Uncommitted voters at this point? Feh.
Debate notes below the fold.
Update: It just occurred to me that Obama should have agreed to that series of town hall debates that McCain is always whining about. The strenuous format (standing up, walking) clearly favors youth.
Section A - Alan Shaffer!
How can we bail out normal people who are suffering from the bad economy?
Obama: Great Depression. Everyone worried. Last eight years caused this. BushCo = McCain. Must make the Paulson Plan work by enforcing provisions we made sure were unenforceable. But that's Step One. Next step is the economic recovery package that the Senate filibustered a week or so ago. (He didn't phrase it that way.)
McCain: Americans are angry, upset and fearful. I have a plan. Energy independence and low taxes for all! Debt is 10 trillion. Reform, prosperity and peace in the world. Home values are declining. I will order SecTreas to buy up and reneg the bad mortgages. Stablilize home value (keep that bubble inflated!).
Brokow: Let's rap. Paulson is on the way out, who's your pick?
McCain: Not you, Tom. (?) Lot's of qualified Americans. Gotta pick someone Americans can identify with, how about Warren Buffet? He's been helpful lately. How about Meg Whitman? She knows how to create jobs. (eBay) Must inspire trust and confidence.
Obama: I like Warren too. Other folks out there. Can't help only those at the top. Middle Class!! Never forget that McCain said that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. Tax cuts for 95% of working Americans. Lost jobs, lost incomes - all bad.
Brokow: time's tight, fellas - keep it short.
Oliver Clark: How is the bailout supposed to help normal people?
McCain: RESCUE not bailout. Greed was at the root of the problem. Never forget that I suspended my campaign to go back to D.C. to protect the taxpayer. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did it - them and Obama and his cronies. Made loans to people who could never pay them back. We stood up and said "no more!" but the Dems resisted change and got all kinds of money and campaign contributions - especially Obama. Gotta go out in the housing market and buy up the bad loans and stabilize home values. Fannie and Freddie caused the whole problem.
Obama: What's in the rescue package for you - a million companies can't get credit and make payroll!!!! McCain is a liar. Biggest problem was dereg of financial system. Two years ago I sent letters to Bernanke and Paulson telling them to re-regulate. I never promoted Fannie Mae but McCain's firm did - but not me. But this is all confusing (because we're all so dirty with corporate money). Next step has to focus on you.
Brokow: Are you saying that we're all doomed?
Obama: No. We need to do a better job regulating the financial sector though - help ordinary families stay in homes, deal with health care and energy.
McCain: We could be doomed - depends on what we do. Gotta go out and buy up the bad loans. Gotta get rid of the crony-ism. I wrote a letter too and Obama didn't sign it. American workers are the best in the world. We gotta give them a chance to do their best again. (I'm gagging. The pandering, hypocrisy and deceit must be sticking in my throat.)
Teresa Finch: How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS!!??
Obama: I understand. We suck. Your budget is just like the federal budget. We need to go out to dinner less. Bush destroyed us and doubled our debt. What other proof do you need?? I'm going to spend some money on key issues: health care -- energy (can't borrow from China and send it to Saudi Arabia (thank you, Hillary).
McCain: I understand. We suck. I'm a consistent reformer. Clear record of bi-partisanship and that's what we need. Records as well as rhetoric! Obama is a big spender. Porkbarrel earmarks - nearly a BILLION DOLLARS! Money for an overhead projector for a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. Get middle income workers working again. Energy independence - Drill! Nukes!
Brokow: My turn! Health care, energy and entitlement reform. Rank'em!
McCain: Repeat the question. All three at once! My friends, SOCIAL SECURITY IS FAILING!! 1983. I know how to do reach across the aisle. Lieberman, Feingold, Kennedy. Build a whole bunch of nuclear power plants. All of the above! We can do it all. Take on the mission and overcome it. Terrorists!
Health care: everyone is struggling (not members of Congress). We can do it all at once.
Obama: We have to prioritize. The federal budget is just like your family budget. I've told you my priorities. Energy - $15B/year over ten years to be free of dependence on Middle East oil. Nobody knows how to do it but we can do it. Health care is priority number two. Education is priority Number Three. Line by line to get rid of waste. And we can't afford tax cuts like McCain wants.
