Obama Campaign Reacts to First Presidential Debate

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 26, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama twice said in debates that he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Raul Castro without pre-condition, without pre-condition.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I reserve the right as president of the United States to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if I think it's going to keep America safe.


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Those are some more sights and sounds from tonight's presidential debate here at Ole Miss. And who do you think won the first presidential face-off?

According to our text voting, of 58,000 texts so far, 82 percent — still 82 percent who participated say McCain won. Sixteen percent of you say Obama is the winner. But 1 percent remain undecided, and there's still time to get your vote in. So keep texting in.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview

And joining us now for reaction is Senator Obama's communication director and senior spokesman, Robert Gibbs.

Robert, good to see you. Thanks for being here. What's your reaction when you see those kind of poll results?

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR, ROBERT GIBBS: I don't think enough of our friends are texting.

COLMES: Is that what it is?

GIBBS: We've got a big e-mail list. We've got to get texting over to FOX.


COLMES: The people you texted with the V.P. selection.

GIBBS: I'll tell you what. I thought that Barack Obama laid out a forcible case for change tonight, change in our economic problems and putting people back to work.

And look, this was a home-court debate for John McCain. He was supposed to blow Barack Obama away on the issue he spent three decades on, foreign policy. Barack Obama was in command in this debate on that foreign policy section, and I think John McCain knew it.

COLMES: An issue of judgment kept coming up. Barack Obama pointed out he had the judgment, and he was against the Iraq war. He talked about the surge. He didn't say the surge didn't work. He said it didn't do what it was supposed to do.

GIBBS: Exactly.

COLMES: Political reconciliation.

GIBBS: Exactly.

COLMES: He was right about that. And he's been correct about a number of things, issue by issue, that the American people on the issues agree with the Democratic positions.

GIBBS: Look, I think the most forceful moment in this debate, Barack Obama turns to John McCain and says, "You were wrong that we'd be greeted as liberators. You were wrong that there wouldn't be a history of Shia and Sunni violence. You were wrong that there were weapons of mass destruction," and he knew where they were.

On decision after decision in Iraq, John McCain got it wrong and Barack Obama got it right.

HANNITY: Hey, you know, one of the biggest problems. Barack Obama wasn't in the United States Senate at the time. He didn't have to make a decision.

GIBBS: But he did make a decision.

HANNITY: He made a decision as an Illinois state senator, in one of the most liberal districts in the country. So he was taking a position...

GIBBS: Isn't it amazing that a guy that hadn't been in the Senate for 30 years got it right?

HANNITY: Well, but it's interesting, on the surge, he got it wrong. And this is what he said. I have a quote from Barack Obama about the surge. He actually said that, "I don't know a single expert who would agree that 30,000 additional troops would work."

Now he's saying it worked beyond our wildest dreams. So Senator Obama was wrong on the surge. Wrong, deadly...

GIBBS: Alan had a good point. What the surge was designed to do was create a security environment that allowed the Iraqis to make political reconciliation.

HANNITY: And it's happening.

GIBBS: Political reconciliation. It's hasn't happened.

HANNITY: It's happening right now. You've got to read the newspapers.

GIBBS: We're making — we're sending $10 billion a month while they have an $80 billion surplus.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this.

GIBBS: They don't even have an oil law in Iraq. They can't even put up the oil revenue. They're not making political...

HANNITY: If I look at all the comments, for example, Barack Obama said he cut tens of billions of dollars in defense spending, cut investments in missile defense. He said he'd meet with rogue dictators without preconditions.

He said Iran, Cuba and Venezuela are tiny countries and not a serious threat.

GIBBS: No, he didn't.

HANNITY: Oh, yes he did. He said compared to the Soviet Union, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela are tiny countries. They're not a serious threat. That's a verbatim quote. GIBBS: That's not what he said.

HANNITY: Ten thousand dollar bet, $10,000 bet.

GIBBS: I'd have to borrow some money from you. But I've got to tell you, he didn't say that. He knows that those countries are very dangerous.

HANNITY: He said they're not a serious threat.

GIBBS: No, that's not true.

HANNITY: It is true.

GIBBS: There's serious foreign policy that deals with the fact that, while we weren't looking, North Korea quadrupled the number of nuclear weapons.

HANNITY: Let me ask you — where is his experience? Where is his experience? This is what I felt about Senator Obama tonight. You know what? You guys prepped him. You gave him some nice lines occasionally. But I said he's done nothing. I see no accomplishments on foreign policy in his experience.

GIBBS: Really?

HANNITY: Tell me what he's done on foreign policy, specifically.

GIBBS: Well, he got Iraq right.

HANNITY: He didn't vote on Iraq. He didn't vote. He was wrong on the surge.

GIBBS: Was he opposed on Iraq or was he for Iraq?

HANNITY: You know, he says he was, but he changes his mind so much, it's hard to know.

GIBBS: You know — you know where he was, because he made a decision on where he was going to be.

HANNITY: He keeps telling us...

GIBBS: I'm sure you'll get it right.

HANNITY: All right.

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