Debate Tonight

[Update: Here is the debate transcript.]

The debate starts momentarily on just about every channel except HGTV and SciFi. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but all the cable news networks and the big three networks are carrying. Michael Goldfarb will be liveblogging and has lots of fact check information here. I am not going to liveblog because it would probably just turn into a rant.

UPDATE: I am not live blogging, but McCain is surpassing my expectations and Obama is already into “uh” territory. The media won’t ever admit that McCain did well, but he is kicking butt and hopefully the viewers will see that. Although not live blogging, I am going to be posting “Debate Facts” the McCain campaign is putting out as the debate progresses. They will follow the jump.

UPDATE II: McCain ate Obama’s lunch. On earmarks. On spending. On tax cuts. On Iraq. On the surge. On Iran. On Afghanistan. On Pakistan. On Georgia. When McCain said that Obama just didn’t understand the issues, he just put to words what anyone watching objectively had to already be thinking. McCain did not sugarcoat it — he said Obama’s approach to world issues is dangerous and explained why this is not a time we can afford to put someone so inexperienced and clueless (my word) in charge of the most powerful nation on earth.

Before the debate I said the thought has been that Obama will try to rile McCain to lose his temper, but as angry as Obama has looked this week the opposite might be the case. Bill Kristol commented on how Obama was the one that looked angry (I don’t remember the exact word he used), when most would have thought McCain might be the one to lose his temper. Nina Easton had some great things to say about McCain. I will try to find the transcript or the video and post.

UPDATE III: This is one of my favorite comments of the night:

Fortune’s Nina Easton: “I thought it was a really good night for John McCain In the first 35 for a couple of reasons. The first 35 minutes I counted seven or eight attacks. He just went after Obama. Everything from accusing him of supporting earmarks to accusing him of supporting a — what did he say? An energy bill that was festooned with goodies. And it seemed to knock Obama off balance. It did two things it knocked Obama off balance he really had trouble getting his sea legs again and secondly, it moved this whole conversation about the financial crisis back to a conversation that John McCain is comfortable with, which is spending. They didn’t really talk about the financial crisis that much. And so I thought and the other thing is, just in terms of style, John McCain comes off as very clear, direct, you know, I looked at Putin and I saw KGB in his eyes. He talks directly. There’s still something bland and policy-speak about Barack Obama that I don’t think does really well in these settings. He comes off as – and I know people use the term ‘cool,’ but I find it policy-speak in rounded edges and not direct.” (Fox News, 9/26/08)

UPDATE IV: Kissenger called Obama out on his stupid statement that Kissenger agreed with his meeting with no preconditions stance. Ed Morrisey said about Obama’s comment: “Either Obama lied, or he’s too inexperienced to understand what Kissinger said and actually meant.”

UPDATE V: Mary Katharine felt the same way I did about Obama’s “me too” bracelet comment.

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DEBATE FACT #1: A RECORD OF FIGHTING FOR REFORM

Summary:.

Despite Barack Obama’s claims, John McCain has a strong record of promoting reform and oversight of Wall Street.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

In 2002, John McCain Said While “Long Opposed Unnecessary Regulation Of Business Activity” That “In The Current Climate Only A Restoration Of The System Of Checks And Balances That Once Protected The American Investor … Can Restore The Confidence That Makes Financial Markets Work.” “In a string of corporate failures and scandals from Enron to WorldCom, we have seen the first principles of free markets – transparency and trust – fall victim to corporate opportunists exploiting a climate of lax regulation. I have long opposed unnecessary regulation of business activity, mindful that the heavy hand of government can discourage innovation. But in the current climate only a restoration of the system of checks and balances that once protected the American investor – and that has seriously deteriorated over the past 10 years – can restore the confidence that makes financial markets work.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “The Free Market Needs New Rules,” Press Release, 7/8/02)

John McCain Supported Legislation To Provide Greater Oversight Over Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, Saying That “American Taxpayers Will Continue To Be Exposed To … Enormous Risk” Unless Congress Acted:

John McCain Cosponsored The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005. “Today, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) submitted for the record the following statement regarding his co-sponsorship of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Act of 2005: ‘Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal. … I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Statement On Co-Sponsorship Of The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005,” Press Release, 5/26/06)

· At The Time, John McCain Warned That “If Congress Does Not Act, American Taxpayers Will Continue To Be Exposed To The Enormous Risk That Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Pose To The Housing Market…” “I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Statement On Co-Sponsorship Of The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005,” Press Release, 5/26/06)

McCain: “For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – known as government sponsored entities or GSEs – and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Statement On Co-Sponsorship Of The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005,” Press Release, 5/26/06)

John McCain Co-Sponsored The Federal Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2003 Which Would Have Created The Office of Federal Enterprise Supervision In The Treasury, And Given The New Office’s Director Supervisory And Regulatory Authority Over Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. (S. 1508, Introduced 7/31/03)

John McCain Has Called For Accountability In Government Oversight

After A Wave Of Corporate Scandal In 2002, John McCain Called For The Resignation Of SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. “The president and Congress should ask for the resignation of Harvey Pitt, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. While Mr. Pitt may be a fine man, he has appeared slow and tepid in addressing accounting abuses, and concerns remain that he has not distanced himself enough from former clients.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “The Free Market Needs New Rules,” Press Release, 7/8/02)

John McCain Has Fought For Corporate Accountability

In 2002, John McCain Said “Top Executives Should Be Required To Return All Compensation Directly Derived From Proven Misconduct.” “Executives should be required to return all compensation directly derived from proven misconduct. Also, a corporate compensation committee should be made up of members of the board who have no material relationship with the company or personal relationship with its management. Indeed, the entire board should be similarly independent, with the exception of the chief executive.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “The Free Market Needs New Rules,” Press Release, 7/8/02)

In 2002, John McCain Supported The Corporate And Criminal Fraud Accountability Act Of 2002 To Enact Tougher Penalties On Corporate Fraud And Corruption. (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Backs Leahy Amendment Against Corporate And Criminal Fraud,” Press Release, 7/10/02)

