Charlie Rose asked Obama about his "bitter" comment regarding small town people who cling to guns, religion, and immigration opposition because of their frustration with government. Obama tried to fix that statement by saying, "The point I was making was that when people feel like Washington's not listening to them, when they're promised year after year, decade after decade, that their economic situation is going to change, and it doesn't, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion." Let's back up the truck for just a second and ask... how does a person "politically" focus on "religion?" What does that even mean?? But Obama goes on to say, "They end up feeling, 'This is a place where I can find some refuge. This is something that I can count on.' They end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns, where traditions have been passed on from generation to generation. And those are incredibly important to them." Yes... the tradition of gun ownership HAS been passed on from generation to generation -- it began when the country did, through the second amendment to the Constitution.
Of course, for Hillary's turn, she pointed out that she's the granddaughter of a steel worker and that HE would have been offended at the comments.
Another question posed to Obama was regarding his "spiritual mentor," the Rev. Wright. Obama has claimed that he never heard Wright say from the pulpit the things that are so offensive (and are broadcast all over YouTube). But more than a year ago, Obama rescinded an invitation to Wright to attend the event where Barack announced his candidacy. According to Rev. Wright, Obama told him, "You can get kind of rough in sermons. So what we've decided is that it's best for you not to be out there in public." Then the question was, "What did you know about his statements that caused you to rescind that invitation? And if you knew he got rough in sermons, why did it take you more than a year to publicly disassociate yourself from his remarks?"
Obama's response was to say, "Understand that I hadn't seen the remarks that ended up playing on YouTube repeatedly.... Reverend Wright is somebody who made controversial statements but they were not of the sort that we saw that offended so many Americans." He went on to talk about all the good work that the church as done with HIV/AIDS, prison ministries, providing people with comfort. He also said (regarding the sermon preached damning America immediately after 9/11), "Absolutely many of these remarks were objectionable. I've already said that I didn't hear them, because I wasn't in church that day. I didn't learn about those statements until much later."
The moderators then got on Clinton... "Senator Clinton, we also did a poll today, and there are also questions about you raised in this poll. About six in ten voters that we talked to say they don't believe you're honest and trustworthy." Really?? Forty percent of people think Clinton is honest and trustworthy? That's scary. They played a clip from a voter in Pittsburgh, "Senator, I was in your court until a couple weeks ago. How do you reconcile the campaign of credibility that you have when you've made those comments about what happened getting off the plane in Bosnia, which totally misrepresented what really happened on that day? You really lost my vote. And what can you tell met to get it back?
Clinton's response? "Well, Tom, I can tell you that I may be a lot of things, but I'm not dumb... I wrote about going to Bosnia in my book in 2004... On a couple of occasions in the last weeks I just said some things that weren't in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book. And you know, I'm embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it. I've said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over, because clearly I am proud that I went to Bosnia. It was a war zone." Hmmm... what a fancy and nice way of saying, "I lied. And it was a really stupid lie because it was obvious I was lying. I hope you can look past that, though, and vote for me anyway because I'm not really dumb. But one of my favorite parts of her answer is, "So I will either try to get more sleep, Tom, or, you know, have somebody who, you know, is there as a reminder to me. You know, you can go back for the past 15 months. We both have said things that, you know, turned out not to be accurate. You know, that happens when you're talking as much as we have talked." And this is a not-so-fancy way of saying, "You know, Tom. We're both big fat liars. And we've both been caught at it -- you have to expect that when two big fat liars are talking for fifteen months. It's really hard to keep your lies straight in that long a time period."
Obama is also taking some hits because of his relationship with William Ayers, who was part of the Weather Underground in the 70s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings in an effort to disrupt/overthrow the government. On 9/11, Ayers was quoted in the New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough." The fact that Democrats are riled that this question was asked just kills me. Can you imagine if John McCain had held one of his organizing meetings at the home of a former bomber of abortion clinics who was completely unrepentant -- was only sorry that he didn't bomb enough of them? What would the press be doing to McCain??
Obama's explanation, though, is that "this is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from... The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate..." Nice. He also brought up the fact that President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground... And that, along with Clinton rah-rahing over Obama's tough questions, gave the debate a feeling of, "You're worse... no YOU'RE worse. Nu-uh, YOU are."
Both candidates took a hard and fast pledge to get the United States out of Iraq - no matter what is going on at the time, and no matter what the advice is from the generals. I just cannot see how this appeals to anybody. But, I guess, if 40% of Americans are stupid enough to think that Hillary is honest and trustworthy, maybe they're stupid enough to think that pulling out against the advice of our generals and creating a blood bath is a good idea, too.
Obama showed himself to be an economic moron, too. He was asked about raising the capital gains tax - which he has stated he would do (or "look at doing"). It is now set at fifteen percent, and Obama said he would raise it to twenty-eight percent. The moderator pointed out in his question that every time (historically) the tax rate is dropped, revenues INCREASE and when it is raised, the revenues DECREASE. They then asked, "Why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?" Obama's response? He would raise the tax for the "purposes of fairness." He says, "Those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair." He's essentially saying that he will enact a policy, in the interest of fairness, that will decrease revenues to the government. (For the record, there is nothing unfair about everybody in the country paying a fifteen percent capital gains tax rate. It's not as if the secretary is paying a higher capital gains tax than her employer. If she invests, she'll get that same fifteen percent tax rate.)
Hillary Clinton says that if she raises the capital gains tax, she would not go above 20 percent. Well, thank you for that, anyway. Although, coming from a self-professed big fat liar, this doesn't mean much.
If you penalize investment, you're going to get less investing - which means that businesses will suffer, the economy will suffer, and the government will collect less revenue. Lowering tax rates has increased revenues for the government historically speaking - I cannot understand why politicians can't get it.
There was more to the debate, but it would get far too boring to go into all of it. I still think it's a toss up as to whether Barack or Hillary is the candidate of choice for the Democrat party. It will probably go all the way to the convention without us knowing for certain. And, frankly, I don't know who I'm hoping for. They're both darned scary - it kind of makes John McCain look good by comparison.