The wrapup: McCain looked sharper than Obama. And by "sharper", I mean totally unfocused on the words coming out of Rick Warren's mouth except as they related to prepackaged stories he already knew.
The best political team on TV is analyzing this on CNN. This should be a trainwreck. The word of the night for Obama is "nuanced", which is almost always a stand-in for liberal and shifty. Incidentally, the best political team on TV is two conservative Christians and a bunch of Beltway reporters. Shoot me now.
One last comment: imagine that Barack Obama walked into a megachurch, sat down with the pastor and then proceeded to answer an hour of questions by repeating his stump speech and veering every question to what he wanted to talk about.
Liveblogging under the fold. Obama Hour
It's Saturday night. I don't know anyone here yet. I'm watching an evangelical preacher command the potential future leaders of the free world. What a country!
8:05: Obama's on first. And he's charming. I'm getting the feeling that most of this panel's going to be a "show me what a good guy you are" exercise. Yay.
8:11: What position has Obama changed his mind on in the past ten years? ISLAM. Or, he says, welfare reform. I like my answer better. Work as a centerpiece of any social policy, sells it as a general Democratic shift.
8:15: This is basically a long-form interview with an evangelical male Suzanne Malveaux. I think License to Wed is on. Sigh...
8:19: Jesus time. Barack Obama may believe in Jesus, but No Quarter has exclusive evidence that is Jesus Sudomo, his gay Indonesian lover.
8:22: Abortion time! Obama's asked at what point a baby gets human rights. The right answer here is when the baby is viable outside the womb - and, preferably, outside the womb. Of course, I'm not on stage at a megachurch. Obama has a pretty smart answer - that he's pro-choice because the woman doesn't make the decision lightly and he trusts the women to make the correct decisions. Standard line, but a good one. Voted against late-term abortions with the exception for the health of the mother. Talks about reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies as a point of common ground, and couches it in healthcare and adoption.
8:25: Marriage time! Obama's against same-sex marriage, but opposes a constitutional amendment. I do like that he's making the point that his marriage is strong enough for gay people to love each other. Unfortunately, it's a good tenet of the wrong position.
8:28: If we're going to flush embryos down the drain, it's better to use them for stem-cell research. I never have any idea why this is controversial. It didn't even become a political hot-button issue until it provided potential for Christopher Reeve to walk again. That's right - Republicans hate Superman.
8:30: Does evil exist? DOES EVIL EXIST??? Whoever wrote that question should be ashamed of themselves.
8:31: What Supreme Court Justice wouldn't Obama have nominated? Clarence Thomas. Black on black violence has to stop, people.
8:34: Should faith-based organizations forfeit their right to hire based on religious beliefs in order to access federal funds? I honestly do think Obama's right on this one - the government's interest in hiring has to begin and end with those hires that are federally funded.
8:38: Define "rich". Obama says Rick Warren. Warren laughs, thinking of the Maserati that he's using to hold up his kitchen table. The number is over $250,000, Obama says, the top 3-4% of Americans. Long story short, we gots to pay for shit. Per Camille Paglia, he's getting into his ghetto talk. "I've been sellin' some books lately." Why do I hear strains of 50 Cent's The Massacre in the background?
8:42: Why does the Nasonex bee have a Spanish accent?
8:45: What's worth sacrificing American lives for? Defeating Nazis, robots and inflation, obviously. Warren conflates the genocide in Darfur with the situation in Georgia, so I'm conflating it with my ninth-grade gym class. Obama's making the case for strong international coalitions, with or without the UN.
8:48: Warren asks about an emergency plan for orphans. The first thing that pops into my head is housing them at John McCain's other eleven properties. I'm a bad person. Obama again turns to prevention and has some praise for Bush's anti-AIDS efforts. Next up: religious persectution. Obama talks about international standards. I keep thinking back to so many days ago, when McCain said that there hadn't been international crises since he stopped paying attention in 1989. It's been a central tenet of Republican policy for decades that the idea of international standards are stupid, except when they provide a convenient cover for funding puppets.
