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September 27, 2008



My goodness, Joan Walsh saw a different debate than I did.


The McCain campaign should run his closing answer as an ad. I would guess there is nothing in the debate agreement to prohibit that as both campaigns have debate ads out now.

baked alaska

would anyone believe tough talk from him anyway?

McCain attacks Obama for being too tough:

So it's not just the addition of troops that matters. It's a strategy that will succeed. And Pakistan is a very important element in this. And I know how to work with him. And I guarantee you I would not publicly state that I'm going to attack them.

OBAMA: Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here's what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that's the right strategy; I think that's the right policy.


baked alaska

Getting the Dates Wrong

We also caught McCain getting his congressional history a little wrong.

McCain: Back in 1983, when I was a brand-new United States congressman,
the one -- the person I admired the most and still admire the most, Ronald
Reagan, wanted to send Marines into Lebanon. And I saw that, and I saw the
situation, and I stood up, and I voted against that because I was afraid
that they couldn't make peace in a place where 300 or 400 or several
hundred Marines would make a difference. Tragically, I was right: Nearly
300 Marines lost their lives in the bombing of the barracks.

This isn’t quite right. Marines were initially deployed to Lebanon in August 1982. McCain, however, was not elected to the U.S. House until November 1982, more than three months after Marines had already landed.

McCain is referring to a 1983 vote to invoke the War Powers Act. That bill, which Ronald Reagan signed into law on October 12, 1983, authorized an 18-month deployment for the Marines. On October 13, a suicide bomber destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut. McCain did in fact break with most Republicans to vote against the bill.



25 years is a long time, and McCain was essentially right in his statement.

Obama's statement regarding Pakistani sovereignty was absurd. How does one not violate Pakistan's territory to "take them out" if they're hiding in the Northwest Territories? His statement reminded me of one of Jeff Goldblum's lines in Independence Day, which was played for laughs.

baked alaska

U.S. confirms incursion into Pakistan

Women, children among as many as 20 reported dead in cross-border raid

NBC News and news services
updated 9:54 a.m. CT, Wed., Sept. 3, 2008

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - American forces conducted a raid inside Pakistan on Wednesday, a senior U.S. military official said, in the first known foreign ground assault against a suspected Taliban haven. Pakistan's government condemned the action, saying it killed at least 15 people.



Good news half baked... maybe the messiah can get another bracelet for the next debate!

Sara (Pal2Pal)

A raid is far different than his threat to invade another sovereign country, especially when that country is supposed to be an ally. And do you seriously think that the Pakistani President isn't approving of these raids?


O's idea of foreign policy: Extend a friendly hand to your enemies and invade your allies.


I suspect Israel is capable of understanding what Obama's word on Israel is worth when he has 300 foreign policy advisers and not one appears to be pro Israel.


There's also little things like one of Obama's bundlers and her supporters are able to get a private meeting with Ahmadinejad in New York last week.

"A founding member of the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois met in New York City Wednesday night with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

"Given Evans' closeness to regular contacts with Obama and his campaign, it is fair to ask if she is acting as an intermediary for Obama.

Obama recently put his seal of approval on Evans' attempt to storm the stage during the acceptance speech of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska when he welcomed her to his two Hollywood fundraisers last week, the exclusive $28,500 per person event and the $2500 per person event Barbra Streisand sang at the same evening.

Others attending the meeting with Ahmadinejad included anti-American activists who support the terrorists in Iraq and work anti-American governments: Medea Benjamin, Brian Becker, Leslie Cagan, Larry Holmes and Ramsey Clark."


Tom Maguire

McCain's point is not that raids into Pakistan won't happen - that is current US policy and was when Obama made headlines with his macho posturing.

McCain's point is that you don't advertise it and force Pakistan to address it - their Prez has to show his independence by saying no, and the whole situation unravels from there.

Sometimes a wink and a nod is sufficient, but not when Obama was trolling for votes and looking for a chance to bluster. He really is either irresponsible or inexperienced. Or both.

Compounding the absurdity - he seems to get that putting N Korea in the Axis of Evil and publicly condemning them was not helpful, but can't get the same point with Pakistan. Maybe if DKos could start revising their talking points he could figure this out.


it figures that a-hole Clark was involved with the Iranians. He has been a disgrace to this country for 40 years. Remember, he was once the attorney general of this country, and those are the people Obama has in his circle of friends. Him, Ayers, Jimmy Carter, etc would just as soon sell us out than defend this country.

JM Hanes

At the risk of repeating myself once too often, my vote for most whacked out Obama gaffe came in his O'Reilly interview when he claimed Pakistan was using our aid money to prepare for war with India. One of his 300 advisors must have read him the riot act, because we haven't heard him saying that again! For a guy who puts so much stock in diplomacy, he makes mistakes that are so stunning they would get a mere intern booted from the State Department. Last night's exchange on Pakistan was also emblematic of the Obama tap dance on foreign policy.

Although too few people do it, it's always instructive to read what Obama actually said, instead of being distracted by his "affect." Here's a salient bit from McCain:

I'm not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I'm not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.

We've got to get the support of the people of -- of Pakistan. He said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan.

Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.

Now note the strawman in Obama's response:
Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here's what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has Al Qaida, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that's the right strategy; I think that's the right policy.

Indeed, nobody talked about attacking Pakistan -- including John McCain. McCain talked about the folly of committing to precisely the kind of military strikes Obama describes in public, which is diplomatic idiocy of the first order. Obama can't even get politesse right, let alone diplomacy.

When Obama faults the Bush administration for lack of commitment to diplomacy, he is, in fact, talking about high profile public diplomacy, not working diplomacy which is an entirely different beast. The kind of public diplomacy at issue in meeting without preconditions, for example, is not insignificant. The most important part of real diplomatic negotiation, however, is the part that you never see and of which Obama appears utterly unaware.

Obama also made an intriguing slip last night in discussing Russia & Georgia:

They were unwarranted. And at this point, it is absolutely critical for the next president to make clear that we have to follow through on our six-party -- or the six-point cease-fire.
The six-party talks, of course, were central to Bush's much criticized initiative on resolving the problem of North Korea -- something I'd bet Obama expected McCain to bring up, and which he had been prepped to counter. To my great disappointment, Bush ultimately caved to what I suspect was State Dept. pressure, and tried precisely the kind of direct diplomacy with NoKo that Obama now claims (in contrast to his formerly unconditional stance) will be a feature of his new administration.
But we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons. That will change when I'm president of the United States.
Obama is virtually condemning the combined European mission to deal with Iran, which the Bush Administration has very actively supported, in favor of taking...... unilateral action! Holy shades of Bush! To compound Obama's apparent myopia, the direct engagement with North Korean he touts is precisely the approach that is failing -- for a second monumental time -- right before our eyes. The list of Obama's hapless talking points is entirely divorced from realities on the ground. He's not just reviving old ideas from 60's radicals, he's like a rerun of failed foreign policies up to and including the present day in Washington.


I figure anyone stupid enough to fall for the old kerry line that we should have focused all our troops and attention in Afghanistan is too stupid to run a rug shop let alone this country,jmh. Anything else he says has to be as dumb as that.


But we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons. That will change when I'm president of the United States.

JMH, I would like to thank you for again bringing up that Pakistan/India highlight from Obama. He did make similar comments about India and Pakistan prior to that, and I've wondered what is in his mind. I sometimes think he wants to just show off that he knows India and Pakistan are at odds with each other.
I hope he understands we need them both as allies, and his saying stupid stuff can hurt our relationship with either.

As far as N Korea goes, he is stupid to try to rub that in Bush's face. Really, Madeline Albright who engaged in direct talks and champagne toasts with Kim Jong Il himself is one of his advisors. Jimmy Carter, who negotiated that ridiculous treaty over the head of Clinton is one of his endorsers.
They may want to blame Bush for their failures, but that doesn't make it true. McCain needs to find out how ignorant Obama truly is about that whole situation.

JM Hanes


The great attraction, and the ultimate fraud, of nuance is that most voters don't really know what you're talking about and unfortunately assume that you must know more than they do. I personally believe that the majority of voters are perfectly capable of understanding almost anything that is clearly described to them. When you're getting spin from so many sides, choosing between them becomes a toss up.

One of McCain's ultimate advantages could quite possibly be the fact that people can actually understand what he is saying, no matter how ploddingly he says it. It worked for Bush, and despite his current unpopularity, it's something that doesn't seem to go out of style. Obama seems to be saying something, but afterwords, with the exception of a catch phrase or two, it's hard to remember what it was.


Among the things that have not worked with North Korea are talking to them and not talking to them. Obama's welcome to point out that North Korea is closer to developing a nuclear weapon, but if he can stop it - we'd all love to see the plan.
On Iran, at least he didn't bring back Kerry's "outsourcing our diplomacy" line (remember "outsourcing"? When did that stop being a concern?)

