Saddleback Presidential Forum Open Thread

Rick Warren, Barack Obama, John McCain

UPDATE: The transcripts of the Presidential Forum are available at

I’m here at Saddleback Church. While checking out the people arriving, I had a Rosie Avila sighting.

Rosie Avila at Saddleback Presidential Forum

She was asked why she was here and identified hersel as theRepublican candidate for Congress challenging Loretta Sanchez. She hopes to learn the candidates positions on family values.

I wonder if that includes John McCain’s position on divorce?

  100 comments for “Saddleback Presidential Forum Open Thread

  1. August 16, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    The show has begun.

    Obama goes first. While Obama is on stage, McCain will be in a cone of silence.

    How is that new?

  2. August 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Three wisest people in his life and who he would listen to in his administration?

    Michelle Obama
    Would not limit himself to three people and would solicit a variety of points of view.

  3. August 16, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Greatest moral failing?

    Failure to follow what is said in the Book of Matthew. “What ever you do for the least among you, you do for me.

  4. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Interesting so far, what is the break for?

  5. August 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    There are periodic breaks between segments to allow for commercials on the networks covering the forum.

  6. August 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Well Barack Obama has AGAIN confirmed that he is a Christian. “I believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins.”

  7. August 16, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    coming back from break, the camera briefly showed the room – seemed like quite a few empty chairs.
    do you see a lot of empty seats there on site?

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    did they let you bring the recorder in?

  9. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    rowe wade, tuff question,

  10. August 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Question about Abortion, at what point does a baby get human rights?
    He is pro choice. In favor of limits on late term abortions if there is an exception to protect a woman’s health. We should be working on ways to reduce unwanted pregnancy, then we will reduce abortion.

  11. August 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Have to say, it doesn’t really sound like the rest of us are missing much.

  12. August 16, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Civil Unions vs. Marriage.

    Opposes a US constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman because it is a state issue.

    On the issue of Marriage Equality I respectfully disagree. Separate but equal is not equal.

  13. August 16, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Which Supreme Court Justice would you have not nominated?

    Clarence Thomas

  14. August 16, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Faith Based Organizations should be required to follow the Civil Rights Act in the areas where they receive federal funds.

  15. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    define rich, good question.

  16. August 16, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Rich, $over $250,000 yr. Or 25 million in books sold. 🙂

  17. Johnson
    August 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Is anyone covering the demonstrators outside, where the real story is? The candidates who weren’t invited, the issues unaddressed by the two pro-war candidates?

  18. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Even people who make 250,000 per year in wages may not be wealty if they are paycheck to paycheck.

  19. August 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    anyone who makes a quarter million dollars in a single year and is living paycheck to paycheck should seriously reevaluate their lifestyle choices.

  20. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    interesting remark on militay intervention.

  21. August 16, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    After the forum is done, I’ll be going down the hill to see what is going on with the “protesters.”

  22. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    just say it, you want to be President. and smile

  23. August 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Emerging from the “Cone of Silence” John McCain.

  24. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    I think Obama did real well, nice lapel pin too

  25. August 16, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Figures, I didn’t even notice the pin.

  26. August 16, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    McCain’s 3 wisest people?
    David Petreaus?
    John Lewis
    Meg Whitman (Ebay CEO)

  27. August 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Greatest moral failure (personal) Failure of first Marriage

  28. August 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Presidential Forum Drinking Game…

    Take a shot every time McCain says “My Friends.”

  29. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Looks like McCain forgot his lapel pin.

  30. August 16, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Where did off-shore drilling fit into the question?

    Take your second shot “My Friends”

  31. August 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Take your third shot “My Friends”

  32. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    hmmm a real stand on engery

  33. August 16, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Gut wrenching decision?

    Decided to stay in a POW camp.

  34. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I am getting a little drunk here, stop with the “my friends”

    kinda of fun

  35. August 16, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I will have to catch up when I get home my friends.

  36. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I’m tipsy.

