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October 07, 2008

McCain vs Obama, Round 2

Its round 2 of the presidential debates, I have NBC fired up, and it's time to take notes again. Just like before, these are raw and unedited.

Brokaw says there's mostly economic questions

Q1: With economy on the downturn, whats the best solution to bail out older Americans?

Ob: We are in worst crisis since great D. You are worried about retirement and sending kids to school, this is the final proof of mismanagement by Bush and Co, especially deregulations. Now we must take decisive action. step 1, rescue package passed last week, must have strong oversight, cracking down on CEOs, no bonuses and golden parachutes, AIG went on 400,000 junket after bailout. Step 2, tax cuts for middle class, fixes for homeowners, help programs at local and state, and help others.

Mc: You go to heart of americas worries, americans are angry and worried. We have to become energy independent, stop sending 700b to countries who dont like us, we are leaving 4 trillion in debt to children, we must keep taxes low for everyone. We must do something about home values, especially for retirees, values decline and now mortgages unaffordable. would make sec f treas buy up bad loans and renegotiate for more favorable terms. Must fix home values before we can concentrate on anything else, this is my proposal, not bush's or obamas

Q2: Who do you have in mind to be sec of treas?

Mc: tough question, but should start with someone that americans identify with, warren buffet has been there, so has meg whitman (ceo of ebay) but point is that it has to be someone who inspires trust and confidence. problem is there is no trust due to corruption and cronyism in wall street and washington

Ob: key is making sure sec knows that you cant just help people at the top, it wont trickle down to the others. Part of the problem is wages and income has flatlined, harder to save now, what I want to do is give tax cut to 95% of american workers, especially those working 2 jobs, houses may need to be stabilized but there needs to be job growth too

Q3: What does the bailout do for the average person?

Mc: It's not bailout, it's a rescue plan. i suspended campaign to make sure there were extra protections for the taxpayer. one of the catalysts of this crisisws fanmae and fremac. I stood up and said that we need to stop this excess, but dems were defending what fan and fred were doing, obama second highest recipient of fan and fre money. we will stabilize these institutions, but we also have to buy up mortgages. Ob didnt

Ob: Right now credit markets are frozen up, small and large bus cant get loans, if no loans, no payroll, if no payroll, layoffs and out of business. it would have an adverse effect on the country. But why did we get here, I have to correct mccain in that he has always wanted deregulation, which is the problem. 2 years ago I said the subprime loans were going to be a problem, but was ignored, I went to wall street and was still ignored, mccain pushed to deregulate further. As for fan, one of their lobbyists works for mccain. There are powers in bailout to help homeowners, havent been used yet, but next pres will have to use them.

Q4: is it going to get worse before get better?

Ob: I have faith in american econ, but we have to make changes to make it work, including helping families stay in home, pay bills, deal with energy and health care, must change washington so lobbyists dont have all the sway

Mc: must go and buy bad loans, get rid of cronyism, we can fix economy, wrote letter about this, obamas name not on it (was it even shown to him?), we must help americans, who are the innocent bystanders of this problem.

Q5: how can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us in this crisis?

Ob: I understand your issue, while you have been trying to be responsible, people in washington havent. Remember that when bush came into office, there was a surplus, now there is 500b deficit each year, natl debt has doubled to 1 trillion, mc voted for the bush budgets that made this. We need to deal with core stuff, such as health care, and energy, no more money to china and saudi arabia for oil, make college affordable, and make spending cuts, and focus on priorities.

Mc: system in washington is br0ken, I have taken on special interests, worked with feingold on finance reform, lieberman on climate change, I am bipartisan, but obama isn't, he hasnt taken on his party leaders, must look at records and rhetoric. Look to citizens against govt waste, and you will see our records i have fought to reduce earmarks. Obama voted for every increase in spending, lots of pork, while i wasnt supporting it. do we need to spend that kind of money, look at my record, his record, and then our proposals. energy independence is the way to do that, i know how to fix our economy and get independent.