Brokow: Time, gentleman - KEEP IT SHORT!
Online question: What sacrifices will you ask every American to make to restore Am. Dream and get out of economic morass.
McCain: Gotta cut the agencies that aren't working. I know some defense programs that aren't working. Earmarks - gotta go - even the good ones, not just the crappy ones that Obama pushed through. Spending freeze across the board. We can attack health care and energy at the same time. We are Americans! We're going to work together and get them all done.
Obama: Big sigh. 9/11 - remember? We all wanted to come together and be better? And Bush fucked it all up. Go shop, he said. Remember? We have to start thinking about how we use energy (he's in Carter country). Off-shore drilling: use the acres you have! Clean coal - awesome! Find ways to store nuclear energy. Young people are especially interested in serving. Double Peace Corps and (it sounds like) domestic service programs.
Brokow: American is drunk on debt and easy credit. Whaddya' gonna do?
Obama: I'm a deficit hawk - must look at spending and revenue but earmarks are only about $18B of our budget. McCain's tax cuts are for the super rich and will cost a ton. Folks aren't sharing the burden with other folks. (It's amazing how they have to dance around this issue.) Must use scalpel to cut the budget so people who need help are getting it and people who don't need it aren't.
McCain: Obama's view on taxes are inconsistent. He wants to raise taxes. He's just like Hoover, who was a protectionist. We lost lots of jobs. But small businesses have created lots of jobs. Obama will raise taxes on 50% of small businesses and all those jobs will be lost. Let's not raise anybody's taxes, my friends. I'm not in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy! Double tax exemption! Giving every American $5K to get the health care you want! Let's create jobs. Let's not raise anybody's taxes.
Obama: Can I respond?
Brokow: No. Entitlements are KILLING US!!!! And I'm going to add my own question here: SOCIAL SECURITY IS KILLING US! Worse than current crisis. Will you set a date certain to fix it? TICKING TIME BOMB - everyone agrees!!!!
Obama: Yes, yes, I'm going to fix Social Security. But here's that follow-up I just asked for: I want to provide a tax for 95% of Americans. If you make less than $250K you will not see your taxes go up. If you make less than $200K, your taxes will go down. Most small businesses fit in there. AND we will give them tax credits to pay for their health insurance benefits. McCain wants to give rich people an additional $700K in tax cuts. Not fair! Middle class! Bush = McCain. If we can fix the nightmare of the last eight years, we can fix entitlements.
McCain: Social Security is easy. It's been done before. Reagan, O'Neill. My own party hates me because I'm a reformer. Medicare will be tougher. Need a commission to come up with recommendations and then have Congress vote up or down.
Back on taxes: Obama has voted 94 times to TAX YOU MORE! He never proposed legislation to cut middle class taxes. Vision! Get our economy going again. Best days ahead of us.
Ingrid Jackson: Congress can move fast - how can you get it to move fast in your first two years to deal with all the environmental issues facing us.
McCain: Gonna give our grandchildren a damaged planet. I've worked with Joe Lieberman. (This is at least the fourth time he's mentioned working with Lieberman - it's like he's talking about the girl he wished he married.) NUKES! Clean and safe. Japanese, French and Brits all do it. Obama hates nukes! Hydrogen, battery-powered cars. Create millions of jobs. We can do that, we Americans, because we are the best.
Obama: One of the biggest challenges of our times. And it's an opportuity. (crisitunity!) Can create 5 million jobs easily. This is just like a computer. The computer was invented by a bunch of government scientists. Have to invest in technologies. I LOVE NUKES! McCain voted 23 times against alternative fuels. It's easy to talk about this stuff during a campaign (not for McCain - his breathing is erratic. My daughter said it sounds like he's dying.) Can't drill ourselves out of the problem. Alternatives! Investment from gov't - work with private sector. Must help China.
Brokow: You guys are driving me nuts. Shorten the answers. Should we fund a Manhattan Project or a hundred thousand garages across the country?
