Presidential Debate - Final Round

Here it is, the last debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. It's less than three weeks until thye election. This is the last time for either one of them to shine, the last chance for John McCain to make up for lost ground, the last chance for Barack Obama to secure his lead in the polls.

There's been plenty of speculation by the MSM whether the subject of Obama's relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, founder and bomb designer for the 60's radical group, the Weather Underground, will be brought up during this last debate. Many feel it's unavoidable, and McCain's approach to the subject may make or break his chances in November.

This debate is Obama's to lose. Many see him as starting to coast, figuring he's got the election sewn up. That perception would be a mistake.

Let's see how it unfolds.


One thing I will be doing differently during this debate as compared to the previous is giving my impressions about the candidates responses to the questions asked by the moderator, Bob Schieffer, rather than the specific questions and answers themselves.

Let me make something clear right up front: I am not impartial when it comes to this presidential race. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone reading my posts over the years. The more I've learned about Obama, both from posts on conservative, moderate, and liberal blogs and my own research (www.house.gov and www.senate.gov are great resources for learning about candidates voting records, or lack thereof, as well as floor speeches they've made...or haven't made), the more I'm convinced he would be a disaster as President of the United States. I am still working on my post about Senator Obama and why I believe he is unsuited to be the President. But that will wait until later this week.


The topic of tonight's debate is the economy and related issues.

Both have new plans to deal with the economic downturn.

McCain said both long and short term fixes are needed. One short term fix is to help keep people in their homes, to buy up the bad mortgages and refinance them to allow people to stay in their homes.

Obama says not enough is being done to help the middle class. He then went on to restate many of his campaign promises. Sounds great, but nothing new from either candidate.

McCain brought up the plumber who asked Obama about the tax increases he's proposed for businesses, saying the tax increase would make it difficult for him to buy and expand the business where he presently works. How is it helping the economy if he can't afford to expand his business, to hire new employees, to but new equipment.

Obama denied he would do that, but it's matter of record, available on YouTube.

Obama mentioned cutting taxes to 95% of working families. But a large percentage of working families don't pay any taxes. How does he cut taxes on someone not paying them? That's something he hasn't answered yet.


Both candidates addressed the budget deficit, predicted to be up to $1 trillion next year. Both their plans have major holes, may add to the deficit.

Obama brought up health care, energy, and a number of other issues, saying we have to spend now to save later. It's an argument that's been used for years, but has never saved a dime.

McCain wants to freeze spending, using both a hatchet and a scalpel. Cut the subsidies on ethanol, allow Brazilian ethanol, cut wasteful Pentagon spending, cut programs that don't work, get rid of earmarks.

Obama says it won't work, says Bush caused our problems and that McCain will do the same.

McCain shot back that he's not George Bush and that if Obama wanted to run against Bush he should have run against him in 2004, and how Obama voted for budgets he opposed because they were too fat.

Obama says he has a record of reaching across the aisle (but I haven't found any incidents where that's been the case). McCain called him on that, saying it isn't so.


The question of negative campaigning came up. McCain brought up Obama's lack of repudiating vile attacks by Obama supporters while he has repudiated every vile attack made upon Obama. Obama is spending incredible amounts of money of negative ads. Obama is spending three times as much as McCain on ads.

Congressman Lewis equated McCain and Palin to George Wallace, mis-stating the facts. Obama did the usual distancing himself, trying to spin it.


Bill Ayers and ACORN was brought up by both. Obama tried to explain his way out of his associations, sidestepping his involvement with Ayers and others of questionable repute.


The question of why their running mates would make good a good president was asked.

Obama went through Biden's qualifications, saying he's a regular guy, and expert on foreign policy, and so on. (That's not been my take on Biden.)

McCain said everyone now knows Palin, knows she's a reformer, fought corruption in state government going after people in both parties, understands special needs families, and unites people of both parties. He claimed she's more qualified to be president than Obama or Biden.

Obama say Palin would probably be a good president, and McCain said likewise about Biden.


Reducing dependence on foreign oil.

McCain would like to see the US import no oil from the Middle East and Venezuela. Canadian oil is OK...unless Obama repudiates NAFTA. We should use every approach – oil, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, tidal.

Obama says oil companies should drill on the leases they already own. (The only problem is that there's no oil there.) Blames Bush for NAFTA problems (NAFTA was negotiated and implemented by Bill Clinton, not Bush).


Oh, great! Health care. This is one of the third rails of politics. I hate to say it, but neither candidate has the right solution to the problem of health care and the costs of health insurance and neither is likely to be willing to implement the changes truly needed. Their plans sound 'great', but they won't work, haven't worked in other places, so why do it?

Obama wants to force larger businesses to provide health insurance or fine them. (Just what we need, yet another unfunded federal government mandate that forces businesses to do things they shouldn't have to do. Yeah, that'll work. NOT.)


Again, I've been falling behind and I'm not even going to try to catch up.

My impression is that Obama sounded sure of himself and his programs. He made them sound quite reasonable. But thinking back, I realized he said quite a lot but was far too general and non-specific in quite a few responses. But that's what he does and what he's always done.

McCain was feisty, but it appeared Obama frustrated him on more than one occasion, not so much because he gave a better answer, but because he wasn't really answering the questions.

My impression: Obama took this one, but it wasn't a slam-dunk.

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