Presidential Newlywed Game

Except for the omission of Bob Eubanks and the big 25 point question, last night Barack Obama and John McCain played the Newlywed Game at the Saddleback Church forum. The pastor Rick Warren stood in for Mr. Eubanks. The format showed the differences between the two candidates more effectively than any ad or interview to date. Some highlights of the show included McCain saying Obama was “not rich,” (actually McCain reluctantly/jokingly offered $5M/year as the threshold for being rich, and Obama made only $4.2M last year), and Obama reflected on another black man’s inexperience as disqualifying him for high office (in this case Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court).

It was clear that Obama’s ideas come from a very theoretical base and that he has a difficult time with the idea of absolutes. Obama also did not explain why he thinks the way he thinks, rarely sighting specific events or philosophies he used to come to decisions. In fact, Obama seemed to enjoy thinking about issues more than resolving them. If you could run for the Supreme Court, then Obama might be a good candidate.

On the other hand, McCain showed that he has definite opinions on things and those opinions are formed, for the most part, on his own experiences. Perhaps McCain is equally thoughtful in private, but in answering questions it was clear that he had come to conclusions on most issues.

The most telling comparison of the two candidates came as they answered the question about whether there is evil in the world. Obama said that all of us have the potential for evil and it is something for which we must be continuously mindful and confront. McCain said that strapping bombs onto mentally retarded women and detonating them in the middle of a crowded public market is evil and he will destroy that evil. God willing.

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