August 16th, 2008
09:31 PM ET
6 years ago

Crowley: McCain tackles a question Obama dodged

McCain was direct where Obama went for subtlety.

McCain was direct where Obama went for subtlety.

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.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Brian, Pittsbrugh

    These people just like direct answers, they don't care if it's wrong or right. And in McCain's case, most of his answers are WRONG. But he's 'sticking to his guns' about it, like another political failure we know.

    August 17, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. DCV

    Normally I can listen to Obama and he make adequate sense, not tonight. His rambling, stuttering and clamoring for words must have left his campaign staff rushing out to begin damage control. McCain, whom sometimes lacks eloquence hit it out of the park tonight! His anecdotes were timely and revealed a side of the man I'd never heard before. I realized for the first time Hillary would probably have been the better Democratic nominee. Experience does matter, Obama had better make up with the first Lady and make her his running mate to fill in for his noticable lack of experience.

    August 17, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Todd Winters

    If McCain is president he will try to overturn Roe vs Wade. Hope all you right wingers are up for adopting these babies you are trying to so hard to save.

    August 17, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. aware

    Obama is pro-abortion to the extreme. No wonder he evaded that question. I thought Obama would do better in this format but he just can't give a straight answer!

    And, McCain did much better than I expected. He was awesome – straight forward but humble and personal! McCain is one authentic candidate!

    McCain 08! 🙂

    August 17, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. Obama Supporter

    I think in tonights conversation with both candidates that Obama came
    across as a smart thinking kind of president, one that listens and then acts – vrs. McCain who seemed very arrogant (like Bush) and stubborn on the issues. In todays world that seems to be getting scarier by the minute Obama is someone I would feel safe with – I can trust him not to over react like I think McCain might do. Obama answered the questions with a lot of heart and humility, how refreshing is that to see! I do think McCain did better than I've ever heard him – but so fast with opinions and so conservative – Obama came across as someone who would give issues great thought and balance.

    August 17, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Lois

    I think Obama did great. I am an Obama supporter but I had my worries. Tonight put those worries away. He did not pander to the audience or Pastor Rick. I am a new Christian .... recently baptized in the Pentecostal Faith and I like that Obama answered the questions even when the answers were unpopular. I also like the response to the rich question... it is true NO ONE likes to pay taxes but our country is in a mess and we have to make scarifies. It will be hard but it has to be done. America needs to (an old saying) tighten their belt. As for McCain after the second POW story I fell asleep so I really can't comment to much on how he did

    August 17, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. Olusegun Ogunsanya

    I thought Obama and McCain did well. They both played to their respective audiences.

    August 17, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. Dr. Evil

    McCain resorted to the Hillary Clinton playbook on stage tonight. He addressed the audience, not Rick Warren, when asked a question. And he used personal anecdotes rather than broad general policy statements to achieve rapport and identity with the audience. He was therefore more effective rhetorically than Obama in appealing to the audience. In this debate I hope that Obama learns McCain's rhetorical lessons. On the abortion issue, for instance, Obama needs to frame the only true answer to the question on when does a baby's life begins: It 's life begins before conception, with the life of the mother, and that is why an abortion throughout history and in widely different cultures never has been considered the same as homicide. McCain 's just another George Bush. For instance, his responses to most problems that this country faces, including alternative energy solutions, turn out only to be motivated by military considerations. Every problem that McCain addresses has a national security dimension(He even resembles the Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers films starring Michael Myers as Dr. Evil). At least his hero Teddy Roosevelt, a brilliant writer like Obama, had ideas about conservation and nature having nothing to do with military matters. McCain represents a militarism no true Christian would support because militarism means the end of democracy and the Western values that McCain says he wishes to protect. Who goes up must come down.

    August 17, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  9. Xavier

    It ain't that McCain isnt a good person. Its just that at this point in the history of our country, he is the wrong man of the job of being president. Times are changing, and McCain isnt. As much as some people might want it to be the 1950's, or 1980's, those days are gone. It is time for the new leaders of our country to stand up and begin to shape our future by looking foward, and not looking back.

    August 17, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  10. Kate/MA

    Is it just me or is anyone else starting to get the feeling that some of the CNN reporters are showing their true political feelings in their reporting? I was under the impression they are not supposed to do so. So much for the "Greatest political team on television" impartiality.

    As I have said in my other comments, I think Obama was honest and forthright in his answers. He showed great consideration of each question before giving his thoughtful answers.

    I cannot say the same for McCain. His flip answers showed no consideration and thoughtfulness on anything. His pontificating on his POW situation was sickening. We've all heard about that before and it is time he hung it up. Besides, he doesn't tell everything about this time in his life. What about the confession he signed???

    August 17, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. zeia

    What I find interesting is that McCain did not say exactly what his moral failure was. Why was his first marriage a failure…tell the people John…lets see what those evan. folks would say if they knew why it really failed…They would castigate Bill C and the other John but you are guilty of similar!!!!!

