Demophilus sums up my own thoughts on McCain’s response to the evil question at the Saddleback forum:
I cringed when McCain said he wanted to “defeat” evil, but its worth noting he immediately talked about hunting down bin Laden and winning the War on Terror. I think both formulations are wrong in their own way (I don’t much care about bin Laden, and I think the phrase “War on Terror” is stupid), but he wasn’t literally talking about the removal of evil from the world in a metaphysical sense. In fact, he was responding to Rick Warren’s formulation of picking between “ignoring, negotiating with, containing, or defeating” evil — I would have chosen “contain,” but isn’t nuance lost in most multiple choice settings?
If you’re going to compare cringe-worthy quotes from the debate, though, Obama’s “above my pay grade” comment regarding giving human rights to babies made me wince far more. Gene Veith discusses that one here.