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Rick Warren in the Spotlight

By Perry Bacon Jr.
LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- It was the Rick Warren show.

Referred to as "Pastor Rick" by the man he called "Barack," the evangelical pastor cemented his status as one of American's most influential religious figures as both presidential candidates spent an hour answering tough -- and at times personal -- questions from Warren at a forum on Saturday night at Warren's church in Orange County. It was the first joint appearance by John McCain and Barack Obama since they clinched their parties' nominations, making the nationally-televised event an incredible coup for Warren.

The pastor in many ways marked the start of the fall campaign when he stood between McCain and Obama on stage midway through the event, after Obama had finished his hour and before the Arizona senator took questions. Both shook hands with Warren, then with each other, providing images that are sure to appear soon in the materials of Warren's Saddleback Church and immediately on the pages of newspapers around the country.

Obama directly praised the pastor at one point. When Warren asked how the Illinois senator defined being rich, Obama joked, "Well, if you've got book sales of $25 million," referring to the Warren's best-selling works, the most popular of which is called "The Purpose-Driven Life."

Warren gave Obama a high-five.

For Warren, who over the last two decades has built a church that is the largest in California, with more than 20,000 members, the event provided a chance to tout his brand of Christian politics: concern about issues like gay marriage and abortion that have long animated conservative Christians, but also a focus on poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, the growing number of orphans around the world and war-torn countries around the globe.

The crowd in attendance, which included members of the church but also activists from both parties, greeted both candidates warmly, but got most excited about McCain, who offered some of the most pointed commitments to conservative religious causes in his campaign.

The crowd of more than 2,000 applauded loudly when McCain invoked the phrase "at the moment of conception" as the proper time to give potential children rights -- a position that women's advocates see as going beyond opposition to abortion to an attack on some methods of birth control, which work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting -- and said his would be a presidency with "pro-life policy."

But Warren was more happy about the event itself than any answer he heard.

"I just want to remind you that one of the greatest freedoms we have in America is the freedom of speech, even the freedom to protest this meeting," he said after McCain left the stage to end the forum. "That's a good thing, but we have to learn how to stop being rude, how to stop demonizing each other, how to have a discussion and a debate because we all want America to be a greater place. God bless you."

Posted at 10:37 AM ET on Aug 17, 2008  | Category:  Religion
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Posted by: Adarrynab | August 18, 2008 2:38 PM

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http://www.stopthinkvote.com/whatsnew/081808.html

Posted by: GoBlue, MN | August 18, 2008 2:24 PM

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I read the link to the New York Times and couldn't find mention that McCain's money comes from organized crime in Arizona. I suggest you clarify your comment and if you can't back it up, perhaps it should be removed.

Similarly, the claim that McCain had prior access to the questions was reported by NBC News and is totally unsubstantiated. McCain's camp has written a very firm letter to NBC about this, and I suggest we wait to see the outcome of this matter before considering it a fact.

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Posted by: preappyThunny | August 18, 2008 12:44 PM

"the evangelical pastor cemented his status as one of American's most influential religious figures"

...the only thing he cemented for me is me feeling like a fool for having bought his book and used it as a guideline for my life. I've been duped. Warren turns out to be just another crooked evangelical pastor like the rest of them. He proved this at the forum.

A monkey could see that John McCain had preknowledge of the questions. Cripes, he answered at least two of them before the question was even asked! And now it seems that his touching "Cross in the Dirt" story was lifted from The Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

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Posted by: Neogyroguew | August 18, 2008 8:04 AM

Dear Far Left Conspiracy Theorists,

RE: OUTSIDE THE CONE

There’s no evidence that McCain had any such advantage. But the fact that Obama’s people made this suggestion means they know McCain outperformed him.
The Democrats are Done - FOXBusiness.com


"we will look back to this week in August as the time the party that had it all in the bag...just puked in it."
http://www.foxbusiness.com:80/story/markets/cavuto-democrats/

Posted by: rtf | August 18, 2008 1:31 AM

No one has a number of abortions in America, since the Morning After pill was approved. Anyone saying they know is LYING.
What we do know is the number of NEW AIDS cases jumped FORTY PERCENT. Where unsafe sex is spreading AIDS it's also causing pregnancies, almost half the new cases are young women under 30 yo.

Posted by: mark | August 17, 2008 11:38 PM

McCain was NOT sequestered backstage during Obama's answers, he was in his limo with full access to the program.

Cheating in a religious forum, isn't there a Circle of Hell for that?

Posted by: Mark | August 17, 2008 11:17 PM

I breathed a sigh of relief after watching the candidates answer Warren's questions last night. Although I disagree with some of the candidates' policies (Obama's more so than McCain's), I came away with the feeling that I would be comfortable with either man as my president. After two presidential elections in which my constant refrain was, "You mean we have to choose between these two jokers?", that is a relief indeed.

I'll vote for McCain, but I'll walk away from the booth believing that no matter who wins, our next president will have sound judgment and strong leadership skills. And in these troubled times, that is a blessing indeed.

Posted by: Relieved | August 17, 2008 11:12 PM

I just hope McCain tells the cameras to turn off the Teleprompters at every debate. Behold the Real Obama!

The RNC's theme song in September is rumored to be AC/DC's "Who Made Who".

I NEVER had an obotomy, that guy is a P.O.S. American. There is NO RACE, only American and P.O.S. American.

God Bless America!

Posted by: Not a Pawn to ObamaCon! | August 17, 2008 9:47 PM

Separation of church and state is the hallmark of a modern democracy. Can you think of any other country that is a religious state. I can and I don/t want to live in any of them, nor I suspect would you. Here are some Richard Dawkins quotes to ponder...

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile. It is both.

It really comes down to parsimony, economy of explanation. It is possible that your car engine is driven by psychokinetic energy, but if it looks like a petrol engine, smells like a petrol engine and performs exactly as well as a petrol engine, the sensible working hypothesis is that it is a petrol engine. God is not ruled out as a matter of principle. There is certainly nothing impossible about the idea of an almighty god or gods. One day it (God) may even provide irrefutable evidence. But on grounds of probability it should be kept as an explanation of last resort as there is nothing resembling evidence to support the theory. If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.

Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once.
-- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 7:58 PM

Zorba, I'm impressed with the anti-religious zealotry you are expressing. Evangelicals have been at the forefront of fighting AIDS in Africa, global and domestic poverty, global warming, Darfur, and human rights. They are not the fire and brimstone Bible-thumping caricatures from the early '80s. Evangelicals have been a positive force for good in America, not a Christian version of the Taliban. As a person identifying with the Evangelical cause, I can say we would be open to voting for both parties, if we felt we could be accepted in both. The animosity and hysteria from the liberal activists has caused us to reject the Democratic party. I don't oppose evolution being taught in school, as long as it's taught as scientific theory. Nobody was there when life began, and there are too many holes in evolution for it to be accepted as fact. Actually, it ironically takes 'faith' to believe in all aspects of evolution, but that is a different debate for a different time. If the easily offended atheists would actually read Rick Warren's book, you might be surprised what he says. His point is that life isn't about you, its about what you can do to help others. His message is to stop focusing on doing just what makes you happy, but to have a true purpose in life, and to make other people's lives better. Admitting there is a higher power is acknowledging you don't have all the answers and that you can't control everything around you. The lack of tolerance some people are showing reflexively to people of faith is depressing but not unexpected

Posted by: TexasProud | August 17, 2008 7:57 PM

Well,Pastor Warren's show last night got a lot of things out on the table. It offered a real good look at the two Presidential candidates in their "true clothing". We have two Christians, running for President. But with very ifferent "attitudes" about some key issues.

Barack Obama has been telling the American public all along what he is. So his "disclosures" were only a statement of what he is. He's a Christian who is a proponent of a woman's right to choose.

McCain, professes to be a "born again, Christian". Now, that's alright, with us. We're glad to find out, from him, that he's a part of the "Evangelical" side of Christianity. He talked about being "saved". We're glad we got that out. Not everyone will understand the full significance of that. But the Evangelical Right will. And, that's who John McCain was playing to, last night.

Being a "born again Christian" is what my Mama and Papa were, before they went to be with their God. They were solid in that faith, and to them it meant the world. They didn't wear their Christianity on their sleeves. But, to them it was real. And, they lived it until they died.

We hope others were listening as closely as we were to what the two candidates said. And, we hope others read as we did, that which was NOT said.

For example, we heard McCain when he made that innocuous "failure in my first marriage" statement. He made no reference to the adultery he committed with his current wife, while he was still married to his first wife. My Mama and Papa were married nearly sixty years when my Mama died. Papa, had no other wife, until he married five years after her death, "for companionship".

That's the way "born again Christians" do it. As to the "woman's right to choose", my Mama had a classic response. "She gets to chose who she lays down with. She don't get the right to kill babies." My Mama had a blunt way of putting things. John McCain is called "straight talk, John McCain". That was my Mama's way of talking. And, my Mama, walked the talk.

I hope that those women who supported Hillary Clinton, based on her "right to choose" belief, and now threaten to go over to McCain-I hope they listened well. And, I hope they listened attentively as McCain laid out those Supreme Court Justices he would NOT have appointed. What an indication of what kind of Justices he will appoint, given the chance. (You know the kind that would overturn Roe v. Wade.)

I'm personally, not a "born again" individual. I couldn't make the "faith" reach. I was not worthy. And, I can not be a hipocrite. But, for those of you to whom such things are important, you need to check out a replay of the session last night.

Your decision is between you and God. And, believe my Mama when she said "He sees everything."

Posted by: Hank Wilfong | August 17, 2008 7:46 PM

Must read...did somebody say,"talking points"?
New York Times Op-ed by Frank Rich
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/opinion/17rich.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Posted by: jgreen08 | August 17, 2008 7:28 PM

It's over:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/opinion/17rich.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin
"“McCain’s personal fortune traces back to organized crime in Arizona.”

Posted by: Corruption Anon | August 17, 2008 6:47 PM

OIL AND WATER DO NOT MIX. NEITHER DO EVANGELICALS AND THE STATE

“The crowd of more than 2,000 applauded loudly when McCain invoked the phrase "at the moment of conception" as the proper time to give potential children rights -- a position that women's advocates see as going beyond opposition to abortion to an attack on some methods of birth control, which work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting -- and said his would be a presidency with ‘pro-life policy.’”

How can those who support a candidate that opposes abortion under any set of circumstances but who does not give a whit about murdering and maiming thousands, friends or foes, who stand in the way of his and the military-industrial complex’s goal, an imperialistic, anti-Constitutional, dictatorship, justify calling themselves Christians? There is a song in My Fair Lady, Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like a Man? My question is why can’t Christians be more like Christ?

