Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama wins the debate

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After a week of high political theatre and national uncertainty, Barack Obama and John McCain traded jabs Friday night over the financial crisis that is threatening to plunge the United States into severe economic recession. In the first of three scheduled presidential debates ahead of the November election, the two candidates also sparred intensely over the U.S. war in Iraq, with McCain accusing Obama of being willing to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" by withdrawing troops too soon. Obama countered that McCain was "wrong" about the war from the start. Obama went on the attack almost immediately in the 90-minute debate, but McCain also consistently sought to unnerve Obama, at one point mocking the Illinois senator as naive for saying he would negotiate with Iran. People watch the first televised presidential debate between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama Democratic in Los Angeles on September 26, 2008. White House hopefuls Obama and McCain spelled out their economic priorities in the debate opening exchanges devoted to Wall Street's financial crisis. On the financial crisis now dominating the nation's politics, Obama criticized McCain for saying last week the fundamentals of the economy were strong. He cast the Arizona senator as an ideological twin of President George W. Bush. "This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain," Obama said in the opening exchange of the debate at the University of Mississippi. "(It's) the theory that basically said we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most and somehow prosperity will trickle down. It hasn't worked." McCain, addressing the recent string of corporate failures, laid the blame for the crisis at the feet of Wall Street executives who had betrayed the trust of American investors. "Greed is rewarded. Excess is rewarded and corruption . . . is rewarded," said McCain, the Republican nominee. "As president of the United States, people are going to be held accountable in my administration."

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Obama Wins the Debate About Change
July 27, 2007 Obama Wins the Debate About Change By E. J. Dionne. CHICAGO -- A dozen or so young staffers were gathered around a bank of television sets at Barack Obama's vast ...
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GOP Debate: Obama Wins! | The American Prospect
The Republican candidates couldn't stop talking about Barack Obama at their Iowa debate last weekend.
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Who Wins The Health Care Debate? Clinton or Obama? : dBTechno
Washington (dbTechno) - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are heading in for what could be the final day the two square off on Tuesday, as the people of Ohio and Texas go to the ...
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Hillary Deathwatch: Clinton wins the debate, but Obama picks up two ...
The 21 st debate has come and gone, and the general consensus is that Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama behind the lecterns. Her win barely outweighs the announcement of two more ...
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Barack Obama and John McCain prepare for the first debate
Barack Obama and John McCain have gone back to school to prepare for the crucial examination that may decide who wins the election: the first presidential debate this Friday.
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Analysis: First debate produces night of contrasts
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Liberal and Democrat vs. conservative and Republican. Taller, younger and black vs. shorter, older and white. It was a night of contrasts as Barack Obama and John McCain shared a stage in their first of three presidential debates ...
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Source: Associated Press
NewsDateTime: 56 minutes ago

Analysis: Barack Obama wins the debate over the debate
Campaigning's being put on hold by Republican John McCain, who wants to pull out of a debate on Friday. That's something his rival hasn't agreed to do. Democrat Barack Obama believes the parties need to work together. ; ...
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Source: Daily Telegraph
NewsDateTime: 9/25/2008

Live Blogging the Debate: C'mon, fellas, throw some punches!
Game on: Obama wins the handshake battle, lingering a few moments to accentuate his height advantage and mumbles an audible "Good to see you John," with a two-handed grip. This is like the first couple of rounds of a heavyweight fight. A lot of ...
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Source: San Francisco Gate
NewsDateTime: 9/26/2008

Cranky vs. cool
I think Obama more than held his own in this first debate, but if you're looking for a grumpy, sarcastic put-down artist as president, your choice ... ignorance about foreign policy Thursday night will shadow John McCain's legacy, no matter who wins the ...
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Source: Salon
NewsDateTime: 34 minutes ago

Fate of debate decided today?
John McCain and Barack Obama pledged Wednesday night to stop playing political games with the Wall Street crisis. So they're playing a game of political chicken instead. McCain is suspending his presidential campaign this morning to return to ...
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Source: Boston Globe
NewsDateTime: 9/25/2008

Obama remained on the offensive, saying McCain was out of touch with the economic reality of ordinary taxpayers and voters. "Ten days ago, you said the fundamentals of the economy are strong. I just fundamentally disagree," Obama said. It was a debate that almost didn't happen. Obama and McCain met at the University of Mississippi only after a last-minute reversal by the Republican candidate. McCain's campaign had earlier said the senator would not attend debate unless lawmakers in Washington had agreed on legislation authorizing a $700-billion bailout of troubled U.S. banks. With Capitol Hill talks still in limbo early Friday, McCain faced a difficult choice: Remain in Washington and turn the national TV spotlight over to Obama for 90 minutes, or step back from his original pledge. McCain said he decided to debate because there appeared to be progress in negotiations. "As we're here tonight in this debate, we are seeing, for the first time in a long time, Republicans and Democrats together, sitting down, trying to work out a solution to this fiscal crisis that we're in," he said. McCain said the bailout of troubled financial institutions would mean severe belt tightening in Washington, and portrayed Obama as an extreme liberal who couldn't practise fiscal restraint. "It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far on the left," McCain said. Obama acknowledged "there are going to have to be things that have to be deferred and delayed," citing possible cuts to his ambitious plans to pursue new, alternative energy sources. "There may be individual components of it that we can't do," Obama said. The debate quickly turned to foreign policy and national security. Asked to describe the lessons the U.S. should take from the war in Iraq, McCain said it was clear the Bush administration had botched the initial strategy. "You cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict," McCain said. "The war in Iraq was very badly mishandled (at the start)." But he said the U.S. troop surge has dramatically changed the picture. "We are winning in Iraq (and) we will come home with victory and with honour." Obama, who opposed the Iraq invasion from the start, said the war had diverted America's attention from the fight against al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan. "Al-Qaida is resurgent, stronger now than any time since 2001. We took our eye off the ball," Obama said. Later, he added, "bin Laden is still out there. He is not captured. He is not killed." Speaking directly to McCain, Obama said the Republican candidate seemed to believe the war began in 2007 - with the U.S. troop surge - and not in 2003. "At the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong," Obama said. "You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong." McCain shot back: "Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge we are winning in Iraq." Obama repeated his long-held promise to sharply increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan and reminded viewers that McCain once said the U.S. could "muddle through" in the country. "You don't muddle through the central war on terror and you don't muddle through going after bin Laden." Replied McCain: "You might think that with that kind of concern, that Senator Obama would have gone to Afghanistan." Obama visited Afghanistan for the first time in July. The most heated exchange, however, came on U.S. policy towards Iran, particularly whether the next U.S. president should open high-level talks with Tehran's leadership. McCain blasted Obama for saying he was prepared as president to negotiate with any leader, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "It isn't just naive, it's dangerous," McCain said. Obama insisted he reserved "the right as president of the United States to meet with anybody at the time and place of my choosing, if I think it is going to keep America as a country safe." He added: "It doesn't mean you invite them over for tea one day." But McCain mocked Obama as naive. "So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, 'We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth,' and we say, 'No, you're not?' Oh, please." The partisan wrangling that dominated negotiations on the financial rescue package in Washington followed both candidates to the debate in Mississippi. Obama, as he has done throughout the campaign, portrayed McCain as a carbon copy of Bush. "John, it's been your president, who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time, who presided over this increase in spending," he said. "This orgy of spending and enormous deficits you voted for almost all of his budgets. So to stand here after eight years and say that you're going to lead on controlling spending . . . is, you know, kind of hard to swallow." McCain immediately highlighted his repeated clashes with the Bush administration. "I have opposed the president on spending, on climate change, on torture of prisoners, on Guantanamo Bay, on the way that the Iraq War was conducted," he said. "The American people know me very well and that is independent and a maverick of the Senate." The stakes Friday night were enormous for both candidates, but pre-debate polls suggested McCain needed the stronger performance. Five national polls released this week showed Obama leading McCain, with an average 4.2 percentage-point margin of advantage. The campaign remains a dead-heat in the 13 most closely-contested battleground states, with Obama leading in seven and McCain in six. The meeting had historical resonance. Forty-six years ago, riots erupted on the University of Mississippi campus when James Meredith became the school's first black student. On Friday, the school hosted the nation's first black presidential candidate. The second presidential debate is set for Oct. 7 in Nashville, with a third on Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY. The two vice presidential candidates - Senator Joe Biden and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin - will meet Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis.

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