Barack Obama’s first official foray into the public eye after his Hawaiian vacation was an unusual one, although not unimportant (like it or not): On Saturday, both Obama and John McCain met with the Rev. Rick Warren of the evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., to discuss their positions on abortion, morality, marriage and other hot-button issues before a select audience.
Obama acknowledged his drug and alcohol use as a teenager when asked about his personal failure.
“I was so obsessed with me and the reasons I might be dissatisfied, I couldn’t focus on other people,” he said.
McCain’s answer to the question on his own failings was succinct. “My greatest moral failing, and I have been a very imperfect person, is the failure of my first marriage,” he said.
When asked what faith in Jesus means to him, McCain replied, “Means I’m saved and forgiven. Our faith encompasses not just America but the world.”
McCain got teary-eyed while discussing an experience with a guard during his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The guard, McCain said, drew a cross in the sand while he was praying on Christmas Day. “For a minute there, we were just two Christians worshipping together.”
Neither candidate shied away from a question about which current Supreme Court justice they would not have nominated.
Obama’s reply: Clarence Thomas.
“I don’t think he was a strong enough jurist or a legal thinker at the time for that. I profoundly disagree with his interpretation” of the Constitution, he said.
McCain said he would have never nominated Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.