LAKE FOREST, California (CNN) - Asked whether he believes in merit pay for teachers, McCain said yes - and let's find the bad teachers other jobs. The crowd loved it.
Warren pointed out to the staccato McCain - who was reeling off short, direct responses - that he was answering the questions so quickly he might face a few more (or, as Warren called it, "the lightning bonus round.")
Like Obama, McCain uses the "define rich" question to talk about taxes - where there is a very real, very big difference between the two.
LAKE FOREST, California (CNN) - Huge applause when John McCain answers the question Barack Obama wouldn't: when does a baby get human rights? McCain is clear: from the moment of conception.
McCain hints at approval for civil unions - but doesn't go that far, just says his opposition to same-sex marriage doesn't mean people couldn't "enter into agreements." Obama flat-out supported the idea.
McCain agrees with Obama that evil exists in the world. But these two men are so different - Obama is lyrical. McCain is staccato.
(CNN) - Asked to define his stands on abortion and gay marriage, McCain is sending a message to evangelicals: I am one of you.
Among evangelicals, judges are the biggest issue - the source of a great deal of their anger and disappointment. Another message from McCain: I understand.
But on the issue of stem cells, he parts ways with this voting bloc - and his answer there is a careful one. He knows he's on the wrong side of this issue for many of them.
His answers are perhaps not as intellectually nimble as Obama's, but they come across as clearer, sharper - he's taking more of a tough, unambiguous stand on these issues.
LAKE FOREST, California (CNN) - McCain seems to be doing well if you judge by the crowd. Asked about his most gut-wrenching decision, he talked about refusing the Viet Cong's offer to release him from captivity out of order (the one who had been there the longest is supposed to be released first.) McCain, offered release because he was the son of an Admiral, said no. He just called it the most gut-wrenching but best decision he ever made.
(CNN) - John McCain again relates a very dramatic and very personal story of his captivity - again emphasizing his personal sacrifice and experience, the basis of his appeal.
(CNN) - This is what voters like most about McCain: his personal story. McCain's appeal in this campaign is primary personal, not political, and he's seizing the chance to relate his personal story, his time as a prisoner of war.
(CNN) - John McCain used the opportunity to bring up one of his big campaign issues – oil drilling. Rick Warren gave him an opening, and he took it.
LAKE FOREST, California (CNN) - Obama wraps up. In all, he often slipped into stump speech material, but overall, but some questions brought some things I've never heard. He said he would not have appointed Clarence Thomas, basically because he thinks Thomas wasn't up to the job at the time.
This seemed like a very pro-Obama crowd to me, but mccain just walked on stage and people were very enthusiastic in the welcome. Obama and McCain shake hands and whisper something to each other.
Exit Obama... now for ACT 2.
(CNN) - Interesting that McCain brought up the issue of his own personal failings, in light of the recent John Edwards scandal. He never quite acknowledges it, but he is the one who mentioned it.
(CNN) - In all these questions about gay marriage and stem cells and abortion, Barack Obama is coming across as respectful of those with a different opinion, without necessarily agreeing with them.
His campaign has been built around the idea of unity and building bridges. He’s also going back to where he started: least among you. And he’s stressing the need to make sacrifices. Those are the big three themes of Obama’s comments. Obama, Rick Warren, and I think John McCain are trying to talk about religion in ways that don’t divide people.