· The Legislation Would Amend The Bankruptcy Code “To Prevent The Corporate Wrongdoer … From Sheltering Their Assets Under The Umbrella Of Bankruptcy And Protecting Them From Judgments And Settlements Arising From Federal And State Securities Law Violations.” “Finally, this provision amends the federal bankruptcy code to prevent the corporate wrongdoer, the CEO or CFO, from sheltering their assets under the umbrella of bankruptcy and protecting them from judgments and settlements arising from federal and state securities law violations. Too many of these highly paid corporate officers are using bankruptcy laws to protect their assets while maintaining their high-rise penthouses and ski chalets. It is time to force accountability and punish the person, not the institution, who is not willing to abide by the moral and legal codes that accompany leadership and public trust.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Backs Leahy Amendment Against Corporate And Criminal Fraud,” Press Release, 7/10/02)

John McCain Led A Bipartisan Effort To “Require Companies To Treat Stock Option Compensation As An Expense On Their Financial Statements.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “Levin And McCain Welcome Proposed Stock option Accounting Reform,” Press Release, 3/10/04)

· In 2002, John McCain Introduced Legislation “That Requires Companies To Record The Stock Options That They Grant To Their Employees As An Expense On Their Financial Statements.” “U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today offered an amendment to the Accounting Reform Bill that would require companies to record the stock options that they grant to their employees as an expense on their financial statements. His floor statement follows: ‘Mr. President, I rise today to offer an amendment that requires companies to record the stock options that they grant to their employees as an expense on their financial statements. If companies want to claim these expenses as a deduction for tax purposes, they ought to be noted as expenses on a company’s income statement. We must end the double standard for stock options.'” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “We Must End Double Standard For Stock Option,” Press Release, 7/11/02)

· John McCain Was An Original Cosponsor Of Measures To Increase Transparency On Corporate Stock Options. John McCain coauthored with Carl Levin the Ending the Double Standard for Stock Options Act to make sure corporations treat stock options as an expense for the purposes of calculating profit if they deduct them. (S.1940, introduced 2/13/2002; S.576 introduced 4/15/1997)

In 2002, John McCain Introduced The Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission Act. “U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made the following statement to unveil the ‘Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission Act of 2002’, S. 2181, which would eliminate corporate welfare by creating a nine-member commission to provide recommendations of corporate tax subsidies to Congress, at a press conference held with House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO).” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Introduces Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission Act,” Press Release, 4/17/02)

DEBATE FACT #2: BUSINESS TAX CUTS

Summary:.

Barack Obama too has been supportive of reducing tax cuts for businesses.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

John McCain Will Reduce Taxes On All American Businesses

John McCain Will Reduce The Federal Corporate Tax Rate To 25 Percent From 35 Percent. ” A lower corporate tax rate is essential to keeping good jobs in the United States. America was once a low-tax business environment, but as our trade partners lowered their rates, America failed to keep pace. We now have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, making America a less attractive place for companies to do business. American workers deserve the chance to make fine products here and sell them around the globe.” (John McCain 2008 Official Website, “Jobs For America,” http://www.johnmccain.com/Issues/JobsforAmerica/taxes.htm, Accessed 8/3/08)

· Columbus Dispatch: John McCain Has “Proposed [A] Cut In The Corporate Tax Rate For All U.S. Companies.” “McCain’s economic plan includes a proposed cut in the corporate tax rate for all U.S. companies, not just oil companies.” (Jonathan Riskind, “Campaign Ad Watch,” The Columbus Dispatch, 8/2/08)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Barack Obama Said That He Too Supports Cutting Taxes For Corporations

In An Interview With The Wall Street Journal, Barack Obama Said That He Was Considering Lowering Corporate Taxes. “Sen. Barack Obama shed new light on his economic plans for the country, saying he would rely on a heavy dose of government spending to spur growth, use the tax code to narrow the widening gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy, and possibly back a reduction in corporate tax rates. … Sen. Obama’s nod to lowering corporate taxes comes as Republicans have been attacking him for proposals that would raise the cost of doing business, such as his pledge to raise the tax rate on capital gains, and his vow to increase the top income-tax rates, which are often used by small, unincorporated enterprises. He didn’t say how deeply he would cut the rate, but said it could be trimmed in return for reducing corporate tax breaks, simplifying the tax system.” (Bob Davis and Amy Chozick, “Obama Plans Spending Boost, Possible Cut In Business Tax,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/17/08)

Obama Economic Policy Director Jason Furman: “[Barack Obama] Would Like To Cut The Corporate Tax Rate, And It’s A Question That We’re Studying.” “Here are two things you don’t often hear mentioned in the same sentence: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and a lower corporate tax rate. But it appears the Illinois senator is at least considering such a measure. ‘He would like to cut the corporate tax rate, and it’s a question that we’re studying,’ Jason Furman, Obama’s director of economic policy, told Forbes.com in an interview this week. Obama’s Republican rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, proposes to lower the maximum corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% (see: ‘McCain And The Economy’). Obama hasn’t made such a pledge, and Furman won’t say by how much or when Obama might slash corporate tax rates. But if it does happen, Furman says, ‘It’ll be much better for the economy and much better for businesses than what John McCain has proposed.'” (Brian Wingfield, “Obama’s Taxing Policies,” Forbes.com, 7/31/08)

DEBATE FACT #3: BARACK OBAMA SUPPORTED BILLIONS IN TAX BREAKS FOR OIL COMPANIES

Summary:.

Barack Obama voted for the 2005 Energy Bill that included billions in tax breaks for oil companies.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

John McCain Voted Against The 2005 Energy Bill. (H.R. 6, CQ Vote #152: Motion Agreed To 92-4: R 53-1; D 38-3; I 1-0, 6/23/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #158: Passed 85-12: R 49-5; D 35-7; I 1-0, 6/28/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #213: Adopted 74-26: R 49-6; D 25-19; I 0-1, 7/29/05, McCain Voted Nay)

· John McCain Criticized The 2005 Energy Bill’s “Handouts To Big Business And Oil Companies,” Calling Them Irresponsible. McCain: “This bill does little to address the immediate energy crisis we face in this country. The handouts to big business and oil companies are irresponsible and will be disastrous for people of Arizona.” (Sen. John McCain, “McCain, Kyl Say No To Flawed Energy Bill,” Press Release, 6/28/05)

· John McCain: The Energy Bill “Provides More Than Twice As Many Incentives To The Oil, Gas, Coal And Nuclear Industries As It Does To Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy.” (John McCain, Statement, 7/29/05)