    McCain’s on a script. He is answering different questions than ones posed to him by Warren and Warren, not being a journalist, is letting him get away with it.

  37. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Not hard to tell we’re in OC; Republicans out in force.

  38. August 16, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Grandpa, is telling us another story. Is he talking about how we currently torture people or is he having a flashback?

  39. August 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    McCain on Abortion?

    Human rights at conception.

  40. August 16, 2008 at 6:20 pm


    Between one man and one woman.

    Supreme Court of CA wrong.

  41. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Pro-life short and sweet,

    pro prop 8.

  42. August 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Federal funding of embryonic steam cells. His position previously is kind of in opposition to life at conception.

  43. August 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Grandpa, going to the gates of hell. My friends, Take another shot.

  44. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    McCain is going to ride the lead horse to get bin laden.

  45. August 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Another shot My Friends.

  46. August 16, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Would not have nominated the pro civil rights justices.

  47. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Of the 4 he would not nominate, who nominated them?

  48. August 16, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Faith based organizations receiving federal funds should not be required to follow the civil rights act.

    Grandpa keeps telling stories.

  49. August 16, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Souter was nominated by HW Bush

  50. August 16, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Charter schools work “My Friends,” take another shot.

  51. August 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    McCain defines rich…


  52. August 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I’m getting drunk, take another shot “My Friends.”

  53. August 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    $ 5 million.

  54. August 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    One, two more shots my friends to Bear DNA.

  55. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Everybody should be rich.

    Big credit for having kids, ya baby

  56. August 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Gezz, another shot please!

  57. August 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Another shot please

  58. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    McCain is antiUnion?

  59. August 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    McCain on Privacy.

    We have to step up our capability to monitor people.

  60. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    government people love to get into our lives.

  61. August 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    and evangelicals (no matter what faith) want to get into our bedrooms.

  62. August 16, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Communism is Evil?

    Dictators are evil. People are evil. Communism is not, in and of itself, evil.

  63. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Should the USA be the worlds policeman?

  64. August 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    No, from the perspective of McCain and GW Bush we should just bomb them ball back to the stone age.

  65. CJ
    August 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    John McSame is getting to far afield from the format. He is stumping and Barrack was keeping to the rules. Chris, where does one throw up?

  66. August 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Another two more shots, “My Friends.”

  67. Stephen
    August 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    he came to this tonight armed with three anecdotes and a stump speech. it sold well with this crowd, but i don’t think it’ll fly in a real debatea.

  68. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    wow, McCain does like that phase , my poor liver

  69. August 16, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Another shot please.

  70. CJ
    August 16, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Hey Pastor Rick, you blew it!!!

  71. August 16, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    This has quickly become a farce.
    Rick Warren opens with a question, phrased a bit differently than those he asked the first time. Then McCain ignores the question and speaks for a few minutes about whatever he wants to. Some of his responses are directly from stump speeches. Warren nods and agrees until McCain finishes.
    This is really making Rick Warren look BAD!

  72. August 16, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Judeo-Christian principles?

  73. August 16, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    And another shot, My Friends.

  74. CJ
    August 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Return next week to this church and you will see the St. McSame statue in the sacresty. Hey John, how about family values?

  75. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    how about a shot every time he drops Ronald Reagan’s name?

  76. August 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm


    I will post the full transcripts a little later.

    Wake me when Grandpa, finishes his story.

  77. CJ
    August 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Now Mother Teresa is in the mix. Shut him up.
    He does not know why he wants to be the prez. Oh, I forgot, he wants the money.

  78. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    dang it John, just say you want to be president and smile.

  79. August 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Wants to be President to inspire us? To what? Old age.

  80. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    did anyone really think McCain would stick to the rules here? Can’t wait for the punditocracy to weigh in

  81. August 16, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Old man pandering.

  82. August 16, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I’m signing off to go see demonstrators. Dan, you’ve got the ball.

  83. cook
    August 16, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I think Obama spoke better overall, and McCain was more decisive in most of his answers.

  84. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Cool. Too bad the answers were not about the questions asked.

  85. CJ
    August 16, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Pat Buchanan described McSame as doing well and was crisp. He and the other MSNBC people are getting paid. “Clarity and Seretude.” BS

  86. lee campbell
    August 16, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I am watching this totally one-sided religious-right Mccain show. Not only have the people showed their disrespect for Sen. Obama by having to be asked to stand for his exit. Mccain was able to hear all questions before hand, if not sooner. Even the attitude of this preacher is totally one-sided. Too bad, only members, and the religious-right were allowed access to these tickets. Just one more scam, under the pretense of christianity.

    I wonder if McCain would be willing to have a forum in a church that only democrats have ticket access. At least, the dems would be honest about only dems could have tickets. The only civility here was Sen. Obama’s ability pretending not to realize he had been duped by a minister.

  87. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Look, for the folks at home in other parts of the country, OC is very conservative and McCain was pandering to the crowd. He didn’t follow the rules on answering the questions and went off on tangents. Bring on a direct debate.

    Is there any reporter on TV more worthless than CNN’s Candy Crowley?

    I’m putting the Olympics on

  88. commonsense
    August 16, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I am really disappointed in how Obama is slow on his answers tonite. I think McCain won this hands down.

  89. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Lee — there was a cone of silence for McCain, but it really didn’t matter what questions he was asked. Teh abortion question turned into an answer about Supreme Court justices.

  90. August 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    i’m a longtime obama supporter and didn’t find him to be slow, but rather thoughtful and deliberative.
    mccain, to me, seemed to be chomping at the bit for warren to finish the question so that he could recite his next unrelated talking point. a few times he cut off mr. warren before the question was finished.
    i don’t think obama lost any ground here. but i do think mccain solidified some of his tentative support among the evangelicals.
    i hope the lesson learned is NOT to accept another invitation from rick warren. using the tickets for fundraising, failing to open the forum to the public, packing the room to church faithful, and not dividing the seats equitably between the campaigns was grossly UNFAIR.

  91. Eric Cooper
    August 16, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Wow, I am sure glad I didn’t pay the big bucks to attend this thing. I was on the outside with about 150 other Obama fans getting honks and waves from quite a few folks driving by the front of the church. Never mind Pastor PT Barnum II and his minions inside. The people of OC are going to support Obama in November.

  92. Dan Chmielewski
    August 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I have enormous respect for Pastor Warren. But this was a terrible performance. Its one thing to ask the questions but quite another to manage the answerers. Stick to the Gospel Pastor.

  93. OCGator
    August 17, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Hey Eric your on drugs, the OC support Obama in November?

  94. pjones220
    August 17, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Mccain does not have a clue about what is going on in communities facing poverty or middle-class families right now. He is so out of touch about what is really going on in America. It must be nice to live in a bubble for the rich, so you don’t have to experience the real world.

  95. Eric
    August 17, 2008 at 10:22 am

    500000 dems and growing, gator! OC is turning Blue!

  96. Lefty
    August 17, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I listened to the entire program (which I did not expect to do) & though certainly not perfect – thought it was as/more worthwhile than most of the “debates” I’ve seen in the past.

    Though I say both Senators did well, I do believe Senator Obama did a better job of “answering” the questions – some which were pretty tough.

    I especially appreciated Senator Obama’s references to the middle-class, American jobs & China – which were largely ignored by Senator McCain.

  97. RHackett
    August 17, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I am stunned at the response to McCain’s remarks about Russia invading Georgia. One must have to love the irony of conservatives claiming outrage at the invasion of a sovereign nation by a foreign power.

    Where were they in 2003?

  98. brainofjfk
    August 18, 2008 at 7:58 am

    the two candidates were such big scaredy cats they couldnt even drive past the protesters at the main entrance where all the people who care deeply about different topics were standing.

