8:10 — I’m driving up to New Hampshire to pick up my son from sleepaway camp. I’m listening to the debate on the radio and will attempt to live blog.
First, observation: for those who were worried that Rick Warren was going to be a goofball theocrat asking inappropriate faith questions only: Warren’s quesitons are MUCH better than the TV journalists that moderated previous debates.
8:43 — Obama doing quite well. He leads with Jesus dying for his sins — not social justice. That’s crucial in convincing evangelicals that he’s a “real” Christian
Abortion — He said the magic words: “we reduce the number of abortions.” That was the phrase that was pointedly NOT put in the platform. I dont think he was as emphatic as he needed to be to overtturn the pervasive notion that he’s a radical pro-choice candidate but he said things — like helping women carry the baby to term — that many evangelicals have never heard a Democrat say.
Does Evil Exist? — Yes, he said. May seem like a pretty easy question but since evangelicals have been told that Democrats are all moral relativists, this may come as a shock.
Supreme Court Justice he wouldn’t appoint — Fascinating answer: Clarence Thomas, because he wasn’t qualified. Also, his rationale for disliking Roberts was brilliant for this audience; he said Roberts isn’t strong enough on blocking growth of executive power.
Faith Based — Obama’s worst moment. He seemed evasive and muddy.
9:15 — 3 wisest people you know:
–meg Whitman, ceo
Much better answer than Obama’s I think. Each was thought-provoking, and made a point (about Iraq, bipartisanship, entrepreneurship)
9:17 — Greatest moral failure — “The failure of my first marriage.” Brilliant answer – undercut a big potential issue (adultery during the first marriage).
Bipartisanship — Climate change, out of control, torture. “The list goes on where I put my country first.” Much better answer than Obama.
Most anguished decision — McCain’s answer: Deciding not to accept early release as a prisoner of war. “It took a lot of prayer. Probably the all time best answer anyone’s ever given to that question.
He then told the story about the cross in the dirt. Each time he tells this story he seems to add new, extra-Christian details.
At what point is a baby entitled to human rights? “At the moment of conception…. will be a pro life president ad I will have pro life policies.” Very strong.
Response to evil? “Defeat it.” Big moment: he got to talk about fighting Islamic extremism, which Obama didn’t mention. What a contrast in their answers on this question. Obama cited Darfur and abusive parents. McCain cited Bin Laden.
Faith Based — The first blatantly misleading moment. He implied that taking faith based money would mean churches couldnt be giving faith based service. In fact, the example he gave, from Katrina, was one in which a faith-based program did its work WITHOUT govenrment aid.
Education — Substantively similar to Obama but much more direct and compelling.
Taxes — His notion that he wants everyone to be rich was a crowd pleaser but I dont think it was as effective as Obama’s notion that you have to pay for these things. The one area where Obama may have been more effective.
He actually talked about health care more compellingly than Obama.
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About Steve Waldman
- Safe, Legal & Early: A New Way of Thinking About abortion
- A Modest Proposal: Conservatives Back Gay Marriage; Gays Back Covenant Marriage
- The Rick Warren Interview
- Inaugural Prayer Archive
- 2008 v. 2004 Results by Faith
- The Obama-Falsani Interview
- The Gene Robinson Interview
Best Posts That No One Read:
- Our Patriotic Holy War
- Obama's White Family and Black Church
- Science & Religion Dispatched from Cambridge
Little Known Facts:
- The Rise of Prayerism
- Deism--It's Back!
- Abortion vs. Gays: The Evangelical Age Gap
- The Spiritual Atheists
Still Cracks Me Up:
Posts That Annoy Conservatives:
Posts That Annoy Liberals:
- Thomas Jefferson: Believer in Intelligent Design?
- Obama's White House Shouldn't Vet Prayers
- Agreeing with Values Voters
- Why the Catholic Bishops Matter on Health Care
- How to Defuse the Health Care Abortion Issue
- In Defense of Bloody Aborted Fetus Photos
Posts That Annoy Everyone: