This was a fascinating event to watch on TV. For me, the most illuminating question Warren posed was on the nature of Evil in the world. Obama answered by saying that we should confront the evil in the world, but that it can only be God who can completely eliminate evil. And he added that in confronting the evil of the world, we must do so with humility. McCain, on the other hand, without hesitation said we should defeat evil. He claimed that he would “follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell” if need be. In addition to that, he claimed that he knows how to find Bin Laden. Finally, he said that he had no doubt that with the US military, he could completely rid the world of evil. In my view, Obama’s response was much more responsible and was rooted in reality, which is always a good thing right. On the other hand, based on his answer, a McCain presidency might make Abu Ghraib seem like the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Sadly but not surprisingly, the crowd, while friendly to Obama, was really eating up McCain’s responses. The strangest moment, as Andrew Sullivan noted, what when the crowd gave it’s loudest applause for McCain’s call to begin off-shore drilling as soon as possible. It’s interesting that a room full of people who could afford the $500-$2,000 ticket price for this event are THAT concerned with the price of gas.
From my perpective, while Obama didn’t get the same kind of responses from the audience that McCain did, I think he did a fine job of allowing voters to familiarize themselves with him a bit more. He was much more conversational and personal with Warren while McCain used this event more as an opportunity for a religiously styled stump speech.