Taxes and Iraq top topics in first presidential debate

The University of Mississippi was the venue for the first of three scheduled debates with less than six weeks remaining until Election Day for people to decide on either Obama or Mcain. For the inaugural debate the main arguments were surrounding the war

The University of Mississippi was the venue for the first of three scheduled debates with less than six weeks remaining until Election Day for people to decide on either Obama or Mcain.

For the inaugural debate, the main arguments were surrounding the war in Iraq and taxes.

McCain accused Obama of an “incredible thing of voting to cut off funds for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,” a reference to legislation that cleared the Senate more than a year ago.

Obama disputed that, saying he had opposed funding in a bill that presented a “blank check” to the Pentagon while McCain had opposed money in legislation that included a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2002, before he was a member of Congress, while McCain voted in the Senate to authorize the war.

“You were wrong’’ on Iraq, Obama repeated three times in succession. “John, you like to pretend the war began in 2007.’’

It was a debate that almost didn’t happen. McCain decided a few hours in advance to attend, two days after announcing he would try to have the event rescheduled if Congress had not reached an agreement on an economic bailout to deal with the crisis now gripping Wall Street.

McCain sought to depict Obama as naive on foreign policy. He also criticized Obama for having said he would sit down without precondition with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Obama said Henry Kissinger, the former Republican secretary of state and a McCain adviser, shared his view on talks with Iran.

The two men also differed on federal spending. McCain said a freeze on most government spending was worth considering, except for veterans, defense and “some other vital issues.’’

Obama said the problem with that was that some programs needed more money. He mentioned early childhood education as an example.

Moderator Jim Lehrer’s opening question concerned the economic crisis.

While neither man committed to supporting bailout legislation taking shape in Congress, they readily agreed lawmakers must take action to prevent millions of Americans from losing their jobs and their homes.

Both also said they were pleased that lawmakers in both parties were negotiating on a compromise.

They are scheduled to debate twice more, at Belmont University in Nashville on Oct. 7 and at Hofstra University in Hempsted, N.Y., on Oct. 15.

Vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden meet Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis for their only debate.

Obama and McCain each put in a plug for his own running mate.

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

______

Copyright 2008 NNPA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments

From the Web