    I find that really cowardly and it speaks volumes about both candidates.

    its like hey you have free speech … but if a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound.

    so disapointing to not even get a glimpse of the candidates.

    for the record as all media outlets basically have ignored the hundreds of protesters outside there were hundreds of people outside the church.

    The large majority of people outside were holding Ron Paul signs then there were alot of anti abortion activists about 40 9/11 truthers, a large bunch of anti war groups and the minutemen and anti illegal immigration folks.

    I commend the police as they were friendly and even thanked the protesters for being there. On the other corner of the street there seemed to be issues with people tearing down signs and loud arguments however on our side we were generally peaceful and calm. Except for a few of the minutemen ladies who screamed and abused just about anyone who walked by them. I do not understand their tactics as yelling and berating people generally does not make a person go hmm I see your point. These minutemen women were very mean and loud as a punk rocker kid was just quietly walking by all the protesters minding his own busines and the minutemen women started screaming at him like where is your mother does your mother let you dress like that… ridiculous.. another outburst occured when a columbian man took out his camera to get a picture of one of the minutemans signs and the man with the sign reached for his pepperspray and threatened the man to get back or he would use it. CRAZY!!!! but it shows how racist, ignorant and scared the minuteman are in general.

    all in all it was a fun event as we got our message out to the people on the road and in traffic. Alot of cheers but alot of boos from cars to whom ? It is not clear as there were a bunch of different views on the sidewalk. Funny when people are booing everyone for practicing free speech as it is their right to free speech but its kind of crazy.

    People protest and stand on the street because they have feelings that are very strong about an issue and that alone should demand respect.

    We are not people who sit at home watch tv bitch and complain. We are the ones trying to make a difference. Everyone holding a sign or talking to passerbys deserves respect for being involved, caring and speaking their minds.

    there are firefighters in a landfill along with bodies of a ton of other 9/11 victims. Dont these people deserve better than a landfill? Also 70% of the families questions were not answered in the 9/11 comission report. If this was your family wouldnt you want answers? Thats why I stand outside with a sign. I stand with the families and victims of 9/11 who want closure justice and truth.,,

  99. Maureen
    August 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I attend Saddleback church regularly and recommended that people watch the forum as Pastor Rick was a fair and honest person. I don’t know what to think now. It’s obvious that John McCain knew the questions, at least the one about the supreme court justices, ahead of time. He was also allowed to “stump” and was graciously ignored while doing it instead of interrupted. I am upset about Rick Warren’s statement that neither candidate will know the questions ahead of time and also that they would not be allowed to campaign stump. It seems that John McCain did both. This was a very biased forum.

  100. tj
    August 20, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Let’s forget for a minute their respective party affiliations, their positions on the war, taxes, abortion, immigration, oil drilling and etc. These were just two men answering pretty simple questions. These were the questions designed to solicit their opinions on things that are dear to most of us. I think most of us have an opinion on many of the questions asked. I am pretty sure students in high schools or colleges could easily participate in a forum like this. Don’t we ask or answer many of these questions every day? Isn’t this how we form an opinion about someone’s character or their position on different issues? Why couldn’t senator Obama give us an opportunity to take a glimpse at his beliefs? Why did he have to be so vague and verbose? Does he even have a personal opinion on anything? That is how his answers impressed me. John McCain’s answers, on the other hand, showed him as a man with certain principles and beliefs – I may not share them, but I know he has an opinion and is not afraid to express it even if it does not please some of us. Senator McCain’s answers made me believe he is a humble and brave man, he is well versed, confident, experienced and, certainly, very alert, lucid and sharp. Mr. Obama, did not impress me at all – not as a citizen and, certainly, not as a presidential candidate. Obviously, he did not do his homework. I wonder why – is it his arrogance or simply lack of experience? Besides, some of his answers were embarrassing and anecdotal and probably will make history (e.g., an opinion about when life begins is above his pay grade). If we were to vote in November based on the results of this forum, I am pretty sure the majority of votes would go to John McCain – in my opinion he won it hands down.

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