I watched the forum at Saddleback Church hosted by the Rev. Rick Warren over the weekend. In that forum, Senator John McCain was frank, honest and surprisingly open about his life in Vietnam and in the Congress and the hard choices in life he made and how his experiences shaped him. Senator Obama, to his credit, had the guts to sit in the “belly of the beast” to most Democrats in a church setting and had his highs and lows in his answers.
However, what really struck me was how Rick Warren showed reporters how such things ought to be. Warren asked both men the same questions, and used a coin flip to decide who went first. Mr. Obama won the coin toss, and Mr. McCain was taken to a place where he could not hear the questions or Obama’s answers. While respectful of both Obama and McCain, Warren showed no hint of favoritism towards one or the other and instead asked the questions and let each man answer. The questions were tough and wide ranging. Glib answers could not suffice and neither candidate seemed to rely on their prepared talking points.
Warren’s presentation of the forum gave voters a real insight on both men running for President of the United States. Both McCain and Obama had their moments. Obama’s moment, for me, came when he quoted Jesus talking about how “you did this to the least of my kingdom you have done it unto me.” McCain’s high moments were several. His frankness just oozed a sense of sincerity and when he relayed the kindness of a prison guard who apparently secretly held the Christian faith, chills ran up my spine.
Again, I have to come back to how Rev. Rick Warren showed reporters how things ought to be done. Warren’s forum gave us a chance to view both men running for President as they are as people. Whether you are like me, and support McCain, or you support Obama, watching the forum should leave you feeling better about the process of choosing a President and give a glimpse on how a real discussion and debate of ideas ought to be.
Thank you Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.
Read and watch related video about the forum at: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/17/forum/index.html