Question 1: Where do you stand on the bailout plan?
Obama: Didn’t really answer the question specifically, though could have if he had said that if the bailout plan included his provisions, then he would support it.
McCain: First, mentioned, as a seeming emotional ploy, that Sen. Kennedy was in the hospital, when it was announced over an hour ago that he had already been released. Reiterates some of the “panic” points from Bush’s speech on Wednesday.
Lehrer pushes the issue that neither of them answered his question.
McCain: Says “Sure,” he’ll vote for the bailout plan.
During the ensuing “discussion,” the candidates each utilize the already overused catchphrase incorporating a contrast between Wall Street and Main Street.
Question 2: Lehrer asks a follow-up question about what the candidates would specifically do to “fix” the economy.
McCain attempts a joke – used before – about studying DNA in bears. He then scrambles to find recovery talking points and says that “you will know [the] names” of corporate greedsters. [eyes roll]
Obama discusses a tax cut plan for 95% of Americans. Says that McCain wants to continue Bush’s unwise spending policies.
McCain says Obama cut his earmarks only after he began to run for President.
Obama interupts McCain as McCain starts to rail about his exorbitant spending practices and policies. Says that eliminating earmarks alone will not fix the current situation.
Lehrer asks McCain to address Obama’s statement about McCain’s tax plan.
McCain gives the impression that he would like to lower the business tax rate from 35% to 11%, as they have in Ireland (state #51?). McCain injects his first “my friend” into this debate, as he is looking directly at Lehrer. Wants to know what Obama’s definition of rich is (could it be anyone earning more than 400,000 dollars?).
The styles of the debate at this early stage:
Obama slings some mud, but struggles to inject reasonable explanations to questions. McCain’s seeming strong suit is to sling larger globs of mud at Obama. Obama is thus prevented from speaking substantively, as he busies himself with defensive remarks or counter-attacks.
Question 3: Lehrer asks Obama what he will have to cut from his spending plan. Very good and fair question, given the current economic situation, and the pending bailout costs.
Obama prioritizes building infrastructure and the electrical grid. Suggests eliminating programs that do not work – does not mention these specifically.
McCain mentions eliminating ethanol subsidies. Doing away with cost-plus contracts.
Lehrer presses them to ANSWER THE QUESTION.
Obama says he does not want to give up progressive programs, but mentions concept of streamlining programs. Google for Government mentioned.
Lehrer halts the proceedings and says WE NEED TO KNOW what big things the candidates would do.
McCain suggests a spending freeze.
Obama says that is using a hatchet when you should be using a scalpel. Also says that ending the Iraq war would free up plenty of money.
McCain says that Obama opposes re-processing of spent nuclear fuel.
Lehrer pleads for an answer AGAIN.
Obama says yes, indeed, the financial patterns are going to be seriously affected. Less tax revenue expected and therfore less spending will be allowed. Mentions that priorities are necessary, and wants to be sure that health care is a priority, and not scrapped in this process.
McCain says – again – that Obama has $800 million in new spending proposals.
McCain just referred to himself as a maverick of the Senate, and that he has a running mate who is a maverick, too. Oh, and he also mentioned – another recycled sound bite – that he wasn’t voted Miss Congeniality in the Senate.
No more typing. I’m going to listen more closely to see if something is really being said.