· Public Citizen Called The 2005 Energy Bill, Which Obama Supported, “The Best Energy Bill The Corporations Could Buy.” (John Fout, “Obama’s Energy Stance As Capricious As The Wind,” TheStreet.com, www.thestreet.com, 10/8/07)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Barack Obama Voted For The 2005 Energy Bill. (H.R. 6, CQ Vote #152: Motion Agreed To 92-4: R 53-1; D 38-3; I 1-0, 6/23/05, Obama Voted Yea; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #158: Passed 85-12: R 49-5; D 35-7; I 1-0, 6/28/05, Obama Voted Yea; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #213: Adopted 74-26: R 49-6; D 25-19; I 0-1, 7/29/05, Obama Voted Yea)

The 2005 Energy Bill Included $2.8 Billion In Subsidies For Oil And Natural Gas Production. “The conference agreement provides for $14.6 billion in tax breaks and credits between 2005 and 2015, including: — $2.8 billion for fossil fuel production…” (Toni Johnson, “CQ Bill Analysis: HR 6,” Congressional Quarterly’s “CQ Bill Analysis,” www.cq.com, Accessed 7/14/08)

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): “When It Came Time To Stand Up Against The Oil Companies, To Stand Against Dick Cheney’s Energy Bill, My Opponent Voted For It And I Voted Against It.” (Aaron Burns, “Clinton Questions Obama’s Oil Company Claims,” Fox News’ “Embeds” Blog, 4/25/08)

Senator John Kerry (D-MA): “Instead of reducing our dangerous dependence on oil, protecting our environment and strengthening our economy, this policy gives billions of dollars to the oil, gas and nuclear industries.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John Kerry, “John Kerry Says Energy Policy Fails Americans,” Press Release, 8/9/05)

The Washington Post: The 2005 Energy Bill’s Provisions “Turned Into A Piñata Of Perks For Energy Industries.” “The provision was just one example of how the energy bill, touted as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil or moderate gasoline prices, has been turned into a piñata of perks for energy industries.” (Michael Grunwald and Juliet Eilperin, “Energy Bill Raises Fears About Pollution, Fraud,” The Washington Post, 7/30/05)

The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman Said The 2005 Energy Bill Contained “Massive Pork Slabs Dished Out To The Vested Interests Who Needed Them Least.” (Thomas Friedman, Op-Ed, “Too Much Pork And Too Little Sugar,” The New York Times, 8/5/05)

DEBATE FACT #4: MIDDLE CLASS TAX INCREASE

Summary:.

Barack Obama says he supports middle class tax cuts but he voted to tax those making just $42,000 a year.

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Barack Obama Voted Twice In Favor Of The Democrats’ FY 2009 Budget Resolution That Would Raise Taxes On Those Making Just $42,000 A Year. (S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #85: Adopted 51-44: R 2-43; D 47-1; I 2-0, 3/14/08, Obama Voted Yea; S. Con. Res. 70, CQ Vote #142: Adopted 48- 45: R 2- 44; D 44- 1; I 2-0, 6/4/08, Obama Voted Yea)

FactCheck.org: The Budget Resolution Would Have Allowed Most Of The Provisions Of The 2001 And 2003 Tax Cuts To Expire, Effectively Raising Taxes On Those Making $41,500 In Total Income. “What Obama voted for was a budget resolution that would have allowed most of the provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire. In particular, the resolution would allow the 25 percent tax bracket to return to its pre-2001 level of 28 percent. That bracket kicks in at $32,550 for an individual or $65,100 for a married couple. … But as those of you who have filled out a 1040 know, that’s not actually how income taxes work. We don’t pay taxes on our total earnings; we pay them based on our ‘taxable income.’ The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s Eric Toder told FactCheck.org that ‘people with taxable income of $32,000 would have a total income greater than that.’ In 2008, anyone filing taxes with single status would be entitled to a standard deduction of $5,450, as well as a personal exemption of $3,500. So to have a taxable income high enough to reach the 25 percent bracket, an individual would need to earn at least $41,500 in total income, while a married couple would need a combined income of at least $83,000.” (“The $32,000 Question,” FactCheck.org, http://www.factcheck.org, 7/8/08)

Obama Campaign: Barack Obama Voted For A Budget Resolution That Wouldn’t Have Increased Taxes For Any Taxpayers Making Less Than $41,500. ROSEN: “Campaign aides to Senator Obama today, called the charge that he voted for tax hikes on people making only $32,000 a year, quote, ‘bogus.’ They circulated an analysis stating that the resolution that Obama had voted for would not have increase taxes on single taxpayer making less than $41,500 a year in total income.” (Fox News’ “America’s Election Headquarters,” 7/30/08)

The New York Times: Barack Obama’s “Vote Was On A Budget Resolution To Raise Taxes On People Making $41,500 A Year.” “FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan Web site, said the vote was on a budget resolution to raise taxes on people making $41,500 a year; the $32,000 figure, it said, was the amount of taxable income those people had.” (Michael Cooper, “McCain Goes Negative, Worrying Some In GOP,” The New York Times, 7/30/08)

DEBATE FACT #5: BARACK OBAMA’S OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING

Summary:.

Barack Obama talks about priorities but he has proposed billions in new spending with no way to pay for it.

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

If Barack Obama Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing Over $860 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term. (Barack Obama’s Spending Proposals: http://www.barackobama.com/index.php, Accessed 8/19/08)

The New York Times’ David Brooks Said For Barack Obama To Fund His Domestic Programs, He Will Have To Break His Pledge Not To Tax The Middle Class. “Both [Obama and Clinton] promised to not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 or $250,000 a year. They both just emasculated their domestic programs. Returning the rich to their Clinton-era tax rates will yield, at best, $40 billion a year in revenue. It’s impossible to fund a health care plan, let alone anything else, with that kind of money. The consequences are clear: if elected they will have to break their pledge, and thus destroy their credibility, or run a minimalist administration.” (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “No Whining About The Media,” The New York Times, 4/16/08)

Investor’s Business Daily: Barack Obama Would Have To Tax Middle Class Taxpayers To Fund His Billions In New Spending. “Obama’s spending agenda – exceeding $307 billion a year – dwarfs that of Bill Clinton a decade and a half ago. And he would be sure to run into the same immovable mathematical obstacle faced by the last Democratic president. Taxing the handful of CEOs and other fat cats won’t be enough. The big money Obama wants will have to come from the many millions of middle-class taxpayers.” (Editorial, “Only CEOs Need Fear,” Investor’s Business Daily, 5/9/08)