Posted by: marrobcastle | August 17, 2008 6:32 PM

I wanted to read all the comments to see what people were thinking about what I saw last night. As a Christian, I am baffled by how Christians can roll over every time a Republican runs for the presidency. In a way, it shows that as Christians, we are a disgrace to Christ.

If we keep electing these Republicans, I am afraid that the day will come where we will start stoning people who have abortions or "people who commit adultery". "A prolife Government?" as stated by McCain. "Evil is Bin Laden?". "going to the gates of hell to hunt Bin Laden?". How can Christians stand up for that. What has happened to us? We need a lot of help.

Furthermore, we live in America. We should separate Government and Church. This is a democracy where people have the right to state their minds. I believe that the Bush administration lied to the people, did not give us sufficient information, was gung Ho about going to war and bullied the international community, did not listen to allies and KILLED many Americans and Iraquis as a result of the war - and now we are billions in debt. Electing McCain will only continue the dishonest republican agenda. We were fooled twice. Let us not be fooled a third time. CHRISTIANS, let us stand up for RIGHTEOUSNESS, and not for our own selfish objectives. GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED!

Posted by: Margaret | August 17, 2008 5:05 PM

It seems we have quite a few more comments here from Obama supporters and some comments that seem to have very little to do with the actual forum.

I watched the entire forum and was impressed with the format. To me, it was better than most of the debates during the primaries. It was an important event in that it was our first chance to see the two candidates side-by-side (sort of). Some have commented here that McCain was not confronted with follow-up questions. At the beginning of the program, it was clearly stated that the forum would be non-confrontational, so that is why there weren't follow-up questions. Obama also skated on some issues, such as being able to talk at length about his faith without having to deal with Reverend Wright, Father Pfleger, or liberation theology.

I found McCain's answers to be direct and to-the-point. They gave the impression that he knows who he is, what he stands for, and that he has more familiarity and comfort with the underlying issues. His answer to shedding American blood is an example. He gave a short answer followed by a brief explanation and then noted these were complex issues - he didn't explain the issues, just noted they existed. Another example had to do with being a Christian - both gave identical answers (it means you are forgiven and saved), simply put by McCain but said in essay form by Obama.

Those who stated his answers sounded like stump speeches or talking points may consider that this could be because he actually has well-defined positions on substantive issues other than "hope" and "change". So, to answer the questions all McCain had to do was reiterate his positions.

Regarding McCain's anecdotes, they clearly demonstrated that he has greater depth and experience than Obama. His answer to the question about when he went against his party was far more substantive; his story about adopting a child from Bangladesh told of personal commitment to doing good deeds (I'll put that up against the one poster who said Obama has led a more Christian life); he's been to Georgia and knows Sakashvili; he knows Putin; he had a much better idea about the three people he would seek advise from (e.g., General Petraeus versus Obama's saying his wife and grandmother), and his two war stories show commitment to this country and that he has experienced things beyond those Obama can even imagine. He didn't embellish his credentials, as Obama has done at times; for example, he didn't mention that the child he adopted came from Mother Theresa, whom Cindy McCain met as part of her international Medical Volunteer Team program.

Obama's thoughtful appearance impressed me that he is less certain of himself, has to stop and think through issues because he may not have considered them before, and at times he clearly appeared to be dancing. His answer about abortion is a good example; he is pro-choice but knows that won't set well with his audience, so he tries to put lipstick on that pig. Obama has gotten in trouble for playing to the audience before; his comment about "clinging to guns and religion" and his public position on NAFTA versus telling Canadian authorities not to take his statements seriously.

McCain had two weak moments. He never really answered the question about what he would do about the large number of orphans in the world. His saying "rich" was $5 million was a poor attempt at humor; his explanation, which I'm sure many won't hear, was that he didn't want to define "rich" because this is part of a question about taxation and he doesn't want to raise anyone's taxes.

Obama had several weak moments.

1. He said that abortions haven't diminished in recent years. This is factually incorrect.

2. When asked about his greatest bipartisan effort, he cited ethics reform that he did with McCain. In fact, Obama bailed out on this project, prompting McCain to write him a scathing letter saying he (Obama) was putting party affiliation ahead of the mission. If thats the best example of bipartisanship Obama can come up with, it raises serious doubts about his ability to reach across party lines.

3. He dodged the question about when life begins, saying it was above his pay grade. In fact, our government must make decisions about this issue for a variety of legal reasons, including abortion, stem cell research, and human cloning (you know its coming).

4. One reason he cited for opposing Supreme Court Thomas is lack of experience when he was nominated. Duh? Kind of like first-term Senator Obama running for President?

5. In his answer as to whether "evil" exists, he cited Darfur and child abuse. I don't see how you can answer this question at this point in our history without mentioning terrorism.

My bottom line; Obama did well, McCain was exceptional.

Posted by: MikeS | August 17, 2008 4:55 PM

That is because Mccain gave prepared answers to questions whether they were asked or not. And there were no follow up's. Mccain got a pass and never had to answer a question.

======
Obama seemed dishonest, like he's not even confident about democrqatic party 101. McCina is honest, he didn't need to hem and haw till he found benign words he could be safe with.

Posted by: LaderaMom41 | August 17, 2008 3:44 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 4:51 PM

Separation of church and state is the hallmark of a modern democracy. Can you think of any other country that is a religious state. I can and I don/t want to live in any of them, nor I suspect would you. Here are some Richard Dawkins quotes to ponder...

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile. It is both.

It really comes down to parsimony, economy of explanation. It is possible that your car engine is driven by psychokinetic energy, but if it looks like a petrol engine, smells like a petrol engine and performs exactly as well as a petrol engine, the sensible working hypothesis is that it is a petrol engine. God is not ruled out as a matter of principle. There is certainly nothing impossible about the idea of an almighty god or gods. One day it (God) may even provide irrefutable evidence. But on grounds of probability it should be kept as an explanation of last resort as there is nothing resembling evidence to support the theory. If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.

Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once.
-- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 4:41 PM

Separation of church and state is the hallmark of a modern democracy. Can you think of any other country that is a religious state. I can and I don/t want to live in any of them, nor I suspect would you. Here are some Richard Dawkins quotes to ponder...

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile. It is both.

It really comes down to parsimony, economy of explanation. It is possible that your car engine is driven by psychokinetic energy, but if it looks like a petrol engine, smells like a petrol engine and performs exactly as well as a petrol engine, the sensible working hypothesis is that it is a petrol engine. God is not ruled out as a matter of principle. There is certainly nothing impossible about the idea of an almighty god or gods. One day it (God) may even provide irrefutable evidence. But on grounds of probability it should be kept as an explanation of last resort as there is nothing resembling evidence to support the theory. If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.

Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once.
-- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 3:55 PM

Obama seemed dishonest, like he's not even confident about democrqatic party 101. McCina is honest, he didn't need to hem and haw till he found benign words he could be safe with.

Posted by: LaderaMom41 | August 17, 2008 3:44 PM

After reading many of the comments one keeps repeating. "Obama gave real, thought out answers to Ricks questions and McCain gave stump answers." The truth is, we finally got some real answers (on some of the questions)out of Obama on some of the issues. McCain answered quickly because he has been speaking to the issues all along. McCain already had thought out his plans for our great country. We've never heard a straight answer out of Obama till the Forum and quit frankly I was ready for some straight talk from Obama. I thought it was an excellent forum and believe journalist/reporters and news organizations in general need to take note. Rick needs to be in charge of future events, or another option is learn from Rick. I'm tired of biased journalism let's get back to reporting the facts the truth on what has been said. Hey, maybe it could be called The No Spin Zone.

On the issue of abortion, Obama didn't know that the stats on number of abortions over the last 8 years has dropped significantly. Maybe the abtinence message is really working.

Posted by: Mary | August 17, 2008 3:43 PM

As usual, the Christians are intent on prohibiting what others do. It's a classic Christian trait that is fed to the faithful through the communion crackers, possibly. They would do better leaving others alone. Abortion? If you don't like it, don't have one. Gay marriage? Don't marry a gay person if you don't want, but it's not as if heteros have to get divorced if gays marry. Instead of minding their own fecking business, the religious are always sticking their long noses into others'. If the Christian nuts had their way we'd soon be seeing a special bedroom-SWAT police whose task it would be to break down people's doors at night to check on the copulatory position that's used. All for morality, of course. The Christians' morality? Of course not, they're sufficiently moral already in their own minds. No, it's for the "morality" of all others. For some reason that's not immediately obvious, religious folks think themselves better than other people. But it's not enough for them to be "saved" themselves, they insist on "saving" me as well. Don't bother, jesus-freaks. Feck off and "save" your own asses. Go watch FOX and listen to Limbaugh, or something. That's where you get your marching orders anyway.

Posted by: zorbathegeek | August 17, 2008 3:40 PM

McCain is full of simple sound bites for the simple minded.

I am a Christian and I would like to ask you this:

Abortion is bad, yes! But how about the thousands of children we have butchered in Iraq? Is it ok to kill them? Or the thousands of children that die here each year because they have no health care? Or the many more that are slowly starving right here in the good 'ole USA because their parents can't get feed them?

The problem of "killing" children extends WAY beyond some simple sound-bites from simple minded, so-called "Religious Leaders"!

I am sick of these "preachers" that divide us on the usual hot buttons with NO thought to it, except to promote their own agenda!

READ the Bible yourself and make up your own mind and stop being the sheep that we all seem to have become. Accept it or reject it... but make up your OWN MIND!

Posted by: thebreeze | August 17, 2008 3:38 PM

It's quite remarkable that ANYONE would be willing to tackle the chores of cleaning up the devastaion Cheney has delivered to America. The maggots like Exxon, Halliburton, Corsi, and Mary Matalin are feeding on the carcus.
The fact a LEADER who is smart, humane, principaled, and YEAH NUANCED is considered weaker is just embarrassing.
Suprise me America, and make a different, smarter choice, before I can't recognise my country anymore.

Posted by: mark | August 17, 2008 3:13 PM

Separation of church and state is the hallmark of a modern democracy. Can you think of any other country that is a religious state. I can and I don/t want to live in any of them, nor I suspect would you. Here are some Richard Dawkins quotes to ponder...

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile. It is both.

It really comes down to parsimony, economy of explanation. It is possible that your car engine is driven by psychokinetic energy, but if it looks like a petrol engine, smells like a petrol engine and performs exactly as well as a petrol engine, the sensible working hypothesis is that it is a petrol engine. God is not ruled out as a matter of principle. There is certainly nothing impossible about the idea of an almighty god or gods. One day it (God) may even provide irrefutable evidence. But on grounds of probability it should be kept as an explanation of last resort as there is nothing resembling evidence to support the theory. If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.

Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once.
-- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 3:11 PM

McCain is a decent guy but he is beholden to the same worn out policies that have dragged down this country under Regan and the Bushes. The middle class, which had been the backbone of the USA, has has its pockets fleeced by wealthy individuals and corporate business interests. Middle class earners need a level playing field with the same tax benefits and loopholes given to Warren Buffet whose income is taxed at a lower percentage than his secretary. McCain thinks rich begins when someone amasses $5M in wealth and he is so out of touch with working people.

Posted by: Tom in Alabama | August 17, 2008 2:36 PM

Something that none of you noticed:

Remember the "If you could tell America something it didn't want to hear" question?

McCain was never asked.

As for "McManiacs" and "Obamatons": If you really must look down on someone, watch your feet.

Posted by: David K. | August 17, 2008 2:32 PM

Maybe other didn't notice Obama did an amazing high wire act without a net, to an unfriendly audience...and he even stuck his dismount.
In contrast McCain arrived in a clown car and honked out "no abortions", "one man one woman," and "drill drill drill"...and the crowd went WILD.
The polls will reflect in a week, whether the talented, or tawdry performance was appreciated.

Posted by: mark | August 17, 2008 2:32 PM

I didn't actually have time to watch the debate, but I can tell you this. McCain looked old and tired and was basically giving a stump speech.

Obama on the other hand looked thoughtful and was actually thinking about the questions.

I'd give McCain a 4 out of 10 stars for his performance and Obama 13 out of 10 stars for his.

Posted by: bguardian316 | August 17, 2008 2:28 PM

MSNBC was in FULL fever pitch to sell America the STUPID candidate....AGAIN.
Who would have guessed KKK linked Tony Perkins and aging Culture Warrior Pat Buchanan would favor McCain? MSNBC was Fred Phelps too busy to join the panel?
I hope these Evangelicals recall vividly Cheney and Rove chortling as they patted you on the head ,and sent you packing without ANYTHING, year after year after year.
It's really your own fault ,you buy the SAME BAIT and they just reel ya in.
Now quit flopping in the bottom of the boat or Dick will shoot you in the face.
I had hoped THIS election would be different, and America would see the horrific mess left by Cheney/Bush, and value the thoughtful nuanced candidate...not so much.

Posted by: mark | August 17, 2008 2:22 PM

Separation of church and state is the hallmark of a modern democracy. Can you think of any other country that is a religious state. I can and I don/t want to live in any of them, nor I suspect would you. Here are some Richard Dawkins quotes to ponder...

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile. It is both.

It really comes down to parsimony, economy of explanation. It is possible that your car engine is driven by psychokinetic energy, but if it looks like a petrol engine, smells like a petrol engine and performs exactly as well as a petrol engine, the sensible working hypothesis is that it is a petrol engine. God is not ruled out as a matter of principle. There is certainly nothing impossible about the idea of an almighty god or gods. One day it (God) may even provide irrefutable evidence. But on grounds of probability it should be kept as an explanation of last resort as there is nothing resembling evidence to support the theory. If you hear hooves clip-clopping down a London street, it could be a zebra or even a unicorn, but, before we assume that it's anything other than a horse, we should demand a certain minimal standard of evidence.

Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once.
-- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 2:21 PM

THE GOOD PASTOR DECEIVED OBAMA AND FOR INSTANCE HIS SUPPORTERS. HE KEPT TELLING OBAMA NOT TO USE 'STUMP SPEECH' TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS AND IN THE OTHER HAND MCCAIN WAS ALL ABOUT STUMP AND TALKING POINTS. THIS PASTOR IS NOT A REAL CHRISTIAN BECAUSE HE IS BIAS.

Posted by: GOT YES RELIGION NO | August 17, 2008 2:21 PM

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer are you ? NEAL MOFFIIT ANTHONY was your gay basher.

Pew..Web References
1. Board of Directors and Staff Members - The Pew Charitable Trusts
www.pewtrusts.org/about_us_boa - [Cached]
Published on: 8/3/2008 Last Visited: 8/3/2008

Neal A. Moffitt, Manager, IT Operations215.575.4765 2. The Pew Charitable Trusts: About Us
www.pewtrusts.com/about/about_ - [Cached]
Published on: 8/17/2007 Last Visited: 8/17/2007

Neal A. Moffitt, Manager, IT Operations 215.575.4765 3. Board of Directors and Staff Members - The Pew Charitable Trusts
www.pewtrusts.org/about_us_boa - [Cached]
Published on: 8/3/2008 Last Visited: 8/3/2008

Neal A. Moffitt, Manager, IT Operations215.575.4765

Posted by: BruiserND | August 17, 2008 2:12 PM

HE GOOD PASTOR DECEIVED OBAMA AND FOR INSTANCE HIS SUPPORTERS. HE KEPT TELLING OBAMA NOT TO USE 'STUMP SPEECH' TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS AND IN THE OTHER HAND MCCAIN WAS ALL ABOUT STUMP SPEECH AND TALKING POINTS. CERTAINLY THE EVER SHALLOW PUNDITS LOVED MCCAIN'S SIMPLETON RHETORIC.. THIS PASTOR IS NOT A REAL CHRISTIAN BECAUSE HE IS BIAS AND HAVE A AGENDA.

Posted by: ME | August 17, 2008 2:01 PM

In my view Obama was Reflective and Thoughtful in responding to Rick Warren. McCain responses were Bombastic ans Pandering to the TV audience while ignoring his host. Warren lost control of the McCain segment by allowing his anecdotal stories and stump messages thereby consuming the time and avoiding added questions. Part I was informative with substance; Part II was informative with opportunism and disrespect. The targeted audience will likely prefer Part II---conned again!

Posted by: Lou R | August 17, 2008 2:01 PM


I liked the idea that both candidates had to answer the same questions, well sort of. I feel Obama gave very heartfelt honest answers to Pastor Rick's quetions. McCain, on the other hand seemed to have all his answers ready to go. Pastor Rick insisted on specific answers from Obama and let McCain "tell stories."There were many questions, McCain actually did not answer. For instance what is rich. McCain danced all around that one for a long time. Finally he said $5 million dollars. Was that a joke or was that supposed to be his answer?
This discussion was billed as a religious forum. I heard only two religious answers. The quote from Matthew Obama gave and secondly when he (Obama) described what religion meant to him. McCain's answer to that question had no feeling, no sence of sincerity.
I feel McCain showed up to give a stump speech, Obama came to church.

Posted by: hummingB | August 17, 2008 1:58 PM

I believe one should have ask a question at the time to each candidate such that each one has to answer one time a question at first.such as like the iraq and such as some people don't have maps like such as in south africa to believe in hope and such as like change.

Posted by: nowuhsane | August 17, 2008 1:56 PM

I thought the forum was better than any debate. I am a Christian and am saddened by all the name calling and anger our country is consumed with. I would classify myself as a Southern Democrat which unfortunately does not exist anymore. I see wonderful characteristics in both these candidates. I also have concerns with both these men. As a Christian, I believe we have a responsibility to help each other through this journey called life. However, I have strong beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman and that abortion should not be an alternate form of birth control. Before you get offended by this stance, understand I have many gay friends...and we agree to disagree. Also, I know several girls who have had abortions and they were haunted afterwards. All this said so that you know that I am not just some religious guy living in a bubble. Now, to express my and many others dilemma this election. We struggle with the current approach towards social issues, the war in Iraq, pollution and energy. But we have STRONG beliefs on MORAL issues. Our current party system has created two parties that have contradictory values. For those who slam this forum and Rick Warren for hosting, I say be glad your candidate had a chance to express his views to undecided voters like me!!

Posted by: jeff | August 17, 2008 1:53 PM

Obama actually gave real answers to the questions, with nuanced language.
McCain used each question as a pretext to repeat his campaign slogans.
The Catholics will get to do the Inquisition next.
After that, the Tennesseans will bring us the Snopes trial.

The 300,000 Amish farmers from Ohio who gave the presidency to Bush in 2004, will have the last word and they dont use the internet or watch tv.

Posted by: Bruce | August 17, 2008 1:49 PM

THE GOOD PASTOR DECEIVED OBAMA AND FOR INSTANCE HIS SUPPORTERS. HE KEPT TELLING OBAMA NOT TO USE 'STUMP SPEECH' TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS AND IN THE OTHER HAND MCCAIN WAS ALL ABOUT STUMP AND TALKING POINTS. THIS PASTOR IS NOT A REAL CHRISTIAN BECAUSE HE IS BIAS.

Posted by: VIDAL | August 17, 2008 1:49 PM

Read the post by baffled. In my opinion, you are "The One." My comment is how can McCain, without hesitation say he is prolife and then emphatically say he will go to the ends of the earth and with his dying breath kill binLaden? Now we know McCain won't be doing that alone so how many more of our young men and women will die in the process? Already we have over 4000 lives lost, not to mention those who are severely wounded. ENOUGH ALREADY!! George W. Bush's attempt to finish what his father started has cost us dearly; we now have McCain telling you "straight up" that he will continue this madness. A vote for McCain is a vote for the Bushes.

Posted by: knowalot | August 17, 2008 1:46 PM

America is becoming more like Christian version of Saudi Arabia.
As an immigrant, single most important issue to me is education, education and education. USA is the number one country in the world, not because of social issues, but for edge in science and technology. Unfortunately, Bush's tougher immigration policy, lack of understanding of importance of education, slowly taking this country to a deeper hole. I am seriously concerned. GOP bullys in every election, marks their opponent as un-ameriacan as PadThai and wins election. Unfortunately Americans fall for it and re-elect these group of intolerant people. Very sad, very sad when only people they blame for education are teachers. Look at the curriculum. Pretty bad curriculum and bad pay for teachers. I am deeply worried.

Posted by: Abm Habibullah, Dallas, TX | August 17, 2008 1:40 PM

I think Rick Warren studied McCain's background and then structured questions that would favor his predictable answers. Throughout, you can hear Warren nudging Obama to finish his answers, and then waiting patiently for McCain to give his stump speech replies at length. It was almost as if McCain knew the questions in advance.
I think nearly all of McCain's answers revealed a man whose life revolves around war and confrontation. I am doubtful about his role in America's future, because I feel he would embroil us in conflict around the world for four years, and take us to the brink with Russia, China and Iran at a time when we are diminished.
I think McCain's confrontational attitude will do little, in what is likely to be a Democratic congress, to relieve the tension involved with Washington politics. The result will be yet another four years of political infighting, posturing and inaction when our country desperately needs objective cooperation between the parties.
Warren let McCain brush past his infidelity with no follow up questions; he did not ask why McCain has voted repeatedly against issues in favor of the military and veterans, while he boasts of his military commitments; he didn't ask just how, exactly, McCain would defeat evil, nor how, exactly, he knew when life commences.
I feel that Obama's answers were far too nuanced for a presidential campaign. I prefer answers, not thinking-aloud; this approach suggests indecision-a weakness in a president and Commander in Chief.
I don't think it is appropriate for this type of forum in a national presidential campaign. Though I am a Christian, I don't think candidates should be asked to defend their religious beliefs in public, as if, even in a largely Christian country, they are expected to govern selectively. I can understand why Obama had to appear in a predominantly Republican arena, but I wish Warren had been more balanced, and interrupted McCain's speeches: he told Obama he didn't want stump answers, but accepted McCain's throughout.
On balance, I hope other religious leaders do not decide to repeat this type of political involvement. It is precisely this kind of activity that prevents our most qualified citizens from stepping forward to enter politics and to lead us.

