McCain – Obama Debate: Any Feedback?

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In the middle of watching the debate and am curious what you all are thinking at this point? Obama is really giving off the lawyer vibe. McCain is giving the Bush chuckle. Should be an interesting four years either way you cut it. Isn’t it interesting that they are both for tax cuts, a strong economy, and strong on defense? The difference between saying what people want to hear when running for president and actually believing what you say is track record. Is it just a convenient, vote getting stance…or is it a core value of the candidate? The voting record tells the tale.

Also, does it seem to you like Obama has a lot more gray hair than usual? Is it that the campaign is aging him or could it be that they gave him a little more gray to make him seem more experienced in debating McCain? Sorry, it is my skeptical side coming out.

0 Responses

  1. I think that McCain is kind of dogging out the questions, mostly about the economy crisis. Ill comment later with a link to a post of mine about the debate, if that’s ok.

  2. McCain made Obama look foolish on the issue of preconditions and the Surge. Obama looks like a teenager in the Debate Club at high school. It sounds like he’s read a few talking point notebooks, but has no experience at all.

  3. Obama looks very weak on Russia/Georgia and McCain looks extremely knowledgeable.

    I agree with Lexi. Obama sounds textbook rather than having real experience and understanding. He looks almost like a teenager.

  4. Very disappointed in how Obama is being too polite, saying JM is right over and over (are you kidding) and letting JM dominate with lo0ng answers and last comments on everything. Joe Biden better have a long talk with Obama about blue collar debating and quick before these debates are lost over the lack of attacks on JM !!

  5. McCain proved how scary he is in the debate. I think McCain proved he is a real warmonger. He doesn’t want to end the war in Iraq but wants to also build strength in Afghanistan. How are we going to do this? We may have to do a draft again to have enough soldiers. The U.S. doesn’t deserve this. We entered Iraq illegally and by staying the course we are saying this illegal action we did in invading this country is justified. We need to end the war in Iraq responsibly.

  6. Two Rex’s on here, what a treat!

    As a Christian I was waiting for both of our professing Christian presidential candidates to speak about 1)loving our enemy and praying for those who perscutes, 2) utilizing the self-sacrificial servanthood power of the cross rather than the strong arm power of the sword, and 3) implementing the beatitudes Jesus taught into our foreign and domestic policy. But that did not happen! I guess the way of Jesus does not garner the support of this Christian nation when it comes to what counts – votes.

    Grace and peace,

    K. Rex Butts

  7. I think Obama won the debate.
    He was articulate and made excellent points.
    Also looked McCain in the eye when talking.
    He was positive and made his points known that he is not going to be like Mr. Bush. He is ready to lead the country forward.

  8. Taking a step back — without making a preferential statement one way or the other here — both candidates looked good tonight. I don’t think either one had any measurable moments of looking foolish. All in all, I think that THAT particular issue means that Obama came out ahead tonight. Because one of McCain’s main contentions is that Obama is inexperienced & can’t handle this big stage. Obama rose to the occasion, displayed excellent breadth & depth on the issues, and generally looked in control & dare I say “presidential.”

    In fact, one interesting instant poll by CNN caught my eye where the respondents said 52%-47% that they’d prefer Obama’s approach over McCain’s approach on Iraq. To me, that is a HUGE win for Obama. Because every poll I’ve seen on “Commander in Chief” issues have had Obama significantly trailing McCain.

    This debate was mainly about foreign policy, with some finance toward the beginning. The fact that Obama seems to have more than held his own his opponent on McCain’s strongest issue (that being foreign policy & the military) bodes well for the Democratic candidate. In sports terms, he just played a road game in McCain’s house and *perhaps* (a lot of polling has yet to be done) stole a win.

    Personally, I felt better about both candidates than I had in weeks. If this were the only debate, and the election were tomorrow, I wouldn’t be discouraged about voting for either guy. I’m still a lean to Obama.

    And about the hair — I’m sure its a natural development. I’ve noticed it over the last 2 months. He’s had a very stressful 2008. The fact that there’s a little salt with that pepper is quite understandable.