Chicago Tribune: Barack Obama Hasn’t Been Talking About Balancing The Budget And “Has A Full Plate Of Spending Initiatives.” “Obama’s campaign on Monday scoffed at the McCain proposals. But Obama hasn’t been talking boldly about the certain path to a balanced budget. He promises to cut taxes for most Americans . . . and he has a full plate of spending initiatives.” (Editorial, “Failure Of Nerve,” Chicago Tribune, 7/8/08)

Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama “Has Not Identified New Revenue Sources Or Spending Cuts To Pay For Some Of” His Proposals. “The Obama campaign responds that tax cuts, once enacted, are usually renewed and do not expire. Therefore, they say, Obama can legitimately claim to be recouping money for other purposes by scaling back the tax cuts. Obama has not identified new revenue sources or spending cuts to pay for some of what he wants to do.” (Peter Nicholas, “Adding Up The Cost Of Obama’s Agenda,” Los Angeles Times, 7/8/08)

Barack Obama Has Not Interest In Eliminating Deficit Spending

Barack Obama: “I Do Not Make A Promise That We Can Reduce [The Budget Deficit] By 2013.” “‘I do not make a promise that we can reduce it by 2013 because I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,’ Obama told reporters this week when asked if he’d match McCain’s pledge.” (Nedra Pickler, “Analysis: Obama Won’t Try For McCain’s Budget Goal,” The Associated Press, 7/8/08)

Chicago Tribune: Barack Obama Has “No Interest In Eliminating Deficit Spending.” “Since winning the nomination, Obama reportedly has been moving toward the middle of the political spectrum. But on the budget, he still sounds left of center, with no interest in eliminating deficit spending.” (Editorial, “Failure Of Nerve,” Chicago Tribune, 7/8/08)

DEBATE FACT #6: THE MOST LIBERAL SENATOR

Summary:.

Barack Obama is ranked the most liberal Senator based up numerous votes in 2007

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

“Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Was The Most Liberal Senator In 2007, According To National Journal’s 27th Annual Vote Ratings.” (Brian Friel, Richard E. Cohen and Kirk Victor, “Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007,” National Journal, 1/31/07)

· “The Insurgent Presidential Candidate Shifted Further To The Left Last Year In The Run-Up To The Primaries, After Ranking As The 16th- And 10th-Most-Liberal During His First Two Years In The Senate.” (Brian Friel, Richard E. Cohen and Kirk Victor, “Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007,” National Journal, 1/31/07)

· “[I]n The 2007 Ratings, A Computer-Assisted Analysis … Used 99 Key Senate Votes, Selected By NJ [National Journal] Reporters And Editors, To Place Every Senator On A Liberal-To-Conservative Scale In Each Of Three Issue Categories.” (National Journal Website, “National Journal’s 2007 Vote Rankings,” nj.nationaljournal.com, 1/31/08)

“The Record Shows Obama To Be A Fairly Doctrinaire Liberal Democrat…” (Editorial, “Obama’s Rhetoric Soars, But What Does His Record Suggest?” USA Today, 1/28/08)

· In 2007, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 97 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website, www.cq.com, Accessed 3/3/08)

· In 2006, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 96 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website, www.cq.com, Accessed 1/27/08)

· In 2005, Obama Voted With The Democrat Party 97 Percent Of The Time. (Congressional Quarterly Website, www.cq.com, Accessed 1/27/08)

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “He’s pretty much a conventional liberal on the issues and has few examples of breaking with his own party, so how does Obama try to pull off being ‘post-partisan?'” (Jonathan Martin, “Obama’s Third Way: It’s All In The Tone,” Politico, 6/30/08)

The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes: “On Every Major Issue, Foreign Or Domestic, He Votes The Liberal Line.” (Fred Barnes, “To Tell The Truth,” The Weekly Standard, 4/26/08)

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) Call Barack Obama “The Most Liberal Senator” And Refuses To Endorse. “Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said Tuesday Barack Obama is ‘the most liberal senator’ in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House. However, Boren will vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August and will vote Democratic on Nov. 4.” (Tim Talley, “Okla. Dem Calls Obama Liberal, Declines To Endorse,” The Associated Press, 6/10/08)

DEBATE FACT #7: OBAMA VOTED WITH BUSH “FOR THE MOST PART”

Summary:.

Why is it that Barack Obama says he voted with President Bush “for the most part”?

The Facts:

“Factually Inaccurate” To Say McCain Is Like President Bush

The New York Times’ David Brooks: Democrats Saying McCain Represents The Third Bush Term Are “Just Factually Inaccurate.” “Finally, the Obama people are too convinced that they can define McCain as Bush III. The case is just factually inaccurate. McCain will be able to pull out dozens of instances, from torture to global warming to spending, in which he broke with his party, as Rush Limbaugh will tell you.” (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “Calling Dr. Doom,” The New York Times, 6/3/08)

Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat: “This Guy Ain’t Bush, Folks.” “I have been feeling out of step lately with my fellow Seattle liberals. The reason is that when politics comes up, the knee-jerk gist of the conversation is that John McCain equals George W. Bush. This guy ain’t Bush, folks. No matter how many times you say it. (And it is said incessantly by Democratic groups.)” (Danny Westneat, Op-Ed, “Beyond The Bush Formula,” The Seattle Times, 5/14/08)

Former President Clinton Senior Advisor And Hillary Clinton Campaign Strategist Sidney Blumenthal Calls The Third Term Bush Strategy “A Hard Sell.” “Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and strategist for Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign, went ‘off message’ (his words) today with a warning to his party: Don’t run against GOP nominee John McCain by painting him as Bush III, because he’s not. Bucking the Democratic National Committee’s talking points that characterize a potential McCain administration as tantamount to a third Bush term, Blumenthal told our Liz Halloran that running on that strategy in the fall would be a mistake. ‘I understand people’s political reasons for doing that,’ he said. ‘I think it’s more helpful to describe [political opponents] as they are.’ Bottom line, Blumenthal calls the strategy ‘a mistake’ and adds: ‘The public doesn’t see [McCain] that way. That’s a hard sell.'” (Paul Bedard, “Clintonista Warns: McCain Isn’t Bush III,” U.S News & World Report’s “Washington Whispers” Blog, 5/20/08)

Barack Obama Says He Voted With President Bush “For The Most Part”

Barack Obama Says He Voted With President Bush “For The Most Part.” REPORTER: “For a couple of days, they’ve been saying you voted to raise taxes something like 94 times. That seems to be the drumbeat that’s going to happen during this campaign. Are you going to raise taxes in a big way for average Americans?” OBAMA: “I mean this is the standard fare of politics. And the truth of the matter is that the only bills that I voted for, for the most part, since I’ve been in the Senate were introduced by Republicans with George Bush. You know, they were the majority for a big chunk of the time I was there.” (KMOV [St. Louis, MO], 6/10/08)

· Watch Barack Obama’s KMOV Interview

In 2005, Barack Obama Joined With President Bush To Pass The Bush-Cheney Energy Bill Giving The Oil Companies $2.8 Billion In Taxpayer Money:

Barack Obama Voted For The 2005 Energy Bill. (H.R. 6, CQ Vote #152: Motion Agreed To 92-4: R 53-1; D 38-3; I 1-0, 6/23/05, Obama Voted Yea; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #158: Passed 85-12: R 49-5; D 35-7; I 1-0, 6/28/05, Obama Voted Yea; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #213: Adopted 74-26: R 49-6; D 25-19; I 0-1, 7/29/05, Obama Voted Yea)

The 2005 Energy Bill Included $2.8 Billion In Subsidies For Oil And Natural Gas Production. “The conference agreement provides for $14.6 billion in tax breaks and credits between 2005 and 2015, including: — $2.8 billion for fossil fuel production…” (Toni Johnson, “CQ Bill Analysis: HR 6,” Congressional Quarterly’s “CQ Bill Analysis,” www.cq.com, Accessed 7/14/08)

John McCain Voted Against The 2005 Energy Bill. (H.R. 6, CQ Vote #152: Motion Agreed To 92-4: R 53-1; D 38-3; I 1-0, 6/23/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #158: Passed 85-12: R 49-5; D 35-7; I 1-0, 6/28/05, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 6, CQ Vote #213: Adopted 74-26: R 49-6; D 25-19; I 0-1, 7/29/05, McCain Voted Nay)

John McCain Criticized The 2005 Energy Bill’s “Handouts To Big Business And Oil Companies,” Calling Them Irresponsible. McCain: “This bill does little to address the immediate energy crisis we face in this country. The handouts to big business and oil companies are irresponsible and will be disastrous for people of Arizona. I cannot in good conscience, vote to pass legislation that does not adequately address issues related to energy efficiency, security, and energy independence.” (Sen. John McCain, “McCain, Kyl Say No To Flawed Energy Bill,” Press Release, 6/28/05)

DEBATE FACT #8: BARACK OBAMA VOTES YES ON NEARLY EVERY SPENDING BILL

Summary:.

Barack Obama voted yes on nearly every spending bill during his time in office.

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Barack Obama Has Never Voted Against A Spending Bill During His Time In The U.S. Senate, With The Exception Of A Supplemental Spending Bill To Fund The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2009,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2008,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2007,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2006,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08)

· Barack Obama Has Voted For A Total Of 19 Spending Bills During His Time In The U.S. Senate. (Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2009,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2008,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2007,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08; Library Of Congress Website, “Status Of Appropriations Legislation For Fiscal Year 2006,” www.thomas.gov, Accessed 7/29/08)

· Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)

DEBATE FACT #9: BARACK OBAMA WRONG THE SURGE

Summary:.

Barack Obama talks about judgment but he was wrong about the surge and is still wrong about the surge.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes: “The Loudest Voice For A Change In Iraq Was Senator John McCain Of Arizona.” “But the loudest voice for a change in Iraq was Senator John McCain of Arizona. He and his sidekick, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, traveled repeatedly to Iraq. McCain badgered Bush and Hadley with phone calls urging more troops and a different strategy.” (Fred Barnes, “How Bush Decided On The Surge,” The Weekly Standard, 2/4/08)

· Former Clinton Adviser Michael O’Hanlon: “He Himself Has Been Proven Right About Iraq. And So I Think On Iraq, You Can Say McCain Has A Strong Track Record.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 6/9/08)

· The Wall Street Journal: John McCain Stood Up For The Surge “Even As The War Became More Unpopular And He Knew It Could Ruin His Presidential Candidacy.” “Similarly with Iraq, Mr. McCain advocated more troops from an early date, as well as a counterinsurgency strategy along the lines of the 2007-08 surge. He stuck with this counsel even as the war became more unpopular and he knew it could ruin his Presidential candidacy. This, too, is in marked contrast not merely to Mr. Obama but also to Joe Biden, who voted for the war but opposed the surge. Now the U.S. and the Iraqi government are on the cusp of victory, leaving the next President in a far better strategic position against al Qaeda and throughout the Middle East.” (Editorial, “The McCain Change,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/5/08)

· Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh: “As We Now Know Nearly Four Years Later, McCain Was Dead On In His Analysis Of What Went Wrong In Iraq.” (Michael Hirsh, “Why McCain’s Collapse Matters,” Newsweek, 7/26/07)

The Associated Press: “The United States Is Now Winning The War That Two Years Ago Seemed Lost.” (Robert Burns And Robert H. Reid, “U.S. Now Winning Iraq War That Once Seemed Lost,” The Associated Press, 7/26/08)

· Los Angeles Times: “Major Gains Against The Sunni Muslim Militant Group Al Qaeda In Iraq.” (Alexandra Zavis, “In Iraq, Month Ends With Lowest U.S. Death Toll Yet,” Los Angeles Times, 6/1/08)

· The New York Times: “Iraq’s Government Now Controls Almost All Of The Country For The First Time Since The Overthrow Of Saddam Hussein.” (Jason Campbell, Michael O’Hanlon, and Amy Unikewicz, Op-Ed, “The State Of Iraq: An Update,” The New York Times, 6/22/08)

· The Wall Street Journal: “The Surge Has Earned A Place Among The Most Important Counteroffensives In U.S. Military Annals.” (Editorial, “The Petraeus Effect,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/8/08)

· The Wall Street Journal: “Political Progress Has Been Especially Significant At The Local Level.” “The political progress has been especially significant at the local level, with greater cooperation from tribal leaders and local councils, most Sunnis saying they’ll participate in provincial elections this fall, and more oil money flowing to the provinces from Baghdad.” (Editorial, “The Petraeus Effect,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/8/08)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Despite The Progress In Iraq, Barack Obama Would Still Not Support The Surge

