlessly,
looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas. I’ll never
forget that no matter where you are, no matter how difficult the
circumstances, there will always be someone who will pick you up.”

Trouble is, this is also something that was recounted in "The Gulag Archipelago"
by the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  McCain has repeatedly said that
Solzhenitsyn is one of his favorite authors.  Luke Veronis, in “The
Sign of the Cross,” recounts:

“Along with other prisoners, he worked in the fields day after day,
in rain and sun, during summer and winter. His life appeared to be nothing
more than backbreaking labor and slow starvation. The intense suffering
reduced him to a state of despair.

On one particular day, the hopelessness of his situation became too much
for him. He saw no reason to continue his struggle, no reason to keep on
living. His life made no difference in the world. So he gave up.

Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and
sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and
when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with
his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners.

As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw
a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he
used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back
up and returned to his work.

As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire
perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful
Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in
the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope
for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the
Cross, anything was possible.

Solzhenitsyn slowly rose to his feet, picked up his shovel, and went
back to work. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Inside, he had received

So much like McCain took the information for his speech regarding the
Georgia/Russia conflict from Wikipedia, on the surface it appears that McCain’s
“story” is written by someone else.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 8:24 am

Obama may be a thoughtful and caring person, but this forum showed me that he definitely does not have enough experience to be President of the United States. We need someone in the White House that will not be learning on the job. Where is his record of experience and leadership? The country will be taking too big of a risk to vote for him.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 9:21 am

A good Christian is not a title or a campaign speech. A good Christian is how one lives their life. A good Christian doesn’t have to tell the world in order to get votes. It’s something that is obvious in those who truly live their life that way.

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Billy Bob

posted August 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

I have been getting reports that McCain was not in the Church up to 30-40 minutes before Obama’s interview ended. In other words, the Cone Of Silence was partially in his Motorcade.
If so, that is just so wrong on both the McCain’s camp side for not offering a disclaimer and the Church’s side for not telling all before McCain’s matter of fact, to the point, one word answers – HINT. We should have checked his coffee cup for the answers as well. McCain did drink a bit more from his cup than Obama.
That to me, says much more about character today as opposed to character at a earlier time in McCain’s life. When a pass president said he did not have sex with that woman, McCain now says I did not peek at the questions. Well if the rules were followed, we would not have to wonder if he did.
If these reports are not true, then McCain still missed the boat for I heard great war stories but am still not seeing how faith works today in his daily life.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm

No wonder you Americans voted TWICE for BUSH.
You now want to put another KILLER war MONGER into office….4 MORE YEARS. And WHY, because McBUSH gave a very simplistic answer to a very complex question. Most of the brainwashed, Rick Warren congregation wanted to hear that answer, and RICK WARREN (THE FRAUD) knew this would make it look like Obama was some kind of BABY KILLER as he knew in advance how Obamas answer would be formed. Hope Rick has an answer for his God for this next time he prays. Does God condone deceiving a friend??? Rick Warren is NO FRIEND of OBAMA…..Rick LIED.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

A war monger says, “Life starts at conception”, but MCcain will, END LIVES by voting on every war he can vote on while, jokingly saying BOMB BOMB IRAN, lets sell the Iranians cigarettes as a way of killing them, all after having served in the most genocidal wars ever in Vietnam, and sending threats to Russia in favor of a country he lobbies for.
Americas next POTUS???? Good luck America…good luck
How could you vote for a COMPUTER ILLITERATE PRESIDENT? Are you aware that the codes to launch NUKES are encrypted, computerized codes which have to be activated by someone with computer KNOWLEDGE…. DUH !!!!! Ya think the RUSSIANS know this? Can America afford on the job computer training in such a dangerous world??
You will get what you DESERVE if you vote RICK WARRENS BOY IN.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Obama was genuine. McCain was rehersed!
OBAMA 08 !
Bonnie in the state of Virginia

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posted August 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm

The whole forum was a setup. McCain was in his car reading his Blackberry while his staff watched the show and emailed him the questions. THAT’s why EVERY question was straight from the stump, instead of his heart and/or rotting, old brain.
NOTICE that with EVERY, SINGLE ANSWER given by McCain, he answer quickly, without thought (practiced!), and it ended with a story of WAR. He is a potential War PRESIDENT, just like BUSH. But McCain is WORSE THAN BUSH in many ways! For one, McCain still thinks he’s in the Vietnam War. Never mind there has been at least 5 wars since Vietnam, but he only can remember the war from the 60′s, and that’s where he is stuck at! He will take this country backwards, NOT forward.
For his answer on “EVIL”. Now if God Almighty hasn’t eradicated this world of evil after millions of years, how in the HELL is John McCain going to accomplish this? And you fools believed him? OMG. Barack Obama stated the truth in that evil will always be here but we can confront it, knowing that it’s God’s job. He is OBVIOUSLY the Christian, and he’s always lived his life that way.
McCain, on the other hand, discarded his first wife because she was disfigured after an accident, and went around (like some pedophile) seeking out this young girl (25 years his junior) who was attached to money and power, left his wife AND CHILDREN for this young girl and applied for his marriage license while still married. Then married this young girl only 2 months after his divorce to his childrens’ mother. What kind of Christian does people that way? His first wife stood by him while he was a POW, taking care of his children and waiting for his return. How did he thank her? He cheated on her, just like he cheated with the questions at this forum.
Rick Warren, you are a fake, liar. You lied DIRECTLY on camera to the American people, telling us all that McLiar was in a “Cone of Silence”. You KNEW HE WASN’T THERE, but you still went on to ask questions of Senator Obama. You wreak of falseness and lies that are typically vomited from the Republican Party.
I hope your God is happy with your behavior because MY GOD of high moral values and behavior, is NOT happy with you.

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Jan Guyton

posted August 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm

What is the source of your report that both candidates were not in the church from the beginning? This is on the same level as people who believe that the US attacked itself on 9/11. How do you concoct this nonsense? Must be sour grapes that YOUR candidate’s performance was not up to par since he didn’t have a teleprompter to tell him what to say. McCain is quick and decisive; just look at the response to the Russian invasion of Georgia. It took Obama three tries to finally get it right. Be sure that you have your facts straight before you start making accusations. Better stay away from that Kool-Aid! It is affecting your thought processes…..

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Wendell Franklin Wentz

posted August 18, 2008 at 5:16 pm

If someone had asked Harry S. Truman those questions back in 1948, he would have told them “Go To Hell.” I don’t think Harry Truman would have been in any church talking about his faith and religion with the opposition in the first place. These religious nuts are not conservatives, and Barry Goldwater in an interview with U.S. News said that these far-right, religionists would wreck the Republican Party. -Wendell Franklin Wentz

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Noodle Beach

posted August 18, 2008 at 5:46 pm

To the screaming McCain-haters: did you expect Mr. McCain to say he supported Roe v Wade and that life begins whenever the courts say it begins? The questions were pretty simple, and anyone could have guessed what they would be…which makes the “cheating” charge so laughable. Mr. McCain has been in politics long enough to know what someone like Rick Warren would ask him, regarding his faith. Barack didn’t give short and direct answers because he didn’t want to.
Also to those who call Mr. McCain a war-monger: do you use that label on every leader who advocates military action to protect American interests? If so then you would have to label every US president at least over the past 30 years a war-monger, Democrat and Republican alike; such leaders as JFK, who oversaw our entrance into Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson, who continued the escalation, and Richard Nixon, who botched the exit….these 3 men presided over the deaths of more than 50,000 American troops. What about Harry Truman? Or even Bill Clinton, who did some bombing of his own?
Here is a question for those of you calling Mr. McCain a war monger: if Russia does not pull out of Georgia, but instead forces a new government there by using its military strength, do you want the next president to take actions to support Georgia, or do you want the next president to stay completely out of the whole affair? If Russia then does the same thing to another ex-Soviet state, do you still do nothing? What do you do if the Taliban gains control of Pakistan again after Musharraf leaves? Nothing?
At some point these types of events generate threats to the U.S., not necessarily to our homeland but to our allies, our economic interests, our citizens abroad, and our agreements under international treaties….where do you determine that military action is needed?

