Saturday, September 06, 2008
CNN: McCain and Obama Revealed
Saturday, Sept. 6, CNN broadcast two 90 minute biographical segments, “McCain Revealed” and then “Obama Revealed”. The actual run time was considerably less because of numerous commercial interruptions.
McCain’s (John Sidney McCain III) biography (born 1936) started with his boyhood and teen days (including the Mississippi family, which was very oriented to military service), and quickly moved to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he graduated sixth from the bottom of his class in 1958. (I recall that Joseph Steffan, one of the parties who has challenged the military gay ban, would have graduated 3rd or 4th in his class in 1987.) He was rather sure of himself, and went to aviator’s school, where he was somewhat reckless with his studies. In a training accident, he almost drowned as a result. He wised up. He had a close call in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire, and then would be shot down over Vietnam and become a prisoner of war until 1973.
The film shows many photos of his life, and interviews one of his captors today at the location in Vietnam where he was held. The film shows many stills of the solitary confinement cells. His father was promoted to admiral, and the North Vietnamese offered to release him ahead of his position in order of capture. He declined, suffering more torture, but he feared that the North Vietnamese were trying to humiliate his father. The film “reveals” still photos of his physical therapy for his broken legs after his release.
The film covers his political career, and the controversy over how he met his eventual second wife before he was fully separated from his first. Then it covers his participation in the Senate and the presidential elections. The film gradually shows his aging as with a time lapse.
The biography of Barack Hussein Obama II covers his complicated family background, with his father Barack Sr. from Kogelo, Kenya and his white mother Ann Dunham in Kansas, when his parents met in Hawaii (where he was born). The interracial marriage was controversial for Barack's family and was resented. The younger Barack was given the nickname "Barry." Barack Jr. actually was raised for a while in Indonesia, before being sent to private school in Hawaii, and eventually going to college in Los Angeles and then to Columbia. He gradually became interested in community activism and civil rights. He was hired in Chicago to organize voters (for $10000 a year) but later went to Harvard Law School and edited the Harvard Review. For a second time, he worked as a “community organizer,” turning down jobs on Wall Street. His political career moved rapidly in Illinois, with his US Senate election in 2002. He is shown speaking at the Democratic Convention in 2004. The mini-scandal over the purchase of his Chicago home
Both biographies contained a lot of interview time with each candidate.