8:53: Why does Obama want to be president? Because he'd be good at it, duh.
McCain comes out onstage. They shake hands. It'll be in every paper in the country tomorrow. It's the most massive "get" in the history of "getting". Really.
9:02: 47 seconds onstage, and he's already started sucking up to General Petraeus. Next, he sucks up to John Lewis. And then Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, at which point he uses his bogus eBay workforce statistic.
9:05: My friends, fuckers. My friends. He also seems on the verge of lapsing into his "I love America and Obama doesn't" line.
9:06: Tell me how much of a maverick you are! He brings up torture as an issue that he's bucked his party on. Is he a Democrat now? Because that's otherwise a flat-out lie.
9:09: Obama spent an hour not giving his stump speech. McCain's already spent the better part of nine minutes giving his.
9:11: Did you know McCain was a POW? His penis does. Ba-dum-bum!
9:16: Why isn't Warren asking McCain to stop his stump speech?
9:17: What does being a Christian mean to John McCain? It means he was a POW in Vietnam.
9:19: Abortion time again. Rick Warren uses "holocaust" - it's obvious he was going to use it with Obama, and then took a step back. Life apparently begins at conception, meaning that the greatest aborter of children is actually women's wombs. End pregnancy...for pregnancy's sake!
9:20: Same-sex marriage. It's so much easier to answer questions when you have a doctrinaire position in a safe space.
9:21: Was the Supreme Court of California wrong to strike down the precepts of a poorly-designed law without basis or support in California law? Of course, because it's dudes having sex...with dudes.
9:22: It's not so much that the distinction between Obama and McCain is thoughtful versus non-thoughtful as it is the distinction between smart and captivated by shiny things.
9:23: The more McCain believes something, the more he says "my friends". That must make for some awkward phone sex.
9:25: Which justices would McCain not have nominated? Half the court - fuck that Clarence Thomas single-answer shit. Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter and Stevens. They "legislate from the bench". This session is literally input in, input out, no consideration necessary. Warren just has to press a button, and he either gets a fish biscuit or a chicken biscuit. Sometimes, it's lamb.
9:28: I missed the incarcerations part of Warren's question. Wouldn't that be a better time to talk about sentencing than merit pay?
9:29: McCain's solution to education seems to be that we just scrap everything and leave it to the private market. Of course, its not the fucking question. If it were free riff time, I'm sure the Obama session would have been more interesting.
9:32: Oh my God, people who work...might be rich? Again, he hasn't answered the question. This is tough moderating. I think the last five minutes are going to be McCain rubbing Warren's belly. And he just declared five million dollars rich, but then said the comment would be distorted...because he hasn't, er, answered questions.
9:33: This is his stump speech. It. Is. His. Stump. Speech.
9:34: Seriously? Seriously. For serious, my friends. Serious. Seriously! My friends!
9:35: Isn't it inherently unfair to ask one candidate questions that the other one doesn't get asked, just because one candidate answers every question with "Seriously, my friends"?
9:40: Freedom and national security are worth dying for. Also, women in Rwanda are awesome.
9:43: Rick Warren really wants to talk to McCain about Georgia. Is it becoming obvious to anyone else that Obama just got asked McCain's question set?
9:46: McCain's solution to everything is the years 1981-89.
9:48: I just noticed that McCain's solution to the situation in Georgia is to note that Georgia kicks ass. Kind of like how Drew Carey saved Cleveland.
9:50: The entire point of that orphan question was for McCain to talk about his daughter, I swear. Seriously.
9:51: There is no part of the past hour that wasn't spent rehashing McCain's stump speech. And our nation wasn't founded on Judeo-Christian principles, you ahistorically serious friend. Did McCain get the "what would you say if there were no repercussions" question?