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Sunshine Suzie

posted August 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Jan Goyton-
As for who concocted the story that McCain wasn’t in the church during Obama’s interview—It was Rick Warren himself. In an interview on CNN last night, Paster Rick admitted that McCain did not arrive at the church until 30 minutes after the interview with Obama began. He seemed quite embarrassed by it.

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Leesa C

posted August 18, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I thought McCain seemed phony. He seemed to be overpandering with the constant “My Friends” and POW stories.
Just my point of view.

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Frank Villelli

posted August 18, 2008 at 7:54 pm

This might be of interest to some. From AmerPundit Monday Aug 18, 2008
POW Vouches for McCain “Cross” Story
Mon, Aug 18, 2008
by AmerPundit
Is the left prepared to call at least two POW veterans liars based on absolutely no evidence that they’re wrong? Would you be surprised? They’ve already labeled one as such based on the fact he didn’t paste a story everywhere he went.
I called Orson Swindle, a fellow POW who is campaigning for McCain, to ask him about it.
“I recall John telling that story when we first got together in 1971, when were talking about every conceivable thing that had ever happened to us when we were in prison” Swindle told me a few minutes ago. “Most of us had been kept apart or in small groups. Then, in 1970, they moved us into the big cell. And when we all got to see each other and talk to each other directly, instead of tapping through walls, we had 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk to each other, and we shared stories. I vaguely recall that story being told, among other stories.”
“I remember it from prison,” Swindle continued. “There were several stories similar to that in which guards — a very few, I might add — showed compassion to the prisoners. It was rare, and I never met one, but some of the guys did.”
Allahpundit hopes the left keeps pushing the issue and so do I. Continuing to bring up McCain’s years as a POW and the heroism he exhibited during that time doesn’t hurt Maverick. It does, however, dirty Obama’s hands in the process.

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Jan Guyton

posted August 18, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Well, Miss Sunshine Suzie–I heard Pastor Warren being interviewed today and he said that McCain was in another building in a room by himself with Secret Service and church personnel right outside. He said there were no monitors of any kind in that room. Also, if you actually watched the program, he stated that the candidates did a coin toss to decide who went first. It would be impossible to do a coin toss without having both parties there.
As for the cross story, someone said he lifted it from a book. I maintain that he is telling the truth about something that actually happened to him. If you ever have told someone about a unique experience you had, hasn’t the person you were talking with told you about a similar experience which happened to them? He did not tell exactly the same story as the book, nor use the same words. Many times we have similar experiences, but the details may be different. Nobody can claim a totally unique life experience because we are all human; that is how we can relate and learn from each other.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 9:42 pm

You’ve got to be kidding.
John McCain spits out expected “Talking Points” and digresses into totally immaterial stories and you think HE came out on top?
Given that this was a spliter audience and John McCain said everything he thought they wanted to hear (reference Used Cars), perhaps he “came out on top.”
But in terms of who actually ANSWERED the questions, and who appeared thoughtful rather than jingoistic, Obama clearly came out on top.
BTW, John McCain’s marriage didn’t just fail, he committed ADULTERY.
He violated one of the TEN COMMANDMENTS.
That would have been a more honest, Christian answer to the question about his greatest moral failing. He didn’t say “I violated one of the Ten Commandments and that caused my marriage to fail.” He said “the failure of my marriage.”
He quibbled and made himself and his “moral failing” out to be less than it was. And THIS resonates with Christians?
They should be ashamed to cite the Bible with this hypocrite going unchallenged.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I understand the principle of finding out if the game was rigged, but does anyone honestly believe Sen McCain needed to get the questions before hand? I mean really, for that crowd, he already HAD the answers. Corky from Life Goes On could have handled that assignment. What should really be focused on is Sen McCain completely jumping off the “Straight Talk Express” to shamelessly pander to the crowd. The 3 of 4 SCJ’s he named? He voted for their confirmation. The bear DNA story? Word is he voted for that bill too. If he DID contrive the “Cross” story, how will the media avoid asking the tough questions? He got a relatively free pass after confusing the Green Bay Packers’ players with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ players last month. Now he’s playing the “outrage” card again over Andrea Mitchell doing her job (or is he outraged it took her so long to start doing it?) when it turns out she was right. The MSM will give him a pass on that the same way they gave him a pass after he outrageously accused Sen Obama of “playing the race card from the bottom of the deck” when his website had a video suggesting Sen Obama would change the face of the Statue of Liberty, Mt Rushmore and, yep, an American $100 bill. The month before that he was outraged at Wesley Clark’s, while “inartful, reasonable question about Presidential qualifications. The month before THAT he was outraged at the Democrats for suggesting he “might be losing his bearings”. The problem isn’t Sen McCain getting away with these things, I’m sure a case can be made of all the things Sen Obama has skated on, the real problem is our MSM sucks and somehow we have to depend on them to give us the facts.

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posted August 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm

McCain triumph? Please he won over the Reaganites in Orange County, but he lost every pro-choice indie moderate like me who was watching at home. He didn’t just sound scripted he sounded like Bush. You know the guy who’s our current president with the 28% approval rating. You right wingers have no idea how much damage he did despite what the media says. Barack Obama came across as thoughtful and moderate. The moderates and independent who will decide this election don’t expect canned answers or talking points from a someone who is trully thoughtful and intelligent as Obama showed himslef to be. A three year old can rmember lines the way McCain did.

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Jan Guyton

posted August 19, 2008 at 2:23 am

Apparently, you all are confusing strength of conviction (McCain) with trying to decide which answer will get the most votes (Obama). If you know what you believe, you don’t have to sit there and figure out how to answer the question. You answer it immediately without wondering which response would work best in this venue. Obama changes his answer depending on the audience. That is why he needs a teleprompter. He has to be coached. You also have to figure in background and style. Someone from a military background is usually decisive and to the point. Someone from a background in constitutional law is going to take longer to answer since they tend to be a detail person. Experience is also a factor. But, ultimately, a person who knows what he believes can answer quickly and succinctly, as McCain did.
Yes, McCain did not do right by his first wife. Yes, he broke one of the 10 Commandments. However, the Bible teaches that breaking any of the Commandments is a sin and none is worse in God’s eyes than any other. We are all sinners and each of us breaks one or more of the Commandments every day. That is why we need a Savior and the grace that our God grants through our faith. That is why we pray for the forgiveness of our sins and take Communion in many churches. In that context, once we truly repent God forgives our sin and it is like it is washed away (Unfortunately, we sin daily so we always need God’s forgiveness). I have read that McCain’s first wife has forgiven him and they have a cordial relationship. I trust that he asked God for forgiveness. So if his ex-wife and God forgave him, who are we to judge him–especially in view of the fact that he doesn’t have a continuing history of this type behavior?

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posted August 19, 2008 at 4:16 am

McCain should be asking for God’s forgiveness for the blood of innocent people that were killed or wounded during a war based on lies. McCain said even knowing what we know now, he would still invade Iraq.
Iraq War ‘Unjustifiable’, says Bush’s Church Head by Ed Vulliamy in New York Oct, 2002 (Also Dick Cheney’s church)
President George Bush’s own Methodist church has launched a scathing attack on his preparations for war against Iraq, saying they are ‘without any justification according to the teachings of Christ’.
The Methodist Church, he says, is not pacifist, but ‘rejects war as a usual means of national policy’. Methodist scriptural doctrine, he added, specifies ‘war as a last resort, primarily a defensive thing. And so far as I know, Saddam Hussein has not mobilized military forces along the borders of the United States, nor along his own border to invade a neighboring country, nor have any of these countries pleaded for our assistance, not does he have weapons of mass destruction targeted at the United States’.

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Endless Road

posted August 19, 2008 at 10:25 am

Jan Guyton – That’s right, it would be impossible to do a coin toss with both parties without both there.
Therefore, a coin toss with both parties (Obama and McCain) just before the event never happened as McCain’s own campaign said McCain was 1/2 hour late and was in a Motorcade.
Either Warren is lying or he was hoodwinked himself and is too “ego-driven” to come out and admit it after his big performance about a “cone of silence” which never existed.

