August 18th, 2008
11:52 AM ET

Is the tide turning?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/18/art.forum.jpg]
David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

Heading into the candidates' appearances on Saturday night at Saddleback Church, the conventional wisdom in politics was Barack Obama should have a clear upper hand in any joint appearance with John McCain - one the young, eloquent, cool, charismatic dude who can charm birds from the trees, the other the meandering, sometimes bumbling, old fellow who can barely distinguish Sunnis from Shiias.

Well, kiss that myth goodbye.

McCain came roaring out of the gate from the first question and was a commanding figure throughout the night as he spoke directly and often movingly about his past and the country's future. By contrast, Obama was often searching for words and while far more thoughtful, was also less emotionally connective with his audience.

To be sure, Obama held on to the loyalty of his own supporters - many have written in blog sites since how much they respected both his nuanced answers and the honesty of his convictions, especially his Christian faith.

There is no evidence that he lost ground through Saddleback. Moreover, Democrats can poke lots of holes in McCain's arguments and can charge that he is too much the warrior who would be too quick to send troops hither and yon. So, there is much for Democrats to chew on.

But the point is that McCain showed that he can be a much more formidable and effective campaigner in a joint appearance than hardly anyone imagined. The debates this fall are going to be pivotal to the final outcome of the election, and McCain gave a clear wake-up call to the Obama team that he may be much tougher to beat than expected.

Moreover, McCain is now on a sustained roll in his campaign. Since the time he shook up his organization a few weeks ago, he has been much more focused and has started to get through to voters. Democrats - and the press - didn't like the quality of those ads, but they seem to have worked politically. His stand on drilling and on Russia have also strengthened his aura of command. And now Saddleback.

That's quite a run and it is reflected in the polls: not only have the national numbers tightened up but McCain has actually moved ahead (slightly) in three key battleground states: Ohio, Virginia and Colorado.

A web site that averages all significant polls, RealClearPolitics.com, has previously projected that just looking at polls, Obama was ahead in states with over 300 electoral votes; now he is down to 275 - a tiny cushion since 270 is the magical number for winning.

At Saddleback, Obama surely held on to his base support but McCain strengthened his and probably appealed to some undecideds, too.

In short, the tide is moving for the first time in the Republican direction. And the realization is setting in that McCain might just win.

We are still many weeks away from the election and the overall landscape clearly favors the Democrats, but these latest developments put pressure on Obama and his party to pull themselves together or face a stunning upset. What must they do? For starters:

  • Obama must select a running mate who gives a lift to his campaign and can also hammer home a message in the convention and in the vice presidential debate this fall. He definitely needs a fighter by his side. (For my money, Hillary Clinton looks better and better; if not her, Joe Biden is probably the best fighter - perhaps Evan Bayh, or a surprise choice.)
  • The Democratic convention in Denver has to be a roaring success, not only uniting the party but sending a much clearer, crisper message about why 4 more years will be 4 more years of tears.
  • Obama himself must find his voice again, not only in his acceptance address but in the debates. He needs to bring passion as well as inspiration, a clear sense of what the choice is, and a compelling sense of why he is strong enough as well as wise enough to lead the country through tough times.

In the meantime, the message of the moment is that John McCain is no old fuddy-duddy who isn't sure where he is going; he was on fire at Saddleback and for the first time, he looks like he could win in November.

Filed under: Barack Obama • David Gergen • John McCain • Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Erik

    McCain has yet to demonstrate any significant momentum in this race. Nationally, McCain's ceiling remains at or around 44-45%. Barack's floor remains at or around 45-46%. However, most polls have shown a fairly consistent, stable 5-6 point spread. Maybe that sounds close today, but if Obama wins by 6% on November 4th, it's going to be a blowout in the electoral college.

    The next few weeks are going to be tough on McCain. As he picks a running mate and attends his party's convention, Americans will forcefully be remind of one hard fact: John McCain is a Republican.

    Look for McCain to get a history-defying negative poll bounce out of the RNC.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  2. Fred

    David, Can't you see all McCain wants is 4 years of paid vacation in the white House (that is after he starts the cold war to keep us busy). All he talks about is war, we don't want another war. Ask McCain to tell us what he can do, not what Obama can't do.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  3. Brian Pelton

    This was not exactly a side-by-side appearance, and the audience was
    tailor made for John McCain. The people who were for McCain before
    this event are still for McCain.
    I know that there is a need on the part of the media to heighten the
    drama and increase viewership - and I'm ashamed of David G. for being
    part of it.
    McCain will never win this election. a) The American people are ready to
    vomit up the G.O.P.., b) McCain is far too old and looks pale and sick
    beside Obama, c) the GOP smear machine is going to overstep.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  4. Linda Feldman

    First of all, it wasn't a joint appearance. Second, the 17% that represents the Christian fundamentalist point of view gave us George Bush - twice! We have lived through their brand of politics for 8 years. Obama's faith held up very well in front of this crowd. That's all he was expected to do. Third, expectations for McCain are so low that anything he does is great. He's an affable guy but he is shallow and we need to go deep.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  5. Terry

    I am an independent voter, a member of an evangelical church, white, middle class. I plan to vote for the best man and will not vote to keep the same crowd in office that have gotten us into this mess. I will vote for Obama.

    Voting for McCain will be the same as voting for GWB in 2004, a very BIG mistake. If you want to keep us in the current mess we are in, just go ahead and vote for McCain. If he gets elected, we will see inflation of 20% (the man is an economic dimwit), continued war in Iraq and probably in Iran, continued deficit spending, continued selling of American assets to foreign countries, and continued borrowing from countries like China.

    At the rate we are going, a good defense won't matter anymore, we will have totally sold our country to foreign countries, and they will milk us dry from the inside.

    I am mad, I am fed up with this crap and will not take it anymore!!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  6. Mark


    Are you kidding me? Obama did not bow to the conservative audience? One of the biggest issues to conservatives is abortion. Obama's answer...that is above my paygrade. What? We all know what his views and record on abortion are. He is the most liberal of all when it comes to abortion. He is not hiding anything. Why didn't he just have the guts to come out and state his views and beliefs? So, Obama cannot make a decision on one of the most controversial and important decisions in America? Shame on him. But, we are supposed to trust that he can make other decisions of equal importance.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Derek

    Some comments are obvious very bias and spin. The fact is long known, Obama is a better speaker if he has to give a speech from the podium and McCain is a better speaker in a town hall format. That's why McCain wants a town hall type debate and Obama refuses. Likewise, Obama wants all podium debates and McCain will be forced to do a few.

    Two questions were given in advance to both candidates. One of those questions was who he'd consult. Obama said his grandmother. That's a lousy person for our country's fate to hinge upon. A nice answer which nobody gave would be "I'd seek the opinions of the former presidents to add to my own experience and advisors' analysis" That's because Obama doesn't want to give credit to Bush Sr., and McCain doesn't want to seek advice from Carter, a disasterous president.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  8. bill

    Its funny to see OB crumble without a cue card

    August 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  9. CJ

    My God! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! You republicans are saying the same damn thing, making the dang accusations and bullsh*t logical fallacy conclusions as y'all did when you rammed Bush down our collective throats. I thought you might have learned, but your ignorant arrogance, pride that prevents you from saying you were wrong, knows no bounds. You might just doom us to a continued downward spiral with more Bush-republicanism. Mccain is just more of the same–but I guess you feel we haven't suffered enough.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  10. Inabon, Florida

    This is all set and done. Obama, the black candidate attracks thousans when he talks and, for the first time in ages, Europeans cheered for an American abroad instead of burning flags.
    McCain don't have a chance. Of course, put him in a church with McCain listening his answers, that should have been a massacre by McCain, BUT IT WASN'T.
    Lets see what happens in a real debate when I think McCain is going to bang on the table worst than Nikita Kruschev.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  11. Nate

    McCain is in the center????? His answers were all very strong to the right. His stances on abortion and evil were very direct but left no room for people with a different opinion. Obama said that he was not pro-abortion but simply pro-choice. He talked about ways to reduce the number of abortions. His stances gave much more respect to opposing opinions. Obama was more thoughtful, what the reporters called "nuanced." I felt like his answers were far more realistic. McCain's stance on evil was scary. While he is so bent on destroying evil in the world....is he giving the rest of the world any chance to dispute what actually is evil and what isn't? Will he be the one to decide which causes are just? The thought is frightening.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  12. Eric

    Quite frankly I always thought that the polls were way too close and would, as they always do, tighten. With the economy, the Iraq war, the hate that many have for the GOP, fuel prices, and so much more for Obama to have had a 5-7 point advantage for a while is actually worse than Kerry was doing in may polls opposite to Bush in 2004 and while many are trying to paint McCain as Bush II he is not Bush himself. If Obama is 3-4 points up in late October this is a toss up.

    Also, people talk about Obama's disadvantages when it comes to polling (for example cell phones) but what about the so-called Bradley effect? Obama polled almost consistenly 3 to 4 points better right before a primary then he actually did and if this is the Bradley effect in action it could happen once again.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  13. Sally Medd

    Mr. Gergen. I have to disagree strongly with how you thought the evening went with the Pastor. Im a Canadian so I observed with somewhat of an open mind Obama answering questions thoughtfully and honestly. I think a strong leader has to weigh his views and it makes for wiser decisions.
    While Im not sure McCain knew the questions or not is of no value.
    He pandered to his evangelical audience with the flag and going out to defeat evil everywhere. He is not Superman, and I I were a citizen of your country, I would be very wary to support a man who can only talk about war, war, and more war. He also mentioned that they had achieved "victory" in Iraq. Someone should have definitely called him on that and if he knows how to get Osama Bin Laden why hasn't he done it?

    I sure hope you people do not make the same mistake twice. You simply cannot afford it. Also he is always critizing Obame on taxing wealthy people . I wonder if the American people realize this is the first war in your history that taxes have not been raised. The Chinese owns your souls people.

    Get with it.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  14. veronica

    I have to tell you that I now know where my vote is going in November.
    The Saddleback forum made it crystal clear that Obama needs to go back to the drawing board and get another 10 years under his belt before taking aim at the White House.

    I was REALLY impressed with McCain and his clear and quick thinking. I would rather see a McCain go up against the "agressors" that are out there looking to do this country harm then an Obama.

    What some commentators have called "thoughtfulness" I call lack of insight and wisdom.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  15. James

    That's a bunch of nonsense. John McCain, an ancient warrior, has done war, thinks war, acts war, will do war. Is that what Americans want? Please, God, no.


    August 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  16. Barbara in NC

    I saw one man considering the entire world in his views (the constitutional scholar).

    I saw another man pandering with his prepared stump speeches split into whatever he though "might" fit.

    Obama '08 or we're all dead from World War III

    August 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  17. Mark

    The comments on here amaze me. And we wonder what is wrong with our country. For instance, Obama was trying to give thoughtful answers. What? Are you kidding me?

    Is that what a person who is running for President is supposed to do? I do not want to hear thoughtful answers. I want to hear the truth. I want to hear what someone believes in. I want to hear what someone is made of and what their principles are. I want for the candidates to mean what they say and say what they mean. Trying to make thoughtful answers means they have no backbone and do not have the guts to say what they believe. It shows lack of character. It means they are saying what they need to to please as many as possible. That is what is wrong with our country and our government.

    Obama did not answer hardly any of the questions directly. McCain did. There might be a lot that did not like what he said (example: those pro-choice and homosexuals), but he said what he believes in. That is what is supposed to happen. Obama b.s.'d his way through it all.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  18. Jason

    The Usual Democrat spin.

    McCain. Answered questions well so he must have known the answers ahead of time!. (Read..Republicans are stupid and dishonest).

    Obama. This was not a format he was accustomed to! (Read..he did not have his telepromoter so he had to think of things to say on his own.)

    August 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  19. Jules

    Americans have two horrible choices this year and it's going to boil down to one word: experience. Most Americans want a Dem but Obama is too weak and inexperienced. I respect HRC but she won't be able to save him, he's going to lose. McCain is unfortunately a Repub but he's an interesting capable guy and I think everyone was waiting to see how "senile" he really is. He did a great job on Sat. and I think more voters will break for him.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  20. juanita

    I saw the forum and thought they both were pretty good...it's interesting thatb the bar is set high for BO but low for JMcCain...you would think just the opposite because of all McCains's " so called leadership and national security experience". In most instances BO answered the questions and tried to provide the reasons behind his response. McCain in most instances provided non-answered that consisted of the same stmts found in his stump speeches. A rapid response to a question or situation does not make one a great leader. Everyone talks abpot all the press BO receives, but no one including the press eve presses McCain about his record, his misteps or mistakes. His non-support of veteran's issues is a joke...he did not even take the time to vote on the last GI Bill...although he is quick to tell everyone about our "brave men and women". As a retired military person, I agree with Gen Clark...getting shot down and being a prisoner of war is not an indication of how you will function as a commander and chief or President. As with all human beings, some days we are 100% and more some days we are not. Rather than worry about someone taking a few seconds to respond to a question, I try to see if they actually answered the question and if I agreed with the policy. Ar this time I must say I still like the policies that BO has spoken about/listed in detail on his WEB site. McCain may not be Bush, but in all the major policy areas his positions are the same. I was a big McCain supporter in 2000, but not this year...the campaign he is running now is the same dirty/underghanded/mean spirited campaign Bush ran against him. After 8 years of be "afraid/very afraid" unless a Republican is in the White House, I look forward to some optimism

    August 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  21. Adam

    Why don't you just admit that you're just a mouth piece for the GOP. McCain is the most insincere moron I've ever had the displeasure to listen to. He just keeps repeating his stump speech and doesn't have any sincerety about the words he is saying. It's like he feels this election has already been decided and it probably has. I believe democracy is dead in America and has become a military institution bent on world domination.

    Americans need to start looking beyond the fact that he couldn't keep his plane in the air and lived in a POW camp. These things may make a patriot, but not a president. John McCain is simply doing the bidding of the same group of people that brought you eight years of George Bush which everyone admits was a mistake. Now the American people seem poised to make the same mistake again. Its going to take more than God to bless America.

    Good thing I'm not American, though I live closer to your disaster then I find comfortable.

    I wish Americans the best, but only if you make the right decision this November and stop shooting yourselves in the foot.


    A Frustrated Canadian

    August 18, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  22. Phil

    To "Arachnae", who wrote "that’s not the issue. When not prepped and rehearsed to a fare-thee-well, McCain freezes and looks momentarily like a doddering old man".

    I think this is more self-delusion, and/or generous amounts of the Obama-ade.

    One PLEASANT surprise from the blog comments here, though, is the lack of the usually-predictable "the ONLY reason you don't like/won't vote for Obama is that you're a racist". Tripe and rubbish.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  23. DHuston

    It amazes me the the far left are all to willing to allow a clear defeat in Iraq with their talk of bringing our soldiers home before the region is ready. That would be a clear victory for the Taliban. And if, for one moment, the leftest think the Taliban will give up committing genocide and bombings, including on US soil, then they don't understand what the Muslim Religion teaches.

    There will be no sitting down and compromising with the Taliban and their followers. They will do anything to bring down Western Society. Not just in the US.

    Yes, this is a terrible time we are living in, but if we want our children and grandchildren to have a free democracy to prosper in, we must stand united with the rest of Western society and take this faction out of power.

    We need strong leadership to see us through this time, not someone who thinks that we can come to some type of middle ground. It won't happen.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  24. Jim

    We apparently did not hear the same verbal exchanges. Obama answered thoughtfully. McCain answered from his talking points and blatantly targeted the message to the audience present. Obama's thoughtful answers and McCain's canned ones convinced at least one in our party listening to change their vote to Obama. None changed to McCain.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  25. simon

    In the primaries John McCain was never this quick on the questions and answers, makes you wonder !,
    And mind you lets face it.. he babble about old war stories , saying the same stuff over and over on any topic it has to come back to vietnam. iam sooo sick and tired . can we talk ISSUES McCain , oh yea!! the republicans have none.

    is the public going to buy into old WAR stories , last i check IT doesn't create jobs , fix healtcare ,solve the energy crisis. and put FOOD on the table.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  26. Kalik Crick

    I was never a big McCain supporter in the primaries, but between Barack Hussein Obama and McCain I will be pulling for McCain. I could NEVER vote for BHO who has never voted on any major legislation, sponsered any bills. The only job he ever had was a community organizer, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are both community organizers also. I would have McCain answer the phone at 3AM anyday.

