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All eyes on presidential debate

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gail and Travis Binion, seated on center couch, hosted a Bedford County Republican Party debate watch at their home Tuesday night. McCain supporters filled two rooms in the home.
(T-G Photo by John Philleo)
Barack Obama and John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the worst economic crisis in 80 years Tuesday night in a Nashville debate in which Republican McCain called for sweeping action by the government to directly shield many homeowners from mortgage foreclosure.

"It's my proposal. It's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal," McCain said during the debate, which he hoped could revive his fortunes in a presidential race trending toward his rival.

Local McCain supporter Travis Binion said this morning that McCain's experience and more conservative approach make him better suited to lead the country.

"I can't speak for anybody else, but in my view nobody knows what's going to happen, and whoever's leading the country is going to have to act on both short-term and long-term considerations," Binion said. "I favor a conservative approach that will look at the long-term situation, recognizing that the American worker is the most innovative worker in the world and will lead us out of this situation if the government will get out of the way."

"The thing that puts me in McCain's camp is that his priorities have been God and country, in that order, and his policies are driven by those two factors."

Binion and his wife, Gail, hosted a Republican debate watch party at their Bedford County home Tuesday night.

"There's no question that Obama is charismatic, but he's inexperienced and his policies tend toward socialism, whereas McCain is very experienced, he's more conservative -- with demonstrated patriotism -- and I feel he has the country's best interest at heart rather than some of the more vocal groups in this nation."

In one pointed confrontation on foreign policy, Obama bluntly challenged McCain's steadiness. "This is a guy who sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, who called for the annihilation of North Korea -- that I don't think is an example of speaking softly."

That came after McCain accused him of foolishly threatening to invade Pakistan and said, "I'm not going to telegraph my punches, which is what Sen. Obama did."

Bedford for Obama grassroots coordinator Donna Phillips uses a remote control to turn up the volume as the debate began Tuesday night. Local Democrats met at the Lane Street Inn in Shelbyville to watch the debate.
(T-G Photo by John Philleo)
Bedford for Obama supporters gathered at the Lane Street Inn Tuesday night to watch the debate.

"We actually felt that he did a very good job on the economy, that's one of his strong suits, we appreciated that he gave direct responses to the questions asked," said Donna Phillips, grassroots coordinator for Bedford for Obama, in a telephone interview this morning.

"In general, our consensus was that he was calm, he was cool, he really showed his ability to cover multiple issues and remain in touch with everyday Americans.

"Personally, I feel he's the best choice because we need unity in our country right now. We don't need to be divided by race, religion or economic status. We need someone who can reach across party lines and get the job done."

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