Q6: Between health, energy, and social security, what priority do you put on them?

Mc: All need to be worked on, start with bipartisan on social security, I have a record of bipartisan ship. should build nuke plants, and use alternate energy, plus clean coal. some of 700b ends up with terrorists. must make health care affordable. all 3 issues should be worked on at same time

Ob: We must prioritize, deal with energy today. natl security issue, russia and venezuela benefiting from our dependence on oil. Will put money to alternate energy so in 10 years, we are not dependent on mideast oil. Then deal with health care, then education. McCain mentioned records, go on ahead and look, i want to go through each item line by line and eliminate those that dont work, and make others more efficient. but where is revenue coming from, mccains tax cuts continue bush cuts plus add more for business which is money out of the system.

Q7: we have not been asked to sacrifice, what sacrifices must be made?

Mc: I propose that we look at all agencies and eliminate those not working. I am even looking at defense spending, eliminating bad spending, but even scrutinizing good spending. Spending must be cut in america, we have to freeze it, except for defense and VA, others must stick to it. We must do all spending transparently. Back to problems, we can solve them all at once, not make people wait to get them worked on.

Ob: a lot of you remember 9/11, and country was willing to come together to make changes to make things better, bush did some smart things, but missed opportunities. oine was telling americans to go and shop. americans want leader that will tackle issues inside and outside govt. we are all going to need to think of how to use energy better. should tell oil companies to use their land or lose it, should invest in clean coal or nuclear. provide incentives to buy fuel efficient cars, and make homes more efficient. young people are very interested in being able to serve, want to double peace corps, I want more volunteers to help with renewing america.

Q8: Wall st got drunk, so did govt and consumers, how would you break bad habits?

Ob: Washington must show good habits, stop running up debt, it means looking at spending and revenue. Mc talks about earmarks, but only 18 mil of budget, yet tax cuts by mc would give ceo's a 700000 tax cut. most people feel that rich folks are not sharing the burden. not fair to tell a teacher to tighten her belt when others are living high on the hog. spending freeze is like using a hatchet on the budget when a scalpel should be used.

Mc: ob wants to raise taxes, last pres to do that was hoover. lost 700000 jobs in america, only 300000 created by small businesses, ob tax increases will hit small business, and they will have to cut jobs or lay off workers. Ob said he would forgo tax increases if econ was bad, well its bad. I would double tax exemption for every child, and give 5000 refundable tax credit to use to get health care. Lets get economy going and jobs

Tom: Stop breaking format!

Q9: Would you give congress a date to reform SS and MedC within 2 years of taking office?

Ob: We have to reform entitlement programs, may not be in 2 years, but take it on while in first term of office. Lets be clear that my tax plan will provide a tax cut for 95% of americans, if you make less than 250k, you will see your taxes go down. Only a small percent of businesses make more than 250K, so most will see a tax cut as well. Will give tax cut to get small businness to buy health insurance. Mc will give a 300b to tax cut to big business and CEOs, that does not work. if we reverse policies of last 8 years, then we will be in a position of reforming social security, and then can create a stable system.

Mc: Its not hard to fix social security, we know what problems are and make the fixes, we can sit across the table, it happened with reagan, obama has never taken on his leaders with issues, but I have, even if it makes me unpopular. what we have to do with medicare is have a commission come up with recommendation, then have congress vote up or down. back to taxes, rhetoric vs record, ob voted 95 times to increase taxes. he came to senate and never propose leg to cut taxes like he promised. with me, our best days will be ahead of us.

Q10: we saw congress move fast on econ, but how would you get them to move fast on environment and creating green jobs?

Mc: I disagree with bush administration policies, forced votes, we lost, but kept debate going. I have seen the danger firsthand. I support nuclear power, ob wonders if it is safe, I have been on ships powered by nukes and it is safe, we can recycle some of it. we need to develop more clean energy for ourselves and our cars, and we can because we are the innovators.