    Don't get me wrong, BHO give a good speech, but he cant walk the walk, and I need a president who can walk the walk. I can't wait for the October suprise to come out and see his campaign emplode.. then I will sit back and enjoy it all along. BTW I am black and proud and have no HOPE in Obama.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  27. Will Molstad

    Look, I am all for hearing both sides of the story but honestly I have heard enough from a very weak experienced candidate in Barack. I would rather not give away our country, give away all my tax money, encourage and allow 4th and 5th generation welfare, promote socialism, destroy capitalism and break the spines of the American people. I am not a big fan of McCain either. Just because you fought for this country and survived a POW hell means you automatically get to be president. These 2 candidates are so weak in so many ways that this election really is a comedy of errors. What it shows me that the right candidate for the job was too smart to put themselves in the light of the liberal left media. It is truly a shame we cannot have the kind of candidates we want. Here we are again picking the lesser of 2 evils. One who has a record and is somewhat predictable, the other no record and shoots from the hip unless he is spoon fed what to say by his 300 staffers who know more about the country then the candidate.

    I guess for me it boils down to one thing and one thing only. Life occurs at conception and if you are pro-choice it boggles my mind why you would consider being pro-choice......

    Let me leave you with a thought.....take a moment to seriously think about this......the person who carried you and brought you into this world.....would you have liked them to choose to not have you.......see....its like this......that life is not given a choice.....and the person who chooses to take the life away is being selfish and wreckless.......I am sure I will hear that I am clueless or I dont get it or I am not a woman or how dare you tell me what rights I have and dont have.....all I am saying is you lose all rights at conception.....you abort...you are killing and that is murder.......if you can have that on your conscious then so be it......I cannot.

    Thank you for listening and I encourage any responses should you like to....

    August 18, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  28. Tom G.

    I beleive every white voter should think twice before he or she votes in Nov. . I have seen so many pictures of Sen. Obama and his staff , that I as a white Americian feel I cannot let an unexperienced Black man and a group of black people run this great country ,and be President . I'm sorry but I beleive in someone with some kind of experience, than a man who just promise change.Change is a word that means something different from what we have, and since President Bush is not running for President I beleive Sen. Mc Cain can also bring change along with Experience.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  29. joyce

    After watching Obama's hour with Rick Warren I thought seriously for the first time that I might have to change my vote for him. I thought that McCain would be no match for Obama's charisma and presence. Then after watching McCain's hour I was impressed with how energetic and pertinent he appeared. I particularly liked his answer on what Americans should have been told to get involved in after 911. I like them both and think anew how vitally important it is for each of them to get it right with their VP choice.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  30. rich

    David, you must be one of those that are impressed with old stories and quick answers. I for one do not want my president thinking of forty years ago and shooting from the hip. I want my president to think before he acts, not acts before he thinks.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  31. Mark

    All these statements by all you Democrats are so typical. Because McCain did very well, and stomped Obama, now it is he cheated, or he must have heard the answers. I am sure you would have said the same thing if Obama had done well and McCain had not huh? Yeah right.

    Next of all, all you Democrats that say that McCain is the same as Bush are hypocrites! It is ironic that he got his name "maverick" almost solely by the Democrats because he opposed Bush quite often. But, now that he is running against Obama, he is the same as Bush. Yeah, he was the same as Bush. He opposed the Bush tax cuts, he ripped Bush on the war on terror and Iraq, he opposes torture, he worked with Feingold and Kennedy, etc...Wow, so similar.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  32. LGD

    I was really excited about the interview and outcome of the Warren interview with the two candidates. I love to watch the many news channels for various opinions. I must say that I watched Warren on the Fox Network with Hannity, and the pastor allowed Hannity to guide him into a discussion about (what else) Rev. Wright. Warren told Hannity that he would not have remained a member of Wright’s church afer hearing what was said through various news clips. At that point, I had to look at Warren with new eyes and listen with new ears during the Larry King interview. Once Warren gave an anti-Obama view point, he showed bias. I would have preferred that Warren not comment about what another pastor says in a church unless it was considered criminal. I am now very dissappointed that Warren allowed himself to be (now) used as a sound bite for Hannity when it comes to Obama.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  33. mel

    mccain is a war hero because he was a POW not by anything he did. check out his history – he was even being considered for war crimes –
    everytime he mentions being a POW , i am reminded that mccain said he did not love his country until he was a pow. so a white man growing up in the era he grew up in when whites had all the advantages, couldn't find a way to love his country until he suffered at the hands of another country. how many minorities have suffered at the hands of their own country, yet stil love it. mccain was asked if he was comfortable in the "cone of silence", yet did he admit he was not there. PS, just wondering, in a cone of silence can you still be reading off the internet or blackberry –

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  34. Rick Gilbert

    Picking Hillary is the only way. If the young Obamaniacs get over accept this fact, the Convention can be an emotionally unifying success.