Posted by: Jerry | August 17, 2008 1:33 PM

Michelle..you know when life begins?
The greatest minds in our history couldn't even fathom the meaning of life and what is was all about and how it comes about...but you are saying any person that can read a textbook of biology can know.
Boy, I better go get that book you were talking about so I can make life and death decisions too.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 1:29 PM

Vote for McCain?
You must be insane.

Posted by: MortyR | August 17, 2008 1:26 PM

I don't need a megachurch pastor to hold a "forum" of the two apparent candidates for U.S. president.

What is wrong with people that can't think things through for themselves? -- which sadly seems to be the case these days.

Oh, and by the way, the good pastor really knows how to publicize his new book, doesn't he? I'd call him one smart fella!

Posted by: Fiona | August 17, 2008 1:18 PM

How appropriate that the preacher Warren should "work" out of the Saddleback church. Saddleback College has a long and ignoble tradition of right-wing insanity, being the repository of the collected papers of one James B. Utt, a local right-wing congressman freak and a racist to the bone (long since dead, fortunately,) who opposed every single civil rights legislation he ever encountered. Utt is known to have claimed that '"a large contingent of barefooted Africans" might be training in Georgia as part of a United Nations military exercise to take over the United States.' In 1963 Utt also claimed that "black Africans may be training in Cuba to invade the United States." At Saddleback, the deck was stacked long before Barack Obama was a even a glint in his father's eyes ...

Posted by: zorbathegeek | August 17, 2008 1:17 PM

I watched and thought Obama actually tried to answer the questions asked, such as the "what you think is rich" question.It seemed to me that Mccain was simply throwing red meat to the lions, and his answers tilted to his usual speeches.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 1:16 PM

that forum last night was nothing but a set up to help Mc Cain, it was ok for Mccain to make a stump speech but not for Obama,all the people had to notice was the body language of Rick Warren

Posted by: joe | August 17, 2008 1:14 PM

Dear American Citizens and the media

Challenge to Media.


As a disabled American Veteran and concerned American citizen.

"We the citizens of the United States of America have the ultimate responsibility to elect the " Right Candidate with the right temperament" to lead our nation'

Our nation is and will be facing many present and future critical internal and external challenges as well as opportunities to address those challenges.

In order to prevent any probable prolong recession and diminished world standing as the sole superpower in the world' Whether it is the moral, democratic, economic, military, and other issues.

I impress upon voters to vote after considering following " qualities and characteristics" of our presumptive presidential nominees.

In my firm professional opinion that the media should help the common voter to explore and discuss following attributes of Hon. Senator McCain and Obama:


1. Calm, cool, and collected " temper " [ Presidential Temperament ].
2. Sound and sustained "Judgment and Caliber".
3. "Thought-fullness and togetherness" of purpose and positions.
4. Minimum "ex-poser and exploitation" around "Washington and Washington insiders".
5. Renewed " Vigor and Vision " for our Great-grand Nation.
6. Foreign policy based on " American Values, Virtuous, Vastness".
7. The campaign based of facts and free of fiction, deception, seduction, and attacks.

I plead to common voter to stay informed, stay involved, and stay engaged.

Do not allow some partisan media, pundits, pollsters, and perpetual political opinion makers effect your vote in the wrong direction.

Please do not be deceived and duped by "Psychological Terrorism" that is being directed at you without your consent and awareness.

Long live U.S.A and its diverse but democratic people.

Col. A.M. Khajawall [Ret] MD., Colonel, USAR / MC Combat Stress Control[Ret], Disabled American Veteran and Iraq Freedom team.

Posted by: COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] | August 17, 2008 1:13 PM

You don't have to be God to answer the question of when life begins (that is not actually the question that was asked of each candidate by the way - pretty inaccurate reporting on that so far.)

No, you don't have to be God. You don't have to be in some sort of elevated spiritual need is to have a basic understanding of human biology. Life, in this case HUMAN life, begins at conception.

Honestly people… read a book. It's not even debatable. You might as well try saying that “Only God can know whether the Earth is round or flat.” The answer was proven beyond a doubt a LONG time ago! That there have been so many people posting here saying otherwise is pretty disturbing.

Here is another fact. Every successful abortion kills a human being, and deeply wounds another (emotionally of course… and far too often physically as well, since abortions are FAR from safe.) When Rick Warren used that number, 40 million, it should cause people to stop and think. But, I doubt many people care enough to think about the facts.

Posted by: Michelle | August 17, 2008 1:09 PM

Why is this issue being legally controlled by a THEOCRACY?!?! I've just spent the last few minutes hearing 5 hetero-men on TV (Obama, McCain, Wolf Blitzer, et. al.) discuss my HUMAN RIGHT to marry the person I love. The Spiritual Arrogance alone is beyond insulting & degrading...but that is the sick part of this social dominance.

Do Americans really think that the Exhalted Hetero-Sexual Marriage's TWO SOULS are somehow MORE human and deserving
of the legal rights & protections than the TWO SOULS found in a Homo-Loving Marriage? (if you caught that hyphenated distinction, ain't it insulting?)


Our souls are equal. Our children's souls are equal. More and more of us will not pay into a federal system that excludes us, because it is immoral to deny our families and children civil marriage (gay tax protest).

Posted by: John Bisceglia | August 17, 2008 1:08 PM

I watched the full forum. Here's my observations.

I think Obama gave personal well thought responses - his personal feelings.

McCain blurted out talking points.

I don't see any authenticity in mccain - he's parrotting party lines, pandering to the audience. He's available to the highest bidder.

Posted by: Not fooled | August 17, 2008 1:06 PM

Pew is Fake too?
Fight the facts...deamonizing the messenger is soooo 20th Century.

Religious Voters in the 2008 Election: What It Means for Democrats, Republicans

http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=184

Who won the week ??
Whoever won the Catholic vote..the deciding demographic of 2008.
No wonder MoveOn & Soros hates Christianity so much ..it's in their way of an autocratic / central planning police state

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27992

'BAMA


"He supports the late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion, where the baby's skull is stabbed with scissors in the birth canal and the brains are sucked out to end its life swiftly and ease passage of the corpse into the pan."

Posted by: rtfanning | August 17, 2008 1:05 PM

McCain won the Saddleback Forum hands down. Obama supporters are sore losers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 1:04 PM

"science established as a state religion" - uh... science is not a religion, so it can't be established as a "state religion" -- there is a whole wonderful world of learning out there people -- don't hold yourselves back from it.

Posted by: James D. Newman | August 17, 2008 12:44 PM

I was surprised that when asked about his moral failings that in addition to his mulitiple infidelities, McCain didn't mention taking a $300,000 bribe from Charles Keating.

Posted by: Bill | August 17, 2008 12:44 PM

This is a must read regardless who you plan to vote for. After you read this imagine this madman as president.

Mccain and 9/11

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain arrived late at his Senate office on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. “This is war,” he murmured to his aides. The sound of scrambling fighter planes rattled the windows, sending a tremor of panic through the room.


Erik Jacobs for The New York Times
John McCain said he had consulted Henry A. Kissinger on foreign policy before and after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Within hours, Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

“There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked,” Mr. McCain said the next morning on ABC News. “It isn’t just Afghanistan,” he added, on MSNBC. “I don’t think if you got bin Laden tomorrow that the threat has disappeared,” he said on CBS, pointing toward other countries in the Middle East.

Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!”

Now, as Mr. McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination, his response to the attacks of Sept. 11 opens a window onto how he might approach the gravest responsibilities of a potential commander in chief. Like many, he immediately recalibrated his assessment of the unseen risks to America’s security. But he also began to suggest that he saw a new “opportunity” to deter other potential foes by punishing not only Al Qaeda but also Iraq.

“Just as Sept. 11 revolutionized our resolve to defeat our enemies, so has it brought into focus the opportunities we now have to secure and expand our freedom,” Mr. McCain told a NATO conference in Munich in early 2002, urging the Europeans to join what he portrayed as an all but certain assault on Saddam Hussein. “A better world is already emerging from the rubble.”

To his admirers, Mr. McCain’s tough response to Sept. 11 is at the heart of his appeal. They argue that he displayed the same decisiveness again last week in his swift calls to penalize Russia for its incursion into Georgia, in part by sending peacekeepers to police its border.

His critics charge that the emotion of Sept. 11 overwhelmed his former cool-eyed caution about deploying American troops without a clear national interest and a well-defined exit, turning him into a tool of the Bush administration in its push for a war to transform the region.

“He has the personality of a fighter pilot: when somebody stings you, you want to strike out,” said retired Gen. John H. Johns, a former friend and supporter of Mr. McCain who turned against him over the Iraq war. “Just like the American people, his reaction was: show me somebody to hit.”

Whether through ideology or instinct, though, Mr. McCain began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same. He drew on principles he learned growing up in a military family and on conclusions he formed as a prisoner in North Vietnam. He also returned to a conviction about “the common identity” of dangerous autocracies as far-flung as Serbia and North Korea that he had developed consulting with hawkish foreign policy thinkers to help sharpen the themes of his 2000 presidential campaign.

While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, Mr. McCain’s supporters note that he became an early critic of the administration’s execution of the occupation, and they credit him with pushing the troop “surge” that helped bring stability. Mr. McCain, though, stands by his support for the war and expresses no regrets about his advocacy.

In written answers to questions, he blamed “Iraq’s opacity under Saddam” for any misleading remarks he made about the peril it posed.

The Sept. 11 attacks “demonstrated the grave threat posed by a hostile regime, possessing weapons of mass destruction, and with reported ties to terrorists,” Mr. McCain wrote in an e-mail message on Friday. Given Mr. Hussein’s history of pursuing illegal weapons and his avowed hostility to the United States, “his regime posed a threat we had to take seriously.” The attacks were still a reminder, Mr. McCain added, of the importance of international action “to prevent outlaw states — like Iran today — from developing weapons of mass destruction.”

Formative Years

Mr. McCain has been debating questions about the use of military force far longer than most. He grew up in a family that had sent a son to every American war since 1776, and international relations were a staple of the McCain family dinner table. Mr. McCain grew up listening to his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., deliver lectures on “The Four Ocean Navy and the Soviet Threat,” closing with a slide of an image he considered the ultimate factor in the balance of power: a soldier marching through a rice paddy with a rifle at his shoulder.

“To quote Sherman, war is all hell and we need to fight it out and get it over with and that is when the killing stops,” recalled Joe McCain, Senator McCain’s younger brother.

Vietnam, for Senator McCain, reinforced those lessons. He has often said he blamed the Johnson administration’s pause in bombing for prolonging the war, and he credited President Richard M. Nixon’s renewed attacks with securing his release from a North Vietnamese prison. He has made the principle that the exercise of military power sets the bargaining table for international relations a consistent theme of his career ever since, and in his 2002 memoir he wrote that one of his lifelong convictions was “the imperative that American power never retreat in response to an inferior adversary’s provocation.”


But Mr. McCain also took away from Vietnam a second, restraining lesson: the necessity for broad domestic support for any military action. For years he opposed a string of interventions — in Lebanon, Haiti, Somalia, and, for a time, the Balkans — on the grounds that the public would balk at the loss of life without clear national interests. “The Vietnam thing,” he recently said.

In the late 1990s, however, while he was beginning to consider his 2000 presidential race, he started rebalancing his view of the needs to project American strength and to sustain public support. The 1995 massacre of 5,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica under NATO’s watch struck at his conscience, he has said, and in addition to America’s strategic national interests — in that case, the future and credibility of NATO — Mr. McCain began to speak more expansively about America’s moral obligations as the only remaining superpower.

His aides say he later described the American air strikes in Bosnia in 1996 and in Kosovo in 1999 as a parable of political leadership: Mr. McCain, Senator Bob Dole and others had rallied Congressional support for the strikes despite widespread public opposition, then watched approval soar after the intervention helped to bring peace.

“Americans elect their leaders to make these kinds of judgments,” Mr. McCain said in the e-mail message.

It was during the Balkan wars that Mr. McCain and his advisers read a 1997 article on the Wall Street Journal editorial page by William Kristol and David Brooks of The Weekly Standard — both now Op-Ed page columnists at The New York Times — promoting the idea of “national greatness” conservatism, defined by a more activist agenda at home and a more muscular role in the world.

“I wouldn’t call it a ‘eureka’ moment, but there was a sense that this is where we are headed and this is what we are trying to articulate and they have already done a lot of the work,” said John Weaver, a former McCain political adviser. “And, quite frankly, from a crass political point of view, we were in the making-friends business. The Weekly Standard represented a part of the primary electorate that we could get.”

Soon Mr. McCain and his aides were consulting regularly with the circle of hawkish foreign policy thinkers sometimes referred to as neoconservatives — including Mr. Kristol, Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, a former aide to Mr. Dole who became a McCain campaign adviser — to develop the senator’s foreign policy ideas and instincts into the broad themes of a presidential campaign. (In his e-mail message, Mr. McCain noted that he had also consulted with friends like Henry A. Kissinger, known for a narrower view of American interests.)

One result was a series of speeches in which Mr. McCain called for “rogue state rollback.” He argued that disparate regional troublemakers, including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia, bore a common stamp: they were all autocracies. And as such, he contended, they were more likely to export terrorism, spread dangerous weapons, or start ethnic conflicts. In an early outline of what would become his initial response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. McCain argued that “swift and sure” retribution against any one of the rogue states was an essential deterrent to any of the others. But Mr. McCain’s advisers and aides say his “rogue state” speeches stopped short of the most sweeping international agenda put forth by Mr. Kristol, Mr. Kagan and their allies. Mr. McCain explicitly disavowed direct military action merely to advance American values, foreswearing any “global crusade” of interventions in favor of relying on covert and financial support for internal opposition groups.

As an example, he could point to his 1998 sponsorship of the Iraqi Liberation Act, which sought to direct nearly $100 million to Iraqis who hoped to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The bill, signed by President Bill Clinton, also endorsed the ouster of Mr. Hussein.

Mr. McCain said then that he doubted the United States could muster the political will to use ground troops to remove the Iraqi dictator any time soon. “It was much easier when Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia,” the senator told Fox News in November 1998. “We’d have to convince the American people that it’s worth again the sacrifice of American lives, because that would also be part of the price.”

Hard Calls

Mr. McCain spent the afternoon of Sept. 11 in a young aide’s studio apartment near the Capitol. There was no cable television, nothing but water in the kitchen, and the hallway reminded him of an old boxing gym. Evacuated from his office but stranded by traffic, he could not resist imagining himself at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. “There are not enough Secret Service agents in the world to keep me away from Washington and New York at a time like this,” Mr. McCain told an adviser.


Over the next days and weeks, however, Mr. McCain became almost as visible as he would have been as president. Broadcasters rushed to him as a patriotic icon and reassuring voice, and for weeks he was ubiquitous on the morning news programs, Sunday talk shows, cable news networks, and even late-night comedy shows.

In the spotlight, he pushed rogue state rollback one step further, arguing that the United States should go on the offensive as a warning to any other country that might condone such an attack. “These networks are well-embedded in some of these countries,” Mr. McCain said on Sept. 12, listing Iraq, Iran and Syria as potential targets of United States pressure. “We’re going to have to prove to them that we are very serious, and the price that they will pay will not only be for punishment but also deterrence.”

Although he had campaigned for President Bush during the 2000 general election, he was still largely frozen out of the White House because of animosities left over from the Republican primary. But after Mr. Bush declared he would hold responsible any country condoning terrorism, Mr. McCain called his leadership “magnificent” and his national security team the strongest “that has ever been assembled.” A few weeks later, Larry King of CNN asked whether he would have named Mr. Rumsfeld and Colin L. Powell to a McCain cabinet. “Oh, yes, and Cheney,” Mr. McCain answered, saying he, too, would have offered Mr. Cheney the vice presidency.

Even during the heat of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. McCain kept an eye on Iraq. To Jay Leno in mid-September, Mr. McCain said he believed “some other countries” had assisted Osama bin Laden, going on to suggest Iraq, Syria and Iran as potential suspects. In October 2001, when an Op-Ed page column in The New York Times speculated that Iraq, Russia or some other country might bear responsibility for that month’s anthrax mailings, Mr. McCain interrupted a question about Afghanistan from David Letterman on that night’s “Late Show.” “The second phase is Iraq,” Mr. McCain said, adding, “Some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.” (The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it came from a federal government laboratory in Maryland.) By October, United States and foreign intelligence agencies had said publicly that they doubted any cooperation between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda, noting Al Qaeda’s opposition to such secular nationalists. American intelligence officials soon declared that Mr. Hussein had not supported international terrorism for nearly a decade.

But when the Czech government said that before the attacks, one of the 9/11 hijackers had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence official, Mr. McCain seized the report as something close to a smoking gun. “The evidence is very clear,” he said three days later, in an Oct. 29 television interview. (Intelligence agencies quickly cast doubt on the meeting.)

Frustrated by the dearth of American intelligence about Iraq, Mr. McCain’s aides say, he had long sought to learn as much as he could from Iraqi opposition figures in exile, including Mr. Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. Over the years, Mr. McCain often urged support for the group, saying it had “significant support, in my view, inside Iraq.”

After Sept. 11, Mr. Chalabi’s group said an Iraqi emissary had once met with Osama bin Laden, and brought forward two Iraqi defectors who described terrorist training camps and biological weapons efforts. At times, Mr. McCain seemed to echo their accusations, citing the “two defectors” in a television interview and attesting to “credible reports of involvement between Iraqi administration officials, Iraqi officials and the terrorists.”

Growing Impatient

But United States intelligence officials had doubts about Mr. Chalabi at the time and have since discredited his group. In 2006, Mr. McCain acknowledged to The New Republic that he had been “too enamored with the I.N.C.” In his e-mail message, though, he said he never relied on the group for information about Iraq’s weapons program.

At a European security conference in February 2002, when the Bush administration still publicly maintained that it had made no decision about moving against Iraq, Mr. McCain described an invasion as all but certain. “A terrorist resides in Baghdad,” he said, adding, “A day of reckoning is approaching.”

Regime change in Iraq in addition to Afghanistan, he argued, would compel other sponsors of terrorism to mend their ways, “accomplishing by example what we would otherwise have to pursue through force of arms.”

Finally, as American troops massed in the Persian Gulf in early 2003, Mr. McCain grew impatient, his aides say, concerned that the White House was failing to act as the hot desert summer neared. Waiting, he warned in a speech in Washington, risked squandering the public and international support aroused by Sept. 11. “Does anyone really believe that the world’s will to contain Saddam won’t eventually collapse as utterly as it did in the 1990s?” Mr. McCain asked.

In retrospect, some of Mr. McCain’s critics now accuse him of looking for a pretext to justify the war. “McCain was hell-bent for leather: ‘Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, we have got to teach him, let’s send a message to the other people in the Middle East,’ ” said Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts.

But Mr. McCain, in his e-mail message, said the reason he had supported the war was the evolving threat from Mr. Hussein.

“I believe voters elect their leaders based on their experience and judgment — their ability to make hard calls, for instance, on matters of war and peace,” he wrote. “It’s important to get them right.”

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:41 PM

McCain has brought in Ralph Reed the corrupt bigot and founder of the extreme right wing Christian Coalition. What is in this game for Obama? Does he believe he can outflank McCain on the religious right? That is a complete waste of time and money and an insult to his more progressive supporters. Religion has no place in politics in a country founded upon separation of church and state. Beliefs should remain personal and private they are not a badge of morality. We live in a world where continuous death and destruction is reigned down on the innocent by religious fanatics who believe they have God on their side. Enough already.

Posted by: jefflz | August 17, 2008 12:40 PM

The comments regarding Obama's inability to have a "decisive" answer in comparison to Mc'cain is very esay to refute. Proof is in the statistics of our democracy. Basically ask a simple question without any gray areas or without a significant portion of the population in objection to it .....deserves a simple reply. But, when you ask for a answer to a question which is complex and fraught with many moral nails hammered deeply into the souls of each and every voter, then you can take the easy way out a pick a yes/no or search for a better and deeper insightful way to manage a problem. Examples Capital punishment, Abortion, The Draft, Evolution. Take relgion and any of these issues and by default even the christian churches are divided on many of these. So, the world is not black and white. To the ones who took psychology in college, you know the type of people who can not understand a complex issue so they see the world in an immature way? I am not saying that Mc'cain is immature, but if he is truly representing the country (EVERYONE) then Christins, Catholics, Jewish, Islamic Faiths etc......would all be the same and agree, guess what, they don't. I wish that there was no crime/murder, but we still have Texas and their record breaking platinum execution rate. And then you think of those who have been falsely accused and later proven innocent by lawyers who take a second look at these cases. I guess you could say "hang em high!" or let 10 men go free less you murder an inocent man, or how about 5 for 1? I firmly believe that this country deserves to be better. I want to go forward in action while looking back and not forgetting those who served their country to fight for the rights that we have. The Japaneese in WWII didn't believe in prisoners, so, our troops suffered terribly. Assuming someone didn't serve their country is just plain predjudice. Mccain obviously served and was a pow. But, that does not automatically mean that he is the better choice. I think both candidates have belief systems that are true to their hearts, but One candidate is not able to manage his judgement without being handled. That is obvious. oh, do you think that a grown man should be allowed to steal a lollypop from a child? of course not! next question please...

