Video: McCain, Obama at the 9/11 Presidential Forum

Tonight both John McCain and Barack Obama participated in a presidential forum aimed at discussing national service on the nation’s 7th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The forum was sponsored by an organization called ServiceNation and was held at Columbia University in New York City.

Here, in the order in which they were questioned, are the entire videos from both McCain and Obama.

McCain went first, here is most of the his session in several parts from YouTube:

Next, Obama took a similar line of questioning. Here is most of his session also in several parts from YouTube:

Report on both appearances from CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama spoke about the importance of national service during a Thursday forum sponsored by TIME at Columbia University in New York.

The presidential candidates took the stage separately, a coin toss determining who took questions first from moderators TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel and PBS’s Judy Woodruff.

Woodruff first asked McCain why it seems the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, are “fading” in the minds of many Americans.

“We needed at that time [September 11, 2001] to take advantage of the unity in the United States of America,” he said. “We weren’t Republicans on September 11. We weren’t Democrats. We were Americans.”

McCain also said he suspects the American people feel uninspired by leaders in Washington and repeated the 2008 campaign trail mantra that they crave change in federal government. Americans more than ever appreciate that we live in a global political environment where isolationist tendencies no longer apply, he said.

“They understand the challenges we have in this world,” he said, pointing to Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia, and “problems growing larger” in Afghanistan. “How is it that we can inspire people? … We have to reform government. We have to reform the way we’re doing business.”

McCain was asked what role the federal government should play in national service — private, public and military.

He praised the Peacecorps and AmeriCorps, saying they and similar organizations don’t receive “sufficient recognition” from Washington. But McCain was careful to say government should limit its involvement in largely private volunteer organizations.

“I’d be glad to spend money but I don’t think that should be the first priority …”

Government has a “distinct” role but he said he “wants to be careful about expanding it.”

The GOP candidate also fielded a question about his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin’s dismissive comments about Obama’s community service in Illinois.

“Look, this is a tough business,” McCain said, saying Sen. Obama set the tone of the race when he turned down McCain’s offer to participate together in town hall meetings across the United States.

“Of course I respect community organizers who serve their community,” McCain said, calling Obama’s community organizing in inner-city Chicago “outstanding.”

“I praise anyone who serves this nation in that capacity.”

Obama said his views don’t really differ from McCain’s on national service.

“America is the greatest country on earth but it didn’t just happen on its own,” said Obama, saying later as McCain said, that a person’s income doesn’t necessarily indicate whether they will have the time or the inclination to volunteer. “What has built this country is people who participate in public service that extend beyond our immediate self interest.”

Obama said that on Friday he will announce a citizenship volunteer program to help young people of modest means to get involved in their community as he did years ago.

“The fact is we have to have to have government,” Obama said. “When a hurricane strikes as it did with Katrina, we have to have a FEMA that works which means we should be encouraging young people to get involved as civil servants” capable of doing the job well.

“That doesn’t crowd out the Red Cross or thousands of church groups that went down there [to New Orleans],” he continued. “The Peacecorps does not crowd out need for [other] service overseas.”

The forum is part of a two-day summit meant to promote national service. Nearly 500 leaders from business, foundations, universities and politics are meeting to “celebrate the power and potential of citizen service” and lay out a plan to address “America’s greatest social challenges through expanded opportunities for volunteer and national service,” according to the organizers’ Web site.

Pretty mild evening for the candidates, I didn’t see too much of it but it doesn’t sound like either one really stood out. Clearly this forum probably favors Obama more as the Rick Warren Saddleback Civil Forum favored McCain more.

Working on the full complete video which should be up soon…

  • Michael

    McCain came off strong during his talk. It seems as though he no longer has to pander to the conservative base with Palin’s nomination, so he can freely talk about his bi-partisan work, such as ethics reform, to cultivate the moderates.

    Obama looked tired and stern. He had intelligent points to make, but he also had more ‘catch phrases’ than McCain. While McCain was appearing soft and frank, Obama was appearing more like a stern and campaigning individual.

    They both shouted out to faith-based voters. Ironically, Obama seemed to talk more about his policies than McCain did.

  • Babs

    I wondered if Obama himself realized how much credit he was throwing Bush’s way. Odd, wasn’t it? I don’t think McCain mentioned Bush’s name, did he?

    I agree with your assessment, Michael. I’m not sure how – in one of Obama’s answers – he was trying to connect the energy crisis to the question asked. It seemed he was just trying to wind out the clock and get in some stump rhetoric where he could, because he really did seem tired.

    I was a little surprised that McCain DIDN’T look tired, after a day of traveling from Alaska to Penn. and then to NY., making appearances in each place. As far as talking about his bi-partisan work, though, I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard many times before. I think the problem for McCain with conservatives was that he really never “pandered” to them, which is what turned them off to him. I don’t know, CG might have a better critique of that than me, since she is one. But I think, in general, he has always talked freely that way.


    Yeah and the funny thing is Michael Obama talked more about policies and the issues, like when he brought up energy, and I was sitting there pondering the thought that both candidates agreed they would not talk issues for the day. But hey Obama had to get that crap in before a hometown crowd and two people who agree with him more on their questioning.

  • Babs

    *ROFLMAO* Well, to begin with, as a taxpayer I’d like to know why Sen. Reid is wasting our taxpayer dollars making stump speeches for Obama on the Senate floor – I don’t think I pay him to do that on my dime. But nevertheless, the gentleman made a bit of a gaffe today:

    “We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world,” Reid said in an address on the Senate floor. “Our dangerous world calls for leaders with sound judgment, not those with a temperament prone to recklessness. … Will we stick with the same failed, out-of-touch foreign policy of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, which military experts and countless authors call the worst foreign policy in our nation’s history?”

    But then Reid got a bit ahead of himself, as he began to describe Obama’s foreign policy toward Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

    “President McCain even called the Obama approach naive,” Reid said.”

    President McCain? Has Reid seen the writing on the wall, ya think?

  • So hey ‘Obama_Sucks’ guy, mind explaining your handle? You really see no good in him? You just think ‘he sucks’. Your handle defines you as ill tempered and unintelligent. But hey, that’s cool. It’s probably a liberals fault you act 12.

  • Babs

    *LOL* Eric K, O_S is a long time participater on this forum, longer than me in fact. Don’t mind his handle, he’s a good guy, not so much ill termpered and certainly not unintelligent.

    How’s it going for you out in Texas about now? Are you well out of the way of Ike?

  • Jim

    I thought that the war was going to pay for itself via Iraq’s oil??? Oh, The Iraqi’s just kicked out all of our oil companies and honored a contract that they had with China while Saddam Hussein was still in power 20 years ago! That means the cost is laid on the American Taxpayer on a credit card! The Iraqi oil that Rumsfeld said would fund the war is now won by a Chinese contract so the 2 trillion war costs are going to get laid on the American Taxpayer. All on a credit card.

    Check it out…

    Iraq Rejects No-Bid Contracts
    Talks Over Short-Term Oil Deals Lasted Too Long, Officials Say

    Workers man an oil field installation in south Iraq. Western oil companies are soon to submit bids for deals that the Iraqi government hopes will boost exploration and output in its oil fields, which have been hampered by years of war. (By Nabil Al-jurani — Associated Press)
    Enlarge Photo

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    Who’s Blogging» Links to this article
    By Ernesto Londoño
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, September 12, 2008; Page A10

    BAGHDAD, Sept. 11 — The Iraqi government has decided to scrap plans to award no-bid short-term advisory and technical support contracts to a handful of Western oil companies, Iraqi officials said this week.

    The companies — including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total and British Petroleum — are expected to submit bids in coming weeks for deals that the Iraqi government hopes will boost exploration and output in its oil fields, which have been hampered by years of war. Industry analysts said the short-term contracts could have helped companies win more lucrative exploration and development deals.

    The Iraqi government informed the companies about its decision this month, said Assem Jihad, a spokesman for Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

    He said the ministry decided to end the talks because they had dragged on for too long. But he said Iraq looks forward to working with those companies in the future.