McCain: Gov't should pay for research and then turn it over to the private sector. "That one" (pointing to Obama) voted for the Bush-Cheney energy bill. I voted against it b/c it was "loaded up with goodies." Drill here! Drill now! Fundamental economics demand that we do. Obama hates nukes.
Lindsay Trella: Is health care a commodity?
Obama: Big issue. Health care is breaking family budgets. Premiums have doubled over the last eight years. Crushing burden for small business. Moral and economic imperative to fix this. Here's my plan: if you're happy with what you have, keep it. We will make your premiums lower by $2500/year. If you don't have health insurance, you can buy my health insurance. McCain is going to tax the benefits you get from work. US Chamber of Commerce hates McCain's plan.
McCain: Major challenge. Skyrocketing costs! Let's put health records online, have community health centers, walk-in clinics. Obama wants gov't to do it. He'll impose MANDATES!!! Sen. Obama will fine you if you are struggling to get health insurance for your children!! I want to give you $5K to take across state lines. In Arizona you may find a better plan than here in Tennessee. Do the math! You'll have more money to get coverage - except you can't get a plan that covers hair transplants. Can't "mandate things on" people.
Brokow: Health care: privelege, right or responsibility?
McCain: responsibility. Mandates make me nervous. It is my responsibility and small business owners' responsibility. And we understand that. Obama says: If you don't get the health care policy I like, you will be fined.
Obama: It's a right. My mother died of cancer at 53 and spent last months arguing with insurance companies - fundamentally wrong. Tom, shut up so I can refute McCain's lies. If you like what you have, keep it. Small businesses won't have a mandate - they will get a 50% tax credit. Yes, you will have to insure your kids b/c they are relatively cheap to insure. McCAIN VOTED AGAINST SCHIP. (thank you, Obama) Gov't must crack down on insurance companies that are cheating their customers. State by state won't work. Insurance comps will find a state where there are no requirements to do the right thing. That's how it works in banking. Shout out to Delaware! Deregulation doesn't work.
McCain: Did we hear the size of the fine? (snicker, sneer from McCain and no comment from Brokow)
Some guy: How will America act as a peacemaker in the world?
McCain: America is the greatest force for good in the world. We are peacemakers and peacekeepers. We have to know when it's worth it for us to intervene. (I said that so much better than he did with his strange breathing and half-thoughts.) Gotta have judgement. Obama was wrong about Iraq and the surge and he was wrong about Russia and Georgia. No time for on the job training, my friend.
Obama: McCain is right, there are some things I don't understand. I don't understand why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 while OBL was setting up basecamps to train people who want to hurt us. That was McCain's judgement. Troops! Heroic! Gratitude! Strain on our budget. Spending $10B/month in Iraq. Iraqis should pay for destroying and rebuilding their country with their $79B surplus. Strain on alliances, loss of respect around world - can't act in places like Darfur. Must change John McCain's and George Bush's foreign policy.
Brokow: Humanitarian intervention, use of force - no national security issues at stake.
Obama: When genocide is happening and we stand idly by, that dimishes us. That is part of our national interest. But we can't be everywhere all the time. That's why we need allies. Darfur: peacekeepers there, AU troops there. We could be setting up a no-fly zone but we have to be able to mobilize international community and lead. I will do that.
McCain: If we had done what Obama wanted to do in Iraq, Iran would have won. Obama would have brought our troops home in defeat! I'll bring them home with honor! Never again but only if we can affect change. Requires a cool hand at the tiller. Somalia: went in as peace keepers, ended up as peace makers and had to leave. Lebanon: I stood up against "my hero," Ronald Reagan. "Sending America's most precious asset, American blood, into harm's way." I understand we have to say never again but we better make sure we never leave and make the situation work. (Endless war!)
Katy Somebody: Should we invade Pakistan or not?
Obama: We were distracted in Iraq and now we have ObL in Pakistan. That's the central front on terrorism. They are plotting to kill you RIGHT NOW! Gotta end the war in Iraq to get troops into Afghanistan. Change policies with Pakistan. Can't coddle a dictator and give him billions. Expand non-military aid to Pakistan - insist they go after these militants. IF we have ObL in sights and Pakistan is unwilling to act, we will KILL BIN LADEN and CRUSH AL QUAEDA!!