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John Lofton, Recovering Republican

posted August 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

You need to rethink your “God-o-Meter” bit which I believe violates the Third Commandment in that it takes His Name in vain. As for McCain’s “Surprise Triumph at Saddleback,” what was it? I saw none. You probably mean you think he gave the best “answers” which, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Neither McCain nor Obama have a Christian/Biblical view of civil government. Thus, they are unqualified to hold any God-ordained civil government office. Also, neither man cares at all about the Constitutional limits on our Federal Government (see Article 1, Section 8, please, for the kinds of things on which Congress can spend our Federal tax dollars.) They both have supported and proposed clearly un-Constitutional programs.
To read what God’s qualifications are for the men who should rule over us (yes, only knowledgeable, Godly men), please this piece on our site.
May God bless us all — and He does when we OBEY Him.
John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com

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posted August 19, 2008 at 11:49 am

There was no way that Obama could have come out ahead of McCain at the event. I used to attend one of the large evangelical churches and they are strongly in the Republican camp. I left them because of the one-sided political atmosphere which I didn’t think was appropriate for a church. I take my hat off to Obama for even agreeing to go to Warren’s event. A Democrat in an evangelical church is like a “duck out of water”.

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posted August 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm

As far as Rick War-ren and McWAR is concerned its all depends on what the word IS-IS….
Warren said “WE” have put McWARmonger inside of a “cone of silence…and in this case it depends on what the word WE-IS
Rick WAR-ren is a BIG FRAUD and a LIAR to boot, and he is compounding the LIE by not coming clean.
What a web we do achieve when we practice to DECEIVE

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posted August 19, 2008 at 3:05 pm

To those on the left – it is fine if you think Obama won. It is fine if you do not like McCain, but the hate. Is this what the left is about? Think of your own principles:
* Do not hate
* Do not name call (McWAR)
* Be open minded
* Accept other’s views
* Believe in open debate
I could go on, but look at the left’s reponses, and as yourselves if your beliefs are beliefs, or simple slogans.
Stop the hate. Now – you may be able to come up with conservative examples that are similar, and that is fine, however does that still excuse the hate, the name calling, the shouting, from your side? Think….please.

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Bruce Johnson

posted August 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

I think it a shame that so much of the commentary on the Saddleback forum has focused on the style of the candidates, the audience reception, and other issues like the Cone of Silence. I would expect Beliefnet at least to address some of the core issues of content.
Take for example the discussion of evil.
The response that Obama gave was “nuanced” but also more correct both from a practical political perspective and from a Judeo-Christian theological perspective. Our G-d commands us to “hate evil and love what is good” but also to “walk humbly”. Obama coupled the challenge to confront evil with humility and with the knowledge that much evil has been done in the name of the good. McCain, on the other hand, promised to “defeat” evil — a continuation of the presumptiveness and arrogance of the current administration that has led us to death and destruction and Abu Ghraib.

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posted August 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I agree I dont think McCain gained any victory. Of course they both only told us what they wanted us to hear. I saw many negative signs in McCains responces! I also got tired of the stories McCain told. We all have stories but that is of little interest to me. Anyways I feel this thread started one sided.

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posted August 19, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I think Obama made a poor judgment call in trusting this preacher. He spoke to Warren as if he were a trusted spiritual advisor who had asked him (Obama) to speak from the heart and sincerely.
Bad call, Obama. Uber Christians are not people to trust. They look out for their own PR and not for anyone else’s, even Christ’s.

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posted August 19, 2008 at 9:39 pm

mike, you say a President shouldn’t have to learn on the job. I’ve been thinking recently that Bush has finally learned more about handling the job. He had a much better response to Georgia/Russia than McCain had. He didn’t rush out to confront Russia but seemed to allow a bit of time for some of the fog of war to clear. He didn’t promise Saakashvilli military protection as McCain seemed willing to do. I never would have thought that there was someone more reckless and delusional than Bush!