· When Asked If He Would Have Supported The Surge Knowing What He Knows Now, Barack Obama Said “No.” ABC’s Terry Moran: “This is Obama’s second trip to Iraq. His first was in January 2006 when the country was plunged into horrific violence. But the surge of U.S. troops, combined with ordinary Iraqi’s rejection of both Al Qaeda and Shiite extremists have transformed the country. Attacks are down more than 80% nationwide. U.S. combat casualties have plummeted. Five this month so far, compared with 78 last July. And Baghdad has a pulse again. If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you – would you support the surge?” Barack Obama: “No, because – keep in mind that -” Moran: “You wouldn’t?” Obama: “Well, no, keep – these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. Hindsight is 20/20. But I think what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate, because the view of the Bush Administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.” (ABC’s “Good Morning America,” 7/21/08)

Before The Surge Troops Were Deployed, Barack Obama Declared That The Strategy Would Not Work

· In October 2006, Barack Obama Said We Cannot “Through Putting In More Troops Or Maintaining The Presence That We Have, Expect That Somehow The Situation Is Going To Improve.” Obama: “Given the deteriorating situation, it is clear at this point that we cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve, and we have to do something significant to break the pattern that we’ve been in right now.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 10/22/06)

· In January 2007, Barack Obama Said The Surge Would Actually Worsen Sectarian Violence In Iraq. Obama: “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” (MSNBC’s “Response To The President’s Speech On Iraq,” 1/10/07)

· In March 2007, Barack Obama Warned That The Troop Surge Would Not Make A Long-Term Difference. Obama: “[E]ven those who are supporting — but here’s the thing, Larry — even those who support the escalation have acknowledged that 20,000, 30,000, even 40,000 more troops placed temporarily in places like Baghdad are not going to make a long-term difference.” (CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 3/19/07)

While The Surge Was Occurring, Barack Obama Declared It A Failure

· Barack Obama: “My Assessment Is That The Surge Has Not Worked And We Will Not See A Different Report Eight Weeks From Now.” (NBC’s “The Today Show,” 7/18/07)

· Barack Obama: “And Finally, Tonight We Heard President Bush Say That The Surge In Iraq Is Working, When We Know That’s Just Not True.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks In Response To The State Of The Union, Washington, DC, 1/28/08)

Barack Obama Committed To Removing Troops From Iraq Regardless Of What Military Commanders Advised

· In March 2008, Barack Obama Said He Would “Immediately Begin To Remove Our Troops From Iraq.” Obama: “In order to end this war responsibly, I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove one to two combat brigades each month. If we start with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today, we can remove all of them 16 months.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks On Iraq, Fayetteville, NC, 3/19/08)

Barack Obama Voted Against Funding Our Men And Women In Iraq

· Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)

· “Courting The Anti-War Constituency, Democratic Presidential Rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton And Barack Obama Both Voted Against Legislation That Pays For The Iraq War But Lacks A Timeline For Troop Withdrawal.” (Liz Sidoti, “Clinton, Obama Vote ‘No’ On Iraq Bill,” The Associated Press, 5/25/07)

Hillary Clinton Criticized Barack Obama For Not Holding Hearings As European Affairs Subcommittee Chairman. Sen. Clinton: “But I also have heard Senator Obama refer continually to Afghanistan, and he references being on the Foreign Relations Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He’s held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.” (Sen. Clinton, NBC Democrat Presidential Debate, Cleveland, OH, 2/26/08)

Joe Biden Criticized Barack Obama’s “Johnny-Come-Lately Position” On Afghanistan. “The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Biden’s long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Much of what Senator Obama has proposed Senator Biden has already initiated or accomplished.” ( Joe Biden, “Biden Campaign Congratulates Sen. Obama For Johnny-Come-Lately Position,” Press Release, 8/1/07)

DEBATE FACT #11: OBAMA HAS AFGHANISTAN PLANS BUT A BAD RECORD

Summary:

Barack Obama talks about his Afghanistan plans but he has a poor Afghanistan record.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

John McCain Has Outlined A Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan That Will:

· Work With Our Allies To Ensure Unity Of Command In Afghanistan. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

· Appoint An Afghanistan Czar To Ensure Commanders Have What They Need To Win. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

· Send At Least Three Additional Brigades To Afghanistan. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

· Double The Size Of The Afghan Military. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

· Increase Our Non-Military Assistance To The Afghan Government. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

· Enhance Our Regional Diplomatic Efforts By Appointing A Special Presidential Envoy. (McCain-Palin 2008, “John McCain’s Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan,” Press Release, 7/15/08)

In 2006, John McCain Said That The U.S. Would Commit More Troops To Afghanistan If Needed. “McCain told reporters at a U.S. base in Kabul, the Afghan capital, that the U.S. would commit more troops to Afghanistan if needed. ‘But the focus here is more on training the Afghan National Army and the police, as opposed to the increased U.S. troop presence,’ he said.” (Alisa Tang, “McCain: Afghanistan Needs Europe Troops,” The Associated Press, 12/16/06)

John McCain Has Been To Afghanistan Four Times. “A former Navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain, 71, has traveled extensively during his 26 years in Congress. He has made eight trips to Iraq and four to Afghanistan.” (Michael Finnegan, “A Trip Full Of Opportunity And Risk,” Los Angeles Times, 7/19/08)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs, Barack Obama Has Failed To Hold Any Hearings On Afghanistan:

· Barack Obama Has Served As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs From 2007 – 2008. (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Website, www.senate.gov, Accessed 2/15/08)

· As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs, Barack Obama Could Have Held Hearings On The Role Of NATO In Afghanistan. “[A]mbassador John Ritch, who served for two decades as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s senior staffer on European affairs and East-West relations…[P]oints out that as subcommittee chair, Obama could have examined a wide variety of urgent matters, from the role of NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq to European energy policy and European responses to climate change…” (Joe Conason, “Obama’s European Problem,” www.salon.com, 12/29/07)

· Barack Obama: “I became Chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.” (MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate, 2/27/08)

· Hillary Clinton Criticized Barack Obama For Not Holding Hearings As European Affairs Subcommittee Chairman. Sen. Clinton: “But I also have heard Senator Obama refer continually to Afghanistan, and he references being on the Foreign Relations Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He’s held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.” (Sen. Clinton, NBC Democrat Presidential Debate, Cleveland, OH, 2/26/08)

