COMMENTS: Presidential Questions

Anchor Katie Couric's innovation during the primary season of asking the same battery of questions to ten different Presidential contenders does not work so well during the General Election. Primary Questions has been revived as Presidential Questions yet the answers offer less contrast when just two are juxtaposed. Anyway Couric chose one issues question and one character question: "Why do you think there has not been another terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11?" and "What one personal flaw do you think might hinder your ability to be President?"

On the former issue the key difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was a surprise: the Republican, whose expertise is assumed to be in foreign policy, emphasized domestic counterterrorism and high-tech espionage; the Democrat, with a domestic orientation, emphasized the military campaign in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda.

On the latter question both engaged in self-criticism about their decision-making. Interestingly, each was a mirror image of the other. Obama worried that he spent too much time thinking through all his options: "You are never going to have 100% information and you have just got to make the call quickly and surely." McCain worried about relying on a small circle of yes-men: he has to make sure "I do not make any decisions that are not fully informed by every source of information that is as credible as I can possibly get."


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