    “We don’t have a negative attitude toward any company,” he said. “The ministry decided that due to the delay, it was better to cancel this idea.”

    The oil companies were not surprised by the Iraqi decision, given the political sensitivities raised by the issue, according to an executive at one of the five companies. Speaking on the condition that he not be identified further, the executive said the deals had become less attractive because Iraqi officials had shortened the proposed length of the contracts from two years to one in response to criticism.

    China’s national oil company last month became the first company to sign a major oil deal with Iraq since the war began in 2003. The 20-year deal with China’s National Petroleum Corp., which revives a similar contract negotiated while Saddam Hussein was in power, is expected to increase output in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

    This week, Iraqi officials announced that they intend to sign a contract with Shell to capture and make use of natural gas that is now burned off during oil production in southern Iraq. The deal, which could be worth as much as $4 billion, has been approved by Iraq’s parliament and could be signed as early as next week, Jihad said.

    According to the proposed agreement, Iraq would keep 51 percent of the proceeds, and Shell would keep the rest.

    Iraq is enormously attractive to oil companies, as the price of the resource has soared and oil-rich countries such as Venezuela and Russia have increasingly nationalized their oil industries. But violence and political turmoil — Iraqi lawmakers have yet to agree on a hydrocarbon law– have given oil executives pause.

    Staff writer Steven Mufson in Washington and special correspondents K.I. Ibrahim and Zaid Sabah in Baghdad

  • Eric K, what OS does not realize is that people remember things more than they remember negations (this is one of those educational strategies, in which saying “don’t rememeber” simply becomes “remember”).

    If OS wants to write Obama’s name out over a hundred times, I have no qualms with it. He believes the inherent negation should but more destructive than the sheer publicity. Pedagogical research suggests otherwise.

  • It’s a shame they didn’t have both of them answering the questions at the same time, that would be fun.

    I liked the fact that Obama did give Bush some credit, not EVERY idea the Republicans have are bad ones 😉 and credit where credit’s due. Overall I don’t like Bush but he has done some good, shame it’s overshadowed by a lot of the bad.

    Now Palin is on the ticket I think that’ll distract a lot of the conservative base on McCain going back to the middle.

    So in short Jim. America goes into Iraq, has spent close to a $Trillion there. The Iraqi oil was supposed to help pay for the war. McCain’s fine with being in Iraq for a 100 years. The American oil companies get kicked out. But China who didn’t do anything for the Iraq war gets the lucrative contracts to drill?

    Anyone else have the word ‘SUCKER’ going through their head?

  • PeoplePower

    I liked the Forum. I just wish the parties would cooperate as much as their rhetoric implies they will. I see hard-core attacks over silly things from the McCain side (with a splash of policy attacks) and attacks on issues from the Obama side.

    I worry that the extreme partisans will ruin any chance we have of really working together as Americans and I see it here with the commentary – though, usually the most inflammatory remarks come from irregular visitors (not that I yet qualify as a regular).

    On a lighter note, I laughed my a$$ off when McCain pretended to fall asleep. He was talking about people living longer and being much more active and joked that he’s proof of that. Then he continued his point a bit and feigned nodding off. It was a riot!

  • Pam

    I don’t feel that it was fair that Mr. Obamba was privileged to hear Mr. McCain’s interview. The forum was biased in that manner. When Rick Warren had them on stage for his forum, he had the second Senator up for interview in a room where he could not hear the interview with his opponent. The same questions were asked of them, keeping the interview fair and unbiased. Rick Warren set a standard that the news media has attempted to follow, but has failed. In this arena, the 9/11 Interview, there was very little difference in their stands. Obama should not have been able to hear McCain’s retoric.

  • And no doubt if Obama went first it would be fair game?

    Obama never strayed from what he’s been saying for months, so it’s completely irrelevent what he heard or not. I’m sure if Obama did stray we’d have heard about him being a flip-flopper by now.

    To also add, I think most people (left and right) have said that they think McCain did slightly better than Obama. So you argument is complete nonsense Pam.