  9. Robert,

    The Iraq war was not an illegal action. Hussein violated a litany of UN resolutions. We finally took actions. WMD or not the war was justified on that basis. He had warning after warning and basically figured the U.S. and UN wouldn’t really do anything. He even led the world on to believe he had WMD’s to be more intimidating and boost his status in the world. It cost him and many other people their lives. Sadly.

    Both McCain and Obama want more troops in Iraq. In fact, Obama seemed to reiterate that way more often than McCain.

    As far as McCain vs. Obama on the war…if you like Obama’s policy of a timetable withdraw then you need to learn a little something about how to fight a war to win it. You NEVER tell your enemy when you are leaving. Obama has been wrong about the war over and over. He doesn’t get it and still doesn’t get it. He is right that the decision to go to war was messed up but once you are there that is no longer the question for debate. The question for debate is how do we win this and how do we keep America safe. Obama doesn’t have a clue how to do that. He even wants to bomb Pakistan? Don’t any of the pacifists who favor Obama think that is crazy?

  10. I thought Obama had more gray hair.

    In the end McCain could tell stories about these hot button places to show his experience but I’m not sure anyone cares.

  11. I agree with Matt that the war in Iraq was not an illegal action. However, the lack of WMD’s does make it a questionable war. When you consider the results — the strengthening of Iran’s hand due to the decline of their mortal enemy Iraq, the insurgency of Al Quaeda in Iraq, the strengthening of the Taliban in Afghanistan due to us taking our eye off the ball — was there really THAT much upside to taking out Saddam Hussein? All of these results could/should have been considered, and it now looks like really poor judgment to have gone there. I’m not sure that I want to affirm that kind of poor judgment & foresight with my vote in 38 days.

    Obama is calling for a smart scale-down of the troop levels in Iraq. He has been consistent in insisting that it is VITAL that we not give back any of the gains we have fought & paid dearly for in recent years. This notion that Obama somehow wants to lose the war in Iraq is a complete mischaracterization. Obama is calling for a smart scale-down. Iraq’s prime minister is calling for a smart scale-down. Bush himself has even started to initiate a smart scale-down. The only one talking about staying in Iraq indefinitely is John McCain. If there’s one person that doesn’t “get it” on this issue — someone whose vision doesn’t fit or make sense right now — it’s not Obama. At some point, we have to come home to actually have victory. According to the people in charge right now, that time is sooner rather than later

    And I don’t believe that Senator Obama has said anything about increasing troop levels in Iraq. The only place he has spoken about increasing troop levels is in Afghanistan.

  12. What would you be affirming in 38 days? Everyone was in favor of going to war. Republicans and Democrats all voted for it. Multiple nations around the world had the same intel from multiple sources saying they had WMD’s. Is it poor judgment to go to war against a country that was defying UN resolutions and with the intel pointing to them having WMD’s? That was not just a McCain thing.

    The taliban are not the same as Al-Qaeda. Taliban is a culture that has existed in Afghanistan for a long, long time. They sided with Al-Qaeda due to cultural mores of harboring those in need. At least that is my understanding of that situation. Our eye hasn’t come off the ball. We continue to fight to stabilize both regions. If you abandon one or the other that is taking your eye off the ball.

    How has Obama been insistent on not giving back gains when he has been calling for a full scale withdraw on a timetable? That doesn’t seem to match up with what I have heard him saying. The notion that he wants to lose the war? Calling for a timetable is a call to lose. We are still in Germany and Japan. Anyone calling for withdrawal there after 50 years? The way this is being looked at is the same way that has worked in other countries we have battled with in the past. Why? Because leaving troops there brings stability to the region. So call it indefinite if you want. I call it effective. So if you think at some point all the troops will come home that is just not correct no matter who wins the election.

  13. Iraq is not the only country in this war to have violated international agreements. Do we remember that entire bit about prisoner toture (which McCain did oppose)? But I suppose when you are the USA, then it is ok to bend the rules.

    Let’s not talk about the war on Iraq from a political perspective, let’s talk about it from a Christian just war perspective which raises serious questions about the justness of such war. Listening to both McCain and Obama last night made me give consideration to putting on my fishing weighters — because it was getting really deep.

