Op-Ed: Obama Supporters Have Trouble Admitting That McCain Did Better At Warren Forum

Posted Aug 18, 2008 by Susan Duclos
There has been much talk about the Saddleback Church forum that Barack Obama and John McCain participated in which John McCain did much better than Barack Obama did in that type of forum. The new delusion is that McCain somehow cheated.
Barack Obama & John McCain
Barack Obama & John McCain
Illustration by, photography courtesy Flickr users soggydan and jurvetson
The transcripts for the forum can be found here (the first three are Obama's interview, the second set of three is McCain's) and a few questions were highlighted in the media and across the blogosphere yesterday.
One of which was a question about abortion and at what point does a baby get human rights.
The different answers from the candidates on that question was an example of the stark contrast between the two and that contrast continued throughout the night.
The question was simple, Warren wanted to know, in the candidate's minds, when rights begin. Using the word "rights" and asking for their view made it plain that Warren was talking about legal rights.
McCain's Answer: At the moment of conception. I have a 25-year Pro-life record in the Congress and in the Senate. And as President of the United States, I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies. That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.
Obama's Answer: Well, I think that whether you are looking at at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
Then he went on to speak in more general terms, completely sidestepping the actual question itself.
The night continued in that vein.
Many are pointing to this forum, this type of format and using this as an example of why Obama backed away from his "Anytime, anywhere" challenge and refused to conduct 10 townhall style forums with John McCain.
Obama's campaign not only refused those townhall's once, but they backed out twice after the offer was made a second time.
The good news is that Obama, his campaign and his supporters know how badly he did and better news yet, they understand how good McCain did, which is why they are in desperation mode to make excuses of why their golden boy fell flat on his face and why McCain shined.
Rather than have the honesty to admit that McCain is better with this type of format, Obama supporters jumped on the conspiracy theory that somehow John McCain knew the questions ahead of time.
It started with NewsBusters who caught Andrea Mitchell, Obama apologist, claiming that "some" thought McCain had to have cheated.
That gave Obama supporters the perfect opportunity to buy into their delusions and off and running over the cliff they went.
Well, the John McCain campaign has a challenge for Obama and if his supporters are so sure he can do better than his poor performance with Warren, they will encourage him to accept it.
The facts are that Senator McCain was in a motorcade led by the United States Secret Service and held in a green room with no broadcast feed. If the Obama campaign really believes that Senator McCain had some unfair advantage, our offer of weekly town hall forums remains on the table--anyplace, anytime.
There you go. A chance for Obama to strut his stuff.
The Obama campaign will either accept or will come out with excuses of why they cannot do the townhalls, but in reality, they are scared to do them or Obama would have met his own challenge instead of running scared when John McCain accepted the anywhere, anytime, challenge.
Michael Gerson at the Washington Post nails the exact reason why Obama supporters are so upset where he says:
Finally, McCain's performance at the Warren forum helps change the political psychology going into the conventions. Republicans have spent the past few weeks pleasantly surprised at the closeness of the presidential race. But they have generally chalked this up to Obama's weakness, not McCain's strength. After Saturday night, even Republicans most skeptical of McCain must conclude: "Perhaps we aren't doomed after all."
Of such small hopes are large upsets made.
Conservatives have no problem whatsoever admitting that John McCain does not do well with a teleprompter, he appears stilted and uncomfortable when he has a prepared speech, yet is in his element with the one-on-one type forum that townhalls and interviews as the one with Warren present.
Too bad Obama supporters cannot admit that Obama just isn't in his element without a teleprompter and he does much better with prepared speeches.
[Update] Warren says both candidates knew the first question beforehand, reported by God-o-Meter.
Some Obama supporters are claiming that McCain saw the questions before the forum began, giving him a leg up on Obama.
They're dead wrong. That's just sour grapes. They both did fantastically well. The only question he knew, I gave them the first question and I was changing the questions within an hour [before the forum began.] I talked to both of them a week before the debate and told them all the themes....
Another conspiracy theory bits the dust!