Ob: One of the biggest challenges, absolutely critical and is an opportunity, we can create 5 mil jobs by creating a new energy market. must make investment to do it, the computer was invented by govt, why not invest in energy. I favor nuclear power as part of energy mix, but also solar, wind, and others. Mc has voted against alt fuels 23 times in 26 years, he hasn't made an effort. Mc talks a lot about drilling, we own 3% of oil, but use 25% of world oil, we arent going to be able to drill our way out. we need to create innovation that can be exported to other countries.

Q11: Should we fund a manhattan project project to come up with energy, or get the private industry to do it?

Mc: govt should start then turn to industry, energy bill favored by bush and chen was voted for by ob but not by me. we need to drill now to bridge gap between domestic and foreign oil, it will lower the price and keep us safer. Look at record

Q12: Do you believe health care should be a commodity?

Ob: One of the things I hear the most is that health care is breaking family budgets, insurance and co payments are going up, greater burden on family and business. We have a committment to do something about it. If you have health care already, you can keep it already, but I will work to get prices lowered. This includes digitizing records and focusing on prevention. If you dont have insurance, give same access that federal workers have, and dont use preexisting conditions, there is a large pool. Mc's plan would tax payments of medical insurance, it would unravel the current system, I will fight for patients.

Mc: It is a problem with prices rising. Lets improve efficiency, ob says govt will do this and that, and he will impose mandates, and will fine you if you dont carry insurance. I will give you tax break that you can take across state lines to buy health insurance. those who have employer based benefits, 95% of people will have increased funds to buy insurance. We have to give americans choice in america.

Q13: health care a privilage, a right, or a responsibility

Mc: I think it's a responsibility, should not be govt mandated. Ob's plan would fine people!

Ob: I think health care should be a right, in a country as wealthy as us people are still going bankrupt over med bills. its wrong that my mom should have to fight with insurance companies while battling cancer. If you have health insurance, you keep it, now if you dont have it, will give tax cut to help buy it. I want you to provide health care for children because they are cheap to insure, dont take them to ER for simple illness. Mc voted against SCHIP, I didnt. we need to crack down against insurers who cheat customers using fine print. If you can go across state lines, the insurance companies will just move to another state where there are less consumer protections, and that will hurt the consumer.

Q14: How will econ stress affect ability of US to act as world peacemaker

Mc: strong military comes from strong econ, which is a challenge now. We hear a lot of justified criticism of america, but we are still an example. we are peacemakers and peacekeepers. We need to learn when to go in to be a peacemaker, when it's worth the costs. we must have someone who understands that and will do so. i am convinced that I am the best person based on my record. ob is wrong about iraq and surge, and about russia. I can face the challenge, he is inexperienced.

Ob: Mc suggests I dont understand, he's right, I dont understand why we invaded iraq when osama is in afghanistan. when mc was cheerleading iraq to bush, he said we would be liberators, he was wrong and it has cost us. troops have performed heroically despite circumstances. however, this has also put a strain on military and on our budget, iraq has a surplus yet we are spending 10 bil a month in iraq. This is the greatest nation on earth, but there has never been a nation in the world that has had econ decline yet still keep military. damage to our alliances in last 8 years means we dont get the support to act on things like darfur. I will fix that.

Q15: What about situations that dont affect natl security?

Ob: If there are moral issues at stake, we should go in. when genocide or ethnic cleansing is happening, we must act or it diminishes who we are. there is lots of cruelty around the world, we cant be everywhere, so we must work with our allies. there is now a peacekeeping force in darfur thanks to allies, we could set up more with little cost.

mc: if we followed obama, and set a date for iraq, it would have been disastrous, including a wider war, and brought troops home in defeat. We must do what we can to prevent genocide, but must be tempered with ability to do the most good, and go in with someone who knows how to deal with it. Somalia failed, there must be a tempered hand that guides these things. i know these situations, the security of military men and women are important right after natl security.

