Obama, McCain take on each other’s VP picks at debate

October 16, 2008

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – They weren’t part of the debate, but vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden did get some time in the spotlight on Wednesday.
At their final debate before the November 4 election, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain were each asked to rate the other’s vice presidential pick.
vps.jpgObama, when asked whether Palin, the governor of Alaska, was qualified to be president, demurred.
“You know, I think it’s — that’s going to be up to the American people,” the Illinois senator said. “I think that, obviously, she’s a capable politician who has, I think, excited the — a base in the Republican Party.”
Notice he did not mention her level of experience. 
McCain, when asked about Biden, said he disagreed with his Senate colleague but declared him qualified to be in the White House. “I think that Joe Biden is qualified in many respects. But I do point out that he’s been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues, which is supposed to be his strength,” McCain said.
“In Iraq, he had this cockamamie idea about dividing Iraq into three countries,” the Arizona senator continued. “There are several issues in which, frankly, Joe Biden and I open and honestly disagreed on national security policy, and he’s been wrong on a number of the major ones.”

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Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Young


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Three parts of Iraq make sense Joe. How about dividing the U.S. into black/white or below/above $250,000 or Democrat/Republican or below/above 30 years old or Catholic/Protestant?

Obama, I like the part about no more Bush. Of course, Bush is gone no matter what.

Does anybody think having an Obama economic plan of promised freebies without security is going to work? Of all the economic promises made by Obama, which have already been introduced by Congressman Obama during his tenure? That many?

I’m for cleaning up Congress, reducing the size of government, decreasing the debt of government and increasing the security of the U.S. I’d like some plain, common sense and decency in government.

Posted by Carl Dobbins | Report as abusive

Senator Obama is a gentleman. He cannot state on national television that Sarah Palin is an academically undistinguished, intellectually uninspired, verbally challenged, geographically confused, internationally inept, ethically suspect, revengefully blessed politician whose supposedly vast executive experience stems from a mayoral election in a town with the population of a condo complex and a gubernatorial election in a state with less people than Memphis, Tennessee – without the suburbs.

Besides, gentleman or not, there is little purpose in Obama speaking the truth about Palin’s obvious lack of abilities. The right-wing base adores that their Sarah knows so little. Indeed, they tout this undisputable fact as proof that Palin is not a “Washington insider,” which may be the first time in U.S. history that people inside the Beltway have been accused of intelligence. Even John McCain has fallen to this contagion of mediocrity and now sneers that Obama is too eloquent.

Yes, Barack Obama is a gentleman, but I am not. As one woman to another woman, my message to Sarah Palin is short. Your political campaign extols ignorance as virtue, but our complex world demands knowledge for survival. If that is too eloquent, let me restate in simpler terms. Governor Palin, you ain’t got what it takes.

Posted by gingersnap1951 | Report as abusive

Aw Shucks, Sarah, can I call you Sarah? I will say what the gentleman Senator would not voice. Sarah, you are a pistol-packin’ moose-eatin’, wolf chasin’ joke of a VP candidate. Your own campaign partner would not even touch on your experience, your readiness, your ethics, your wisdom, your knowledge. Can anyone say “Abuse of Power”?

Posted by Spirit911 | Report as abusive

Obama was AWFUL as usual in the debate! Saint Obama grows smaller the closer we approach him and find out the truth that CNN & MSNBC cable news pundits can’t seem to find or report? Obama is an empty suit. From the day he was sworn in to the Senate to the date he declared his run for the presidency, is only 145 days on the job. He has literally no experience. (Not figuratively, literally!) He’s not qualified to run a Dairy Queen. No longer can Americans trust the media, which was given special constitutional privileges to look out for the folks. Obama was AWFUL as usual in the debate! Obama was no more than his usual bumbling, grunting, lost in thought, no nothing. Senator John McCain absolutely owned the final Presidential Aspirant debate this evening. It was a complete rout in favor of John McCain. Senator Barack Hussein Obama was not only schooled and spanked, he might as well had never shown up. I saw it in his body language and he even began copying the McCain Smirk. John McCain was all Presidential while Barack Obama was like the small child on the knee of a Great Sage. And, another thing…what is with the Barack “graying of the temples”? He didn’t have that yesterday and he sure didn’t have it earlier in the day today. Was someone trying to make him look older and wiser? If so, it didn’t work. Clearly, McCain won this debate overwhelmingly this was all planned by Senator John McCain to unload on the enemy. It was brilliantly executed. A vote for Obama is a vote for the beginning of the END OF OUR GREAT BUT TROUBLED COUNTRY!
What possible reason could there be not to vote for Obama? Maybe because he isn’t the right man for the job, regardless of race. Proven Obama has most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Obama is to the left of Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Pat Leahy and Barbara Boxer. That’s extremely difficult to do. Obama is a textbook big-government, tax-and-spend liberal. He plans to raise income tax rates; capital gains tax rates, Social Security taxes (by virtue of eliminating the cap), dividend taxes, inheritance taxes, and introduce a slew of new taxes. His plan will destroy this country.
“I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is,” Biden said in 2007. “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.” In debate among Democratic hopefuls, moderator George Stephanopoulos pressed Biden whether he stood by a recent quote. Biden said, “I stand by that statement.”

