Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | August 20, 2008

Becky FengerSaddleback Forum: Baring their souls

Reverend Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” questioned two purpose-driven candidates at his Orange County church on Saturday night, and their answers were riveting and revealing. John McCain was comfortable in his chair at the “Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.” Barack Obama – not so much. In fact, McCain did so well during his hour on the hot seat that Obama’s camp did the only thing it could: accused McCain of cheating and somehow breaking through the “cone of silence” he was in to prevent him from hearing Obama’s answers during the previous hour.

Since the Saddleback Church is an evangelical one, naturally the question of abortion arose. “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Warren asked Obama. “Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade,” Obama replied, somewhat flippantly. As talk show host Laura Ingraham observed on Monday: “He wants to be President of the United States. Nothing is above his pay grade!”

McCain, on the other hand, did not hesitate to answer, “At the moment of conception.” Granted, the audience was much more sympathetic to McCain’s core beliefs even before either opened his mouth, but McCain really acquitted himself well, whereas Obama displayed his lack of spotlight time on the world stage. This was most obvious in his answer to the question: “What was your most gut-wrenching decision you’ve ever had to make?” Obama said that opposing the war in Iraq was the toughest he’s made. One problem here: Obama never had to make that decision, since he was not in Congress when it gave the president authority to use force in Iraq, a fact often pointed out by his primary opponents. So Barack’s toughest decision is one he never had to make.

Each candidate got the tough question: “What would be the greatest moral failure in your life?” Obama talked of his drinking and use of drugs as a teenager and explained that he was self-centered and selfish at the time. McCain, perhaps taking many in the audience by surprise, responded with: “The failure of my first marriage. It’s my greatest moral failure.”
When Rev. Warren asked Obama to whom he would listen as president, Barack listed three people: His wife Michelle Obama, his grandmother (a typical white person, remember?), and Senator Ted Kennedy. This is scary on so many levels.

Another reason McCain did so well at this forum was his natural sense of humor which was abundantly on display. There was none of the boring stiffness we have been subjected to at other campaign venues. He came across as very likeable. Obama had a difficult time not letting his underlying dislike of the United States seep through in his responses. To him, our vestiges of racism are on an equal par with the actions of terrorists and he’s not likely to purge himself of that notion.

Sitting in the audience beside Cindy McCain was Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s good buddy. This is a puzzle to me. After all, Graham joined five Democrat senators to make up the “Gang of Ten” whose plan is a stab in the heart of McCain’s best issue yet in the whole campaign: Drilling for oil. Obama and the Democrats were going to be forced into an up-or-down vote on drilling, and the Gang of Ten comes along and lets them off the hook by putting poison pills in the bill that could only help Obama. Rocker and “Kill It and Grill It” cookbook author Ted Nugent called them the “Gang of Sellouts.” He ends his blistering attack by telling Republicans to send them “Obama for President” bumper stickers and a broken tire gauge. “They’ll know where to put it,” Nugent quips.

“Democrats are always claiming to have the Kennedy magic, but, once again, another Kennedy-wannabe falls short. To be a real Kennedy, John [Edwards], you have to kill her.”

~ Author Ann Coulter, referencing Ted Kennedy and Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel and how they dealt with their womanizing problems.