Obama agreed with McCain? Well Sort of.

There is an effort to make more of the number of times (I keep hearing the number 11 tossed about) Obama agreed with McCain during their first debate. So I thought, why not just have a look at what was said by Obama with regard to his agreeing with McCain. Let's look at each time Obama "agreed" with McCain. This list will not go into the number of times Obama disagreed with McCain, or stated outright that he believed McCain to be wrong.

OBAMA: Well, I think Senator McCain's absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there's a crisis.

So, Obama agrees that responsibility is a good thing. So this is agreeing with McCain's policies? No. Obama offered up a salient caveat to McCain's comment. Advantage Obama.

OBAMA: Well, Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused, which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up.

Obama agrees that earmarks have been abused. This is yet another one of those moments where Obama hardly endorses the McCain agenda. It would be illogical to disagree with the point on earmarks particularly after watching the news coverage of the "bridge to nowhere." Advantage no one.

OBAMA: John, nobody is denying that $18 billion is important. And, absolutely, we need earmark reform...But the fact is that eliminating earmarks alone is not a recipe for how we're going to get the middle class back on track.

Obama agrees again about earmarks (aka pork barrel spending) but Obama then takes McCain's point and makes it his own, by pointing out that ridding the budget of earmarks won't help the middle class. Advantage Obama.

OBAMA: Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he's absolutely right. Here's the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

Once again Obama agrees about the point about tax rates, and not McCain policy and then goes on to explain that whole McCain might be right, but McCain is also misleading the public because there are loopholes that benefit corporations and they don't pay the highest rates in the world as McCain asserts. Advantage Obama.

OBAMA: Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families.

They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.

This is probably the closest Obama gets to agreeing with a McCain policy. Of course, Obama takes the agreement on the "surge" and ties it into his central point about the mismanagement of the Bush administration policy in Iraq which McCain supported, despite his criticisms. Advantage Obama.

Obama missed out on a prime opportunity to hit McCain with what I think would have been the knock out punch every pundit said was missing from the debate. Obama should have brought up a comment made by McCain about getting out of Iraq if the Iraqi government wanted the US out and then Obama should have reminded everyone about how Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports Obama's 16 month time table for withdraw.

OBAMA: And, John, I -- you're absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.

So, he agrees with McCain not on policy, but on principle. Then Obama provides a salient response to just how imprudent McCain has been. Advantage Obama.

OBAMA: Now, Senator McCain is also right that it's difficult. This is not an easy situation. You've got cross-border attacks against U.S. troops.

Again, agreement in principle, of the conditions on the ground, but it is not on any endorsement of any policy of McCain. In fact, Obama takes where they agree on principle and turns it against McCain pointing out a choice to be made and the problem with McCain's strategy and legitimacy. Advantage Obama.

OBAMA: Senator McCain is absolutely right, we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. It would be a game changer.

Again, this is hardly Obama endorsing McCain's foreign policy. This position has been enunciated by both parties for years.

On another note, I can't help but disagree with Obama when it comes to Israel and Iran. He is just as belligerent as Bush and McCain.

OBAMA: No, actually, I think Senator McCain and I agree for the most part on these issues. Obviously, I disagree with this notion that somehow we did not forcefully object to Russians going into Georgia.

Yes, they agree again in a failed principle. Sadly, both candidates are wrong about Russia's involvement with Georgia. Advantage McCain.

OBAMA: The second point I want to make is -- is the issue of energy. Russia is in part resurgent and Putin is feeling powerful because of petro-dollars, as Senator McCain mentioned.

That means that we, as one of the biggest consumers of oil -- 25 percent of the world's oil -- have to have an energy strategy not just to deal with Russia, but to deal with many of the rogue states we've talked about, Iran, Venezuela.

So, Obama agrees not with McCain's policies on Russia, just the notion about Russia benefiting from petro-dollars. He then makes a valid point about the futility of thinking that the US can drill our way free of our dependency on foreign oil.

I don't think I missed any of the times Obama agreed with McCain. I did leave out the times Obama agreed with Jim Lehrer. So, these are those moments where Obama agreed with McCain, and the pundit-ocracy thinks that it is important. And maybe they are, but for an entirely different reason. It is important because it shows the difference in how either man views the world and how each would lead if president.


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