29 September 2008
After the candidates were introduced by Parnell's Lehrer, who urged them to "look at one another up to and beyond the point it becomes uncomfortable" throughout the debate. He then asked first question about the candidates' views on the financial recovery plan before Congress. After Obama's answer, Hammond's McCain immediately proposed suspending the campaign.
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN : "Jim, I would like to take this opportunity to make my opponent a proposal: Effective immediately, each of us suspend our campaigns, and instead hold a series of three pie-eating contests. Next Tuesday, Kansas City-lemon meringue. Saturday, Jacksonville-blueberry. The following week, in Dallas-coconut custard."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Senator Obama?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Jim, I don't see the value of this. (pause) Maybe the blueberry."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "But Senator McCain, what does this have to do with the issues in this election?"
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Nothing at all, Jim. It's what in my campaign we call a 'stunt' or a 'gimmick.' Something to shake up the race."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "That's what it sounds like."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "That's all it is. A little 'straight talk' there."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Still Senator, I would like to hear your position on the bailout plan."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Jim, what the American people need to understand, and what Senator Obama does not understand, is that the real problem here is excessive government spending, especially Congressional earmarks, and pork-barrel projects. Like this one: 75 million to the Department of Justice, for a program to notify convicted sex offenders when a child moves into their neighborhood. I fought that earmark, and got the funding reduced to 41 million. And how about this? 8.2 million for something called 'Tony Rezko Hush Money.'"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "John, I withdrew that earmark right after he began cooperating with prosecutors. And I think you know that."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Senator, the fact is, to fund all the other programs you're planning, will require a massive tax increase."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "John, once again, you're not being truthful about my proposals. Under my tax plan, not only would every American making less than $250,000 per year get a tax cut; so would most members of the Chicago City Council as well as city Building Inspectors. That's because my plan would not tax income from bribes, kickbacks, shakedowns, embezzlement of government funds, or extortion."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "I just thought of something. Senator Obama, why don't you and I immediately suspend our campaigns, and instead do three town hall meetings, where we appear nude or semi-nude. I think the American people have a right to know what their President would look like with no clothes on."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Look, I'm not comfortable with that, Senator. I have two young daughters."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "October 4th, Hartford: completely naked, with optional posing strap. October 9th, Nashville: see-through body stockings. October 17th, Seattle: modified Chippendales-collar and bowtie, with tear-away tuxedo, or fringed leather chaps."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Again, I don't see the point."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "I think we'll let the two of you work that out. But for now let's turn to the war in Iraq. Senator Obama, what has this war taught us?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Look, as you know, Jim, I opposed this war from the very beginning, when it was not the politically popular thing to do."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Yet, Senator, you voted against the 'surge,' a strategy that I have been arguing for since 1985. Long before anyone even thought of invading Iraq, I wanted to add more troops, in case we ever did invade."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "John, think about that for a moment. That doesn't even make sense."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Perhaps not to you, Senator. That's because you're not a 'maverick.'"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "John, the fact is, the 'surge' was itself a remedy for a series of failed military policies by this Administration, policies you initially supported. As you have supported this President 90 percent of the time."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Jim, my opponent knows that's not true. I've never supported President Bush. I have undermined President Bush. Just ask any Republican: I have always been disloyal to this President, a disloyal, unreliable, untrustworthy renegade, who has abandoned my Party whenever it most needed me. The fact is, you simply can't count on John McCain. And that's why, on November 4th, the American people will elect me their next President."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Alright. Now let's turn to the topic of nuclear proliferation. Senator Obama, you have frequently been critical of this Administration's efforts to stop Iran and North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. What would you do differently?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "First of all, Jim. I would use traditional diplomacy. Something this Administration has consistently refused to do. Should that fail, then, and only then, I would try what I call 'playing the race card.'"
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "And how would that work?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Take North Korea. I would ask Kim Jong-Il to shut down his country's nuclear weapons program. If he declined, I would say to him: 'Alright, I get it. I know why you're really refusing to stop the program.' And he would say, 'No, what are you talking about?' And I would say, 'It's because I don't look like all the other Presidents you've dealt with.' Then he would say, 'Wait. That's not fair. That has nothing to do with it.' And I would add, 'That's cool, I understand. I'm different. I'm not like the other guys on the five and ten dollar bills.' It's a long, delicate process. But eventually, he'll have to give in."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "And what if he didn't?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "Then I would try the 'carrot:' dinner with Scarlett Johansson."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Would she agree to have dinner with Kim Jong-Il?"
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "For me she would, yes."
HAMMOND AS SEN. MCCAIN: "Look, my friends. I have no idea who Scarlett Johansson is. But let me tell you something. No President should ever tell our enemies what we might do in a negotiation."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "That's interesting, John. Coming from the guy who sang, 'Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.'"
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Obviously, my opponent doesn't understand. There was a musical combo called the Beach Boys. Who recorded a song that went 'Bar-bar-bar, bar-Barbara Ann' which sounds like, 'Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.' Evidently, he's unaware of that."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Okay. I had hoped to explore the candidates' views of the War on Terror, but we are just about out of time."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Jim, may I throw out one more offer? My opponent and I both suspend our campaigns. We're airdropped into Waziristan, and neither of us comes back until we've found and captured Osama Bin Laden. It's a 'maverick' move, and it could break this race wide open."
ARMISEN AS SEN. OBAMA: "I can't. I have a fundraiser at Rob Reiner's."
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "I know it's not the safe thing to do politically. But if there's any chance of catching Bin Laden, I would rather lose my life than win an election."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "Really? You'd rather risk capture by Al Qaeda than possibly become President?"
HAMMOND AS SEN. McCAIN: "Truthfully, yes. At this point, I don't really care anymore. I mean it."
PARNELL AS JIM LEHRER: "And that concludes tonight's debate. I would like to thank our candidates, our audience and Senator Hillary Clinton who flew down here just in case Senator McCain didn't show up. I'm sorry it didn't work out. From all of us here at the Gertrude C. Ford Center, thank you and good night."