UPDATE: This is a nice blog on the same topic only with a bit more background on why Saddleback decided to host the forum and how it all worked out church wise. Pretty interesting stuff. Half way through Cho decides to paste an article from CNN (which is confusing with the way the blog is formatted) but the article is decent. Focuses on Obama like all CNN productions…..but it’s decent. 🙂 Worth the read if you want more info on this still.
Last night, Jeremy and I caught the interview that Rick Warren of Saddleback Church conducted with John McCain and Barack Obama. Fox News was the only channel that covered it as far as we could tell. But what a phenomenal interview! For me, it was a simple, basic interview that the greater media could stand to learn a few lessons from.
Here’s how it went: Warren invited both candidates to come and talk with him. Each candidate received one hour with Warren where he asked them some interview questions. It sounded like he (Warren) provided the questions to the candidates before hand. (Obama commented that he “cheated” and researched one of the questions Warren posed to him, so that is where I’m getting that assumption.) While one candidate was speaking to Warren, the other candidate was in a sound-proof box back stage so that they could not see or hear the other candidates responses. After each session, Warren asked both candidates to explain in 1 minute or less, why they wanted to be President. Both candidates were asked THE SAME questions in the same order. (Afterwards, Fox news had a panel of guests -from both parties-who commented on the interview and they were all pretty amazed that Warren asked both of them the exact same questions. I found that really funny that they were so surprised and as a viewer, it was one of my favorite formats for a Presidential “discussion” if you will.)
As I mentioned before, this was an EXCELLENT interview. I have researched both candidates and while I’ve made my decision I still enjoy listening to each of them. Their performance last night was really fascinating to watch because both candidates seemed to approach the venue, the audience and the interview questions SO differently. Obama went first and he was as always, exceptionally well-spoken, suave and calm. His education shows through in this interview and I appreciated his candidness in a few of the questions that were a bit tricky. (I.e. Warren asked a question regarding how the U.S. should respond/interact with countries like China who are partaking in the genocide occuring in Darfur. His answer was pretty “safe” but I liked that he aired a little of the U.S.’s dirty laundry in that we have an extra challenge because of our trade relationship with China and for the fact that we have borrowed money from them.)
However, after McCain came out, Obama comparitvely was emotionless. McCain was much more passionate and even seemingly more engaged than his counterpart. I don’t think Obama was arrogant, but he was confident and cool. McCain was also confident but seemed much more conversational, chatty, and emotional.
It was wonderful to be able to compare the questions and answers back to back because it enabled you as a voter to clearly see where each candidate is coming from and maybe even a little bit of how they work. I haven’t read other opinions on the interview yet – but I’m excited to do so. (Maybe I should’ve done that before I wrote this!) I was very impressed with McCain last night. His posture and body language spoke volumes whereas you couldn’t read Obama as well because, as I mentioned before, he was less emotional and conversational than McCain. (Though Obama had a couple good jabs/jokes on Warren that were really funny.)
This is getting long so I’ll wrap it up with one more point; apparently Warren got a lot of flack from duh-the liberals, agnostics, aetheists, humanists, socialists, blah, blah, blah that he as a Christian Pastor was inviting the candidates to come to his church and speak to his community (I don’t want to say congregation because that’s not accurate or fair. That church draws from the people in the community, it’s not some select group of individuals who are “special”. Just people in that community representing the average American congragation.). These groups were complaining that the Evangelicals are getting extra “attention” and that they are being left in the dust. (Wah-wah-wah…sorry couldn’t help it.) As a result, they highly criticized the venue and the moderator (Warren) and I’d like to respond to that (because it’s my blog and I can).
This kind of venue made me as a voter feel “safe”. We are constantly told that the media is not very trust worthy and I whole heartedly agree. Living out here on the *cough* left-coast I see the spin in the news and it is AWFUL. Horrendous reporting is occuring with no accountability and it makes me sick. While I didn’t go to a college that emphasized journalism, I did take several journalism/mass media courses and I am so annoyed to see how the media breaks all the rules of “good” reporting. Good luck finding a piece of media -written or otherwise- that is unbiased. You could argue that everyone is biased even without being intentional about it, but comparing the news out here to the news of the mid-west, I’m here to tell you that the media takes advantage of the general publics assumption of bias. It’s attrocious.
So, getting back to that. It was a “safe” venue to me because it was a normal person asking questions that I would’ve had for the candidates. They were excellent questions that the average American is highly interested in hearing answers to. And I even found myself trusting the candidates a bit more because I felt both of them were less “showy” or “stumpy” than they usually are on the campaign trail. There was a sense of honesty and integrity coming from both candidates and I think it was both the venue and the moderator that made that happen. Additionally, I would say that every person could – even aetheists and socialists and liberals-ha ha ha-enjoy this interview. It was not “churchy” in my opinion other than the questions about their personal belief of what “faith” is and how they define it in their personal lives. (Which is honestly a question I think anyone would ask because guess what-Americans still want to know this answer no matter what they do or don’t believe.)
Finally, I just gotta say that I loved McCain in this interview. His experience both in life and politics showed through brightly. He was passionate, emotional, very quick to answer (which again helps me to believe him and feel as though he was being extremely truthful with us), he spoke to the audience-moving his body position so that he was facing them rather than sitting sideways, and while he did look at Warren also, he spoke TO the people not AT the people. McCain engaged the audience with personal stories and examples to further emphasize his answers and points. He was not one to overlook his own mistakes in the past-he showed his humanity and admitted he has made mistakes that he regrets even today. Probably one of my favorite questions/answers was one where Warren asked him to give an example of a political position he had 10 years ago that is different than the one he has today; not because he flip-flopped but because he had new and different information. I also loved the question that asked where he has crossed party lines to work with the “other” side to do what he felt was right rather than what his party necessarily thought he should do. That question was awesome (and sorry but Barak’s answer totally stunk and showed his inexperience).
Ok, I’m stopping now. If you missed this interview, I encourage you to carve out some time to sit down and listen to it. I’m sure it’s on youtube. It’s not as long as it seems like it would be-it’s really the most entertaining and engaging interview I’ve seen! Both candidates did an excellent job! Please be an educated voter this fall. The general election is less than 80 days away and nothing gets on my nerves more than people who have decided who they like and know NOTHING about their politics. I’m sorry but if we as Americans are becoming a nation who is so lazy that we choose our candidate based off of what they look like, how they talk or what we like about them without ever looking at their voting record, without ever researching what they believe or how they make decisions, without ever looking at the politics that they support-then this is a sick place and our country will only continue to suffer. Be an educated voter this fall and make sure you know WHY you like a candidate. And please, let there be some politics in your opinion. 🙂