Fired up or just fizzling out: Town-hall left McCain at ease, Obama to keep up

RJ McGuire

The second Presidential Debate was much livelier than the first. We saw different views of the candidates than we did in the first one. McCain was much more at home with the town-hall format, while Obama seemed ill-at-ease when being questioned by everyday Americans. Here are some of the highlights:

The first two questions dealt with the economy and the bailout. By this point, I shouldn’t have to tell you their answers. Obama blamed the situation on Bush, McCain, and the “failed economic policies of the last eight years.” McCain called for an end to “this spending spree that’s going on in Washington.” He gave a specific example of what he would do. Now, being so specific is politically risky. Risks that Obama avoids at all costs. McCain is willing to take risks to solve our problems, he is trying to come up with solutions to America’s problems; Obama just wants to talk about them.

McCain finally said something in defense of himself and his party. He pointed out that it was Freddie and Fannie “with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back.” He explained how Republicans wanted to enact more regulations on these agencies while Democrats had repeatedly rejected them. He called attention to the fact that “Obama was the second highest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money in history.” With a powerful closing, he threw one last punch, “Fannie and Freddie were the catalysts, the match that started this forest fire. There were some of us[ ] that stood up against it. There were others who took a hike.” Obama’s response made me laugh out loud. Stuttering he said, “So — but, look, you’re not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers. What you’re interested in is trying to figure out, how is this going to impact you?” So when the finger is pointed at him and his party, all of a sudden he is against the blame game?

Obama’s answer to Mrs. Finch’s question proved my point. “How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got — got us into this global economic crisis?” Obama went on to attack the Republicans. Did he even hear her question? Did he understand that she was dissatisfied with both parties? ‘Fraid not. He outlined all of the things he would like to do with our money while never giving us a reason to trust him with it. McCain knew what Mrs. Finch was asking for. He pointed to the reasons why he could be trusted; his career as a bi-partisan reformer.

The candidates were next asked to prioritize the issues of health care, energy, and entitlement reform. McCain boldly admitted something that Obama was too scared to admit; that we will not be able to provide the same level of benefits to future generations. Obama was so scared to discuss entitlements that he left it off his list entirely; his list included energy, healthcare, and education?

At one point in the debate Obama took so long answering a question that Brokaw said, “Gentlemen, you may not have noticed, but we have lights around here. They have red and green and yellow and they are to signal…” Obama interrupted, “I’m just trying to keep up with John.” Is the ‘old man’ that hard to keep up with? Do you have to run over your time limit, interrupt the moderator, and make excuses for it?

All in all, it was very apparent that Obama had a hard time keeping up with McCain. He was always on the defense, playing catch-up. He offered nothing but prepared remarks while McCain actually answered the questions posed to him. I grew tired of Obama trying to get in another word when McCain nailed him (and his Jell-O) to the wall. America needs to realize that Obama is nothing but empty promises and ‘feel-good’ speeches. If it wasn’t for Bush, Obama wouldn’t even have material for his ‘feel-good’ speeches. News flash Obama, you’re running against John McCain, not Pres. Bush! We need straight answers, not vague speeches. We need leadership, not partisan bickering and finger-pointing. We need Sen. John McCain!

For more of my thoughts see my Facebook note: