WASHINGTON – In their first head to head debate on U.S. Presidential Election, Senator John McCain criticized Senator Barack Obama as a candidate who “does not understand” the key issues facing the country, Obama and McCain tied to President Bush on several issues.
“I fear that Senator Obama does not understand the difference between a tactic and strategy,” McCain said Friday as the two JABs traded over Iraq.
Obama fired back, “I fully understand the difference between tactics and strategy. And the strategic question that the president has to ask is not whether or not we are using a particular focus on the country once they have taken the decision to be there. ”
McCain drew from his experience as a foreigner tried to portray himself as the most qualified candidate.
“Incredibly, incredibly Senator Obama did not go to Iraq for 900 days and never requested a meeting with Gen. [David] Petraeus,” he said. See McCain, Obama talk about the fighting in Iraq ‘
McCain slammed Obama for not supporting the increase, an increase of about 30,000 troops to Iraq in early 2007. Bush sent the additional troops as part of a campaign to pacify Baghdad and its surrounding provinces.
“John, you like to pretend like the war began in 2007,” Obama fired back. “You talk about the climb. The war began in 2003, and when the war started, you said I was going to be quick and easy. You said you knew that weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.”
Obama repeatedly criticized the Bush administration and charged that McCain is an Endorser of their policies.
In describing his tax plan, Obama said, “over time, which I think is going to be a recipe for economic growth in the – the policies of President Bush that John McCain wants to – wants to go.”
Obama also said that the economic crisis is the “final verdict in eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain.”
Both candidates squeezed in a few cheap shots. McCain raised Obama joking to sing a line about bombing Iran, McCain and Obama beating by her short life “presidential seal.”
Immediately after the debate, both campaigns statements declaring their candidate the winner. Degree candidates performance in the debate
“This was a clear victory for Barack Obama on John McCain’s home turf. Senator McCain offers nothing but more of the same is not Bush’s policies, and Barack Obama made a case of force for change in our economy and our policy outside, “said Obama – Biden campaign manager David Plouffe.
“John McCain needs a game changer tonight, and by any measure, do not get it,” he said. iReport.com: Who do you think won the debate?
McCain’s campaign said that “there was a man who was presidential tonight, that man was John McCain.”
“There was another political era, it was Barack Obama. John McCain won this debate and dialogue controlled at all, if it comes to the economy, taxes, spending, Iraq or Iran. There was a difference in leadership, a sentence and a deficit audacity gap on the screen tonight, a fact recognized when Barack Obama said John McCain was right at least five times, “communications director Jill Hazelbaker said. Full coverage of the debates
During the first 30 minutes of debate, the candidates focused on the economy, even though the debate was supposed to be focused on foreign policy.
For a while, it seemed that the debate could not take place, because McCain said he did not show unless Congress reached agreement on the government’s proposal of $ 700 billion rescue plan.
McCain said Friday that enough progress has been made for him to attend the debate, although Congress has not done a deal.
Here’s a snapshot of what the candidates said.
On government spending:
McCain said it would consider a freeze in spending, but especially the defense, Veterans Affairs and the right programs to reduce public spending.
Obama disagreed, saying: “The problem is, you’re using an ax that you need a scalpel.
“There are some programs that are important that are currently funding,” said Obama.
He agreed that the government needs to reduce spending in some areas, but said other areas, such as early childhood education, we need more funding.
McCain reiterated his appeal to veto every bill attached.
Obama said the country “absolutely” necessary to earmark reform, but said “the fact is, eliminating intended alone is not a recipe for how we’re going to get the middle class on the track.”
On the proposal to rescue:
Obama said that the United States faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
McCain said he was encouraged that Republicans and Democrats are working together to resolve the crisis.
Obama refused to be deposited on whether to support $ 700 billion plan proposed by President Bush’s top economic advisers, saying the final details of the proposal were not known.
McCain said that he hoped to be able to vote for her.
On the likelihood of another terror attack:
McCain that another attack on the scale of the Sept. 11 hijackings is “much less likely now than it was the day after the terrorist attacks.
“The United States is safer now than it was on 9 / 11”, he said, “But we have a long way to go before we can declare America safer.”
Obama agreed that the United States is “safer in some respects,” but said the country needs to focus more on issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and restore the image of America in the world.
On relations with Russia:
Obama called for a reassessment of the United States’ approach to Russia in the light of the country’s recent military action in the Caucasus.
“You can not be a 21st century superpower and serve as a 20th century dictatorship,” he said.
McCain accused Obama of responding to Russia, naively, the invasion of neighboring Georgia last month calling on both parties to exercise restraint.
McCain said he supported the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.
McCain said Iranian nuclear weapons would be an “existential threat to the State of Israel” and encourage other countries in the Middle East to seek nuclear weapons.
“We can not allow another Holocaust,” he said.
Obama agreed that the United States “can not tolerate a nuclear Iran,” calling for tougher sanctions from a range of countries including Russia and China.
McCain calls for a new “league of democracies” to stand firm against Iran.
McCain said that the next president will have to decide when and how to get out of Iraq and what the United States left behind.
The Republican candidate said that the war has been mismanaged at the start but that the United States now is to win, thanks to a “great general and a strategy for success.”
“Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning on Iraq,” McCain said.
Obama responded: “That is not true, that’s not true.”
He attacked McCain has been wrong about the war in the beginning, saying McCain had failed to foresee the uprising against U.S. forces and violence between rival religious groups in the country.
By the time the war started, you said that is quick and easy. You said you knew that weapons of mass destruction were, “said Obama, citing the key to the policy of the White House to justify the 2003 invasion.