So I was doing a sort-of transcription of what was going on, and figured I'd post it. I can't guarantee that I caught everything, but most of it should be there:
Question 1: Financial Markets (Do You Agree With the Bailout?)
Obama: wants oversight of bailout, possibility of returns, no golden parachutes (in all, sounds a lot like the plan that was on the table yesterday), slams Bush and ties him to McCain.
McCain: cites bipartisanship in solving the crisis, wants transparency/accountability/oversight, cites a need for a number of unspecified measures, mentions dependence on foreign oil
Follow-ups: Obama wants to look at sources of the crisis to prevent things from happening again (in essence, attacking McCain on regulation). McCain said something, but I didn't hear it because my roommate was talking to me about irrelevant crap.
He also called for increased responsibility. Obama answers by saying we need accountability full time, not just after a crisis. Mentions that the average American has their own financial crisis at the end of each month. McCain says he believes in the power of the American worker to help get us out of the crisis.
Question 2: Are there fundamental differences between McCain's plan and Obama's plan?
McCain: get spending under control ("earmarking as a gateway drug"), cites a DNA study on bears on Montana as an example of out of control spending, pledges to veto spending bills.
Obama: agrees that spending is out of control, says that he refused to request earmarks for his state, and that most requests (though not his) were started by lobbyists. Says that the number spent on earmarks ($18 billion) is less than McCain's tax cuts ($300 million). Wants to "build the economy from the ground up".
Follow-ups: McCain calls Obama on his statement on his requests. Says that earmarks have tripled in recent years. Says he's spent his career fighting earmarks. Says that Obama is planning to increase spending by $800 million dollars. Obama disagrees, saying he will close corporate loopholes among other things. Says he will not spend money unwisely, and that getting rid of earmarks alone will not be enough to help the economy, and says that McCain's tax cuts will damage the economy and are a continuation of Bush's policies. McCain compares America's high business tax to Ireland's. Says that Obama is a "recent convert" to financial sensibility. Wants to know what Obama's definition of rich. Obama says that 95% of the population will get a tax cut under his plan. Cites numerous loopholes in the business tax code that allows businesses to get away with paying one of the lowest rates in the world. Says McCain wants to tax health care. McCain cites an energy bill complete with earmarks that he voted against, and that Obama voted for. Says he wants a "fundamentally fair" tax system, and asks the American people to look at his record, saying that Obama has voted for earmarks. Obama responds by saying tax cuts are necessary, but targeted at the wrong people, and that the energy bill on the floor of the Senate would do good things, but McCain opposes it because of a lack of breaks for oil companies.
Question 3: What Will You Have to Give Up Because of the Bailout?
Obama: Hard to figure out what will be cut at the moment, but some things have to be done: energy independence within 10 years, healthcare system fixed, make sure that US education is competitive (make college affordable), rebuild infrastructure (including internet and an updated electricity grid). Elliminate programs that don't work.
McCain: Spending must be cut. Says Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, and that it's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left. Opposes ethanol subsidies, wants to cut costs in the military budget with fixed cost contracts. Says he saved the taxpayers almost $7 billion dollars on a bad military contract (I think the 767 tanker program).
Follow-ups: Obama says components of his plans may need to be cut, says there's a need to change the culture in Washington. McCain wants a spending freeze on everything but defense and veterans affairs. Obama calls that using a hatchet when you need a scalpel. Says cuts in Iraq should be made. McCain says too much oil money is going overseas, and that jobs can be created by building new nuclear power plants. Lehrer pushes both for things that they would cut. Obama says that in the long term the government may recoup the money, but that in the short term tough decisions will have to be made. Says that decisions have to be made based on values, and that McCain's policies are bad values. McCain says that he doesn't want to see the federal government take over the healthcare system. Says that spending has to be cut, and that he has cut spending. Says that low taxes are the best way to bring the economy out long-term. Obama ties McCain to Bush, saying that McCain supported Bush 90% of the time as Bush was increasing his spending. McCain responds by saying that he has opposed Bush on spending, climate change, Guantanamo, and says that he has a long record of being independent, and that he has a good independent partner.
Question 4: What are the lessons of Iraq?