JM Hanes

I wonder if Obama was advised to tie foreign policy into domestic issues wherever he could last night. That might explain what ended up just looking like a messy clutch of confusing non sequiturs.


Yes, jmh..though snake oil always has purchasers, doesn't it?


Among the things that have not worked with North Korea are talking to them and not talking to them.

Also, talking to them in small groups and talking to them with mulitple interested allies- some democracies, some not.

The one country that seems to have been successfully disarmed this decade is Libya. Remind me again how much the IAEA knew about them, and how we found out about them, Obama.

JM Hanes

The general public may not have noticed McCain skewering Obama on the Russia/China vetoes in the U.N., but Obama clearly had virutally no where to go when McCain talked up his league of democricies concept. It's really quite remarkable that in a foreign policy debate, the United Nations was mentioned a total of one time -- by John McCain.

JM Hanes


"Remind me again how much the IAEA knew about them, and how we found out about them, Obama"

.....and why they finally decided to come clean.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

I think John Hawkins has it right:

A new addition to the pantheon of memorable moments in debate history

... I happen to be somewhat concerned, though, that the average American doesn't react to the debates in the same way as we internet/political junkies do. When we watch the debates, we know the facts and arguments as well as the candidates do. When Obama lies, we recognize those lies for what they are. When McCain begins a good argument and then gets lost in elliptical phrasing or jargon, we still understand precisely what it is he actually meant to say, and are able to applaud the thought.

The average American, though, sees things a little differently. Obama has the lawyer's practiced skill of being able to keep his lips moving and sound coming out, even as his brain his empty. Although his eyes looked a bit panicky, he kept emitting subjects, and verbs, and objects. You and I knew that what he was saying was nonsense, or canned, or irrelevant, or dishonest, but the average, less informed viewer heard only a smooth flow of subject and verb and object.

The opposite was true with McCain. McCain, like Bush 41 before him, can lapse into a telegraphic style of speech, where he starts a thought, pauses, and then abandons that thought to go on to a new one. In his own mind, he's fully conveyed what he wished to say. The auditor, however, feels as if he is left hanging. You and I can fill in those blanks, because we know the facts, but the average listener may be waiting for the object that should have been attached to that subject, verb formulation. ... More


We've launched strikes at Hamza Rabia, Laith al Libbi, the previous emirate envoy to Iraq; al Utaibi; we've also targeted Zawahiri any number of times; in operations that seem more out of the Pave Spike/Delta
program in Colombia; where we probably had spotters

JM Hanes

Sara, when Obama is speaking off the cuff, I actually think he has a real problem with subject-verb-object and veers off on new tangents all the time, using oddly placed conjunctions between unfinished phrases. It's amazing how often he just throws in an "and" (or and "uh") and keeps on talking. I suspect that's part of why it seems so hard for him to figure out when and where to stop the flow.


My favorite was when he veered off of Russia and the threat it posed to drilling. It was simply amazing.


I think anyone who says he has the lawyers gift of verbal legerdemain hasn't spent enough time with real lawyers.
He's a rank amateur.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Don't get me started on the way Obama meanders as he speaks. It is what prompted my son last night to say over and over, "What the hell is he talking about."

I know I can barely follow him and I have a pretty good idea of the subjects, but for someone who doesn't pay attention, like son and d-i-l, it sounds like gobbledygook.

JM Hanes

And lest we forget, there's Obama's profligate use of the passive tense to avoid any actual attribution (or, IMO, an identifiable lie):

And in the '60s, he wrote letter after letter to come to college here in the United States because the notion was that there was no other country on Earth where you could make it if you tried.
"The notion was" is a formulation which deftly avoids putting that notion in his father's brain, but implying that it was, indeed, a motivating factor.

As usual, when you actually read his closing statement, it's hard to believe he probably wrote it down in advance (note the "ands"):

I don't think any of us can say that our standing in the world now, the way children around the world look at the United States, is the same.

And part of what we need to do, what the next president has to do -- and this is part of our judgment, this is part of how we're going to keep America safe -- is to -- to send a message to the world that we are going to invest in issues like education, we are going to invest in issues that -- that relate to how ordinary people are able to live out their dreams.

And that is something that I'm going to be committed to as president of the United States.

Not exactly a model of eloquence, clarity or logic.