Posted by LOUIS | Report as abusive

Obama used the debate tonight as an excellent opportunity to explain his programs & policies, point by logical point.

McCain used the debate to attack Obama & parrot the old Bush-Reagan dogma of deregulation that has led us into this current worldwide economic meltdown.

Who won?

Really, McCain sealed his fate tonight by proving himself stale & lacking on policies to bring our country forward.

I’m sure, however, that Obama, as President, will work constructively with McCain and the Republicans to advance our country.

Oh, one more point. Regarding Palin, even John McCain, for all his “praise”, couldn’t bring it over his tongue to state that he considers Palin qualified to be President, were something to happen to him.
That’s significant.

Obama said he’ll leave it up to the voters to decide. We have. While it might be fun to drink a Joe-six-pack with her, that’s not what she’s running for.

The vast majority of Americans can recognize someone in way over their head, and have no doubts Palin is utterly unqualified for high office.

Obama/Biden are the only candidates qualified and with the right stuff to be running our country come Jan. 20th, 2009.

On Nov. 4th, I will vote for Obama/Biden without any doubts or reservations.

Posted by fbla1805 | Report as abusive

If only it was that simple. By far, Joe Biden is qualified to be President in the event Barack Obama is unable. Sarah Palin, however, is a joke. The real question is “Is John McCain qualified?” The first important decision he made as a Presidential candidate was to pick one of the least qualified women in politics as his running mate. How can we trust him to make better decisions as President if he so badly blew this one??

Posted by golfer | Report as abusive

[quote]From the day he was sworn in to the Senate to the date he declared his run for the presidency, is only 145 days on the job.[/quote]

Seriously, where did this figure ever come from? I keep hearing varying counts ranging between 100 and 200. Let us look at a couple of facts.

January 4, 2005 – Barack Obama sworn in as junior United States Senator from Illinois. (

February 10, 2007 – Barack Obama declares candidacy for Democratic nominee for President of the United States (source: pretty much every news outlet ever which covers anything about American politics)

Difference: (in days)
Calendar – 767
Senate (in session): 399
> 2005 – 194 actual days over the 353 (calendar) day long session
> 2006 – 168 actual days over the 341 (calendar) day long session
> 2007 – 37 [110th Congress convened January 4, 2007; no recesses until after Obama’s declaration of candidacy]

[quote]Proven Obama has most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate.[/quote]

Actually, that’s only for 2007. In 2006 he was ranked 10th, in 2005 16th. McCain missed too many votes in 2007 (more than half) to even be ranked.

All of your name-calling shows your lack of ability to create cogent thoughts and back them up with anything other than elementary school bullying tactics.

As for your claims about taxes, you seem to be getting your information from a completely fabricated email that has been making its round for the last few months.

– He does, indeed, propose raising SOME income tax rates, but not all. Moreover, he would allow several of the Bush tax cuts to expire. Specifically those that were giving breaks to people currently making over $250,000. This isn’t “raising taxes” it’s restoring them to what they were back before the country was in the absurd level of current deficit spending and when the debt was significantly smaller.