    Of course I wish I would here more Christians, including our presidential candidates, talk about how we can love our enemies (as Jesus taught) rather than how we can destroy them for the protection of America. Jesus is Lord and the Kingdom of God will stand forever. The USA (or any other nation) will not stand forever, so why is our concern with the preservation of fallen nations? And that is what this is about. It has nothing to do with protecting innocent people from injustice, for if that we the case then there are a dozen or so other countries/regions in the world where the need for intervention is even greater.

    I just cannot imagine the first 3 centuries of Christians being so concerned with the preservation of the nations. In fact, they were not! They saw their nation of secular citizenship as opposed (an enemy) to the kingdom of God. So they believed and live the new reality, that they were citizens of a new kingdom. Refusing to be patriotic towards Rome (acknowledging the sovereign lordship of Rome) they died as enemies to the nation just like their Lord, Jesus Christ. Fast forward nearly two milleniums in the USA and most Christians ascribe sovereignty to the nation (don’t we call it a ‘sovereign’ nation?) and with partriotic pride, they support the nation in preserving its own cause. Is it any wonder why North America is now a post-Christian culture? How can we expect non-Christians to believe that Jesus is Lord when so many Christians fundamentally live as though this nation is Lord?

    Do you know what would be a fun and illuminating exercise to do… Find out how many words and/or phrases we use to describe God and his redemptive gospel and then see how many of those same words and phrases we use to describe the nation. For example “God is sovereign” or “God is great, yet we speak of the USA as a “sovereign” nation and a ‘great’ nation. How about hope and freedom? How often do we hear our nation describe as “hope” and “freedom.” If I stood up in the pulpit and preached that there is a dual lordship, one lord is God and one lord is the nation, I would be labeled as a heretic. But if I stand up and preach that the USA offers hope and freedom, I am labeled as a good patriotic person. The funny thing is, the Bible I read only ascribes such qualities as coming from one source and it is not any nation (how often was Israel rebuked for trusting in the nations, or the gods, rather than in God alone?).

    Just some thoughts to stir the waters.

    Grace and peace,


  14. While I appreciate Rex’s concerns, I’m not sure I entirely agree with them. I will agree: there is absolutely a strong element of Scripture that discourages allegiance to the totalitarian Roman Empire by asserting the Lordship of Christ. But I’m not sure we can necessarily make a one-for-one application of those principles in that context to our context. For one thing, our government is Democratic whereas Rome’s was not. We have a voice & play a role, whereas those who were under Rome’s thumb did not. Setting aside the arguments of the “imperial” nature of USA’s involvement in Iraq, this is generally the case for us. So, I think it’s important to determine how a Christian involves himself/herself in our Democratic process rather than simply declaring “Jesus is Lord” & excusing ourselves from the proceedings. JMO, of course. And I think it’d be interesting to have more substantive dialogue about the degree to which someone can participate in government & still be Christian.

    And unfortunately for the candidates, they’re running for the President of the United States — not jockeying for the moral high ground in terms of Augustine’s Just War idea. Although, I do appreciate you bringing up that perspective, Rex — I think it’d be good for us Christians to think about that war in that perspective more than in JUST worldly or patriotic terms. I just think we shouldn’t fault the candidates for not preaching toward that perspective when Augustine’s ideal is not their aim — the Oval Office is.

    Good thoughts, Rex. Hope I don’t come across nit-picky; I just slightly disagree on those couple points.

  15. BTW, not every Democrat supported the war, Matt. Especially one notable one:

    That is the kind of judgment & foresight that I may very well affirm with my vote in 38 days.

    And, BTW, I agree that there was intel that said Iraq had WMD’s. But there was also dissonant intel that insisted Iraq did not have the alleged WMD’s. According to those who worked in the White House who have since disclosed the inner workings of our current administration, President Bush chose to ignore the dissonant intel & only believe the other intel. Also, President Bush has worked to eliminate dissonant voices & opposing viewpoints in his administration (e.g. outing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent) and in the military (rising generals have disclosed that you don’t find promotion if you voice skepticism about Iraq). Since you asked if that’s my idea of poor judgment, I’ll answer, “Yes, I do in fact think it is.”

    And the way I see it, I still think that we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan to the extent that we removed troops in Afghanistan to fight the war in Iraq. Sure, we left troops there, but not enough to allow for stabilization & rebuilding of any sense of an infrastructure the way we have in Iraq.

  16. I’m hearing and reading all of this feedback about how Obama shouldn’t have been so polite, telling John McClain a number of times that “John was right about. . .” and insinuating how ‘green’ Obama was compared to the experienced ‘Maverick’ who did nothing but drop names of heads of state, where he’s been doing this and doing that (all paid by us taxpayers). Obama showed all of us a different kind of president – not the cold, totally belligerent, disrespectful (not even looking at his opponent) ‘Bush-Robobot’ politician that we’re so used to seeing in these debates and sitting in the Oval Office. Obama showed us that he is a human being – strong, open and ready to hit the Presidency running. It was like a breath of fresh air watching him react to the slams brought on by McClain. Dan Quale was told by his opponent “I knew John Kennedy and your no John Kennedy”. Obama should have told McClain: “I know George Bush and YOU ARE George Bush”!

  17. Phillip,

    I appreciate your conversation and gentle disagreement. This is how all discenting conversations should go.

    Let me clarify, that I am awayre that we are not in one for one situation with the early Christians and Rome. But we should recognize that neither was the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. The gospel was not a call for how both Jew and Gentile could participate in each of their herritage’s political agenda if given the opportunity. The gospel was a call for them to abandon all other allegiances and participate in God’s mission – the good news of the Kingdom of God. Of all people, Paul, who was invited to speak before the powers of both Judaism and Romanism, could have involved himself in the Jewish or Roman cause using Christian principles except for the one problem – the gospel was, and still is, opposed to the goals of this world.

    Regardless of how democratic the USA is, it is still a power that exists for itself and preserve its own self and therefore it is opposed to the kingdom of God. To see this opposition, we need to look no further than the separation of church and state. This separation has forced its citizens to privitize their religious convictions. Though some of us may attempt to allow our votes to be influenced by certain Christian principles, the Christian faith is still separated into a private sector. The result is that instead of the gospel transforming (converting) the people, the nation has converted the people to its cause. Our two presidential candidates are prime examples. Both claim to be Christian, yet beyond upholding certain private moral positions (e.g., they both appear to be faithful to their spouses and families — which is a good thing) both candidates speak of destroying the nation’s political enemies rather than loving them, both candidates speak of wielding the strong arm of coersive power to protect America rather than leading America to use the power of the cross, and both candidates speak about saving our economy (which is in its condition because its own coorporate and private excessive greed) but never even thinks to mention how we are going to fight the pervasive poverty that plagues much of the world – a world that God loves (imagine what could be ended if we spent 10 billion a month fighting global poverty rather than Iraq).

    I know that such a discussion would not be well received by the voters of America (many of whom are professing Christians). But that illustrates the precise problem even further. The gospel has never been received with wonderful fanfare, not in Rome and not now. But I maintain that if those of us who do believe the gospel would stop trying to fit the gospel into the politics of this world and instead seek to live out the gospel as an alternative community (what I believe the purpose of the church should be), then in time the gospel would reach a critical mass that has such influence over culture that it is culture (and the people of that culture) who are converted to the gospel.

    Though I may sound like a good Mennonite or Amish Christian at this point, I do not believe living out the gospel means withdrawing so that our alternative community is separated from culture. Perhaps one example of what I am speaking of took place in Memphis when Hurricane Katrina brought many refugees into Memphis. Many Christians and the churches they represent (not just the CoC) sacrificed their time, money, and energy into serving the refugees by using their buildings as hotels and/or cafeterias. Wht happened was that churches momentarily stopped working Christian principles into the government and instead just started living out the gospel. I am greatful for this but what if this was our way of life on an everyday basis rather than just as an emergency response. I bring this up because I don’t know of a politician that struggles to raise the necessary funds for a campaign but I do know of many Christian ministries (i.e., pregnacy centers, recovery centers, missionaries) who struggle regurarly to find the necessary funds and help to maintain their work.

    Well, I must go and visit with a man who is dying from cancer. So pray for me, that I can be a servant and messenger of hope to this man. Thanks for the conversation!

    Grace and peace,


  18. I just have one question…Why was Obama allowed to get this far in the presidential race when he is a naturalized citizen? Doesn’t our constitution say that a naturalized citizen CANNOT run for the Presidential office?

  19. Philip,

    Valerie Plame? Robert Novak was the first to put that info on the table July 14, 2003. Not Libby. So that is not a credible piece of information.

    As far as the other things you brought up…could you supply some links for that? I would love to inform myself.

    I find certain parts of his speech prophetic and very well said. Other parts are really off base. A couple of things.
    – His reference to his grandfather as the first to enter Auschwitz and Treblinka. He was confused on that one because the Russians liberated Auschwitz Jan 27, 1945. Woops.

    – Obama also leaves out is the fact Hussein was killing his own people in droves.

    – Another interesting thing about that speech is that Obama is calling us to make Hussein allow the inspectors to do their work in Iraq. They were thwarted over and over again. That is one of the pieces of the misintelligence puzzle that led some reports that WMD’s were most likely present in Iraq in the hands of a man who killed his own people and who did have ties with Al Qaeda (another point he fails to mention).

    So yes he was one of the dissenting voices and he was on track with many of his statements.

  20. Both are trying to end the war – McCain is simply proposing an honorable and responsible method, where Iraq does not become a vacuum to be filled by the “bad’ people, while Barack is simply taking the politically expedient and popular tack ( timetable to withdrawal at any cost) to get elected – regardless of results….

    Barack’s #1, #2, #3 & ………………………….goal is to be elected – after that – he could care less

    McCain has too much character not to be honest and tell people the truth.

  21. Matt, each of the accusations about the Bush Administration have been well-documented by Richard Clarke, Bob Woodward, and Scott McClellan. If it was just one guy who was whistle-blowing, that’d be one thing. But there’s quite a bit of smoke here.

    As for Bush putting down opposing voices in the military:

    As for which camp Obama’s grandpa liberated, it was Buchenwald. Is this really a substantive point of contention? This is fine-toothed comb stuff. You’re not going to make your decision based on that, are you?

  22. Both are trying to end the war – McCain is simply proposing an honorable and responsible method, where Iraq does not become a vacuum to be filled by the “bad’ people, while Barack is simply taking the politically expedient and popular tack ( timetable to withdrawal at any cost) to get elected – regardless of results….

    Barack’s #1, #2, #3 & ………………………….goal is to be elected – after that – he could care less

    McCain has too much character not to be honest and tell people the truth.

  23. Philip,

    Are you denying that Novak outed her first? Wouldn’t that be significant if he did and totally blow a hole in the “Bush administration outed her” debate if they were just repeating something someone else already made public? You know what they did to Libby? They tossed charges at him and put him under oath to ask him a zillion questions until they found a contradiction and then hit him with perjury. That is terrible.

    And no, I wouldn’t base my vote on that. I would base my vote on countless other reasons why I trust Obama less than I trust McCain.

  24. I don’t think we’re going to see eye-to-eye here. I’m not saying that I have omniscience about all the inner-workings of how it went down with Plame. But I don’t think Bush, Libby, Rove, Novak, or anyone in that administration look clean on that one. Bottom line: I don’t trust those folks anymore.

    BTW, the original question of this post in the title was “Any Feedback?” After 27 comments, I think the answer is a resounding “Yes” 🙂

  25. This morning after worship, I heard two Christians discussing the political landscape and the two presidential candidates. One said, “It all comes down to one decision, do you believe in socialism or capitolism?” The other Christian concured with the statement. I think I shocked both Christians when I said that I don’t believe in capitolism or socialism, instead I believe in the kingdom of God.

    BTW, is it not sort of a shame, that a group of Christians can spend two hours together in fellowship, worshiping God, praying and singing together, and hearing the scriptures proclaimed, and the only thing they have to talk about is secular politics! What is wrong with this picture?


  26. Rex,

    That is really sad. I wonder how many hours we have put into commenting on this post when in my opinion there have been far more significant posts here and on a zillion other blogs (including many of your own) that got zero comments or feedback.