  • Dreadsen


    Where have you been? McCain was not in the cone of Silence. McCain heard Obama’s interview not the other way around. So your entire statement should just reverse the names.

    Here is Rick Warren on CNN admitting it.

  • Dian

    I wouold have liked to have seen Obama go first and answer the questions.

    They did the very same thing to Hillary when she was running. Put her first so as Obama could just coast along.

    Obama has no plans and that is the reason he is not put first . Some one wants Obama in there real bad and passing him along like a kid in school flunking all his classes and his dad being rich, pays off the teacher to give the kid passing grades. 😉

  • ITs a coin toss jeessh.

    Babs. I dont buy it. OS comes off a straight up jerk. Loses credibility for himself and his cause.

    Thanks about the hurricane well wishes. It was pretty bad. We didn’t suffer much. Just a knocked over fence, minor-very minor flooding. But many friends and neighbors have.

    [blockquote]Obama has no plans and that is the reason he is not put first . Some one wants Obama in there real bad and passing him along like a kid in school flunking all his classes and his dad being rich, pays off the teacher to give the kid passing grades. ;)[/blockquote]

    whaaa?? sounds like you are describing W. lol. Obama has no plans? His tax-code is down to salary brackets. You do understand that right? He’s not just saying less taxes.. He has a tax reform plan. McCain couldn’t even seriously define Rich, then he comes back and says ‘well people will use that against me…’ as if he was saying ‘if you use my joking ignorance against me it shows what a mean ‘ol liberal you are.’

    it was a freakin’ coin toss.

  • Babs

    Good to see you back on, Eric. My sisters-in-law can’t get back into Dickinson yet, but from reports they won’t be as lucky.

    Believe as you wish on O_S, but remember is attacking him you come off as a jerk as well.

  • Attacking? How is pointing out his rude handle an attack again? (dare I say Phony Outrage on your part? lol)

  • Because O_S is int he bag for McCain and so is Babs and therefor anything said in the slightest towards a McCainanite is classed as an attack. I’m surprised you haven’t been publically flogged and stoned by now Eric for your comments…LOL

    It’s ridiculous this who goes first argument. Personally I’d want to go first because the audience will have the attention span to listen to what’s being said. The second guy has the unfortunate position of having the audience nodding off. Also if the second guy changed their position because of what the first guy said then they’d be instantly called out as a flip-flopper.

    Lets be honest here, we don’t watch these debates or forums to hear what issues or policies each candidate has to talk about, because they’re repeating the same thing they’ve been saying for the past god knows how many months. We watch them to see if they screw up so we can jump on them from the tallest building and take great joy whilst watching them squirm in the media spotlight for the following couple of days. We all just hope it isn’t our guy that screws up.

  • U.S. Citizen

    What happened to democracy? What happened to letting the people know about their choices?


  • Robbie

    Why has their been no mention of Saddam Husein’s name or ousting from power in any of the debates? Well the average american and non degenerate world citizen knows that that the world is so much better off without him in power and we have done a lot of good there regardless of the coward propaganda. I would have loved an easy asasination but what do you after that in a caotic area like the middle east. Without troops on the ground to secure peace and rebuild marshal plan style exicute the operation responsibly and honorably it couldn’t be done. Yet we are scrutinized by so many cowardly and jealous nations people politicians and media spinners that hate America insanely an imoraly. I wish Mccain would use this litmus test on obama with this question. “Was Saddam Husein a saint martyr or a murderous criminal tyrant”. Also he should mention that he is pleased with his ousting and procecution. This whole election mabey fixed though because as a registered independant in california it was fixed that i couldn’t even vote for a republican in the primaries. And there was no media coverage of this outrageous courruption. Something smells so rotten. Do you smell it too? Something very corrupt is going on.

  • Robbie

    I wish George Bush And his coalition of the willing just said “We for the sake of world security and administration of justice are going to oust Saddam and rebuild a better Iraq. The whole WMD ploy was unnessary and hurt the war effort. Saddam Had to Go. He Was so evil. His murderous rap sheet warranted it. I wish Mccain would state this and lets hear that eloquent coward hypocracy of obama.