Battle for America

THE US presidential race, relatively sleepy since the primaries, is heating up. The two candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, came face to face for the first time at an evangelical forum Saturday night.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Mon 18 Aug 2008, 10:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

It was not a direct debate and the two candidates were interviewed separately by the Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren on their beliefs and where they stood on critical issues like abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research.

Obama and McCain were on stage together for just a moment, posing for the television cameras. However, the two couldn't have offered a sharper contrast both stylistically and in their approach to sensitive issues, most sharply on abortion.

The younger man, the first African American with a Muslim father to come within the striking distance of the White House, and the oldest presidential candidate are indeed a world apart; and not just in their stance on Iraq.

While Obama was very nuanced in his responses quoting from the New Testament and talking of “walking humbly with our God”, the Vietnam war veteran McCain shot from the hip drawing cheers from the audience. But that was to be expected given the fact the audience constituted 2,800 members of the evangelical church in Lake Forest in California. What matters is how the two candidates will do in the larger battleground across America. Predictably, the awesome Republican propaganda machine has already unleashed its offensive against the Democratic candidate. And true to their long history, the right wing is fighting hard and fighting mean, often inflicting blows below the belt. The attacks have predictably targeted Obama's race and his alleged Islamic background.

The Obama campaign has thus far ignored these cheap and mean blows. But the Democratic candidate cannot afford to play nice all the time. He need not stoop to the level of the likes of Karl Rove, the Machiavellian former guru of Bush. But it's time to fight back, if Obama is to win this crucial final lap of the battle for White House.

More news from