    August 17, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. aware

    Candy you should say that McCain is straight forward but Obama can't give a straight answer! 🙂

    Hillary was right all along- Obama will lose!

    Former Democrat for McCain 08!

    August 17, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  13. Barb

    'Why is the conservative party trying to make McCain something he has not admitted to. McCain talks about his faith – faith in what? He says God-which God. His example of Christianity clearly showed that the guard was a Christian-it did not show that McCain is a christian. Anyone that is truly a follower of Christ-gets baptized. How does a 71 year old Christian not get around to getting baptized?Just because someone votes against abortion does not mean they are a christian-it could have just been the "Good thing" to do. I noticed that his answers about his Faith are all canned and do not speak to the personal relationship christians have with Jesus..

    August 17, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |


    August 17, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. patrick

    Yes but REALLY how many good speeches has Mccain given compared to Obama? I think Mr Warren set this interview on purpose hoping to catch Obama off guard. but to be honest, Mccain said nothing new as far as im concerned. In fact ill go futher and say he was really trying to be somebody he really isnt.

    What kind of audience response can you possibly expect in suburbia Orange county , Ca? The environment catered to Mccain as most of his offered debates against Obama wouldve all along. They are all setups!

    August 17, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  16. John Doe

    Haha, look how scared the Hussein Nobama supporters are now that their rockstar got outshined by a senior citizen! Everyone knew once it came down to real rhetoric and not stump speaches McCain would blow away Hussein Nobama. McCain's real, clear-cut initative-driven policy versus Hussein Nobama's indecisive, ambiguous placation. McCain '08

    August 17, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  17. Marilyn, Powell Ohio

    Senator McCain should have been asked about his first marriage vows – you know, love, honor, etc. in sickness and in health and not leave when a younger, healthier woman comes along.

    August 17, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  18. John from LA

    Where are all the bots now-I love it-BO can't function without a stump speech-very sad!!!-has to constantly dodge the hard questions-can't wait for the debates!!!

    August 17, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Reality check #1

    McCain has no hesitation in answering when life begins, Obama will not even answer the question. This spells trouble for Obama , everyone already dislikes his views on blotched abortions and letting the child lie there to die without any aid or empathy, like the child that was thrown in the dirty rag bin that the nurse dug out and stayed with. McCain was tied with Obama before the debate, I think he will soar past him this next week. Many seen President written all over Mccain and made their minds up tonight.

    August 17, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  20. Gloria

    McCain sees the world in "black and white, while Obama has the important capacity to see "the grey". What I witnessed from the McCain "speech" tonight was a continuation of Bush's views. He didn't even have the decency to look his interviewer in the eye and answer to him directly. Instead he gave most of his attention to the audience. As I understood, this was a one-on-one format, but McCain tended to answer a question before it was completely asked. He came to the forum with "an agenda" and he was determined to get all of his pre-planned points across! Wake up, fellow-Americans. We need a change, and Obama is the man to facilitate that change.

    August 17, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. Moe

    Andy, you're pathetic "This is a stunning victory for John McCain. Wow. And I was an Obama supporter until tonight!" You were never a Obama supporter.

    August 17, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. aaron

    all you dumb obama supporters, bet you wish you stayed with hildog lol. McCain has my vote, and my trust after tonights debates, obama cant even look at the audience and tell them and honest answer. what kind of leader cant answer a straight question.

    August 17, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. lil

    Obama didnt dodge the question he answer it.
    Whats up Candy you seem to be very bias against Obama tonight.

    August 17, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. fred

    Guys who are trying to say the question was unfair.......that is so not true. Either a person is pro-life or pro-choice. McCain answered pro-life. Obama gave no answer. This is a huge issue in the campaign, and we all know that Obama is as pro-choice as it gets.

    August 17, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  25. Adam, an 18 year old free thinker

    For those of you who are crying foul over the idea that this happened at a church for reasons of seperation of church and state, grow up. "Speration of Church and State" is a flagrant misinterpretaion of the Constitution. First of all, if you were inclined to take 5 minutes to read it you would find that this speration is not in the Consitution. The Constitution merely states that the FEDERAL government can not interfere with religion. Which is why until the 1820s most states had a state religion. The phrase "seperation of church and state" came from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. The Baptists had wrote a letter, congradulating him on winning the Pres. and asking a few questions, and Jefferson responded by saying the federal government would not get involved in religion. It is important to note Jefferson, while Gov. of Virginia, approved of religious state-level holidays. The idea of "seperation of church and state" is the most misquoted and misunderstood concept of American politics (we can thank Everson vs. Board of Edu. for that), as the concept takes Jefferson's writings without the context of his life. Church and state is really a state's right issue. So for everyone complaining about conservatives trying to turn America into a theocracy (a ridiculous claim), read the Constitution and then research judicial activism.

    August 17, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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