Posted by: johnishere | August 17, 2008 12:34 PM

Mccain was in a sound proof booth. They made reference to it when he came out.

--------
It really helps to go second when both guests are asked the same questions.

Posted by: Javalation | August 17, 2008 12:17 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:32 PM

Anonymous..
you are right on the money about McCain's avoidance of the marriage issue. They gave him a total free pass on that.

He cheated on a wife who held onto their marriage while he was in Vietnam captivity and when she was physically disabled due to a car accident, what did he do? He left her. And who for? A 25 year old beer heiress.
McCain has done nothing for our veterans, civil rights, economy, health care or education and energy in his entire 22 years in office. He has experience in doing NOTHING.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 12:31 PM

What a joke, Warren is neither a Christian or recognized by real Christians as such. Apparently Obama and McCain aren't either, they are running for office afterall.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:30 PM

“If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be - a Christian”
Mark Twain

“If your prayer is not answered”, said God, “please google it!”

Posted by: jgreen08 | August 17, 2008 12:30 PM

Steve:

Since you do not seem to understand what Obama stands for, I'll tell what he stands for for some of the people in my age group, the pre seniors. The end of combativeness, doing things to score political points (have the "right" answer, such as, abortion is "bad") and transformed into trying to get things accomplished (we want to minimize abortions so we promote use of contaceptives). With combativeness there is plenty of talk but little accomplished because the will of the people is thwarted. After the change occurs there is more action because the will of the majority is accomplished. People do not want the end of Roe vs Wade but they do want as few abortions as possible without making it illegal anywhere in the country.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 17, 2008 12:29 PM

Did you even watch or are you just demented. Mccain never answered a question, he gave his stump speech.

-------
Obama clearly demonstrated why he should not be elected. His answers almost showed his mind determining what the "correct" answer was, instead of how he truly felt. McCain is never going to B.S. you like Obama will. That guy is a puppet for the whole Democratic party, and was bred and sped through the ranks for this election.

Posted by: Jim | August 17, 2008 12:11 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:28 PM

This is another con pastor, that want to con the whole world in God's name. I tell you this, it won't work this time, the world is wise. Go Obama

Posted by: obumneme | August 17, 2008 12:28 PM

Looks like the Obamabots really got worked up over this one...

Posted by: Michael | August 17, 2008 12:28 PM

I think the most important outcome here will be to give "values voters" permission to crawl out from under the wreckage of the Bush administration. Many people I know personally are today ashamed of having been intimidated into reelecting Bush in 2004 by politically connected pastors, who sullied their brand-name by associating it with war, torture, indifference, corruption and hypocracy. Internet comments from actual religious voters seem genuinely relieved that their own conscience is in play again.

Seeing Obama in this light will also help less-than-attentive Christians stand up to people who spread deliberate lies about him. Obama was bearing witness to the message of salvation. That is a core requirement of the actual faith supposedly espoused by the conservative "religious" political machine. A more fundamental and non-negotiable requirement is commandment number eight: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Posted by: Mary Porter | August 17, 2008 12:26 PM

I enjoyed the forum. It was great to see the style and thought process of each candidate. I thought Barack Obama was thoughtful in his responses, he thought of ALL, including those he opposes and was considerate. Some would say he had to be but, I still recognize it as a virtue. I can certainly see him interacting with foreign leaders and working not just on solutions but, bringing the rhetoric down a notch. Kind of like the forum with Pastor Rick Warren.
As for John McCain, you gotta love a guy who knows exactly what he believes in, knows exactly what the objective is and is unwavering in his approach to hugh problems facing us in the 21st century. I enjoy listening to his personal stories and hearing him speak so matter of fact. It does remind me a little of President Bush though. His answers to abortion and evil while sounding very resolute was also very Bush like. That does scare me a little. I don't know if that's what I'm looking for in a President. Great job Pastor Rick, hopefully I can see more of these forums!!

Posted by: Shannon | August 17, 2008 12:25 PM

If Mccain was asked any follow up questions or challenged, such as his first marriage that he was allowed to get away with. You would have seen the old man dissolve. The moderator handled Mccain with kid gloves.

---------
The forum was in the realm of a debate because both candidtates were asked the same questions. McCain clearly bested his opponent simply because we have a clear picture of who and what McCain stands for. Disagree with him all you want, but he was concise and did not equivocate; on the other hand, Obama has yet to formulate a bedrock political identity. His waffling and "proceed with caution" demeanor in an impromptu setting bolsters his growing image as a political fence-setter who tries to appeal to everyone in order to get elected. The man is an empty-suit.

Posted by: cecil9 | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:25 PM

Mike Last,

Funny I got the opposite perspective. Give me a candidate who pauses and thinks about the question before answering over the candidate who blurts out a talking point anyday. But perhaps you have been conditioned to accept what an authoritarian father figure tells you as truth.

With Obama you get the sense that he is a thoughtful, sensible man who has put together a fantastic team of advisers to assist him. McCain on the other hand seems like a talking parrot, regurgitating answers that have been formulated to appeal to a less thoughtful segment of society... The segment that seems to view every election as a referendum on abortion.

Posted by: Mike Robinson | August 17, 2008 12:24 PM

I am so sick and tired of American politicians going on pilgrimages to obtain the seal of approval of these fecking evangelists. Just think of the parasite Billy Graham who has spent the last 50 years with his nose firmly planted up the various presidential arses. Unsurprisingly, these preacher hypocrites find it more pleasant (and lucrative) to "minister" to the wealthy and powerful rather than the poor whom they avoid like the plague. I wonder how many suits the dreck Graham owns, unlike the street people who live out of shopping carts. There are no Mother Theresas among these preachers, that's for sure, for there's certainly a good living to be made from the gullibility, stupidity, and sheer idiocy of the American public. And every politician kowtows to these parasites and their "flock" (of sheep.) It's revolting.

Posted by: zorbathegeek | August 17, 2008 12:24 PM

I thought the use of the word "Friends" was very telling but not the way you may think, He was so rehearsed he could not get any of his answers out without being in their original context. They had to flow the same way they do in his stump speeches for him to say them. It was in my mind a sign of dementia. If the moderator started mixing things around you would have seen Mccain become confused. I got the impression the Moderator sensed this and didn't try to do anything that may have embarrassed Mccain even finishing some thoughts for Mccain.

---------
My impression from watching this forum was that Obama was genuine and avoided giving "stump" responses. McCain however did not. This was most obvious when McCain began to address the audience instead of Warren beginning with the word "friends".

Also, it seemed that Obama gave the issues addressed the respectful consideration they deserved and that McCain was simply playing to the crowd.

I consider black and white thinking to be counterproductive and I value Obama's ability to consider all the stakeholders. That is not weakness, that is insightful leadership.

Obama was right when he said not supporting the war in Iraq could have cost him his run for the senate. He was brave to do that. It costs little now to oppose it but it did then, remember?

Posted by: cats | August 17, 2008 12:03 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:22 PM

OBAMA 2008

Posted by: RP | August 17, 2008 12:20 PM

The idea that we can listen to both candidates in a less scripted format than is possible under main stream media sponsored events is a positive development. Neither Senator Obama or McCain are calling for the establishment of a state religion. So, the easily offended atheists need to chill out. Would you protest as much if science were being established as the state religion or the event was sponsored by the Darwin Society?

Posted by: James | August 17, 2008 12:17 PM

It really helps to go second when both guests are asked the same questions.

Posted by: Javalation | August 17, 2008 12:17 PM

TK..

I agree with you. I am a chemistry student with a concentration in energy. These "drill, drill, drill" mantras are misguided at best. Unless you can understand the FULL implications of drilling no one should have a hard and fast opinion about it and that it could solve our larger, complex issues. Also, DNA testing is important to our medical and genetic future. John McCain has done nothing for his brain in the past 22 years but let his ambition and "private parts" lead it.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 12:16 PM

He never stated an opinion, he gave you rehearsed answers he knew you wanted to hear. Many to questions that were not even asked. The moderator never asked a follow up question on Mccain. I did not hear anything I have no heard him say dozens of time in his stump speeches. If last night convinced you where have you been for the last six months?

-----------
Saw the post calling McCain supporters "morons".

I think that makes me a moron after last night. I was on the fence and now convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt that McCain would do a much better job, can state his actual opinion instead of waffling with "errrr....ummmm.... i think...." which is what I heard from Obama.

Anyway... case closed for me. I heard enough.

Posted by: mikelast | August 17, 2008 12:01 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:16 PM

'That guy is a puppet for the whole Democratic party'

Yes, it's called a candidate!

Posted by: Jimbo2 | August 17, 2008 12:15 PM

McCain showed himself to be a black & white, destroy-the-enemy kind of guy. This has historically played well in the polls, but it has also been the downfall of the U.S., especially during the Bush years. McCain showed not the slightest comprehension that our ill behavior has lost us many friends internationally, and that every time we promise to use violence against the portion of the world that isn't "with" us, we inflame them and further increase their number. People don't slink away when you call them evil and threaten to kill them (though it might appear that way to the unobservant): they regroup, rearm, recruit, and steel themselves.

I prefer Obama's somewhat less black & white approach.

Posted by: John from NC | August 17, 2008 12:14 PM

Oh my gosh, I am so proud of these comments. I do admit I only read about half, but they are from thinking, understanding,intelligent people. I agree with every one I read. David Schuster, Michelle Bernard and Pat Buchanan should take note and so should the cable stations that allow a discussion of this sort, which I feel undermines the seperation of church and state and got us no place with McCain, who seemed to know the answers before the questions were fully stated. What a fool and the audience adored him. Just goes to show ya how little some people understand what limited vision he has.

Posted by: Louise | August 17, 2008 12:14 PM

You shall not kill is the 6th commandment. The Republican Religious Right wing is for capitol punishment. Check out the REPUBLICAN SELECTIVE ten COMMADMENTS

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:13 PM

Obama clearly demonstrated why he should not be elected. His answers almost showed his mind determining what the "correct" answer was, instead of how he truly felt. McCain is never going to B.S. you like Obama will. That guy is a puppet for the whole Democratic party, and was bred and sped through the ranks for this election.

Posted by: Jim | August 17, 2008 12:11 PM

On taxes, John McCain says that the government has no right to take more money from individuals. He says spending is out of control. Conservatives like to argue that government should only spend on neccessary things. McCain, whose not a scientist, made fun of Bear research being done and all the people laughed.

First, I agree John, the government is taken too much of my money. I've never called the fire department nor had any need of them. And I don't use the highways. So give me a tax rebate on my fire department payments, because you believe that we do not have a right to being healthy (which would include not being burned alive)...becuase if you did you wouldn't be against covering all Americans who can't afford healthcare. Second, since I don't use the highways as much as truckers or anyone else, give me a partial rebate on that as well. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

Lastly, as a medical student, I can tell you first hand how seemingly unimportant research leads to miraculous discoveries. Republicans love to be sure of everything and have no respect for anything the immediately don't understand. Just like they were sure that Iraq was preparing to nuke us and they were sure that tax cuts would lead us to a permanent bull market and they were sure that New Orleans wouldn't flood and they were sure that we have enough oil to last us forever and they were sure that warming of the planet poses no threat to humanity.

Posted by: TK | August 17, 2008 12:10 PM

Same 'ol, same 'ol. Personally, I don't care what your beliefs or faith tell you. Keep it to yourself. And could somebody please tell me why a pastor is holding a forum on 'faith', but we can't get these two clowns to sit down and talk about science? I'm tired of the political rhetoric. I want a president who uses reason and bases his decisions on fact and evidence, not "goddidit."

And America wonders why we're the laughingstock of Western Civilization...

Posted by: Dog & Pony Show | August 17, 2008 12:08 PM

Fake republican website owned by these people
Eagle Publishing, Inc.
Just bullsh&t for fools like you.


-----------
A Catholic Case Against Barack

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27992

The deciding demographic of the 2008 election

Posted by: rtfanning | August 17, 2008 11:53 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:08 PM

I'm just tired of when I talk about things that I like about McCain to some Obama supporters, I get accused of being racist, "living in fear" whatever that means, being un-educated, and so on. Can we stick to the issues please?

Posted by: Alex | August 17, 2008 12:07 PM

This guy is a religious hack. I didn't even waste my time watching this crap.

Posted by: John_Louisiana | August 17, 2008 12:07 PM

There is a separation of church annd state but not of religion and politics.

Posted by: rialistic | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

Look...there's a reason the founding fathers, (you know, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and the boys), put in the provisions for separation of church and state, and put in that there shall be no state religions in our Constitution.....So go pray in religious buildings....but legislate in government buildings.

But if you do consider the ten commandments in your private decisions on election day: Don't The 10 Commandments go something like this???

ONE: I am the Lord your God

TWO: You shall not have false gods

THREE: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

FOUR: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath.

FIVE: Honor your father and your mother.

SIX: You shall not kill.

SEVEN: You shall not commit adultery.

EIGHT: You shall not steal.

NINE: You shall not bear false witness under oath.

TEN: You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife or property.

So far with Mccain he confirmed that Numbers 3,4,7,8,9 and 10 are purely discretionary; 1 and 2 we don't know where he stands; but on 5 he seems on pretty solid footing; and on 6, well you have to at least consider the usual exceptions for war and death penalty and....(fill in the blank)???

Let's ALL put Obama to work for America!! ...Go in Peace to Serve the World....Have a Nice Day!!

Posted by: benighse | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

Look what we became. Religious leaders decide who the president will be. I would not allow one word about religion in politics. Religion starts all wars. The founding fathers have been slapped in the face. They were religious but realized that religion should not play a role in politics. The modern USA uses the Constitution as a blank chalk board

Posted by: FearEvangelicals | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

Trying to be as objective as possible, I saw Obama as a thoughtful speaker whose statements were full of nuances and I percieved as beating around the bush. In other words, whatever Obama decides to do as president would be ok because I honestly don't know what the man stands for. Change? Ok, getting cancer is change too. Why is change equated with something good? McCain showed his experience,and ability to talk to me, an American. He simplified and amplified and has caught my attention.

Posted by: Steve | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

The forum was in the realm of a debate because both candidtates were asked the same questions. McCain clearly bested his opponent simply because we have a clear picture of who and what McCain stands for. Disagree with him all you want, but he was concise and did not equivocate; on the other hand, Obama has yet to formulate a bedrock political identity. His waffling and "proceed with caution" demeanor in an impromptu setting bolsters his growing image as a political fence-setter who tries to appeal to everyone in order to get elected. The man is an empty-suit.

Posted by: cecil9 | August 17, 2008 12:06 PM

REMEMBER WHEN YOU SAID YOU VOTED FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS IN THE LAST COUPLE ELECTIONS???....TURNS OUT YOU GOT MORE EVIL IN THIS WORLD WITH DUBYA THEN YOU COULD EVER HAVE IMAGINED....IT'S TIME TO BE F.O.R. SOMETHING.....I'M FOR ELECTING OBAMA PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES....HAVE A NICE DAY!!

Posted by: benighse | August 17, 2008 12:04 PM

My impression from watching this forum was that Obama was genuine and avoided giving "stump" responses. McCain however did not. This was most obvious when McCain began to address the audience instead of Warren beginning with the word "friends".

Also, it seemed that Obama gave the issues addressed the respectful consideration they deserved and that McCain was simply playing to the crowd.

I consider black and white thinking to be counterproductive and I value Obama's ability to consider all the stakeholders. That is not weakness, that is insightful leadership.

Obama was right when he said not supporting the war in Iraq could have cost him his run for the senate. He was brave to do that. It costs little now to oppose it but it did then, remember?

Posted by: cats | August 17, 2008 12:03 PM

He is a book selling con man in the mold of Jim Baker.

---------
TO EACH HIS OWN

"... the evangelical pastor cemented his status as one of American's most influential religious figures ..."

Mark Twain said it all: "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be -- a Christian. ..."

Water and oil do not mix. Neither do religion and politics.

Posted by: outrider | August 17, 2008 11:52 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:03 PM

God fearing Evangelicals... I fear the Evangelicals.... not GOD

Posted by: Steve | August 17, 2008 12:02 PM

Saw the post calling McCain supporters "morons".

I think that makes me a moron after last night. I was on the fence and now convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt that McCain would do a much better job, can state his actual opinion instead of waffling with "errrr....ummmm.... i think...." which is what I heard from Obama.

Anyway... case closed for me. I heard enough.

Posted by: mikelast | August 17, 2008 12:01 PM

YOU SEE THE REASON FOR GENERATIONAL CHANGE WITH THESE ANSWERS BY THE CANDIDATES. WHEN OBAMA ANSWERS WITH THE THOUGHTFUL RESERVE THAT SHOWS COMMON-SENSE, KNOWLEDGE AND PURPOSE TO LEAD AND LEAD IN THE RIGHT WAY, WHILE MCCAIN CLIPS HIS ANSWERS AS PLATITUDES TO SAY TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT IN THE BUSH MONTAGE WAY, YOU KNOW THERE IS HOPE FOR AMERICA IF WE ELECT OBAMA PRESIDENT. IT IS TIME TO RAISE OUR STANDING AT HOME AND ABROAD WITH BARACK OBAMA AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. LET'S ALL PUT OBAMA TO WORK FOR AMERICA!!

Posted by: benighse | August 17, 2008 12:01 PM

"...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Posted by: Christopher | August 17, 2008 12:01 PM

well i see from the responses that both sides supporters are firmly entrenched. i, on the other hand, found neither candidate
capable of being president. but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. i am not a
hilary supporter, but her name will go into
nomination at the demo convention. perhaps by some miracle she will gain the party nom, as did FDR on the 4th roll call vote.
i cannot imagine supporting her, but in comparison to these 2 buffoons, she is all we have, well, in addition to bill being the first " man " behind her. so
my prayer is for hilary to win= i still cannot believe i am saying that, but i think it would be best for our country

Posted by: much2doaboutnothing | August 17, 2008 12:00 PM

Not easy to listen to a FAT PRIEST talking about world hunger. The RELIGIOUS RIGHT decides who the president will be in the USA.

America has its own Taliban it is called the Religious Right Wing Radicals

Posted by: Steve | August 17, 2008 12:00 PM

To the person that asked if people served in the military, I don't see what that has to do with anything. If you don't consider someone an adult until they've been through the military, then there are an aweful lot of kids still wandering around this planet as I'm guessing that probably 75% or more people from the total population haven't served in the military. If you want to support someone just because they did serve, I know a few people that joined the Army or Air Force that I would never trust to have any position of power. They weren't exactly the brightest bulbs in the world and they didn't have much common sense either. Not saying that is McCain or anyone else that has been a member of the armed forces, but just because someone spent time in the military and possibly went to war does not give them any qualifications of the next guy to be President or hold any other office.

Posted by: imnuts | August 17, 2008 12:00 PM

Pretending to be a Christian then produces a post filled with hate. Another phony

------------
I don't believe waht I am reading in the blogs posted above. The questions that Pastor Rick gave to each man were "neutral" but probing allowing each man to say what he would as answers.

John MCcain did not say he was God. He said his belief was that life begins at conception. A belief - BAffled - got it?? Just like you probably believe in the CHANGE that Obama is offering yet you couldn't explain that change to save your life because he can't!!

If you want to look at Presidents who can't control their "man parts" - look at the Democrats: Kenney and Clinton. Now there you REALLY have a clear example of what you are complaining about.

And I bet you never served in the military did you? So until you grow up a bit in terms of years and refine your thinking, consider voting for McCain = he blew Obama out of the water with his precise, decisive, answers, with his experience showing, and with his ability to talk to people about his beliefs - not pander like Obama did hoping to get Evangelicals to vote for him.

AND the forum? It was fabulous and clearly presented a contrast between the two candidates. Obama was wordy, didnt say much of substance, tried to stand on "both" sides of the issue -especially abortion, and clearly showed his lack of experience and his lack of determination to keep our country safe, to keep his hands out of our pockets - he wants income redistribution which is a MARXIST and socialitic way to govern, -and that he is not able nor capable to govern this country as POTUS!

I hope the rest of the debates are this way as we actually get to listen to a canddiate and they don't have a limited time to give a thorough answer to a question. GO PASTOR RICK!! I HOPE FUTURE DEBATES ARE AS ENLIGHTENING AS THIS ONE AND FOLLOW THIS FORMAT - LOVED IT!

Posted by: helen sabin | August 17, 2008 11:40 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 12:00 PM

I now know why the term "compassionate Christian" in the political context has bothered me. McCain thinks he is God and knows when life begins, but he doesn't understand poverty, despair, failing schools, crime. Obama spoke with compassion. John McCain spoke to the audience and gave them his old stump speech. Obama understands the broader moral issues in the world...it's not just about abortion or marriage. Obama is contemplative and doesn't appear to make hasty decisions. He's the "straight talker." McCain has a "hair trigger" and showed us is expertise in pandering!