JM Hanes

That would be passive voice, of course, not passive tense.


Translation:We should spend more money on scholarships for communist goatherders from Kenya to come here and father another child to be abandoned and THEN the children of the world will love us again.

But the scholaship to Harvard was apparently the impetus for his paternal abandonment wasn't it?


LOL Clarice,

When I heard that last night I thought the exact same thing - with some illegal immigration stuff add for good measure.


I know I can barely follow him and I have a pretty good idea of the subjects,

I've given up, in part because if he says something politically foolish it will be made unsaid in no short time. I tune the Great Rhetorician out almost completely, paying him only the attention required to catch him spouting some nonsense deserving of unending mockery. I conclude that my ability to provide useful analysis has quickly bypassed nil and is now in negative territory.

In that spirit, I suggest he follow the example of Truman and place upon his desk a sign that celebrates a major feature of his extemporaneous oratory: The Glottis Stops Here.

Obama: I'm glad the Senator McCain brought up the bipartisan history of us engaging in direct diplomacy. Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger who is one of his advisors who along with 5 Secretaries of State just said that we should meet with Iran; Guess what? He said without preconditions. This is one of your own advisers...

McCain: Look. Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve a face to face meeting between the President of the United States and Ahmadinejad. he did not say that. He said there could be lower level meetings. I've always encouraged them. The Iranians have met with Ambassador Crocker in Baghdad. What senator Obama doesn't understand is that without precondition you sit down with someone who has called Israel a stinking corpse and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments. This is dangerous. This isn't just naive... By the way, Dr. Kissinger who has been my friend for 35 years would be interested to hear Senator Obama's depiction on the issue. I've known him for 35 years

Obama: (interrupting) Lets take a look.

Marc Ambinder
really twists Henry Kissinger's CNN interview to claim that Kissinger is using a debater's trick, when it apparent form the quote that he and Obama are taking it out of context ...

KISSINGER: Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we -- we know we're dealing with authentic...


SESNO: Put at a very high level right out of the box?

KISSINGER: Initially, yes. And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are -- what the outcome is that you're trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to.

Last ime I checked, Condi Rice was not President and George Bush was not Secretary Of State.

JM Hanes

I didn't quote the first sentence of his final statement, but I did think it was laugh out loud funny:

Well, let me just make a closing point. You know, my father came from Kenya. That's where I get my name.

And I just rolled. He's reading My Pet Goat -- to the voters. Does he really think anybody cares about his frakkin' funny name any more, or doesn't know where he got it? Is that really supposed to be a foreign policy credential? Foreign policy for kids is the new nuance?

Now, courtesy of HotAir's headlines, what you do when your jaw hits the floor before you're finish dropping it? President Obama


JMH, I also think that shows Obama isn't confident on his feet. That was his prepared closing line, but it seemed out of place after McCain had said he wasn't ready to be President. The juxtaposition of McCain's "I don't need on the job training" and Obama's "My father came from Kenya" did not inure to his benefit in my opinion and a better prepared or more skilled politician might have had an alternate close at the ready.

JM Hanes

I agree Elliott. He just seemed like a total lightweight. Of course, he is a total lightweight. I don't think he's actually ever had to be a functioning politician.

Sara (Pal2Pal)


Sara (Pal2Pal)

From the above link:

House and Senate negotiators have reached tentative agreement on a financial rescue plan after a marathon Capitol negotiating session that started Saturday afternoon and stretched into early Sunday morning.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the deal still had to be “committed to paper,” a process that will continue throughout the night.

Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the chief Republican negotiator, said he was “looking forward to what we’re going to see on paper” but said he was optimistic that it would be something House Republicans could support.

Said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: “We’ve been working very hard on this and we’ve made great progress toward a deal which will work and will be effective in the marketplace and effective for all Americans . . . .We’ve still got a lot to do to finalize it, but I think we’re there.”

The plan is likely to give Paulson a relatively free hand accessing the first $350 billion of the $700 billion he sought. It was not clear when the remaining $350 billion would become available, but Treasury apparently agreed that a future Congress could block its release though a joint resolution signed by the president. ... More


How many times did Captain Zero mention Off-gaun-y-stawn* in his vaunted speech in 2002? Suffice it to say he lived up to his most deserved sobriquet:

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?

Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?

By the new standards that the Obama campaign has established that means he was completely unconcerned about what happened there.
*He didn't refer to "Afghanistan" either.

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