Q16: Should US respect pakistan sovereignty when pursuing al queda

Ob: we are in a diff situation there, but wouldnt be there if we didnt allow iraq to distract us, and now osama and al queda is stronger because of it. They are plotting to kill us, even now, and they are getting bolder. We must change policies with pakistan, dont coddle a dictator that will take our money and then make peace with taliban. should increase non military aid to pakistan. If we have osama in sights and pakistan will not help, we have to go in ourselves and get it done.

Mc: obama will announce attacks on pakistan, which will turn their public opinion against us. we fucked up with afghanistan by leaving right after driving out soviets in 80s. We cant do that again, so we are working to get the support of pakistan, and so thats what we are doing, which is what patreus recommended. We need to get the people to turn against the taliban.

Ob: i am saying that if pakistan is unable to help us, then we must go in ourselves to get osama. mc may say I am green behind the ears and want to attack everyone, yet mc talks about bombing iran and n korea, he isnt speaking softly either. he wanted to go after baghdad before even finished afghan. We were supporting musharrf, who created policies that undermined the war on terror.

Mc: I know what its like to have to put men and women on the line, but I know how to handle it. I will do it, but not telegraph my punches. we have disagreements aboout what to do.

Q17: How do you reorganize strategy in afghanistan

Ob: Make iraq take over responsibility, then start taking troops out responsibly, move them to afghanistan. I told afghan pres that he needed to do more for his people, he is not responsive now

mc: patreus has just taken over a major responsibility, we have to do the same in afghan as we do in iraq, but it's in the details. ob still wrong about surge in iraq but wont admit it. i have confidence in patreus that he can do it.

Q18: how can we apply pressure to russia without starting another cold war?

Mc: I dont think we will have another cold war, but their actions are unusual. i warned about putin, he has repressed liberties and exhibited aggressive behavior. He wants to get georgia and ukraine back. We need to make sure russia knows there are penalties of their actions, there should be international pressure. This activity by them is not acceptable.

Ob: Resurgance of russia is a central issue in next pres. We cant just provide moral support, there has to be that to other places anyway, but we need to give financial and econ assistance to georgia to help them rebuild the econ. We need to anticipate the problems around the corner, i stated that russian peacekeepers should not be in territories in dispute. we need a leader who can anticipate challenges before the occur We need to be more strategic in dealing with russia, and we should reduce energy and this cuts off money to russia.

Q19: Is russia evil?

Ob: They have done evil acts and have dangerous impulses.

Mc: we will deal with russia.

Q20: If Iran attacks Israel, would you go in to defend, or wait until getting UN support.

Mc: we would not wait for UN, russia and china would pose obstacles. Iran is still working to acquire nukes, and if they get them, so will everyone else. Ob wants to negotiate without preconditions with a country that wants to wipe israel off the map. we can join our allies to put pressure on iran to abandon their ambitions. we cannot all0w a second holocaust.

Ob: we cant allow iran to get a nuke either, it would threaten israel, it would create possibility of nukes falling into terrorists. We wont take military action off the table, but must use all tools to prevent having to go to the UN for military support or go in with military. We need to tighten sanctions against them, including letting them import gasoline. I think we should have direct talks to friends and enemies, but to enemies to tell them that we are going to cut them off if they continue this, but they have a chance to get it back if they stop what they are doing. because bush didnt do that, iran and n korea added more to their nuclear capabilities.

Q21: What dont you know, and how will you learn it

Ob: Ask my wife. But as president, its the challenges you dont expect that take up most of your time. However, I know that I wouldnt be here if it wasnt for the support of my family, and by living in the US. I was able to go to the best schools because of it, Are we going to pass on the american dream to our children? in last 8 years the dream has diminished because of the actions of the current administration, there needs to be a fundamental change it is why i have run. we have to have the nerve to move in a new direction.

Mc: I dont know whats going to happen here and abroad, there are new and different challenges every day around the world. I dont know the unexpected, but i have spent my whole life serving our country. I know what its like to deal with dark times, and to rely on others for support, and people have been there for me. I have had a wonderful opportunity being in america, I am asking you voters to give me another opportunity.