It's finally here...the 3rd and final debate; hosted by yet another mainstream-media liberal...this time, Bob Schieffer. You'd think that a "Commission on Presidential Debates ", with one of two c0-chairs who happens to be a former Chairman of the Republican Party, could scrounge up at least ONE more conservative - or heck, even moderate - "journalist" to moderate these things, but alas...
9:00: 1st off: Why is your plan (economic) better than his? McCain: "Americans are hurting...angry...every reason to be angry"...he goes straight to Fanny and Freddie (this is good)...caused the market to collapse...let's take 300b of the 700b and dedicate it to homeownership/mortgages..."homeowners first". Obama: O's looking straight at the camera...Mac didn't...that's different. "Economy was weak before this crisis"...his tax cut threshhold is down to $200,000 now...from $250,000 previously... McCain's plan could be a giveaway to banks.
Mac goes to "the Plumber"...points out how O's plan doesn't help him...puts him in a higher bracket... Bambi goes back to his 95% rhetoric. McCain brings up O's comment about "spreading the wealth"...."I want Joe the Plumber to spread the wealth around"....it's all "class warfare", (good!) "Why would you want to increase anyone's taxes right now?" Bambi goes back to the 95% again, (like a favorite blanket).
Mac: "Business taxes in America are second highest in the world" (YES!)
On to the deficit: Aren't you both ignoring reality w/your spending proposals...what will you cut back on?
Bambi: the bailout will get our money back! (yeah, right) Bob asks for specifics...Bambi says he'll "get to that". "programs that don't work, we should cut". OK, when's the last time you ever heard a liberal call for cutting a program because it didn't work? As Reagan said, programs are the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this Earth.
Mac: govt. spending is out of control. Calls for an across the board spending freeze...a "hatchet first and then a scalpal". I'll say this, McCain is more energetic and on his game tonight...so far.
McCain tells Obama "I'm not President Bush...you want to run against him, you should have run four years ago." Nice. Says Bambi voted for more spending than Bush proposed....look at the records. Says Barry hasn't opposed his party...but "I've got the scars to prove that I have".
9:24: Schieff wants to know why the campaign has turned nasty...(why are you talking bad about each other!!?? Please.)
Mac: this has been a tough campaign. O never resonded to the request for town hall meetings. Brings up John Lewis' comments that he's associated w/racists and church bombings. Tells O "you didn't repudiate those remarks". O has spent more money on negative ads than any campaign in history. O didn't keep his word on public financing. "you didn't tell the American people the truth".
He's getting in some good throws.
Bambi: MSM polls show people "think" McCain is running a negative campaign. Tries to deflect from McCain's "feelings" about Lewis' comments...let's talk about issues people care about.
Mac: "you're runing ads that say I oppose stem cell research; I don't"... Notes he didn't hear a repudiation of Lewis. Barry: wants to move back to issues... (I bet). "uh..." "ummm". Again...runs back to issues....
McCain brings up Ayers and ACORN...all this needs to be examined...says ACORN is on the verge of bringing about the biggest election fraud in history.
Bambi tries to explain away Ayers...(he was in respectable company!)...Ayers is not involved in my campaign. W/respect to ACORN...it's a "community organization"...it had nothing to do with us...I represented them along w/the Justice Dept. to get the Motor/Voter law in place in Illinois.
9:36: Why would the country be better off if your running mate became President...(Schieff's in the tank)...
Barry: Joe's never forgot where he came from...knows what's important to American people. Kind of weak.
Mac: Americans know she's a roll model to women...she's a reformer...took on her own party establishment...given money back to taxpayers...cut govt...experience on energy policy. Time we had that breath of fresh air... Strong.
Schieff follows up asking O if he thinks "she's qualified to be President". (IN THE TANK).
"Do you think Biden is qualified"...yes, but is judgement is wrong. (good answer...go to judgement). Goes back to spending...points out Barry's proposing 800 bil in "new" spending... Schieff get's Barry out...moves to energy.
How much can we reduce oil imports in first term? Mac: we can do it by building 45 new nuclear power plants now... We do it with subs... Need wind, solar, tide, clean-coal, nuclear... We can eliminate our dependence on those countries that harm our national security. Bambi: in ten years, we can reduce dependence so that we no longer import from middle-east and Chavez... (he's making good camera contact again...doing that better than McCain...except when McCain's throwing him off w/punches).
Off into a conversation about free trade.... Mac says he's a free trader...and Bambi doesn't understand it. (Mac got the better of that one). Bambi goes back to energy...have to hold auto-makers accountable to build better cars (yawn)
McCain points out that Bambi doesn't want a free trade agreement w/Columbia, but is willing to sit down for negotiations w/our enemies w/out preconditions.
New topic: health care... Would either of you favor controlling costs over coverage... Barry: we've got to do both. You can keep your plan...we want to cut costs...(talking to the camera again)...let everyone buy into the same plan congress has...McCain: it's the costs that are inflicting the pain. Need to put records online...need to have more community clinics...fight obesity...give every family a $5,000 refundable tax credit. Tells Joe the Plumber that O's plan will fine you if you don't go w/his plan...want's to know what the fine will be. (he's looking at the camera...) Says O's plan will lead to a single payer. O says his fine is "zero". Fine is only for those "that can afford it". (huh?)
Bambi's happy to be talking about health care instead of ACORN/Ayers, etc...
Mac says that, according to Bambi's plan..."Joe, you're rich. Congratulations!". (ZING) McCain calls O "Senator Government"...by mistake? Points out that Dems have been in charge of Congress last two years. Points out that Bambi always wants the government making the decisions...
Next: Judges: could either of you nominate someone who disagrees on Roe-v-Wade...
McCain: would you nominate someone who opposes your position. Mac says he doesn't believe in litmus tests...base it on qualifications...Hit's Barry on judges...points out he didn't join the "gang of 14" (ugh)...you didn't support Roberts and Alito...I supporter Ginsburgh (ugh)...I will consider anyone in their qualifications...
Bambi: points out that one of them will be making one or more picks to the court...and Roe hangs in the balance... Good people on both sides can disagree on abortion. I'll look for guys who have the intellect...and a sense of what real folks are going through.
McCain points out we've got to change the culture of America. Points out that O voted against law to protect infants that survived abortions. (ZING!) Voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion... (!!) Barry says those bills didn't provide exceptions for the "health of the mother", (which everyone knows is a loop-hole big enough to drive a truck through). And McCain comes back and POINTS THAT OUT. Nice.
Schieff get's Barry out by moving on...
Just realized McCain's not saying "my friends" tonight...
Next, eduction: we spend more on education...but it's not working.
Barry: debate is more money or reform...says we "need both", (what liberal DOESN'T want more money...) Must recruit a generation of new teachers. Rambles into community service. Then goes to parents need more responsibility...smartest thing he's said.
McCain: it's the civil rights issue of the 21st century. What is the advantage in a low income area of going to a failing school. Need charter schools...promote good teachers...find bad teachers another line of work...send kids to the school of our choice. (he's couching this in rhetoric of help for lower income folks, which is the right tack).
Barry: Too many unfunded mandates...focus on early childhood educatiion and higher teacher pay. Says he and Mac agree on charter schools and fostering competition.
McCain brings up voucher program in DC school system. "Spending more money isn't always the answer". (yes!) Says any time we want to reform those programs rather than just spend more money, Dems don't want to.
This is by far McCain's best debate performance. He's delivered well, and touched on the right issues and in the right way. I hate to say I'm surprised, but I am...plessantly so.
McCain: America needs a new direction...can't be satisfied w/last eight years. I've got a record of reform. Says it comes down to trust. I've been honored to serve all my life, and hope you'll give me the opportunity to again.
Barry: Biggest risk we could take right now is do the same as we've done for the last eight years...got to invest in the American people again...in tax cuts for middle class...I'll work every day on your behalf and on the behalf of the future of our children.
All right, the talking's over...now everyone needs to get to work.