– He has also proposed raising the capital gains tax rate, though leaving the exemption levels as they are. What this means is that a jointly filing couple can sell their house and make a PROFIT (not net sale) of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for individuals) without paying capital gains tax on it. If they make more than $500k PROFIT, the tax rate on that profit will be a bit higher than current. This couple would also have to be making over $250,000/yr ($200,000 for individuals) in income for the higher rate to be applied. The average home price in the US in 2007 was $313,600, the median price $247,900. What this means is the “average” home-owning couple would have to sell their house for twice it’s value for the total sale price to be around or over $500,000; even selling at double the price, the “average” house would have had to have been purchased at less than $126,000 before being sold for $626,000 for those profits to be taxed.

– His proposal for dividends tax would be that it match the capital gains tax. Though again, individuals making less than $200k ($250k for couples) would be exempt.

– When you say “inheritance tax” I assume you mean the “Estate Tax.” Obama’s proposal actually increases the threshold at which you need to pay them. They are currently $2 million for individuals ($4 million for couples). Obama’s plan raises that minimum value before you start paying the Estate Tax to $3.5 million and $7 million respectively. Further, Obama has proposed holding the maximum tax rate at the current max, rather than the scheduled 10% jump it’s supposed to take in 2011.

Posted by TGN | Report as abusive

I guess I must have been watching another debate than Louis did. It seems to me that Obamas approach to the questioning was even keeled and methodical,whereas McCain reminded me of Palin’s interview with Couric, all over the place and frenetic. His tirades encompassed so many topics at once that you forgot what the original question was and Obama had to steer back to the topic ie:” but getting back to the original topic”, on numerous occasions. It is evident that McCain displayed a complete lack of cordiality and respect for his opponent and squirmed in distaste when Obama proffered his hand to him. This is probably why so many of the servicemen that knew him called him McNasty and mean and pointed out that he was a spoiled ,arrogant brat who became beligerent if you got in his way. Thank God he is not running for leader of my country. You folks are ditching one hotheaded egomaniac, surely replacing him with another isn’t in your or the worlds best interest. Mc Cain states time and again that”My friendsI know how to get Bin Laden, I know how to fix the economy,Iknow how to how to win the war on terror”. Well what the hell has he been doing for the last twenty years?

Posted by canuck | Report as abusive

Was it not Biden that said “the Presidency does not allow for on the job training?” He also said he would consider running with McCain? He is more then qualified to be President for sure…in fact more so then the guy who selected him to be his running mate.
At least Palin has a history of managing a government not 50 million from a national terrorist. She may not be qualified to be President…but neither is Obama…yet he is running with some one whos is…the ticket needs to be reversed.

Posted by jj | Report as abusive

Anyone who uses Barack’s middle name “Hussein” as a talking point does not deserve to be heard. Grow up. That argument stopped carrying weight after middle school.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

McCain’s sole purpose is to destroy his opponent through horrid, ugly and inaccurate personal attacks against Presidential Barack Obama that creates opportunity for assassination. McCain and Palin simply does not seem to understand that planting an untrue thought of a presidential candidate being a ‘terrorist’ intentionally promotes and ignites continued hatred in America. We, as Americans, simply cannot undergo another assassination. This would be horrible. Please stop.

Posted by JoeA | Report as abusive

To call Louis names does no good, which explains why Obama steered clear of commenting negatively about Sarah Palin. Sure, it can feel good in the moment to insult people but the result is that you drive people away from your point of view. Yes, on my side of the fence there are some lefty loonies who think Barack isn’t liberal enough. But what seems to be losing this election for McCain as much as anything else is his and Palin’s tacit embrace of the far greater number of right wing nuts who appear only capable of insult, twisting reality, and smears.

Posted by Jason from Oakland | Report as abusive

Reading through people’s comments on this thread, I see that the Obama supporters write more clearly, in better quality English, and with more substantiated, factual, and well reasoned arguments than the McCain supporters.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive


You know, I was JUST thinking the same thing.

Posted by Anna | Report as abusive

That’s because the majority of McCain supporters are too worried about race and religion to really put country first.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

I referenced this blog in discussing how Obama politely did not go after Pailn when he could have, while McCain did go after Biden.

Posted by Ja | Report as abusive

Even the McCain, Palin website is more dedicated to running down Obama and Bidin than it is running down the issues, compare the issues on both sites! McCain scares the crap out of me. He`s an angry man, and i doubt he even want to see and end to the war, and can see past this issue to do or care anything about any other issue thats important to WE THE PEOPLE! and Palin is just power hungry. I have never watched an election so close in my life. but theres so much to lose i`ve become addicted

Posted by Kim Jackson | Report as abusive