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September 26, 2008

Debate Wrap Up: Obama Passes Commander in Chief Test
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

So what came out of this debate that John McCain tried to evade?  The pressure was on McCain to win and win big.  But he didn’t do that.  Not at all.  Obama won on key issues demonstrating that our foreign policy is more than just about the surge.  McCain frequently reverted back to clichés calling his opponent naïve and lacking judgment.  But those accusations weren’t actually substantiated by what happened.  Obama actually looked more presidential while McCain often sounded condescending or angry.

Moreover, McCain also failed to show how he would be any different than George Bush on any of the key issues: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran.  It was just more of the same.

1.    On Iran McCain continues to try and change the fact that his own advisor Henry Kissinger came out in favor of the Obama approach. 

2.     On spending McCain promised to cut earmarks of $18 billion and cure our budgetary woes through cutting spending.  Unfortunately, his policies including $120 billion a year in Iraq and $175 billion on growing the military dwarf that.

3.    On Iraq.  McCain continues to obsess about the surge but misses the broader point of strategy over tactics and the need to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan where the greatest threat is from.

4.    McCain called Pakistan a failed state prior to 1998.  That would have been pretty disturbing if it were true considering Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

5.    On Afghanistan and Pakistan it is clear that John McCain has a long record of completely ignoring the war in Afghanistan and the Al Qaeda safehaven in Pakistan that our intelligence community and military leaders believe presents the greatest direct danger to the United States.

6.    On Russia McCain touted the wisdom of his own reckless response – a response criticized by five secretaries of state including Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker and Colin Powell. 

7.    McCain repeatedly claimed that he could work effectively with our allies.  But has a long history of alienating them and won’t even talk with Spain

8.    McCain had issues with a number of foreign leaders names stumbling over Ahmadinejad’s name and calling the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari by the wrong name


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Well done Max,Patrick and Ilan!! How Pat Buchanan can say that McCain won that debate is a joke, he must be out of his mind. Oh yeah, Pat's a Repub lol. Obama looked way more presidential and of course sane!

Ummm.... it's "Commander IN Chief" not "Commander & Chief."

Obama won this debate, although McCain made one good point: the surge strategy Obama condemns in Iraq is presumably the strategy he would endorse in Afghanistan, which is larger, more populous, less wealthy, and less lacking in state capacity than Iraq.

What kills me is that Obama had the chance to turn Lehr's opening quote from Eisenhower and McCain's invocation of Ike to Obama's point that the Iraq war is costing us valuable domestic investment by invoking Ike's "Cross of Iron" speech.

1. On Iran McCain continues to try and change the fact that his own advisor Henry Kissinger came out in favor of the Obama approach.

No, Obama had said during the primaries that he, as president, would meet with any leader without preconditions. Obama back-tracked later in the campaign, and no longer committed to direct presidential contacts: see this story. In tonight's debate, he also qualified his commitment to require for preparatory talks. This is not what he said during the primary -- he committed then to direct leader-to-leader talks without preconditions.

There was nothing wrong with his original statement. He could, as president, deliver the US position -- no Iranian nukes -- to Iran's president or supreme leader and hear their arguments. No negotiations or bargaining would take place; no "agreement" would result from the meeting. This would simply be top-level declarations of intent. This would not resolve the dispute, but it would allow the US to get access to Iranian intentions -- do they really want a nuclear arsenal, or is the potential arsenal a bargaining chip?

I thank you for all of your comments Mr. Goldenberg, I would just like to add a couple more observations.

Tonight Obama said just ten days ago McCain was talking about how our economy is fine. This is in line with the view of the Bush Administration and shows very poor judgement. This should be mentioned in the post debate discussion.

Also McCain toward the end of the debate repeated Obama wasn't experienced enough to run the country. Pulling the experience card is way out of line given his running mate Palin is just a heart beat away from being President.

"Commander and Chief"???????????? Did you even go to school? It's "Commander-in-Chief", nitwit.

Obama looked like a high school, kid. Afterward Henry Kissinger issued a Press Release saying Obama was dangerously uninformed about preconditions, among many other things.

It seems to me that nobody has commented on the gafffe that McCain made when he stated that Reagan made no effort to talk to Brezhnev since these is written evidence that Reagan wanted some sort of dialoge with the Soviet leadership even before Gorbavhev's rise to power.

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