McCain: You cannot have a failed strategy that will cause you to lose a conflict. Says he went to Iraq in 2003 and came back calling for more troops. Says that his strategy is succeeding, and that we will succeed and come home with honor, creating a new ally and fledgling democracy in the Middle East. Says defeat would have created big problems for the US. Thanks Petraeus for his work.
Obama: Questions whether we should have gone into the war in the first place. Says he opposed the war six years ago. Says that at the time the job wasn't finished in Afghanistan. Counts money losses and lives lost in Iraq, and says "we took our eye off the ball" in Iraq while Al-Qaeda is stronger than it ever has been since 2001. Says he will never hesitate to use the military, but that it must be used wisely.
Follow-ups: Decision of the next president is not whether to go into Iraq, but how to get out. Says that Obama was wrong on the surge, and that he would oppose it today. Says that Obama has never held a hearing on Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama responds that Biden is competent in foreign affairs, and that decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan never went through Obama's subcomittee. Says that the surge was a result of the failed policies, and that McCain was wrong before the surge. McCain says that Obama does not understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. Cites a visit to Iraq where the troops said "let us win - we don't want our kids to come back here". Says that there is progress in Iraq, and that Petraeus will take the successes of Iraq to Afghanistan. Says that Obama voted to cut off funding for troops after saying he wouldn't. Obama says that he voted that way because of the lack of a timetable, and that the disagreement was over a timetable, not funding. Says he does understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. Cites problems growing in Afghanistan. Wants to end the war responsibly, in phases. Within sixteen months, wants to reduce troop levels in Iraq and increase troop levels in Afghanistan. McCain says that both Osama bin Laden and Petraeus agree that Iraq is the central front on the war on terror. Says that he knows what strategies will work and that Obama doesn't - Obama's policies will hurt the US.
Question 5: More troops to Afghanistan?
Obama: Yes. The situation is getting worse, not better. The Taliban is emboldened. Cannot separate Afghanistan from Iraq because we do not have enough troops to manage both. Says it is a strategic mistake to have more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan (or at least in the proportions that they are in). Press Afghan government to make sure that they are serving the people. The poppy trade must be controlled. And Pakistan must be dealt with by getting rid of terrorist safe havens.
McCain: Says that he made a mistake by leaving Afghanistan alone after the Russian invasion, and that he won't repeat it. Says he doesn't want to threaten Pakistan, while Obama has openly threatened Pakistan. Says that Waziristan has never been governed, and that the new Pakistani president has his hands full. Says a surge is needed for Afghanistan, and that clearing Waziristan will be tough. Says he trusts Petraeus to do the right thing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that he knows how to work with them.
Follow-ups: Obama says he never threatened Pakistan. Says he would take action only if Pakistan were unable to act. Says that McCain has threatened North Korea and Iran before. Says there is a choice between letting the Taliban operate in Waziristan and dealing with them. Says that we made the mistake of dealing with Musharraf - "he may be a dictator but he's our dictator." McCain says that Pakistan was a failed state before Musharraf came to power. Says he opposed action in Lebanon under Reagan and that he was right. Says he supported action in Bosnia despite opposition from his party. Says that he will make sure that sacrifices are not in vain, referencing a story about a bracelet he was given by a fallen soldier's mother. Obama says that no US soldier ever dies in vain, says that taking our eye off of Afghanistan was a mistake, that nobody is looking for defeat in Iraq, and that McCain has not always taken Afghanistan seriously. McCain says that if Obama feels so strongly about Afghanistan, he should have visited there, and repeats Petraeus' claim that Iraq will fail if Obama's plan is followed.
Question 6: Iran
McCain: A nuclear Iran will be a threat to Israel and the region. We cannot allow a second Holocaust. Says the Russians are preventing Security Council action, and that he has proposed a "league of democracies" that could provide meaningful sanctions on Iran. Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, and to interfere in Iran, and says that Obama claimed that declaring Iran a sponsor of terror would be provocative.
Obama: Says that he voted against a measure to broaden the mandate inside of Iraq, not against calling Iran a sponsor of terror. Says that Iraq has created an emboldened Iran. Agrees that we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran, and says that it could turn into a Middle East arms race. Says we cannot achieve affective sanctions without the help of Russia and China, and that he would pursue aggressive diplomacy with Iran.
