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McCain’s thoughts on Obama’s “paygrade” comment
August 23, 2008, 7:49 am
Filed under: Obama doesn't quite get it, Obama lied | Tags: , , , , ,

by John McCain, Real Clear Politics

Good morning, this is John McCain, speaking to you at the end of an eventful week in the presidential campaign. All the talk today is about my opponent’s selection of his running mate. To his new running mate, my congratulations and I’ll get back to you real soon on your debating opponent.

The week began with a debate of sorts between Senator Obama and me at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In case you missed it, the discussion yielded the line of the week, and maybe even of the campaign, when Pastor Rick Warren asked my opponent a very serious question. He wanted to know at what point, in my opponent’s view, does a baby have human rights? Senator Obama thought about it for a moment, and came back with the reply that the question was, quote, “above my pay grade.”

Here was a candidate for the presidency of the United States, asked for his position on one of the central moral and legal questions of our time, and this was the best he could offer: It’s above his pay grade. He went on to assure his interviewer that there is a, quote, “moral and ethical element to this issue.” Americans expect more of their leaders.

There seems to be a pattern here in my opponent’s approach to many hard issues. Whether it’s the surge in Iraq that has brought us near to victory, or the issue of campaign reform, or the question of offshore drilling, Senator Obama’s speeches can be impressive. But when it’s time for straight answers, clear conviction, and decisive action, suddenly all of these responsibilities are – well, as he puts it, “above my pay grade.” As mottos of leadership go, it doesn’t exactly have the ring of “the buck stops here.”

Often, too, Senator Obama’s carefully hedged answers obscure more than they explain, and this was the case in his conversation with Rick Warren. Listening to my opponent at Saddleback, you would never know that this is a politician who long since left behind any middle ground on the abortion issue. He is against parental notification laws, and against restrictions on taxpayer funding for abortions. In the Illinois Senate, a bipartisan majority passed legislation to prevent the horrific practice of partial-birth abortion. Senator Obama opposed that bill, voting against it in committee and voting “present” on the Senate floor.

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