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Karla Elisa

posted August 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I find it quite comforting to read the majority of commentary here understands Obama’s answers regarding Good and Evil were more on a par with what Jesus taught.
True followers of Christ’s message DO believe humility is important. We also know that to heap coals on our enemies heads is not a metaphor for dropping bombs on them.
Loving our enemies is tough but we ARE instructed to do so. McCain is most assuredly out of touch with scripture and I am astounded that any Christian would view him as their political representative.

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posted August 20, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I find it so hard to believe that other Christians can talk so much about abortion but ignore the fact that we have invaded another country and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis (so many of them women and children), all in order for us to gain control of Iraq and their oil. That is as far from humility as it gets. Oil is the root of all evil. It is worse than money – it is both money and power. Bush, like McCain has Christians believing that he is the faithful one – just to get the vote. But we see what that has done for us. Bush and his administration are the most evil people I have ever seen. I also found it so disturbing that McCain sat there in a church and yelled “I will hunt Bin Laden down and kill him”. Seems very sacrilegious. Like Bush, McCain uses fear tactics, which goes against my Christian upbringing. We have God on our side – why are we so fearful???

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Mark From Georgia

posted August 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Mr. Obama hit it on the head. Making difficult decisions, especially against the constituents who got you there, are above his paygrade.

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posted August 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I was kinda disappointed in the shallow questioning by Rick Warren. What I mean by that, is, when he was asking about their stand on abortion, gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, he just accepted their shallow answers and went on to the next question. I was really hoping Rick would have delved more into their answers and dig out of both candidates a more detailed, fuller answer.

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posted August 21, 2008 at 1:22 am

I don’t see how family values voters like myself can consider a candidate who cheated on his first wife with multiple women, then left her to marry a beer model flush with cash, and launch his political career. He filed marriage license papers for his new marriage before he even ended his first. Disgusting. How can we trust someone like this?
Add to this that he was one of the Keating Five, his wife misused charity and employee info to steal drugs, he keeps making attack ads that are demonstrable lies, however much I like their political effects. What does he stand for? I have trouble respecting a man like him, and am considering sitting this one out.
Odd Note: I may dislike Obama’s policies, but at least he seemed to talk about a personal relationship with Christ. McCain seemed to just go back to his (moving) POW stories to cover up his discomfort.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Rick Warren’s God talk? I don’t know his god! Let me tell you about my God, Who is concerned for ALL LIFE. Kristen, you and I believe in the Same God. Does the people of America even know, the United States is the FIRST Nation in the World to develop Nuclear Weapons, and the ONLY Nation in the World to use them in War against another Nation! America makes Her Attack against other Nations dropping Her bombs, killing hundreds of thousand of men, women and children, as well as destroying their Land. When the damage is Complete, and members of the Military return home, they are called America Heroes. Every Nation across this World has every Right to Hate America! How much more of America’s evilness will God allow before He sends Judgment upon this Nation? In that Day, it’s too late to cry out, God, please bless America Again.

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posted September 3, 2008 at 1:38 am

Senator Fred Thompson has a peculiar idea of what good character is. At the Republican National Convention, after saying proudly that John McCain was a major discipline problem (giving credit to his genetics, i.e. mother and father), and telling a story about his dating a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida, he tells us that his behavior as a prisoner of war further proves his character. According to an article favorable to John McCain, called Prisoner of war by Dan Nowicki, Bill Muller in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 1, 2007 10:32 AM, McCain says that after being beaten (note he was not water-boarded, just beaten) he signed a confession saying “I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.”
I am sure that John McCain like many others, including John Kerry, is a war hero, but details of John war stories seems to change to fit the Republican priorities of the moment.
The stories that seems to never change are that John was fifth from the bottom of his class and a disciplinary problem at the Navel Academy, leading other young men into undisciplined behavior, including undisciplined behavior involving women; and, believe it or not, he and the Republicans seem to be proud of all this. Furthermore, let’s not forget that he committed a string of adulteries against his first wife who had waited for him during his time as a prisoner of war and then divorced her.
I don’t get it. It is the Republican’s who are always talking about setting examples for our youth. This is an example of what they think is a good example?

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