Barack Obama Voted Against Providing Funding For Operations In Afghanistan

· Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)

Barack Obama Said American Troops Were “Just Air-Raiding Villages And Killing Civilians” In Afghanistan. Obama: “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.” (Philip Elliott, “Obama Gets Warning From Friendly Voter,” The Associated Press, 8/14/07)

Barack Obama Has Been To Afghanistan Once. “Republican John McCain traded foreign policy barbs Saturday with the campaign of his Democratic rival Barack Obama, who arrived on his first trip to Afghanistan as part of a regional tour.” (“McCain, Obama Trade Foreign Policy Jabs,” Agence France Presse, 7/20/08)

Joe Biden Criticized Barack Obama’s “Johnny-Come-Lately Position” On Afghanistan. “The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Biden’s long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Much of what Senator Obama has proposed Senator Biden has already initiated or accomplished.” ( Joe Biden, “Biden Campaign Congratulates Sen. Obama For Johnny-Come-Lately Position,” Press Release, 8/1/07)

DEBATE FACT #12: BARACK OBAMA’S BAD PAKISTAN POLICY

Summary:.

Barack Obama has gotten Pakistan wrong and even Democrats told him so.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

John McCain: “The Future Of That Country Has Deep Implications For The Security Of The United States And Its Allies.” “Given Pakistan’s strategic location, the international terrorist groups that operate from its soil, and its nuclear arsenal, the future of that country has deep implications for the security of the United States and its allies. America must stand on the right side of this ongoing struggle. In my numerous visits to Pakistan – to Islamabad, to Peshawar, even to the tribal areas of Waziristan – I have seen first hand the many challenges that face the political leadership there, challenges so graphically portrayed by today’s tragedy. There are, in Pakistan, brave individuals who seek to lead their country away from extremism and instability and into the light of a better day. America, I believe, must do all we can to support them.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “Senator McCain Statement On The Death Of Benazir Bhutto,” Press Release, 12/27/07)

John McCain: “It Is Critical That The United States Continue To Work In Partnership With The Pakistani People…” “The situation in Pakistan’s frontier regions requires immediate and continued attention, and I hope that the elections for President Musharraf’s successor will serve to reconcile the Pakistani people behind a leader who can solidify their government internally. It is critical that the United States continue to work in partnership with the Pakistani people and their democratically elected government to tackle the many challenges we both face.” (John McCain, “Statement By John McCain On The Resignation Of Pakistani President Musharraf,” Press Release, 8/18/08)

John McCain Was Critical Of Pakistani President Musharraf’s Rule:

In November 2007, John McCain Said He Was “Deeply Concerned By President Musharraf’s Imposition Of Emergency Rule In Pakistan.” “I am deeply concerned by President Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan. Americans should value President Musharraf’s friendship and Pakistan’s help in the war on terror, but this cannot sway us from our concern for Pakistani democracy.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “Senator McCain Statement On Imposition Of Emergency Rule In Pakistan,” Press Release, 11/3/07)

· McCain: The Move Was A Step In The “Wrong Direction” In Pakistan’s Move Toward “Full Democracy.” “Having traveled to Pakistan numerous times, I have heard firsthand the President’s expressed desire to move his country back toward full democracy. Today’s action takes a disappointing step in the wrong direction. Anyone who has read recent news reports understands that Pakistan is dealing with real challenges, including a violent extremist challenge. But by suspending the constitution, replacing the Supreme Court’s chief justice, and cutting communications in the capital, the government is likely to make matters worse, not better.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “Senator McCain Statement On Imposition Of Emergency Rule In Pakistan,” Press Release, 11/3/07)

John McCain Said The Resignation Of President Musharraf Was A Move Toward “More Stable Political Footing.” “The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theater in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation.” (McCain-Palin 2008, “Statement By John McCain On The Resignation Of Pakistani President Musharraf,” Press Release, 8/18/08)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

Barack Obama Conceded That His Policy Was Really Only A Restatement Of U.S. Policy:

When Questioned Whether It Was Current U.S. Policy To Go After Al-Qaeda In Pakistan If The Pakistani Government Failed To Act, Barack Obama Conceded That It Was Current Policy. LOGAN: “Isn’t that the case now? I mean, do you–do you really think…” OBAMA: “Well…” LOGAN: “…if US forces had Osama bin Laden in its sights and the Pakistanis said no, that they wouldn’t fire? They wouldn’t go after him?” OBAMA: “Oh, no, I think actually this is current doctrine. There was some dispute when I said this last August. Both the administration and some of my opponents suggested, well, you know, you shouldn’t go around saying that. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that that should be our policy and will continue to be our policy.” LOGAN: “But it is the current policy.” OBAMA: “I believe it is the current policy.” LOGAN: “So there’s no change then?” OBAMA: “I don’t think there’s going to be a change there.” (CBS’ “The Early Show,” 7/21/08)

Barack Obama Had Expressed Sympathy For Musharraf’s Precarious Position:

· “The Candidate…Expressed Sympathy For Musharraf, Who Faces A Growing Militant Backlash In His Muslim Nation.” (Scott Lindlaw, “Obama Expresses Sympathy For Musharraf,” The Associated Press, 8/9/07)

· “‘President Musharraf Has A Very Difficult Job, And It Is Important That We Are A Constructive Ally With Them In Dealing With Al-Qaida,’ The Illinois Senator Said.” (Scott Lindlaw, “Obama Expresses Sympathy For Musharraf,” The Associated Press, 8/9/07)

Democrats And Editorials Have Criticized Barack Obama’s Statements On Pakistan:

· Joe Biden: “The Last Thing You Want To Do Is Telegraph To The Folks In Pakistan That We’re About To Violate Quote ‘Their Sovereignty.'” Question: “Senator Obama said in a speech today that he would send troops into Pakistan. Do you think this is a good idea or does this show inexperience in foreign policy?” Sen. Biden: “Yes.” Question: “Does this show inexperience?” Sen. Biden: “My answer was yes to the question. … The last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan that we’re about to violate quote ‘their sovereignty,’ putting Musharraf in a position that makes it virtually impossible for him to do anything other than what he’s done.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks At The National Press Club, Washington, DC, 8/1/07)

