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Presidential debates | Round 1, Oxford, Miss.

Main message

John McCain: Obama’s not ready. McCain said repeatedly that Obama “doesn’t understand” the national security issues.

Barack Obama: McCain is a risky choice, a reckless hawk, sure to continue or expand President Bush’s foreign entanglements.Style points

John McCain: McCain looked sharp, on point, and sometimes condescending about Obama’s knowledge of national security issues.

Barack Obama: Obama was confident but spent chunks of the debate on the defensive.

Sharpest zinger

John McCain: “Incredibly, incredibly Sen. Obama didn’t go to Iraq for 900 days and never asked for a meeting with Gen. (David) Petraeus. Sen. Obama is the chairperson of a committee that oversights NATO that’s in Afghanistan. To this day, he has never had a hearing. I mean, it’s remarkable.”

Barack Obama: “John, it’s been your president — who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time — who presided over this increase in spending. This orgy of spending and enormous deficits. You voted for almost all of his budgets. So to stand here and after eight years and say that you’re going to lead on controlling spending ... when over the last eight years that hasn’t happened, I think just is, you know, kind of hard to swallow.”

Gaffe factor

John McCain: No major blunders.

Barack Obama: No major blunders.

Highlights of what they said

John McCain: “Somehow in Washington today — and I’m afraid on Wall Street — greed is rewarded, excess is rewarded, and corruption — or certainly failure to carry out our responsibility — is rewarded. As president of the United States, people are going to be held accountable in my administration. And I promise you that that will happen.”

“We Republicans came to power to change government, and government changed us. And the — the worst symptom on this disease is what my friend Tom Coburn calls earmarking as a gateway drug, because it’s a gateway. It’s a gateway to out-of-control spending and corruption.”

“As president of the United States, I want to assure you, I’ve got a pen. This one’s kind of old. I’ve got a pen, and I’m going to veto every single spending bill that comes across my desk. I will make them famous. You will know their names.”

“I think that we have to examine every agency of government and find out those that are doing their job and keep them and find out those that aren’t and eliminate them, and we’ll have to scrub every agency of government.”

Barack Obama: “John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.”

“John, I — you’re absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don’t know, you know, how credible that is.”

“One of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago.”

“Look, over the last eight years, this administration, along with Sen. McCain, have been solely focused on Iraq. That has been their priority. That has been where all our resources have gone. In the meantime, bin Laden is still out there. He is not captured. He is not killed. Al-Qaida is resurgent.”

What they’ll be talking about tomorrow

John McCain: McCain called for a spending freeze except for military and veterans expenses. What does that mean, what are the potential implications? And Is Obama not willing to embrace significant and specific spending cuts?

Barack Obama: Does McCain friend and adviser Henry Kissinger basically agree with Barack Obama that the next president should be willing to meet with enemies in countries like Iran, contrary to McCain’s comments?

Presidential debates | Round 1, Oxford, Miss. 09/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 29, 2008 3:48pm]
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