Posted by: Mary Lou Short | August 17, 2008 11:59 AM

Both men did what they came for...so the spin should end there. The Loser in this was the MSM that had to be shown how to do their jobs by a Pastor. Imagine asking questions and letting people reply...without a dozen pundits sitting there attempting to define what was said.

As far as the Presidential election goes you have two choices: If you want a President who is thoughtful, introspective, and deliberate...than vote for Obama. If you want someone who is quick on the draw, focused on absolutes, and view everything as black and white, good and evil, right and wrong...than vote for McCain.

Posted by: SWMissouri | August 17, 2008 11:56 AM

Warren is just another "Pastor Insert First Name Here" with dyed hair, mandatory goatee and folksy way. The only difference is that he has risen to the top of his industry, Christianity Lite. His success has brought him fifty extra pounds, a "cool guy" wardrobe and enough money to wow his crowd. What a turnoff.

Posted by: crayo | August 17, 2008 11:56 AM

I can’t understand the hypocrites that stand before abortion and then tern around and stand for killing people for the glory of OIL.

Posted by: Mario | August 17, 2008 11:55 AM

This country is built on separation of Church and State

It is offensive to keep having religion injected into this election.

It is also offensive as not everyone follows Christianity, or any religion for that matter.

Newsflash: While Obama is so intent on proving he's not Muslim by focusing on Christianity, he is alienating those who believe religion has no place in elections, and those who are Jewish, Buddhist, and even Muslim, etc.

Posted by: Offensive | August 17, 2008 11:53 AM

A Catholic Case Against Barack

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27992

The deciding demographic of the 2008 election

Posted by: rtfanning | August 17, 2008 11:53 AM

Rick Warren said:
"I just want to remind you that one of the greatest freedoms we have in America is the freedom of speech, even the freedom to protest this meeting."

The problem is that no one in the Main Stream Media seems to be protesting this meeting! Can't anyone - except for Barry Lynn at American United for Separation of Church and State - raise questions about the premise of last evening's event? In a country of laws and freedoms - not of ethnic or religious heritage - how is it appropriate to have a pastor host presidential candidates for a conversation at his church about their personal faith and the relationship of faith to their political policies?

First the Compassion Forum, and now Saddleback. It's looking more and more like religious litmus tests for political office are ruling the day. And that is troubling.

(BTW, I am a practicing Christian. I go to church every Sunday, I pray every day. My faith informs my understanding of various issues. But . . . the criteria for selecting political leaders is not their understanding of Jesus Christ, but their understanding of issues related to governance. I am just sick of these religious/political forums that introduce religious criteria into political discussions.)

Posted by: Chris | August 17, 2008 11:53 AM

TO EACH HIS OWN

"... the evangelical pastor cemented his status as one of American's most influential religious figures ..."

Mark Twain said it all: "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be -- a Christian. ..."

Water and oil do not mix. Neither do religion and politics.

Posted by: outrider | August 17, 2008 11:52 AM

I felt that Obama stuck (searchingly and over a range of moral challenges facing this country). McCain gave his standard political speech pushing his programs/ideas. Surprised more commentary has not picked up on this glaring distinction! I was very disappointed in him and felt he had betrayed the intent or the spirit of this dialog.

Posted by: Caroline Burgoon | August 17, 2008 11:52 AM

The guy never asked a follow up question to Mccain. He let him get away with rehearsed answers we have heard a hundred times to questions that were not even asked. That thing was a joke. Get Mccain off his rehearsed talking points and you see the stumbling fool emerge. His handles are doing a great job I have to admit. They even control the town hall meetings now and won't let him talk to the press unless they babysit him. We have a half demented fool running for president and they are managing to trick the public into thinking he isn't out of his mind. What a juggling act this is. If the public is fooled into electing Mccain they deserve everything they get. He is bringing back the draft so take a good look at your young children because Mccain will be sending them back to you cold dead and in a box. Death and killing is all this mad man cares about, it is how he defines himself. He just sat in a church and said he will track a man to the gates of hell so he can kill him.
---------


What Obama may have meant by "above his pay grade" is that he ISN'T the creator of life and no one can presume to know exactly when life begins or ends. That is humility and truth. We can only have a glimpse about life and what it is all about. Anyone who claims they can know everything about life is foolish and living in a hole. John McCain's sharp and direct answers show his ignorance not his knowledge.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 11:36 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 11:52 AM

I am disappointed that someone who "doesn't believe in evolution" can be so respected, politically, that he can host a major Presidential forum. Warren is a good man, but his ignorance to the experimentally tested scientific explanations for the theory (yes, everything is a theory...even gravity and relativity!) of evolution is startling for a thinking man. Hasn't abortion, an issue that the country is basically split on, torn us apart long enough...we MUST move past that ONE issue if our country is to meet it challenges like poverty and the fact that 4200 people die DAILY of just 5 major diseases (2X 9/11, every day), yet biomedical research funding is being cut by people like McCain.

Posted by: bamaguy | August 17, 2008 11:50 AM

Helen:

I have served proudly in the military and the Gulf War.(have you?) Anyone who claims they can have a "belief" about when life begins is claiming a knowledge they don't have and will NEVER possess and is claiming GOD-like qualities. Defeat evil, "I know when life begins"-John McCain is not the God you make him out to be..he can't save you or decide when your life begins or ends.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 11:49 AM

I am amazed that Rick Warren has $25 million from book royalties! Also, I was just wondering why 'Baffled' (post number 4) adresses Rick Warren as an Atheist? I am not very familiar with Christian leaders in the US, but am aware there is a lot of money to be made in the 'Church Industry'. What do others think?

Posted by: Josh Power | August 17, 2008 11:48 AM

Perry,

I agree. The event more about Rick Warren and less about McCain and Obama. The questions were typical accompanied to typical answers. Obama was nuanced. McCain was rehearsed. Overall the forum was lame to the core.

Posted by: Independent NY | August 17, 2008 11:47 AM

I felt that Obama stuck (searchingly and over a range of moral challenges facing this country). McCain gave his standard political speech pushing his programs/ideas. Surprised more commentary has not picked up on this glaring distinction! I was very disappointed in him and felt he had betrayed the intent or the spirit of this dialog.

Posted by: Caroline Burgoon | August 17, 2008 11:46 AM

Warren: What color is the sky? Obama: Ummmm, errrr, , er, Let, errr, Let me start, er, by saying, er, , that.... [5 minutes later] ... er ask the UN? er. MCCAIN TROUNCED THIS DULLARD.

Posted by: T_E_X | August 17, 2008 11:45 AM

What I heard from McCain sounded identical to the same song and dance by George W Bush administration and stated many times he will maintain many of the Bush's policy, Obama on the other hand spoke more like a true statesman and discussed a wide range of changes from the status quo. McCain is wide to the right with Corporate America in his pocket (Walmart and Big Oil).

Posted by: jgreen08 | August 17, 2008 11:42 AM

I don't believe waht I am reading in the blogs posted above. The questions that Pastor Rick gave to each man were "neutral" but probing allowing each man to say what he would as answers.

John MCcain did not say he was God. He said his belief was that life begins at conception. A belief - BAffled - got it?? Just like you probably believe in the CHANGE that Obama is offering yet you couldn't explain that change to save your life because he can't!!

If you want to look at Presidents who can't control their "man parts" - look at the Democrats: Kenney and Clinton. Now there you REALLY have a clear example of what you are complaining about.

And I bet you never served in the military did you? So until you grow up a bit in terms of years and refine your thinking, consider voting for McCain = he blew Obama out of the water with his precise, decisive, answers, with his experience showing, and with his ability to talk to people about his beliefs - not pander like Obama did hoping to get Evangelicals to vote for him.

AND the forum? It was fabulous and clearly presented a contrast between the two candidates. Obama was wordy, didnt say much of substance, tried to stand on "both" sides of the issue -especially abortion, and clearly showed his lack of experience and his lack of determination to keep our country safe, to keep his hands out of our pockets - he wants income redistribution which is a MARXIST and socialitic way to govern, -and that he is not able nor capable to govern this country as POTUS!

I hope the rest of the debates are this way as we actually get to listen to a canddiate and they don't have a limited time to give a thorough answer to a question. GO PASTOR RICK!! I HOPE FUTURE DEBATES ARE AS ENLIGHTENING AS THIS ONE AND FOLLOW THIS FORMAT - LOVED IT!

Posted by: helen sabin | August 17, 2008 11:40 AM

Great event. Amazes me though that Christians loudly applaud the least Christian candidate all the time. Barack has lived a Christian life - working with churches as a community organizer, giving himself to public service, speaking about faith - while McCain has done little of the above. But just because he gives non-thinking stock-answers that the right wants to hear, he gets the louder applause. So go ahead Saddlebackers, vote for the guy who says "at the moment of conception" and if he's president, 4 years from now you'll have the exact same number of abortions. OR - you can have a candidate like Barack who understands and struggles with the morality of it all and will put forth plans to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

Posted by: Tony | August 17, 2008 11:39 AM

This was the best non confrontational discussion between two presendential candidates ever. Shraight questions demanded straight answers without too much political blabber though political points and goals were revealed. Every voter should see and listen to this display of brillant questions and answers. After this the decision "who will be the right president" will be easy.

Posted by: Herbert Rissel | August 17, 2008 11:37 AM

What Obama may have meant by "above his pay grade" is that he ISN'T the creator of life and no one can presume to know exactly when life begins or ends. That is humility and truth. We can only have a glimpse about life and what it is all about. Anyone who claims they can know everything about life is foolish and living in a hole. John McCain's sharp and direct answers show his ignorance not his knowledge.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 11:36 AM

It's wonderful that an Atheist like Rick Warren can make it big in the Christian church -- congrats, Rick!

Posted by: patriot76 | August 17, 2008 11:35 AM

just what is obama's pay grade? and why can't he give an answer?

Posted by: wut | August 17, 2008 11:29 AM

Mccain did his stump speech never answering a question. What a simpleton he came off as. Obama attempted to actually have a conversation and show some introspective. I think though Obama may be over the heads of the dopy public who thinks Homer Simpson is a real character. All we can do is hope there are enough people with the brains to know what is best for them and the country. But then again as the saying goes, "never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups". Mccain at least knows his base, morons.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 11:29 AM

I can't understand the praise John McCain is getting for his performance during this forum. His "thoughts" were a repeat of every campaign talking point he has.

I am confused about John who has the "guts" to decide he knows when life begins. John McCain thinks he is "God" and knows things other people have been struggling to know for more years than we can count! What arrogance!
McCain can't even control his "man parts" (cheating on his wife) let alone know what controls the creation of life and when it starts.

Posted by: Baffled | August 17, 2008 11:26 AM

Disappointed about the style of form:
Although I found the questions asks were fair and well selected, I believe the style questionable. I believe one should have ask a question at the time to each candidate such that each one has to answer one time a question at first.

Posted by: Martin | August 17, 2008 11:23 AM

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