LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

The Obama / McCain Appearance

Saddleback

I hope you had a chance to watch the Saddleback Civil Forum live on Fox News on Saturday evening. It was the first time that Barack Obama and John McCain have been together publicly since running for president. Pastor Rick Warren spent one hour with each of them, separately, and asked questions on leadership, faith, and other issues of concern to Christians.

I've watched it twice now, and these are some of my thoughts...

  • It is amazing to me the level of influence that Rick Warren has risen to. He is stewarding that influence well. I think he may be the next Billy Graham--a sort of spiritual mentor to political and world figures. If so, we'll be in good hands.
  • In previous appearances, it was obvious that Obama is ten times better at giving speeches than McCain. But in an informal setting like this where responses aren't prepared, McCain gets an A+. He was likeable, funny, confident, forthright, articulate and intelligent.
  • Before this appearance, I believed Obama to be very Clintonesque (i.e. slick, political, put his finger to the wind to decide what he believed). This dialogue changed my opinion. I'm now convinced that he has some core beliefs that he feels strongly about, and that if elected, he will lead by those principles he believes in.
  • I emerged from the primaries very discouraged by the choices, especially on the Republican side. But this event was one more in several instances when I've been very impressed with the depth, convictions and leadership ability of John McCain.

If you didn't see it yet, it airs again tonight (Sunday) on CNN at 8:00pm (EST) and again at 12:00 midnight (EST). Set your DVR and take time to watch it. You will be glad you did.

Update: I'm also told you can view the entire forum online here (thanks to Brian Ayers)