Follow-ups: McCain blasts Obama for wanting to talk to Iran, Venezuela and Cuba without pre-conditions (says that it would legitimize them). Says he'll sit down with anyone, but that there will be pre-conditions. Obama says he reserves the right to meet with anyone at a time and place of his choosing if it's necessary. Says that Kissinger (a McCain advisor) believes that the US should talk to Iran without pre-conditions. Says that he was criticized for advocating talk with Iran, then Bush sent an envoy. Cites North Korea as an example where lack of diplomacy has been a problem. Attacks McCain for saying he wouldn't meet with Spain. McCain denies Kissinger's claim - says that there is a difference between secretary-level discussions and head-of-state level discussions. Says that Obama sitting down with Ahmedinejad is not only naive but dangerous. Obama says that McCain is mischaracterizing his position. Says that not every problem should be solved before talks begin. McCain ridicules Obama's propositions.
Question 7: How Do You See Russia?
Obama: Says that the entire Russian approach must be reevaluated. Actions in Georgia were unacceptable. Russia must withdraw from S. Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia cannot be a 21st Century power and act like a 20th Century bully. Wants to support the fledgling democracies around the region (Baltic states, etc.), and that Georgia should join NATO if they meet the conditions. Does not want to start a Cold War lest there be proliferation of rogue nuclear weapons. Criticizes Bush's "look into Putin's eyes" comment.
McCain: Criticizes Obama's response to Georgian conflict as naive. Paints Russia as a KGB-run state. Does not believe that we will go back to a Cold War. Says that the conflict was primarily about energy. Russia needs to understand that US will support Georgia and Ukraine getting into NATO, and that the Russians are in violation of their cease fire agreement. Says he's been to the region. Says to watch Ukraine.
Follow-ups: Obama argues that he immediately called the Russian action illegal. Says he wanted to rebuild Georgian economy to help Georgia defend against Russia. Says he warned Bush in April about Russian peacekeepers in Georgian territory. Says US needs an energy strategy to deal with Russia (and Venezuela, Iran and others). Says that alternative energy sources are needed to ease dependence on foreign oil, and that McCain has a record of voting against alternative energy. McCain calls for more offshore drilling, says he supported Nunn-Lugar before most of his colleagues. Obama says he's never objected to nuclear waste, and wants to store it safely.
Question 8: Likelihood of another 9/11-type attack
McCain: It's much less than it was on 9/12/01. He and Lieberman supported 9/11 commission against wishes of Bush. Most of the commission's recommendations have been implemented, and he's proud of that work. Torture should not be an option. Intelligence must be ramped up and our allies must be worked with (and he knows them and knows how to work with them). We have done a lot, but we have a long way to go.
Obama: We are safer in some ways, but there is still a long way to go. Transit and port security needs to be improved. Biggest threat is not a nuclear missile but smaller bombs. Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists are the main problem. Says that missile defense is necessary, but should not be the prime focus. Al-Qaeda is in 60 countries, and must be gone after, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Current US standing in the world hurts our ability to work with other countries - must be dealt with. Commends McCain for his stand on torture.
Follow-ups: McCain says that success in Iraq is vital to preventing another attack, and that Obama's plan is wrong. Says Iraq is central issue to our time. Obama says that Bush and McCain have been focused on Iraq when the real threats are elsewhere. China has been present in the world because we have been absent while we're in Iraq, and we have lost our ability to project power. Says we need to take better care of veterans. McCain says he has experience, and says that Obama does not have the experience and has made wrong decisions. Says he will take care of veterans - he knows them and loves them. Says he needs no "on-the-job" training. Obama talks about his father, and how his father was inspired by the fact that there was no equal to the US - says that the US has lost that spirit and needs to regain it. McCain talks about how he worked for veterans after he came back from Vietnam - he knows how to deal with war and foreign policy.
Overall opinion: I think it was about even, which is good for Obama since foreign policy is McCain's strong point. Obama spoke better, which is to be expected, but McCain was clearly on home turf. However, I never got the impression that McCain was entirely solid - he was sort of "I don't have all the answers, but I'm the guy who can figure it out".