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Debate Highlights: Part I

Barack Obama, in a display of wisdom and sanity that should alone qualify him for the presidency, declined John McCain’s offer earlier this summer to have 493 Town Hall debates, each one of which would have been the televised equivalent of poetry-themed refrigerator magnets; just mix the same set of words up in different orders and – voila! – crushing boredom for everyone. But since last night’s debate was the last opportunity to do this for another four years, I’d like translate some of my favorite highlights of the last time Obama and McCain speak to each other before one of them concedes (hopefully) on Nov. 4.

Bob Schieffer: “I’ll encourage them to ask follow-up questions of each other. If they do not, I will.”

”You will talk about Bill Ayers if I have to drag him out here myself. And I will. He’s tied up in my trunk.

John McCain: ”Americans are hurting right now, and they’re angry. They’re hurting, and they’re angry. They’re innocent victims of greed and excess on Wall Street and as well as Washington, D.C. And they’re angry, and they have every reason to be angry.

”I’m hurting, angry and projecting.”

McCain: ”a couple days ago Senator Obama was out in Ohio and he had an encounter with a guy who’s a plumber, his name is Joe Wurzelbacher….”

“I found this one guy who doesn’t know any more about the economy than I do…and he agrees with me!”

Barack 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.
McCain: Nobody likes taxes. Let’s not raise anybody’s taxes. OK?
Obama: Well, I don’t mind paying a little more.

”Kindness. I’m killing you with it.”

McCain: OK, what — what would I cut? I would have, first of all, across-the-board spending freeze, OK? Some people say that’s a hatchet. That’s a hatchet, and then I would get out a scalpel, OK?

If the first item you use in an operation is a hatchet, you can pretty much write off the patient altogether. Using a scalpel on a corpse is called an autopsy.

McCain: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago

“HA! Nailed it! Can I go home now?”

Obama: …the notion that I voted for a tax increase for people making $42,000 a year has been disputed by everybody who has looked at this claim that Senator McCain keeps on making. Even FOX News disputes it, and that doesn’t happen very often when it comes to accusations about me.

“Sen. McCain, it is my duty to inform you that your pants are ablaze. FYI.”

McCain: …if Senator Obama had asked — responded to my urgent request to sit down, and do town hall meetings…..I think the tone of this campaign could have been very different.

“It’s his fault I’ve been acting like a dick.”

McCain: “I’m not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally — there’s a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, Senator Obama, that I’m not happy about either. In fact, some T-shirts that are very unacceptable.”

“Death threats……a naughty word on a t-shirt. Same difference.”

McCain: Yes, real quick. Mr. Ayers, I don’t care about an old washed-up terrorist. But as Senator Clinton said in her debates with you…

“No. I don’t have the balls to do this directly.”

McCain: We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.

”I have no idea what I’m talking about. Did it sound scary enough?”

McCain: ” — all of the details need to be known about Senator Obama’s relationship with them (Ayers) and with ACORN and the American people will make a judgment. And my campaign is about getting this economy back on track, about creating jobs, about a brighter future for America…”

”I just broke my own neck from rhetorical whiplash.”

……to be continued.

– Michael Turner