I'll be liveblogging the debate, in this thread, tonight at 9pm ET. Join me and share your impressions of both candidates as the evening progresses.
Do you have predictions or requests of your own?
~~ The Debate Begins Now ~~
2 minutes to answer... the questions haven't been shared or cleared by anyone. The audience promise to remain silent (good thing my family is not there.)
IKE "we must achieve both security and solvency..." at this moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan.
Obama: Thanks etc... we are at a defining moment in our history, two wars, worst financial crisis since great depression...those of you on main st have been struggling for awhile. You're wondering how its going to effect me, my job, my house, my ability send kids to college. Move swiftly and wisely - protect taxpayers.
err missed #1
tax payers put money at risk, have the possibilty of getting it back.
no money will pad CEO bank accounts.
Policy started by Bush and supported by McCain.
McCain: Senator Kennedy in the hospital, thanks etc... I've been not feeling too great about things lately and so have Americans but I'm feeling better now. First time GOP and DEms sitting together trying to work out a solution. We're not talking about failure of Wall Street we're talking about failures on Main St. People will lose jobs, credit and home if we don't fix this. The plan has to have transparency, accountability - a package with a number of essential elements in it. I met with the House Reps and they decided they would be part of the solution to this problem. This isn't the beginning of the end, this is the end of the beginning (err? Huh?) - eliminate dependence on foreign oil.
Lehrer is Obama in favor? O: I haven't seen the languauge but am hopeful. The question we have to ask is yes we have to solve short term and we have to intervene but how is it we shredded regulations?
Lehrer to McCain - are you going to vote for the plan? M- I hope so. I warned about Freddie and Fannie. IKE went into his room and wrote 2 letters - one was congratulations to military and allies second was resignation for the failure. Somehow we've lost that accountability. Greed is now rewarded, corruption rewarded. As president, people will be held accountable.
O: we need responsibility but not just in crisis.
Lehrer determined to get the two to talk to each other (neither seems comfortable with that.)
O: we haven't been paying attention to people, tax policies are a problem.
McCain: We have to fix the system, we have fund. problems. People are paying the price for excess and greed. We have a long way to go, consolidation of agencies that weren't doing their job. I have fund. belief in the goodness & strength in the American worker. Still greatest producer. We have to get through these times. I still believe under the right leadership our best days are ahead of us.
Lehrer - are there fundamental differences between McCain approach and Obama's approach?
M: we have to get spending in washington under control. largest increase in government. we republicans came to power to change government. earmarking is gateway drug to out of control spending and corruption. we spent 3 mllion to study DNA of bears, is that criminal? that was our taxpayer money. as president I will assure you and I will veto every spending bill that comes across my desk. Sen Obama has asked for 932 mlli pork barrel spending. citizens of government waste. That's not how to reign in runaway spending. that's a fund diff.
O: mccain right earmarks have been abused. he's also right lobbyists and special interests intro this but not with me. Mc proposing 300 billion to wealthiest citizens and companies. CEOS of fortune 500 get tax breaks leaving Americans out. we have to grow economy from bottom up. call for tax cuts for 95% of Americans. Giving them a little extra to buy computers and gas.
Mc: O didn't cancel earmarks til after he started his run for president. O didn't mention along with tax cuts he's proposing new spending on new programs. that's a fund diff. I want to cut spending and keep taxes low.
(I'm having trouble hearing Obama - gotta get the kid to shush when Senator Obama speaks.)
O: what I can tell the American people 95% will get tax cut - biz taxes on paper are high, the problem is there are so many loopholes, often with mccain support, we often see our biz pay the lowest tax rate in the world. People working every day not giving tax cut. You don't want to close the loopholes, you want to give tax cut over the loopholes. mc wants 5K health credit, what he doesn't tell you is he wants to tax health benefits. your employer now has to pay taxes on that. if you lose your healthcare through employer you have to go on the market to buy it.
Mc: this is classic example of walking walk and talk talk - we had energy bill festooned with ornaments all kinds of breaks for oil company. I voted against, Obama vote for it. look at our records. who fought against earmarks? who tried to keep spending under control? who believes in tax system fair? give americans choice, two brackets. choose. look at the record. O has shifted on a number of occasions.
O: Under your tax plan oil companies get tax breaks. we'd love to lower them for everyone but if we give oil companies those who won't get them. I was opposed to those tax breaks, we have energy bill and you're opposed because it would strip tax breaks.
Lehrer - financial rescue - Whatever rescue plan comes about, what are you going to have to give up in terms of priorities as a result of paying for the rescue.
O: Delay a range of things. we don't know what our rev will be. hard to anticipate. we have to have energy independence. We have to fix healthcare. We have to make sure we're competing in education in math and science, college affordable. I also think we have to rebuild infrastructure.
Mc: we have to cut spending. government completely out of control. we need to examine every agency. oppose ethanol subsidies. we have to do away with cost plus contracts in defense. understand defense spending is important but we have to get the over-runs under control. I know how to do this, I've been involved for years. find out who is doing their job and keep, eliminate those who aren't.
Lehrer: neither are suggesting major changes as result of bailout
O: there are things that have to be delayed (Lehrer like what) invest in energy. big project (L: not willing to give it up) we've got to make some cuts. we might not be able to do it all, big project. we have to change the culture.
L: what I'm trying to get at is how this is going to change ...
M: spending freeze with exceptions of veterans, national defense, vital issues.
O: You're using hatchet when you need a scalpel. increase early childhood education. it doesn't make sense to freeze. spending 10bil in Iraq when they have a surplus. we've got to bring war to close.
M: we're sending money overseas to countries that don't like us. we have to have off shore drilling and nuclear power. we can create 700K jobs by constructing nuclear power plants.
L: asking the same question - acknowledge this is going to effect how you rule the country?
O: no doubt it will effect our budget. even if we get all 7mil back, but in the short term there's an outlay and we may not see it for awhile, we can expect less tax rev. I'm going to have to make tough decisions but we have to know what our values are. If we give tax cuts to people who don't need them and leave out healthcare, we've made a bad decision.
M: don't want to hand healthcare to fed govt. I want families to make decisions not fed govt. we have to cut spending. I would suggest O cancel some of those new spending programs. healthy economy with low taxes is the best recipe for eventually having our economy recovery. spending restraint has to be part of that. we're in trouble today because it's out of control.
L: much has been said about lessons of vietname what are the lessons of Iraq.
M: You can't have a failed strategy that will cause you to lose a conflict. Our initial success and then the war was badly mishandled. I said we have to change this strategy. And I fought for that and finally we came up with a strat that has succeeded and we are winning. we will come home with victory and honor.
O: this is an area where we have fund difference, should we have gone in the first place. I stood up and opposed it. We hadn't finished Afghanistan. As a consequence, I thought it would be a distraction. We spent 600Bil soon trillion we've lost 4K lives and 30K wounded. We took our eye off the ball, not to mention we're still spending 10bil a month when they have a surplus. We're borrowing money from overseas to fund basics, we shouldn't hesitate to use military force but we have to use our military wisely but we didn't in iraq.
M: next president has to decide how we leave and when we leave and what we leave behind. O said surge wouldn't work. Then he said it exceeded expectations. Didn't go to Iraq. Didn't ask to meet Petraeus.
O: I'm proud of selecting Biden for VP. MC is right, violence reduced. They've done a brilliant job as has had Petraeus. That was tactic to contain mismanagement of this war. John you were wrong...
Mc: O doesn't understand difference between tactic and strategy. The troops said "Let us win we don't want our kids coming back here" - social and economic progress and a strategy of going in, clearing holding and the people align with you and inform on the bad guys - bring peace and prosperity. Same strategy will be employed in Afghanistan. O voted to cut funds to troops
O: Mc opposed funding for troops in leg that has time table. I opposed funding for mission giving a time table. Our difference was on the time table not the funding. We have seen Afghanistan worsen and deteriorate. we need more resources there. 16 months - leave Iraq, move to Afghanistan.
Mc: Mullins suggests O plan is dangerous.
O: Not true.
Mc: Petraeus says successes are fragile and if we set an original date for withdrawal...
L: Afghanistan - do you think more US troops should be sent, how many when?
O: Yes, I've been saying that. Situation getting worse. We're seeing major offensives taking place - attacking our troops. We can't separate Afgh from Iraq. Send 2-3 brigades to Afgh. we have 4xs more troops in Iraq and they had nothing to do with 9/11. Al Qaeda greatest threat to US.
Mc: I won't repeat the mistake I regret enormously, we washed our hands of the region and the result was Al qaeda and taliban. we can't ignore those lessons. Aiding pakistan, if you're going to aim a gun at someone you better be prepared to pull the trigger. I'm not willing to do that to pakistan and cut off aid. we've got to get the support of the people of Pakistan. You don't say that out loud if you have to do things you have to do things you work with the Paki govt. The new pres has his hands full. This area hasn't been governed since Alexander the great.
O: If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.
Mc: Pakistan failed state, everyone knew. My record in 83 when I was a new congressman, Regan wanted to send marines into lebanon and I voted against it. I was afraid they couldn't make peace in that place. then we had gulf war, I supported that. I supported going into bosnia, it was the right thing to do. I supported Kosovo. I opposed Somalia. I have a record.
Lehrer: what is your reading of your threat from Iran
Mc: If Iran acquires nuclear weapons its a threat to Israel and the region. We can't allow a second holocaust. I've proposed, had conversations, about forming league of democracies. Russians preventing action in UN security council. We could impose meaningful sanctions that could have beneficial effect, they have lousy govt so economy is lousy. Together with allies we can affect Iranian behavior.
O: I believe rep guard of Iran is terrorist organization. The single thing that has strengthened Iran is the war in Iraq. Iran's influence has grown. Our policy over 8 years haven't worked. We can't tolerate nuclear Iran. Not only would it threaten Israel it would create arms race in east. We need tougher sanctions. I don't agree we're going to do that without Russia etc. We're also going to have to engage in tough direct diplomacy.
M: O said twice he'd sit down Castro etc.. without pre-conditions.
Lehrer: Russia - how do you see the relationship with russia? competitor enemy partner?
O: given the last several weeks and months our approach has to be evaluated because an aggressive russia is a threat to the peace and stability in the region.
Mc: I was interested in Os reaction to the russians against georgia "both sides oughta show restraint" - naivety. I looked into Putin's eyes and saw KGB. I don't think we're going back to the cold war but we need to bolster our friends and allies. That had everything to do with energy. We want to work with the russians but we have every right to expect them to behave.
(Jim get control of your boys!)
L: What do you think the likelihood that there would be another 9/11 attack.
M: I think it's less than it was after 9/11 = we have a safer nation but are a long way from safe. after 9/11 Lieberman and I decided we needed a commission to investigate, find out what happened and fix it. We were stymied until families of 9/11 came to washington and then we got that legislation passed. We've gotten most reforms recommended by that commission passed.
O: I think we are safer in some ways. billions of dollars in airport security. we still have a long way to go. hardening chemical sites. haven't done enough in terms of transit and ports. biggest threat isn't nuclear missile, it's in a suitcase. biggest threat is terrorist getting nuclear weapons.
M: Missile defense has to be proven? It wasn't proven in SDI. O still doesn't get it. If we fail in Iraq it encourage Al Qaeda.
O: Last 8 years, this admin (and Mccain) solely focused on Iraq. All resources have gone. Bin Laden still there, Al Qaeda resurg. We've weakened our capacity to show power around the world.
M: I've been involved in every national security threat we've experienced. Sen Obama doesn't have the experience.
Thank you and goodnight.
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