In their fiercest encounter of the campaign, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain heatedly demanded in their final debate on Wednesday that Democratic Senator Barack Obama explain his relationship with a Vietnam war-era radical.
Obama brushed off the attack, saying he was eight years old when William Ayers, a founder of the radical Weather Underground, was involved in anti-war activities including the bombing of federal buildings.
Behind in the polls going into the third and final presidential debate, McCain came out fighting and repeated to Obama’s face some of the most negative campaign allegations about the Illinois senator.
Neither candidate brought new proposals for moving the country out of its deepening financial crisis, even though polls show voter economic anxieties far overshadow all other issues, even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The nationally televised debate was the last chance for Americans to measure the credentials of the candidates in a side-by-side setting, offering McCain his best remaining chance to gain ground on Obama with less than three weeks to the election.
The 72-year-old veteran Arizona senator defended his harsh campaigning, acknowledging this “has been a tough campaign” and its negative tone could have been avoided through a series of town hall meetings that he proposed.
Obama responded that 100 percent of McCain’s ads had been negative and that he did not think the American people cared about the personal attacks.
“One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative,” Obama said.
“It’s not true,” McCain said.
“It absolutely is true,” said Obama, seeking the last word.
McCain is currently running all negative ads, a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed. But he has run a number of positive ads during the campaign.
Polls have shown that personal attacks by the McCain campaign — including advertisements about Ayers — have backfired, alienating voters at a time when the economy is the overwhelming concern.
When McCain talked about Ayers, Obama countered: “The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Senator McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me.”
As in the previous two debates, national polls showed a majority of debate watchers rated Obama the clear winner. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed said Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying McCain did better. The poll was conducted by telephone with 620 adult Americans who watched the debate and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Obama sought again to tie McCain to the unpopular administration of US President George W. Bush, recalling that there was a federal budget surplus when the Republican took office from former president Bill Clinton.
McCain quickly retorted, “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you want to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.”
Obama shot back that on the economy McCain was proposing to continue Bush’s policies.
“If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people — on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities — you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” Obama said.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters