Aug 16, 2008

Debate! Debate! 2 (sort of)

Now McCain

1. Who are the three wisest people you know?

Gen. David Petraeus - one of the great leaders of American history. John Lewis. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay (and my vice presidential pick?)

2. What has been your greatest moral failure? And the greatest moral failure of America?

My greatest moral failure was my first marriage. America's greatest moral failure is that we haven't always devoted ourselves to causes that are greater than our self interest.

3. When did you lead on an issue against your party's best interest?

Climate change, out of control spending, torture... Voting against sending troops to Beirut early in my career.

4. What is your biggest flip flop?

Offshore drilling. We have to drill now!

5. What's the most gut-wrenching decision you had to make?

In a prison camp in Vietnam, I said no when offered early release. Toughest decision but also the one I'm most happy about.

6. What does it mean for you to believe in Christ?

Means I'm saved and forgiven. Describes the torture he received in Vietnam and the cross drawn in the dirt on Xmas Day.

7. When does a baby have human rights?

At the moment of conception. I will be a pro-life president and this administration will have pro-life policies.

8. Define marriage?

A union between a man and a woman. (Followup, was Supreme Court of California wrong on gay marriage?) I think they were wrong. We should preserve the unique status of marriage. If a federal court decides Arizona has to honor California's decision, I would support a constitutional amendment.

9. Favor or oppose research of embryonic stem cells?

I have come down on the side of stem cell research.

10. Does evil exist? Should we ignore, negotiate, contain or defeat?

Defeat it... Repeats his pledge to get Osama bin Laden... We are facing the transcendent challenge of the 21st century, radical Islamic fundamentalism... The central battle ground is Iraq.

11. Which existing Supreme Court justices would you not have nominated?

Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter and Stephens. No legislating from the bench.

12. Should faith-based organizations have to follow civil rights laws to get federal funds?

Absolutely not.

13. Merit pay for teachers?

Yes, yes and find bad teachers another line of work. Home schools, charter schools and vouchers.

14. Define rich?

A home, a good job and an education. I want everybody to get rich. I don't believe in class warfare or the redistribution of wealth... And our best days are ahead of us.

15. When does the right of privacy and national security collide? And which takes precedence? (A question Obama didn't get. Warren inexplicably says it was because of time issues.)

We must preserve the right of our citizens as much as possible - including a secret ballot for unions. There is a constant tension and we need to stay on top of it because of changes in technology.

16. What cause is worth dying for?

Freedom. Our national security. We can't right every wrong, but we can be a beacon of hope and liberty. Our most precious asset is American blood.

17. Do you respond to genocide?

Our obligation is to stop genocide wherever we can. We have to do "more" in Darfur.

(Side question on Georgia crisis, Warren gives McCain much latitude.)

Killings, murder, villages being burned. One of the earliest Christian nations... We have to not only bring about cease fire and Russia must respect entire territorial integrity of Georgia. Have to worry about energy pipelines there as well.

18. How do we end religious persecution in foreign lands?

The bully pulpit. We are an example to the world and we are privileged and I know what it's like to be without it.

19. Would commit to an emergency plan for the world's 148 million orphans?

We have to make it easier to adopt in this country. And we adopted a girl who was not expected to live and she's now 17.

20. Why do you want to be president?

I believe America's greatest days are ahead. I also believe we face great challenges. I want to make sure everyone agrees this is a time to come together. America wants hope and optimism. I'll always put my country first.

21. What do you say to people who say I should ask you these questions in a church?

I'm happy to be here. Judeo-Christian values. I'm honored to be here.

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