SNL Transcripts: Weekend Update Thursday 1: 10/09/08: Presidential Debate


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 34: Bonus Episode 1

Weekend Update Thursday 1

Presidential Debate

Tom Brokaw…..Chris Parnell
Elizabeth Wheeler…..Casey Wilson
Sen. Barack Obama…..Fred Armisen
Sen. John McCain…..Darrell Hammond
Kevin Quigley…..Bill Hader
Anthony Cipelli…..Bobby Moynihan
William Murray…..Bill Murray
Mark Ladue…..Jason Sudeikis
Susan Calkins…..Kristen Wiig
David Kip…..Andy Samberg
Dalton Cheeks…..Kenan Thompson

[ open on CNN graphic ]

[ dissolve to exterior, Belmont University, Curb Event Center ]

[ dissolve to Tom Brokaw ]

Tom Brokaw: Good evening, and welcome… [ audience applauds ] to Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee, for the second in a series of three Presidential debates, between Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, and, Senator John McCain of Arizona. I’m Tom Brokaw, of NBC News, and I will be your moderator this evening. Tonight’s debate will follow a town hall format, with questions submitted by the eighty undecided voters in our audience, as well as thousands more sent in via email. From this enormous list of penetrating, insightful, and provocative questions, I have chosen the eight least interesting. For each question, the candidates will be allowed a twenty-five second response, and, at my discretion, a three second follow-up. These are the rules both campaigns agreed upon. And our first question is for Senator Obama, and it comes from Elizabeth Wheeler.

Elizabeth Wheeler: Senator Obama. Over the last few weeks, the financial crisis which began with home foreclosures has threatened to wreck the entire economy. As President, how would you deal with this?

Sen. Barack Obama: Uhhh — first of all, Elizabeth, thank you for that question. There is no doubt, that after eight years of failed Republican policies, policies which Senator McCain supported, this economy is a shambles. But let me tell you, and the American people, one thing I absolutely promise…

Tom Brokaw: Time’s up! Senator McCain?

Sen. John McCain: Elizabeth, to find any solution to this economic mess, we’re going to have to put aside partisanship. Something my opponent — [ points to Obama with his thumb ] this character here — isn’t very good at. But I’ve done my whole career. You know, my friends, I’m not the most popular guy in my own party. Just ask Senator Trent Lott. I took his car one time without asking, and totaled it. Just drove it into a wall, and walked away! I’m not going to win any popularity contests among Republicans. But, Maria, when it comes to the economy, here’s what I’d do. It’s very simple…

Tom Brokaw: Your time is up! For our next question, we’ll turn to foreign policy. The question is for Senator McCain, and it comes from Kevin Quigley.

Kevin Quigley: [ reading from a card in his hand ] Senator, in recent months, Russia has threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe, and invaded the Republic of Georgia. As President, how would you deal with this new Cold War threat?

Sen. John McCain: Well, first of all, Luther, thank you for your question. And let me start by saying, no foreign policy can succeed if it’s not bi-partisan. So I would first… reach out for the support of Senate Democrats. And if that bothers my fellow Republicans, frankly, I don’t care. Ask Lindsay Graham. I once flushed three cherry bombs down the toilet of his Senate office. Absolutely destroyed the plumbing. I’m willing to buck members of my own party. Now, Eduardo, as to dealing with Russia… I would order all our nuclear-armed B-52s into the airspace over that country. And I would deliver the following message to Mr. Putin and Medvedev… my friends —

Tom Brokaw: Senator McCain, your time is up! Senator Obama?

Sen. Barack Obama: Uhh, Kevin, by way of answering your very profound question, let me tell you about an experience I once had. And, this is a story I’ve never told anyone. Now, uh, when I was a young boy, uh, maybe eight or nine, I was taken aboard an alien spacecraft. And held there for about two Earth Weeks. And, I’ll never forget something the leader of that alien crew told me…

Tom Brokaw: That’s it, Senator Obama! Your time is up.

Sen. Barack Obama: If I could, uh, this is a really interesting story.

Tom Brokaw: Okay, these were rules BOTH campaigns agreed on!

Sen. Barack Obama: But…

Tom Brokaw: Our next question is for Senator McCain, and it comes from Anthony Cipelli.

Anthony Cipelli: Thank you. Senator McCain, over the last ten years or so, it seems Americans have grown increasingly divided from one another. How would you bring this nation together?

Sen. John McCain: Oscar, that’s a very good question. And here’s my answer. I would continue what I’ve done for 25 years, which is to reach across party lines. [ points to Obama with his thumb ] Something that “pee-pants” over here would never even consider! Because, you see, Zebediah, I don’t mind upsetting members of my own party. Elizabeth Dole will tell you. I once got a hold of one of her checkbooks, and kited checks all over Washington! I ruined her credit rating! [ quickly ] She’d be the first to agree, I’m no slave to Republican orthodoxy. How was my time?

