You can watch the video of the debate here:
The transcript of the debate can be found here.
OBAMA: So, look, nobody likes taxes. I would prefer that none of us had to pay taxes, including myself. But ultimately, we've got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong and somebody's got to do it.I do! I already pay too much to Washington, DC and I am not willing or desiring to pay any more.
MCCAIN: Nobody likes taxes. Let's not raise anybody's taxes. OK?
OBAMA: Well, I don't mind paying a little more.
OBAMA: But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments...Yes, we have been living beyond our means and the answer isn't more programs and more taxes. It's nice rhetoric to hear that he will go line by line to eliminate "programs that don't work", but who decides if they work or not? Also, if we are using a "pay as you go" program, how does that help us eliminate the deficit and our national debt? While it would be nice to see federal spending not exceed the level it has already attained, it is actually more important that the level of spending decrease in order to pay off our debts. We need to decrease our spending and reduce the national debt and I see that happening through fewer federal programs and lower taxes.
Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches...
We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don't work. And I want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page, programs that don't work, we should cut...
And we're going to have to embrace a culture and an ethic of responsibility, all of us, corporations, the federal government, and individuals out there who may be living beyond their means.
MCCAIN: Another one would be a number of subsidies for ethanol.I am opposed to subsidies at all levels. The market will decide which companies thrive and which companies fold. If a product is not competitive on the market without government intervention then it should be left on the shelf until someone figures out either how to make it marketable and profitable or they can figure out another way to reach to the same end that is desirable by the consumers.
I oppose subsidies for ethanol because I thought it distorted the market and created inflation...
I would eliminate the tariff on imported sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil...
I know how to save billions. I saved the taxpayer $6.8 billion by fighting a deal for a couple of years, as you might recall, that was a sweetheart deal between an aircraft manufacturer, DOD, and people ended up in jail.
But I would fight for a line-item veto, and I would certainly veto every earmark pork-barrel bill...
Oh, and earmarks are a huge part of the problem in both our politics and economic situation.
MCCAIN: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.This should have been said at every opportunity over the past 12 months.
MCCAIN: So the fact is, let's look at our records, Senator Obama. Let's look at it as graded by the National Taxpayers Union and the Citizens Against Government Waste and the other watchdog organizations.This was a good couple of moments for McCain.
I have fought against spending. I have fought against special interests. I have fought for reform. You have to tell me one time when you have stood up with the leaders of your party on one single major issue...
Senator Obama, your argument for standing up to the leadership of your party isn't very convincing
MCCAIN: ... unacceptable. So the point is -- the point is that I have repudiated every time someone's been out of line, whether they've been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that.Obama dodged this question as fast as possible and moved the conversation past a point he didn't want to discuss.
But the fact is that we need to absolutely not stand for the kind of things that have been going on. I haven't.
OBAMA: Well, look, Bob, as I said...
SCHIEFFER: I mean, do you take issue with that?
OBAMA: You know, here's what I would say. I mean, we can have a debate back and forth about the merits of each other's campaigns. I suspect we won't agree here tonight...
SCHIEFFER: Do you think she's qualified to be president?McCain answered the question, while Obama danced again. I suppose it was above his pay grade to answer it.
OBAMA: You know, I think it's -- that's going to be up to the American people. I think that, obviously, she's a capable politician who has, I think, excited the -- a base in the Republican Party...
MCCAIN: I think that Joe Biden is qualified in many respects. But I do point out that he's been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues, which is supposed to be his strength...
MCCAIN: We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 new nuclear plants, power plants, right away. We can store and we can reprocess...If we are trying to "save the environment", does it really matter where the technology comes from to do it? Most of the solar and wind power technologies have been developed outside of the US and brought here. If a European company figures out how to make a car run on water and a US company uses the technology in one of their vehicles, doesn't everyone win?
So the point is with nuclear power, with wind, tide, solar, natural gas, with development of flex fuel, hybrid, clean coal technology...
So I think we can easily, within seven, eight, ten years, if we put our minds to it, we can eliminate our dependence on the places in the world that harm our national security if we don't achieve our independence.
OBAMA: I think that in ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. I think that's about a realistic timeframe.
... telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they're not drilling, use them or lose them.
And I think that we should look at offshore drilling and implement it in a way that allows us to get some additional oil...
That's why I've focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal. These have been priorities of mine since I got to the Senate, and it is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that's built not in Japan and not in South Korea, but built here in the United States of America.
MCCAIN: Well, you know, I admire so much Senator Obama's eloquence. And you really have to pay attention to words. He said, we will look at offshore drilling. Did you get that? Look at. We can offshore drill now. We've got to do it now. We will reduce the cost of a barrel of oil because we show the world that we have a supply of our own. It's doable. The technology is there and we have to drill now.McCain finally calls out what Obama is doing - he's wordsmithing his responses like the lawyer that he is.
OBAMA: When I talked about the automakers, they are obviously getting hammered right now. They were already having a tough time because of high gas prices. And now with the financial crisis, car dealerships are closing and people can't get car loans.They are getting hammered right now because they built inferior products during a time when foreign companies were focussing their efforts on gas efficiency. And then, when the market began to shift they continued to make products that a lot of people did not want to buy. Detroit dragged their feet and they deserve to face the consequence of their poor choices, even if it means they go out of business. Someone else will rise up in their place and will figure out how to make vehicles that people want, that get good gas mileage, that last a long time and don't cost an arm and a leg to build. My guess is that at some point, if there are 100,000 autoworkers unemployed and looking for a job they might decide that they would rather have a job that pays them than pay a union that does nothing but run them out of business.
That's why I think it's important for us to get loan guarantees to the automakers, but we do have to hold them responsible as well to start producing the highly fuel-efficient cars of the future.
And Detroit had dragged its feet too long in terms of getting that done.
MCCAIN: I will find the best people in the world -- in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench.I am not sure McCain means by that last statement, but I agree that there should not be legsilating from the bench and an adherence to the Constitution.
SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?
MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.
OBAMA: And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance...It sound like both candidates don't believe in a litmus test, but they are both looking towards nominating candidates that reflect their views on Roe vs Wade.
Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided...
MCCAIN: Let me talk to you about an important aspect of this issue. We have to change the culture of America. Those of us who are proudly pro-life understand that. And it's got to be courage and compassion that we show to a young woman who's facing this terribly difficult decision.This was, in my opinion, John McCain's best moment in the whole debate.
Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born of a failed abortion. He voted against that.
And then, on the floor of the State Senate, as he did 130 times as a state senator, he voted present.
Then there was another bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the state of Illinois not that long ago, where he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, one of the late-term abortion, a really -- one of the bad procedures, a terrible. And then, on the floor of the Illinois State Senate, he voted present.
I don't know how you vote "present" on some of that. I don't know how you align yourself with the extreme aspect of the pro- abortion movement in America. And that's his record, and that's a matter of his record.
OBAMA: There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.But you didn't vote against it Senator! You voted "present".
MCCAIN: That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health." But, look, Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We know what a treasure and joy it is to have an adopted child in our lives. We'll do everything we can to improve adoption in this country.This section resonated within me. Speaking from a stanpoint of compassion and aid, McCain took more than a pro-life stance here. He stepped up to the mic and let the world know that he believes not just in trying to overturn Roe Vs Wade but also in providing care for single mothers and their infants. I feel he shoul dhave spoken a bit more about his adoption experience, but I am glad he finally spoek up about his feelings around this issue.
But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn. Of course, we have to come together. Of course, we have to work together, and, of course, it's vital that we do so and help these young women who are facing such a difficult decision, with a compassion, that we'll help them with the adoptive services, with the courage to bring that child into this world and we'll help take care of it.
OBAMA: Well, we have a tradition of local control of the schools and that's a tradition that has served us well. But I do think that it is important for the federal government to step up and help local school districts do some of the things they need to do.In order to improve the educational system we should increase the buraucracy that is already incapable of handling the finances it is given? I believe that the US Department of Education is one of the worst entities ever to be allowed to continue to not only survive but dictate what should be taught in our schools. Obviously, it hasn't worked so far, so whay should me expect it to get any better with more money and more red tape?
It was Obama's debate to lose and McCain knew this had to come out swinging hard with some great points if he was going to be seen as the winner. While McCain made some points that I feel were solid and well-timed and Obama seemed to be on the defensive for most of the debate, I do not think that the majority of Americans would have been swayed by either man's arguments. It's one thing to agree with a man's stance on an issue and shout "Hurray!" when he finally speaks his mind about it, but it's another thing entirely to state something so profoundly impacting that it causes someone to choose you over the person they had in mind. I'm not sure McCain hit the homerun he needed.
It was good to finally hear a little talk about actual stances and issues as opposed to regurgitated stump speaches and television talking points. I felt this debate was much better than the last one.