· Senator Hillary Clinton: “Senator Obama Said, Yes, Last Summer He Basically Threatened To Bomb Pakistan, Which I Don’t Think Was A Particularly Wise Position To Take.” Clinton: “And on a number of other issues, I just believe that, you know, as Senator Obama said, yes, last summer he basically threatened to bomb Pakistan, which I don’t think was a particularly wise position to take.” (Sen. Clinton, NBC Democrat Presidential Debate, Cleveland, OH, 2/26/08)

· Senator Chris Dodd: “It Was A Mistake In My View To Suggest Somehow That Going In Unilaterally Here, Into Pakistan, Was Somehow In Our Interest.” Dodd: “It was a mistake in my view to suggest somehow that going in unilaterally here, into Pakistan, was somehow in our interest. That, I think, is dangerous. And I don’t retreat from that at all.” (Sen. Chris Dodd, MSNBC AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Forum, Chicago, IL, 8/7/07)

· Los Angeles Times: Barack Obama’s Vow To “Violate Pakistani Sovereignty And International Law” Could Possibly Show That Pakistan Is A U.S. Puppet And Could “Empower Radical Islamists.” “Second, the best way to empower radical Islamists in Pakistan is to offer proof of their views that Musharraf is a U.S. puppet and that the United States is a fair-weather friend with no respect for the Pakistani nation. Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton did our national interest a disservice last week when, to score political ‘tougher than thou’ points, they recklessly vowed to violate Pakistani sovereignty and international law. Pakistanis of many stripes were outraged.” (Editorial, “Strategic Silence,” Los Angeles Times, 8/7/07)

· Daily News: Barack Obama’s Statement That He Would Bomb Pakistan Was “Not A Display Of Presidential Wisdom.” “It would not be unreasonable, under the right circumstances, to bombard an Al Qaeda aerie in Pakistan. But saying so outright is not a display of presidential wisdom. Pakistan is, after all, a nuclear-capable ally under intense pressure from Muslim hard-liners.” (Editorial, “Bumbling Obama,” [New York] Daily News, 8/3/07)

DEBATE FACT #13: BARACK OBAMA’S MUDDLED AFGHANISTAN QUOTE

Summary:.

Barack Obama muddled his Afghanistan quote.

The Facts About John McCain’s Record:

FactCheck.org: Obama Campaign “Twisted McCain’s Words” On Afghanistan. “He twisted McCain’s words about Afghanistan, saying, ‘When John McCain said we could just ‘muddle through’ in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources.’ Actually, McCain said in 2003 we ‘may’ muddle through, and he recently also called for more troops there.” (“FactChecking Obama,” FactCheck.org, 8/29/08)

· In 2003, John McCain Said He Was Very Concerned About The Rise In Al Qaeda Activity In Afghanistan. “Actually, McCain said in 2003 that the U.S. ‘may’ muddle through, not that we could or would. He also said he was very concerned about a rise in al Qaeda activity there. He said then that he was ‘guardedly optimistic’ that the government could handle it. McCain, 2003: ‘I think Afghanistan is dicey. I think that there are certain areas of the country, particularly along the Pakistani border, that are clearly not under the control of either Pakistan or the Afghan government. … There has been a rise in al Qaeda activity along the border. There has been some increase in U.S. casualties. I am concerned about it, but I’m not as concerned as I am about Iraq today, obviously, or I’d be talking about Afghanistan. But I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that – in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan. So I’m guardedly optimistic, but I am also realistic that the central government in Kabul has very little effect on the policies and practices of the warlords who control the surrounding areas.'” (“FactChecking Obama,” FactCheck.org, 8/29/08)

The Facts About Barack Obama’s Record:

As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs, Barack Obama Has Failed To Hold Any Hearings On Afghanistan:

· Barack Obama Has Served As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs From 2007 – 2008. (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Website, www.senate.gov, Accessed 2/15/08)

· As Chairman Of The Subcommittee On European Affairs, Barack Obama Could Have Held Hearings On The Role Of NATO In Afghanistan. “[A]mbassador John Ritch, who served for two decades as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s senior staffer on European affairs and East-West relations…[P]oints out that as subcommittee chair, Obama could have examined a wide variety of urgent matters, from the role of NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq to European energy policy and European responses to climate change…” (Joe Conason, “Obama’s European Problem,” www.salon.com, 12/29/07)

· Barack Obama: “I became Chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.” (MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate, 2/27/08)

· Hillary Clinton Criticized Barack Obama For Not Holding Hearings As European Affairs Subcommittee Chairman. Sen. Clinton: “But I also have heard Senator Obama refer continually to Afghanistan, and he references being on the Foreign Relations Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He’s held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan.” (Sen. Clinton, NBC Democrat Presidential Debate, Cleveland, OH, 2/26/08)

Barack Obama Voted Against Providing Funding For Operations In Afghanistan:

· Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)

Barack Obama Said American Troops Were “Just Air-Raiding Villages And Killing Civilians” In Afghanistan. Obama: “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.” (Philip Elliott, “Obama Gets Warning From Friendly Voter,” The Associated Press, 8/14/07)

Barack Obama Has Been To Afghanistan Once. “Republican John McCain traded foreign policy barbs Saturday with the campaign of his Democratic rival Barack Obama, who arrived on his first trip to Afghanistan as part of a regional tour.” (“McCain, Obama Trade Foreign Policy Jabs,” Agence France Presse, 7/20/08)

Joe Biden Criticized Barack Obama’s “Johnny-Come-Lately Position” On Afghanistan. “The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Biden’s long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Much of what Senator Obama has proposed Senator Biden has already initiated or accomplished.” ( Joe Biden, “Biden Campaign Congratulates Sen. Obama For Johnny-Come-Lately Position,” Press Release, 8/1/07)

STATEMENT BY MCCAIN CAMPAIGN:

“There was one man who was presidential tonight, that man was John McCain. There was another who was political, that was Barack Obama. John McCain won this debate and controlled the dialogue throughout, whether it was the economy, taxes, spending, Iraq or Iran. There was a leadership gap, a judgment gap, and a boldness gap on display tonight, a fact Barack Obama acknowledged when he said John McCain was right at least five times. Tonight’s debate showed John McCain in command of the issues and presenting a clear agenda for America’s future.” –Jill Hazelbaker, McCain-Palin 2008 Communications Director

You Never Said What, Senator Obama?
The Knucklehead of the Day award