McCain wins big at Saddleback
Read Byron York's excellent analysis at NRO here are some exerts.
The contrast was striking throughout each man’s one-hour time on stage. When Warren asked Obama, “What’s the most gut-wrenching decision you’ve ever had to make?” Obama answered that opposing the war in Iraq was “as tough a decision that I’ve had to make, not only because there were political consequences but also because Saddam Hussein was a bad person and there was no doubt he meant America ill.” But Obama was a state senator in Illinois when Congress authorized the president to use force in Iraq. He didn’t have to make a decision on the war. That fact was a recurring issue in the Democratic primaries, when candidates Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden, Christopher Dodd, and John Edwards argued that they, as senators, had to make a choice Obama didn’t have to make. And now he says it’s his toughest call.
When McCain got the question, he was able to tell an old story with a sense of gravity and poignancy that he seldom shows in public. He described his time as a prisoner of war, when he was offered a chance for early release because his father was a top naval officer. “I was in rather bad physical shape,” McCain told Warren, but “we had a code of conduct that said you only leave by order of capture.” So McCain refused to go. He made the telling even more forceful when he added that, “in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m very happy I didn’t know the war was going to last for another three years or so.” In one moment, he showed a sense of pride and a hint of regret, too; he came across as a man who did the right thing but not without the temptation to take an easy out. In any event, the message was very clear: John McCain has had to make bigger, more momentous decisions in his life than has Barack Obama.
And here is my favorite McCain closed the deal with this one.
Early on in the questioning, Warren asked each man, “What…would be the greatest moral failure in your life, and what would be the greatest moral failure of America?” Obama answered that he drank and “experimented” with drugs as a teenager, which he attributed to his own selfishness. McCain, on the other hand, said, “The failure of my first marriage. It’s my greatest moral failure.”