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'I Think I Made Up My Mind Tonight'

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An undecided, independent mom weighs in.

We were glued to our seats during the Town Hall debate from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. But who won? Let's face it: Democrats will probably say Obama, Republicans will probably say McCain. No surprise there. For the real deal, we asked an undecided mom to give us her thoughts. Did this debate sway her vote?

On-the-Fence Mama, a mother of one, says: Anyone who knows me well would not be surprised that with only a month left before the 2008 presidential election, I am still undecided. In every aspect of my life, I am the ultimate procrastinator when it comes to making decisions: someone who tries on every shade of pink in the nail salon before "committing" to a color for my manicure, and the mom who still didn't have a name for her newborn almost 24 hours after she was born.

Going into tonight's debate, what I really hoped to gain was a better perspective on who stands where on the important issues. I wanted to hear some specifics of the candidates' plans for the economy, the environment, the energy crisis and foreign policy. I also hoped to gain some perspective on which candidate will be the best representative for our country as well.

I appreciated Barack Obama's honesty when asked how he would prioritize the health care crisis, the energy crisis and the problems with our social security and Medicare system. He outlined a clear plan for the each issue, gave his priorities and provided an explanation for each priority.

John McCain, on the other hand, gave what I consider to be a typical political response about how all the issues are equally important and how they are all priorities that he'd work on simultaneously. His explanations were vague and unrealistic. McCain often mentions "this bill and that bill" that came up in Congress and how he voted for it versus how Obama voted for it, trying to prove that his track record shows that he will make the correct decisions for America in the future. What bothers me about this method of debating is that, like most people in America, I don't watch C-Span every day nor do I follow the specific details of every proposed bill that passes through Congress. I barely had two hours to watch this debate! So if you can't articulate to an audience what your point of view is in a clear, concise manner that we all can understand, then how can I vote for you to lead our country in the state it's in today?

I also liked (and, more importantly, understood) Obama's plan for the healthcare system. I think his plan will address many of the issues families have today with obtaining and keeping health insurance. McCain's plan seemed fuzzy to me. All I took away from McCain's plan is that at some point in the past or maybe the future (again, not clear) that he has or may look into hair plugs, a comment that was somewhat reminiscent of Bush's speaking style.

For these reasons, after tonight's debate, I am leaning towards a vote for Obama ... I think. The biggest concern I still have is the state of our economy and how each candidate plans to address and fix this issue.

The bottom line: I still need to hear more. Thankfully, we still have one more debate. I can't wait.

Agree or disagree? Take our poll, then comment below.

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
kamlesh tewani October 8, 2008, 6:44 AM

I would like McCain to stop this gutter politics.

birdsfly October 8, 2008, 9:23 AM

Is anyone else a little bothered that Senator McCain, instead of refering to Senator Obama in the proper respectful way, refered to him as “this one” when discussing some of the voting records?!

Natalie October 8, 2008, 10:11 AM

McCain’s just too old to be president. If he’s elected, and served the normal 2 terms, he’ll be 80 when he’s out of office. The normal life span of a man is 76. Is that who we want in office? I sure don’t. McCain says the same thing over and over and over again, he’s rude, he’s condescending, he’s not who I want running the country. He lies, he cheats, he’s not respectful.

jennyc October 8, 2008, 10:40 AM

Think about this for a second… IF McCain becomes president and happens to die/become to ill, Sarah Palin WILL take his place! This is a very scary thought.

praying4baby#2 October 8, 2008, 10:58 AM


Jeanne October 8, 2008, 11:40 AM

I think Obama has turned out to be a class act. I am really anxious to vote for him. First time I’ve ever felt like that.

amanda October 8, 2008, 2:00 PM

I honestly don’t like either of them. However, with that been said, I am voting for McCain due to his troop support. I am an army vet and believe that McCain will do a better job then Obama when it comes to the war we are in.

mary October 8, 2008, 2:39 PM

You really should seek out more information about McCain’s plan versus Obama’s plan. Sure, Obama ‘talks’ his plan through and makes it sound good but if you do more research you will find that McCain’s plan is probably the better option for middle-class America, and those who are currently without health insurance.

McCain’s plan works by this example:
Say you’re a family with a total income of $80,000 per year and your employer provides health insurance valued at $10,000 per year. By eliminating the exclusion, you now owe taxes on $90,000 instead of $80,000 (because your health benefit in now included as income). In the 25% tax bracket, you owe $2500 in additional taxes on the $10,000 in extra income.

But that’s where that $5,000 dollars that McCain’s plan has, comes into play. That same family will receive a $5,000 health care tax credit, leaving them with an extra $2,500 in their pockets.

At the same time, employers STILL get to deduct the costs of providing health insurance, in the same way that they do today.

Doesn’t that sound like it is HELPING middle-class taxpayers and families rather than hurting them? Plus, you would then have the option of picking your own plan, which would allow your family more flexibility should you change jobs…you might change jobs, but your healthcare plan would be ‘your own’ and it would stay the same. One of the biggest reasons why people stay ‘stuck’ in their current job and do not leave is because they are afraid of losing their healthcare plan and having it harm their family. With McCain’s plan, you would have the option to keep that healthcare plan and change jobs if you want to.

Barack Obama’s plan will likely result in a government controlled healthcare which may end up penalizing families who do not have insurance for their children, and it may also end up costing upwards of 700 billion dollars for the country, over the next ten years, if the figures that I have read are accurate. I appreciate that Barack Obama has made healthcare a priority in his campaign, but I personally have looked at both sides, positive and negative press on both plans, and I really do think McCain’s plan is the better of the two options.

Tiffany October 8, 2008, 5:52 PM

McCain’s healthcare plan frankly, sucks. It is not portable and it allows for insurance companies to jerk you around and not pay for things like pre-exisiting conditions. This is important because I had cancer. I would have no coverage under McCain’s plan. Also the credit goes directly to the insurance companies…not to you…it says so right on McCain’s web site…so how does that equal more cash for you??

Also this helps people who have employer insurance only really. You can’t buy independent insurance for less than $12,000 usually so $5000 is not enough and how will you pay the whole amount until the insurance company gets your credit money?

Baracks’ plan is 100% optional and does not allow insurance companies to have pre-existing clauses and loopholes. It is more like the plan McCain and Obama have…obviously they like what they have so why wouldn’t we?

mary October 8, 2008, 8:34 PM

Tiffany, I just went to McCain’s site and I’m not sure you read the last line in this paragraph, which is taken from McCain’s site… it says right there that if your policy costs less than the money comes back to you. Nowhere does the policy state that the employer would stop paying their portion of the health care insurance. The employer still provides the health care insurance and they still get to deduct their expenses incurred in providing the employee the health insurance.

Anyway, here is the paragraph that I was referring to:
John McCain Will Reform The Tax Code To Offer More Choices Beyond Employer-Based Health Insurance Coverage. While still having the option of employer-based coverage, every family will receive a direct refundable tax credit - effectively cash - of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to offset the cost of insurance. Families will be able to choose the insurance provider that suits them best and the money would be sent directly to the insurance provider. *(This sentence was referred to in a recent untruthful attack ad by Barack Obama. Click here to read the facts.) Those obtaining innovative insurance that costs less than the credit can deposit the remainder in expanded Health Savings Accounts.

By the way, I will have to watch the debate again, but I vaguely remember something that McCain said about pre-existing conditions too—that he would want to see those eliminated as well. So for me, I still feel that McCain’s plan is the better of the two candidates.

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