Tom Brokaw: Just made it.

Sen. John McCain: Yes!!!

Tom Brokaw: Senator Obama?

Sen. Barack Obama: [ throughout this answer, McCain wanders around the floor of the debate, crossing in and out of camera frame ] Anthony, you’ve hit the question. How do we as a people come together? So, let me tell you another story I’ve never shared before. One I left out of my second book. It’s about a man I met many years ago in Chicago. And, uh, at first, I thought, we had almost nothing in common. But over the course of working together, year in, year out. Talking to each other, and most important, listening to each other, we became friends. Sharing not only that friendship, but our plans for this country’s future. And that man — my best friend, and my mentor — is former Weather Underground leader, and un-repentant terrorist, William Ayers. Now, I’m telling you this because, I’m so far ahead in the polls right now, it’s not going to matter.

Tom Brokaw: Thank you, Senator. 1.6 seconds over. We now have a question for both candidates. And it’s from William Murray.

[ the audience cheers and applauds the sight of Bill Murray ]

William Murray: Senator Obama, Senator McCain… Last week, in the National League Divisional Playoffs, the Chicago Cubs faced the Los Angeles Dodgers. In Game One, the Cubs lost 7-3. In Game Two, they lost 10-3. And in Game Three, 3-1. What, as President, would you do to guarantee this never happens again? Senators, in your answers, please be specific.

Sen. Barack Obama: Uhh — that’s a fair question, William. But let’s face it. The Cubs may very well be in the Playoffs again, perhaps even next year. If so, they will lose again. And they’re going to keep right on losing, year after year, after year. Because that, that is what the Cubs do. We as a nation have got to wean Cubs fans away from supporting that team, and re-train them to root for other teams, teams that will actually have a chance of winning.

Tom Brokaw: Senator McCain?

Sen. John McCain: Here, I have to agree with my opponent. Let me give you some straight talk, my friends. The Cubs will never win the pennant. Much less the World Series. [ points to Obama with his thumb ] “Junior” over there, he won’t tell you that. [ he laughs ] I just did!

Tom Brokaw: Alright, we’ve fallen a bit behind, so we’re going to pick up the pace. Our next question is from Mark Ladue, and it’s for Senator McCain.

Mark Ladue: Senator McCain, uh, while here in the U.S., our economy is suffering; in Iraq, there is an economic boom. Shouldn’t the government of that country reimburse us the cost of the war?

Sen. John McCain: My friends…

Tom Brokaw: (interrupting) Time! We’ll go now to Susan Calkins who has a question for Senator Obama. Ms. Calkins, quickly.

Susan Calkins: Senator Obama. Healthcare costs have exploded. As a full-time —

Tom Brokaw: (interrupting) Ms. Calkins, I’m sorry! Your time is up!

Susan Calkins: [ she scowls and sits ]

Tom Brokaw: We’ve almost no time left, and I’d like to get both our remaining questions in. So I’m going to ask David Kip and Dalton Cheeks to read them simultaneously.

(at the same time:)

David Kip: Senator Obama. As a teacher, I find myself dealing with larger and larger classes, but without a corresponding increase in resources. As president, how would you address this?

Dalton Cheeks: Senator McCain. Like yourself, I am a military veteran. And in dealing with the Veterans Administration, it seems we’re left to fend for ourselves. How, as President, could you help?

Tom Brokaw: Senators, your simultaneous responses?

(at the same time, split screen:)

Sen. Barack Obama: That’s an excellent question, David. And let me say, teachers are too important to the future of this country, to leave them in this outrageous situation. When I am President, this will change. And that’s change you can believe in.

Sen. John McCain: Thank you for that question, Dalton. And let me tell you something. In a McCain Presidency, no veteran will go without the help he needs. That’s one promise I will never break. As sure as I’m a maverick. A reform-minded, straight-talking maverick.

Tom Brokaw: (clicks stop watch) Unbelievable! That’s unbelievable! We got every question in, with nine seconds to spare.

[ Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain high five ]

Tom Brokaw: So, clearly, this has been…

[ Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain wanders the floor of the debate, crossing in and out of camera frame during Brokaw’s closing]

…one of the finest Presidential debates ever. Uh, I’d like to thank the candidates… gentlemen, you’re blocking my prompter there…

[Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain clear out of the shot ]

…I’d like to thank the candidates, our audience, and Belmont University. From all of us here in Nashville, good night, and “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!!!”

Submitted by: Ian Manka & Larkin

SNL Transcripts

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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