    Too many people strongly share this belief for anything else to work and guarantee November turn outs.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  35. Al from NJ

    McCain acted presidential.
    Obama did not.
    When you compare these men side by side, Obama appears weak.

    He really should consider having Senator Clinton as his running mate.
    If not, he won't have a prayer.

    Too inexperience, too radical and too many skeletons in his closet

    August 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  36. Rick

    Warren told them both beforehand the type of questions he was going to ask. What would you expect him to ask them about? Obamaites, get over this delusion about McCain knowing the questions. Obama just stammered his way thru another sorry interview.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  37. dorothy

    I am disturbed that a minister is an acceptable narrator in our political process. It smacks of other countries where the clergy are a dominant part of the government. Has anyone read "The Family" by Jeff Sharlet? Are the evangelicals our nation's only moral compass? After reading "The Family," I am concerned about them being a major lobbying group, as represented by their elite level, for the Republicans.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  38. Christina

    After watching your coverage of this "Faith Forum" I am trying to reconcile my anger. There are three reasons I am angry that this forum even happened.
    Reason 1 – It should be offensive to everyone that is not an Evangelist. There is a reason our founding fathers wanted separation of church and state. Faith is personal and should serve as a guide for personal decisions NOT for influencing laws that have been passed or will be passed to protect EVERYONE regardless of their faith, orientation, sex, etc.
    If a candidate is pro-life then they should support every effort to educate and provide other options whether it is free condoms, the pill or other method to prevent pregnancy so there is no demand for abortion. Do not take someone's right to make a personal decision about their life. It is personal. Period.
    Reason 2 – This forum is discrimatory. Where there other faiths like Muslims in the audience. Our country is NOT 100% Evangelist. This is pandering to one group. Doing so is NOT in the interest of ALL Americans. Do you really believe in Freedom of Religion? This forum didn't send that message.
    Reason 3 – McCain's comment about "After 9/11 we should have . . ". Would have, could have, should have. Hindsight is 20/20. Where was McCain encouraging enrollment in the Peace Corp? Where were any of the politicians encouraging Americans to drive less, recycle more and be better World citizens? I know of one politician. Gore. To both candidates I say find your own bandwagon if that is possible for a politician. Though you both claim that this is not about you, I say you lie. Don't give in to the peer pressure of money. Believe in the greater good rather than your own ego. Would you sacrifice all to serve this country?

    August 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  39. Marco Antonio

    We don't have any hopes about a new president. US is acting on the same way with the world for the last 50 years...

    Wars and more wars.

    August 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  40. Chrystal Arnet

    If McCain didn't hear the questions ahead of time then he really is a shoot from the hip/lip type person, some would suggest he is just like Bush in that regard. The next President needs to take a more thoughtful approach, not rushing decisions, racing off to war, overturn Roe vs. Wade because he thinks it's best. The next President needs to listen carefully, judge fairly, look forward not always to the past, build bridges not bomb them and earn the respect of the rest of the world not demand it. Change is definitely needed and fast.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  41. Prasad

    Here is one life-long democrat who will vote for John McCain this
    November. Reasons? There are many (too many to list).

    August 18, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  42. Claire M.

    I am tired of hearing about everyone's religious doctrine and hearing the candidates answer religiously-oriented questions and pander to the gullible. I frankly don't care what religion these people are and wish they'd keep it to themselves and focus on the issues that are important to everyone, religious or not.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  43. Diane, CA

    I usually like David Gergen but he is getting on my nerve saying that Senator Obama should pick Hillary Clinton. There is no way in Hell I would have her and Bill Clinton on my ticket. Bill is what you classify as an angry man. I for one think she is aligned with John McCain. They would rather see him win so she could run in 08. Everyone better remember they are all millionaires and they can hold out the four years.

    I hope all of the people who are voting for John McCain can hold out four years. We will definitely be in another war if he is President.

    Also people can say what they want McCain knew what the questions were when he stepped out on the stage. If he had not known he definetely would have stumbled. He is not smart enough to have answered the questions the way he did. All of them were way to precise.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  44. Donald

    McCain has showed why he is much like our lame duck president george bush, he's "gung ho" and gives us C rated answered to topics such as abortion, how do we deal with evil and human rights that require a more theological, outside the box and neutral thinking to play to different parties. See, some of us americans are very selfish people, its always we want to see this and that in a president instead of I would like to see a president that is compansionate about all americans, we don't think about how the next person feels and republicans no that and that's why they play to the audience so easily. Obama, when he speaks on a topic he plays to "ALL" americans and not to the ignorant americans.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  45. Peter

    The one thing that disturbed me was McCain's late arrival at the show.

    The statement that he was traveling and did not listen to or watch the first half hour of the show strikes me as possibly disingenuous.

    He personally may not have, but since all traveling dignitaries are in constant communication in a variety of ways, it's entirely possible that his staff could have used the time to listen to the questions posed to Obama and quickly devised responses for McCain to present.

    If asked, McCain could therefore clearly place hand on heart and claim that he neither saw nor heard video or audio of the show.

    That's not to say that McCain did cheat – only that cheating was possible, and the show therefore had little of value to offer except in terms of Obama's responses.

    I do wonder though what would have happened had Obama been the one arriving late...

    August 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  46. Phil

    I find it amusing that so many Obama supporters believe there HAS to have been some conspiracy or cheating or something for McCain to do as well as he did. Well, people, that's pretty stupid thinking. The simpler (and correct) explanation is that you've convinced yourselves that McCain is incompetent, etc....in other words, you've all been listening to each others' endless Obama worship and yammering. Your level of self-delusion (and the impressive but sad levels of creative defensiveness you're exhibiting to protect your beliefs) is pretty funny.

    Again, don't pinch yourself...if you don't wake up, your dream can continue.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  47. bob

    Amazing that the only thing the socialists can come up with against McCain is GW Bush. I think everyone can agree that Bush's presidency in many ways has been a complete failure. However, McCain is not Bush so why don't you run against McCain instead of Bush. Obama is a socialist bent on social programing turning this country into a welfare state.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  48. Rick

    It is pretty funny to see so many people accuse McCain of violating the cone of silence. The reason he did so well is because he has substantive answers that he is not making up as he goes. I cannot wait to get past the conventions to the debates when the American people will have a chance to see both of these guys for who they really are.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  49. Steven

    If I hear one more "this is our moment" speech from Barack Obama I am canceling my cable service. The man can not speak on the spot, so what does that tell you? He does not speak about his true beliefs rather what his audience wants to hear from him. This was just another "moment" when Obama gets exposed. For McCain, he finally comes out of the gate with some fight. If you have this McCain through November, watch out because Obama won't be able to find the words to side step his way back.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  50. Dia

    About the only thing I agree with here is Gergen's assertion that Obama needs to show more passion in any future debates. Unfortunately, we do not have much patience for a nuanced approach, which is why McCain's (however nonsensical) sound bites play well. But just because McGoo emoted, doesn't make him presidential material. And having been a P.O.W. (aeons ago) doesn't give him the corner on the patriotism market. Obama is equally a man of conviction and a patriot, and I think we will see a lot more fire from him during the DEM convention and beyond. He is also a consensus builder, and someone who is willing to work/think through the issues. McGoo's solution to everything is to 'fight' it. His perception that evil is everywhere probably has roots in his Nam experience, and, strangely, he appears to still be living in that era. There is little doubt in my mind that he was answering Warren's questions before they were asked, which can only mean one thing. As to what he would do for the economy, well, Ben Stein said it best on C-Span: He believes in supply side economics, and we all know that just did not work. It did not work for Reagan and it won't work now. I was surprised at how pro-McC a lot of the CNN analysts/commentators seemed to be after the debate. That McC was fired up did not impress me at all. He represents a bygone era of white western male privilege (yes, I am white). Today, I read that he and the heiress have TEN homes, not to mention the private jet (or three). Supply side economics, indeed. But of course.

    August 18, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
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