Saddleback Church debate analysis

Crossposted at OpinionTimes.com

It was surprising that Charles Krauthammer on FoxNews felt Obama looked relaxed and confident. That wasn’t the case at all. Obama looked tight and worked harder to avoid mistakes than to give confident answers. His choices of heroes were nice sounding and “safe” but lacked thoughtfulness. He remains canned and vapid in his responses even in this relaxed forum. His most poor response was to choose Darfur and the streets of America as the prime examples of evil in the world. Evil? Yes. But are these the most critical problems of evil in the world?

McCain seemed very comfortable and relaxed. His response to the question of his three heroes was pretty good. His choice of Petraeus was marvelous. John Lewis was a good choice. We should honor Lewis for his personal sacrifice on behalf of civil rights though he is a horrible liberal. And the CEO of Ebay was good but kind of gives one the response of “Eh! Ok.” He showed confidence on the most difficult questions. And he was clear and decisive on his responses to questions of national security and international conflict. And McCain in answering the question of what should be done about evil in the world said that he would go “to the Gates of Hell” to track down Bin Laden. This was a stark and favorable contrast to Obama on the same issue.

Rick Warren was pleasantly surprising. He did grapple with the abortion issue, and I was personally pleased that he mentioned the horror of 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. And he took on the marriage issue. I don’t know that we should have expected Warren to go hard at either candidate. And the questions asked smoked out the real positions of the candidates.

Overall, this was an excellent forum and proves why Obama doesn’t want to do Town Hall events with McCain. This is McCain’s forum of choice because he does it very well. And the fact that McCain can comfortably work within this framework will continue to emphasize his readiness for leadership as opposed to Obama’s novice understanding of the issues.