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August 16, 2008

The candidates' and the country's greatest failures

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama just stood on the same platform for the first time this campaign.

One of the first questions Rick Warren posed to the candidates was: What would be the great moral failure in your life? What would be the great moral failure in America.

McCain said his personal failure was the failure of his first marriage but didn't say anything further on it. The country's greatest failure was its own self-interest.

"I think after 9/11, my friends, we should have told Americans to join the Peace Corps, expand the military, serve a cause greater than your self-interest," he said.

Obama's answer about himself:

"I had a difficult youth ... I experimented with drugs and drank ... I trace this to a certain selfishness on my point ... I couldn't focus on other people. The process of me growing up is to recognize that it’s not about me."

On the country's greatest failure:

"We still don't abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me. That basic principle applies to poverty to racism and sexism. It applies to not thinking about ladders of opportunity to get in the middle class. As wealthy and powerful as we are don't spend enough time thinking about the least of these."

This is cross-posted from CT's liveblog.