Weekend Update Thursday 2
Bob Schieffer.....Chris Parnell
Sen. Barack Obama.....Fred Armisen
Sen. John McCain.....Darrell Hammond
[ open on CNN graphic ]
[ dissolve to exterior, Hofstra University, David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex ]
[ dissolve to Bob Schieffer ]
Bob Schieffer: Good evening, I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News... [ audience cheers ] and
welcome to the third and final Presidential debate of the 2008 election. I'll be your moderator tonight, for what we hope will be a lively and substantive discussion... [ checks his notes ] between the candidates: Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator John McCain of Arizona. Gentlemen, let's begin. Obviously, with another 700-point plunge in the Dow today, this economy is in trouble. Each of you have plans to address the problem, but tell us why yours is better than your opponent's. We'll start with Senator McCain.
Sen. John McCain: Bob, let me begin by saying, a few days ago, Senator Obama was out in Ohio, and he had an encounter with a man named Joe, who's a plumber. We'll call him "Joe the Plumber". Now, Joe wants to buy the business where he's worked for many years. And he looked at Senator Obama's tax plan, and saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes. Which would leave him unable to employ people, and achieve the American dream. So my question is, why would you want to do that to Joe the Plumber? What did Joe the Plumber ever do to you, that you want to raise his taxes? Of all the people to go after in this way, why single out Joe the Plumber?
Sen. Barack Obama: First of all, look: uh -- I don't recall meeting the individual you're referring to. But let me say this: nearly all small businesses earn less than $250,000 a year. And if Joe's business falls into that category, he should know that, under my plan, uh, his taxes will not go up. Not one cent.
Sen. John McCain: Senator, I don't think most people believe that. I know Joe the Plumber doesn't. Because he told me so. And frankly, I trust Joe the Plumber a lot more than I trust your plan. Because Joe the Plumber is a straight shooter, and one of the finest people I've ever known. And I'll tell you something else: He's got a lot of good ideas on how to fix this economy. And, as President, I'll be relying on his advice and expertise.
Bob Schieffer: Let's turn to a related topic. Over the last several years, we've seen budget deficits increase dramatically, with some experts saying this year's could reach nearly a trillion dollars. What will either of you do to bring government spending under control? Senator Obama?
Sen. Barack Obama: Uh, look -- uh, obviously, Bob, all government programs need to be examined to see if they're necessary, or if they're working, or if they could do the job more efficiently. But we've got to cut these programs carefully, with a -- a -- a scalpel, not a hatchet.
Sen. John McCain: [ grinning boradly ] The fact is, Senator, only one of us has a record of fighting wasteful government spending, and it's me. As President, I would go after the bloated budgets with a GIANT hatchet, and THEN use a scalpel. Or I might take the advice of my friend, Joe the Plumber, and use a plunger.
Sen. Barack Obama: A -- a -- a plunger? I don't understand.
Sen. John McCain: Obviously, Senator. It's not an ordinary plunger. It's a magical plunger.
Sen. Barack Obama: So, your friend "Joe the Plumber" has a "magical plunger"?
Sen. John McCain: That's correct.
Sen. Barack Obama: Would your friend Joe, be, by any chance, uhhh -- an "imaginary friend?"
Sen. John McCain: Senator, Joe the Plumber lives in a cigar box, under my bed, with our friend Simon.
Bob Schieffer: So... Joe the Plumber would be very tiny, then.
Sen. John McCain: Joe stands about three-and-a-half inches tall. Except when he's upset. Then he can become as big as a house! He's my best friend.
Bob Schieffer: [ uncomfortable ] Alright, let's turn to a new topic...
Sen. John McCain: Bob, could I just add, that Simon is invisible?
Bob Schieffer: Of course. [ a beat ] Gentlemen, over the last few weeks, the tone of this campaign has become increasingly nasty. Senator Obama, in describing your opponent, your campaign has used words like "erratic", "out of touch", "lying", "losing his bearings", "senile", "dementia", "nursing home", "decrepit", and "at death's door". Senator McCain, your ads have featured terms such as "disrespectful", "dangerous", "foreign", "sleeper agent", and "uncircumcised". Are you both comfortable with this level of discourse?
Sen. Barack Obama: Uh, look, Bob: uh, obviously, in any campaign, harsh things are going to be said. And certainly, both of our campaigns have now and then crossed the line. But, I have to say; I am troubled by some of the things said about me at my opponent's rallies. Things like "traitor", "kill him", and "off with his head". Uhhh -- and, unfortunately, Senator McCain has yet to condemn these comments.
Sen. John McCain: Bob, as to the "off with his head" comment, that was shouted at a rally we held at a Renaissance Fair. The gentleman had too much mead and he was removed by security.
Sen. Barack Obama: Uhhhh -- at that same event, I was also denounced as a "sorcerer".
Sen. John McCain: At any rally of nearly ninety -- uh, seventy-five people, you're going to get a couple of crackers. We all know that. But, just a few moments ago, my opponent slandered my very best friend in the world, Joe the Plumber, by calling him "imaginary". Would the Senator like to apologize to Joe for that remark?
Sen. Barack Obama: [ looking into the camera ] Uhhh -- Joe, when attempting to confirm your existence...
Sen. John McCain: Senator, why don't you say it to his face? He's right here. [ he points to the top of his desk ]
Sen. Barack Obama: [ leans his head close to McCain's desk ] Uhhh -- Joe, if I in any way implied that you do not exist, I sincerely apologize.
Sen. John McCain: [ he nods ] Joe the Plumber tells me he accepts your apology... [ cocks his ear ] Wait a second, what's that? No, don't worry, my tiny friend, I won't let him raise your taxes.
Bob Schieffer: Alright, we have time for one more question. Let's talk about the people each of you would bring into government, and their qualifications. Specifically, your running mates. Senator Obama?
Sen. Barack Obama: For nearly 35 years, uh, Joe Biden has established a reputation for honesty, uh, compassion, and a mastery of the issues affecting this nation. Uhh, I can't think of anyone more qualified to assume the Presidency, should anything happen to me.
Bob Schieffer: Senator McCain.
Sen. John McCain: Bob, I've known Senator Biden for nearly 25 years. I think he's a good man, but let me say something here: he has never been particularly nice to Joe the Plumber. I think Joe the Plumber resents that. In fact, I KNOW he does. But as to my own running mate, Governor Palin, I couldn't be more proud of her. Now, on the question of people I'd bring into government, let me say here tonight, that, as President, I will be the first to add a cabinet-level Department of Plumbing. And you know how I'm going to tap for that post?
Bob Schieffer: Joe the Plumber?
Sen. John McCain: Bingo! Joe the Plumber. You're damn straight.
Sen. Barack Obama: Uhh, what about your mutual friend Simon, who also lives in the cigar box under your box?
Sen. John McCain: Senator, Simon cannot serve in the Cabinet, because Simon... is a unicorn. And I think you know that.
Bob Schieffer: [ shakes his head ] And that concludes tonight's third and final Presidential debate. From all of us here at Hofstra University, goodnight and Live from New York, it's Saturday Night"!