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The one seemingly untouchable topic in this year's presidential campaign is whether John McCain's naval record and his years as a POW in Vietnam are relevant to his qualifications as president. Did that suffering 40 years ago give him the courage required to meet presidential challenges or did the experience leave scars that could come back to haunt him? Was it simply a profound experience that has nothing to do with the requirements of the highest office in the country? Also, Palin meets the press, Obama fights back and Texans hunker down as Hurricane Ike heads for the Gulf Coast.  Judy Muller guest hosts.

Making News Palin Meets the Press, Obama Fights Back 5 MIN, 26 SEC

Last night, Sarah Palin sat down with ABC's Charlie Gibson for her first interview with the press. The vice presidential candidate used the opportunity to reinforce the foreign policy of John McCain, saying she would not second guess Israel's right to defend itself, and that "we have to keep an eye on Russia," adding that its incursion into Georgia had been unprovoked. But the Governor of Alaska seemed momentarily stumped when Gibson asked if she agreed with the Bush doctrine.  Jennifer Skalka is editor of Hotline on Call, a daily political blog of the National Journal.

Jennifer Skalka, Editor, Hotline On Call

Main Topic McCain POW Experience and the Presidency 35 MIN, 35 SEC

The one subject that seems to be the third rail in this otherwise no-holds-barred campaign is John McCain's POW experience in Vietnam 40 years ago and how that affects his qualifications now. At the GOP convention last week, numerous speakers described the details of McCain's ordeal as evidence of his moral fiber and suitability for the presidency. Even McCain, who had been reticent to talk abut the details in the past, devoted part of his acceptance speech to the subject. But what is the relevance of those five years to qualities needed in a president? We talk to former POW's who have insight into the question and look at McCain's naval upbringing. Was it a life that prepared him to understand the live of ordinary Americans?

Robert Certain, former POW
Philip Butler, activist, Veterans for Peace
Robert Timberg, Editor in Chief, Proceedings magazine
Cliff Schecter, Daily Beast (@cliffschecter)
Nancy Pfotenhauer, Spokeswoman for John McCain

The Real McCain

Cliff Schecter

Reporter's Notebook Officials Issue Dire Warning to Galveston about Hurricane Ike 6 MIN, 39 SEC

Hurricane Ike big and getting bigger, with its 105-mile winds and potential 50-foot waves on a track for Houston, the country's fourth largest city. The Gulf Coast town of Galveston has been evacuated, and the National Weather Service has warned that people who live in small homes there could face “certain death” if they stay. In Houston, officials have urged people to stay put, recalling the gridlock that killed many who jammed the roads in an attempt to evacuate Hurricane Rita in 2005. Emergency management expert Michael Lindell is a fellow at the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A & M University.

Michael Lindell, Fellow, Texas A & M's Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center

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