Below are the BASIC questions asked by Jim Lehrer in the McCain-Obama debate, along with brief summaries of the candidates’ responses.
Jim Lehrer – Moderator. Host of PBS show NewsHour
Barack Obama – Democratic Candidate for President, Junior Senator from Illinois
John McCain – Republican Candidate for President, Senior Senator from Arizona
Question 1: Where you do stand on the $700 billion bailout plan?
=> Obama lists his conditions for the bailout.
=> McCain blasts greed on Wall Street.
Question 2: Are there fundamental differences between your economic plans?
=> McCain: I'll veto every earmark, every pork barrel spending bill.
=> Obama: McCain wants to give $300 billion tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
Question 3: What items on your agenda will you have to give up due to the $700 billion bailout?
=> Obama: Some priorities will be delayed. Then he lists all of his "priorities": energy, health care, education, infrastructure.
=> McCain will consider cut in defense spending. Examine every agency of government. Will consider a spending freeze on everything except defense and ’ care.
Question 4: How will the bailout affect how you govern? (Mr. Lehrer rephrased the previous question, trying to get some real answers. The moderator showed his frustration several times, as the politicians evaded answering his questions.)
=> Obama lists items he can't set aside.
=> McCain repeats "cut spending".
Question 5: What do you see as the lessons of Iraq?
=> McCain speaks of the surgery strategy. Troops will come home in victory. He takes credit again, of course.
=> Obama says, "We should not have gone to Iraq in the first place." Isn't that brilliant? Then he stressed the cost of the Iraq War ($600 billion already; $10 billion per month). "We must use our military wisely."
Question 6: What needs to be done in Afghanistan?
=> Obama will reduce troop levels in Iraq; send the troops to Afghanistan; deal with Pakistan.
=> McCain regrets past error of abandoning the Afghans in their struggle with Russia.