The first of three 2008 Presidential debates ended Friday night with the majority of undecided voters declaring Sen. Barrack Obama the winner against Sen. John McCain in a CBS News/Knowledge Networks poll taken immediately following the debate. Twenty-four percent of undecided voters felt McCain had come out on top, while 37 percent declared it a tie.
Earlier in the week McCain proposed postponing the debate, which was hosted by the University of Mississippi in Oxford, after announcing the suspension of his campaign in an effort to finalize negotiations on the $700 billion recovery plan.
During the 94 minute debate, the $700 billion dollar recovery plan was at the forefront of the discussion regarding the economy. Both candidates agreed more accountability is needed in the U.S. government in order to combat the current financial crisis.
“[The plan] has to have accountability and oversight. It has to have options for loans to failing businesses, rather than the government taking over those loans,” McCain said.
“I’ve put forward a series of proposals that make sure that we protect taxpayers as we engage in this important rescue effort,” Obama said. “Number one, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole process; $700 billion, potentially, is a lot of money. Number two, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market, and when the market returns. Number three, we’ve got to make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes. And, number four, we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country.”
Both senators agreed that overspending in Washington is largely to blame for our current economic state.
“The first thing we have to do is get spending under control in Washington,” McCain said. “–We have now presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society. And the worst symptom on this disease is –earmarking. It’s a gateway drug to out-of-control spending and corruption.”
The Iraq war brought mixed responses from the senators.
McCain said, “Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq. The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not. [They are] going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind.”
Obama linked the war in Iraq to the current economy crisis.
“We are still spending $10 billion a month, when [Iraq] has a $79 billion surplus, at a time when we are in great distress here at home,” Obama said. “We just talked about the fact that our budget is way over-stretched and we are borrowing money from overseas to try to finance just some of the basic functions of our government.”
?”Both McCain and Obama said what I had expected so it seemed really predictable,” First year WCU student Devon Czeka said in response to the senators’ positions on the Iraq War. “I feel like Obama’s answers were more satisfying because McCain couldn’t offer much more than the phrase, ‘Obama doesn’t understand,’ which he said like a broken record.”
The debate did not have much of an influence on either Czeka’s vote.
“My decision was made months ago, and the debate just reaffirmed my choice,” Czeka said.
“To be honest, the debate didn’t influence my vote at all,” Anders said. “Instead, it reassured my feelings that Senator McCain will by far be the best candidate to be our next President.”
Karen Blyton is a first-year student majoring in English.She can be reached at KB666213@wcupa.edu