  27. Matt,

    You are right. It is reconizing this problem that makes want to withdraw from politics all together just to model for others that there are greater concerns than secular politics. But I do not because, regardless of what party or politician a Christian votes for, I see way too many Christians who appear to place more hope in secular politics and the American government rather than in God alone — and that is destroying the ‘salt’ and ‘light’ of our calling as God’s missional participants.

    Thanks for the discussion and conversation.

    Grace and peace,


  28. I find it hard to disagree with the general content of what you’ve written, Rex. But I still just tend to disagree with the overall tone, atittude, or direction behind it. I think that as Christians we should be thoughtful & spend time reflecting about our politics precisely for moments like you mentioned where two individuals’ faith obviously didn’t intersect with their worldview.

    Back in January (the height of primary season) at our church, we spent 3 or 4 weeks in our auditorium Bible class thinking about politics and our faith. I found it very insightful, eye-opening, & uplifting for all of us — even this guy who was teaching it.

    I think I really take issue with the use of the phrase “secular politics.” Whenever we try to divide “secular” & “sacred” I wonder if we might be drawing dividing lines where they don’t belong. Politicians may deal with our nation’s problems in secular ways, but I don’t think that should necessarily discourage us from engaging in the process. Or even just from being aware of it to the extent that we can learn lessons from staying tuned in to how an enterprise that executes its business in a worldly fashion will end in self-destruction.

    I do agree that government won’t solve all our problems. And looking primarily to them instead of the church betrays a lack of faith or perspective, or both. I think you & I do what we do in great part because we share that perspective. But just because political issues are less important doesn’t make them completely unimportant. JMO

  29. Phillip,

    The over all tone, attittude, and direction behind my comments is that I am sick and tired of hearing professing Christians engage the political process from a secular perspective. That is why I call it “secular politics” rather than just “politics.” Jesus’s message surely engaged the politics of the world but what kept his politics from becoming secular was the fact that the means and ends of his politics were shaped by the values of the kingdom he proclaimed.

    We can debate all day long about how the kingdom values should apply to us, but at the end of the day it should be from the goals and values of God’s kingdom for which we engage the politics of this world. Though we may disagree at certain points, I do believe we both share this common pursuit about politics (which, as you point out, is why we share the same vocation).

    The bottom line is when we hear professing Christian presidential candidates speak only of destroying the enemy, only of preserving its own agenda rather than the kingdom agenda, and speak only of wielding a sword, then it is those politicians who have embraced secularism (and separated God from their politics). When professing Christians accept such political discourse and not only accept it but support it, then these Christians have embraced the secular and separated God from their politics.

    This is not taking some moral high-ground, it is simply live by the call which Christians answered – the call to be disciples of Jesus rather than this world. God is interested in our life, not just our spiritual life. This means God must be allowed to transform our political life. From where I sit, it seems that most Christians would rather keep God separated from their politics.

    In my opinion, this is so because too much hope has been placed in this “great American nation” rather than God and his kingdom. Why else do so many professing Christian fear the loss of this nation too terrorist or some other worldly item? Can you imagine the early Christians being concerned with the loss of Rome? I cannot, for the early church viewed the nations of this world as already lost and fallen.

    Grace and peace,


  30. The republican party has sold us out.I can not believe that John MCCAIN tries so hard to reach across party lines. The democratic party has sold us out. after many years of being a hard-line democrat (86) YEARS OF AGE she has finally converted to the republican party, only to see the repubs stick their heads in the sand. It frightens me to tears to think my children may well see the United States of America become the United Socialist States of America. Our children as well as many adults have and are being caught up in Obama’s web of lies. I feel sorry for Sara Palin being exposed to one of the most poorly run campaigns for the presidency. Americans better wake up and smeell the coffee because America is headed to hell in hand basket. It frightens me to think we are on the verge of electing a terrorist mongering, America hating community organizer (ha). GOD BLESS AMERICA,AND GOD SAVE AMERICA

  31. If I hear McCain say “my friends” once more I’m going to gag.

    He is not my friend – I am his boss. He, and all elected officials, are supposed to work for us, the American people. I don’t want a friend in Washington – I want someone who will work for the people and not for special interests, no matter what party they belong to.

  32. Should Senator McCain debate with Governor Palin for Round 3 on how to hide from the world their obvious lack of leadership skills and serious shortage of constructive visions ?

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