Who Won the Saddleback Civic Forum?

Posted by Kristin Arnold on August 20, 2008

I’ve been fascinated with the rhetoric used during the presidential primaries, so I was keenly interested in the Saddleback Civic Forum moderated by Pastor Rick Warren in Lake Forest, CA on Saturday.

Granted, the audience was primarily Christian population which tends to favor the conservative “right” – although Warren distributed equal numbers of tickets to the Democrats as well as the Republicans, so theoretically, it should have been a “representative” crowd. I thought Obama did a very credible job answering Warren’s questions.

Then McCain took the stage and had to answer the exact same questions. in my opinion, he engaged the audience more than Obama using several techniques:

  1. McCain answered the questions directly, then expounded on his answer. Obama started with a preamble and then answered the question (for the most part).
  2. McCain addressed the audience periodically, really reaching out and connecting with the people beyond the stage. Obama kept his comments directed at Warren, with his head slightly cocked.
  3. McCain clarified his position with a story – which made the answer more personal. While Obama told a story on a couple of occassions; his stories were to launch the answer to the question, so I was wondering “where’s he going with this story about his mother?”

I believe both candidates represented themselves and their viewpoints well, but if I had to pick a “winner” of this Forum (and it wasn’t set up to be a debate), then I would choose McCain. As part of the 11% of the population that hasn’t made a decision on whom I will vote for in November, I will be keenly interested in knowing who their VPs are (hopefully sometime this week) and seeing the upcoming debates!

Skip to content