McCain: Talk softly and carry a big stick. Obama talks loudly. Can't tell Pakistan that you're going to kill Pakistanis. We drove the Russians out of Afghanistan then turned our back on Afghanistan and now we have the Taliban to fight. Pakistan! We have to get their support. Petreus! Get the support of the people. Get those Wasiristan people to work with us. Where necessary use force but talk softly about it.
Obama: I want to follow up.
McCain: Then I want a follow-up.
Brokow: What? Okay.
Obama: I don't want to invade Pakistan. I just want to invade Pakistan for the purposes of killing ObL. I'm pretty sure that polls well with all you guys. McCain says I'm green behind the ears but McCain is a full-on loon. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. North Korea.
McCain: I want to follow-up now. I was joking! I'll get ObL my friends. I know how to get him. I'll get him and I know how. But I won't say how because that's "telegraphing my punch."
Brokow: Word out of Afghanistan is that we can't win there. We need an acceptable dictator.
Obama: We have to make the Iraqi gov't take more responsibility, withdraw our troops RESPONSIBLY, and put them in Afghanistan. I told Karzai that he has to do better by his people and be responsive to the Afghan people.
McCain: St. Petreus knows all. Same overall strategy - double the size of the Afghan army! NATO! Same thing as the surge - secure, hold, normal lives ... democracy! Just like what's happening in Iraq today! Petreus will save us all.
Brokow: Online question - how do we pressure Russia on humanitarian issues w/o another cold war?
McCain: Russia is wealthy. Putin has KGB in his eyes. He's repressive and most aggressive. Ukraine is in his sights! Back to the USSR! Georgia should be in NATO. Must make Russia understand. Must understand. Use economic, diplomatic leverage with our allies and friends in Europe.
Obama: Resurgence of Russia is a big deal. McCain is right about a lot but we also got ta' provide financial and concrete assistance to have places like Georgia rebuild their economies. I saw Georgia coming back in April. Have to anticipate these challenges before they happen. It's all Iraq's fault and that's all Bush's fault and Bush = McCain so game over. And energy is important - get off foreign energy and they lose leverage.
Brokow: Is Russia under Putin an evil empire?
Obama: They have engaged in evil behavior. They are dangerous.
McCain: Maybe. Depends on how we respond. Energy is important. Appearing strong is important.
Terry Shirey: If Iran attacks Israel would you wait for the UN Sec Council or just rush in there with troops to defend Israel?
McCain: Obviously wouldn't wait. Russia and China are on the Sec. Council. Iran is getting nukes! Great threat!! Dominoes will fall!! Wipe off map. Stinking corpse. Obama said he'd talk to them. I'm for sanctions to modify behavior. League of Democracies! At the end of the day, my friend, we can never allow a second Holocaust to take place.
Obama: Iran can't get a nuclear weapon. Game changer! Israel! Nuclear weapons in hands of terrorists. Will never take military options off the table. No veto power for UN. Must prevent having to make these choices. Sanctions. Alternative energy means less money to Iran. "Puttin' the squeeze on'em." Talk with friends and enemies. Be good and you can rejoin the Community of Nations. Talking works.
Brokow: Internet question: What don't you know and how will you learn it?
Obama: My wife could give you a much longer list than I could and most of what I learn, I learn from her! (grrrrr) I won't know what I didn't expect to happen. But I do know that I come from modest means and have suceeded wildly. This election is about the next generation and if they'll have the opportunities that I have had.
McCain: I don't know what all of us don't know: what will happen at home and abroad. Challenges that face us will come from places we can't find on a map. I don't know what the unexpected will be. I was raised by my mom in dark times. I know what it's like to keep going in tough times. Comrades, fellow citizens pick you up and put you back in the fight. I believe in this country and its greatness. I have served it for many many years. Times are tough. Need a steady hand at the tiller. Country first!
Wander around the stage shaking hands for a few minutes and it's time for the bobbleheads!