Unless you live under a rock, then you should have known that the two candidates for president were having a “debate” tonight. I put little quotation marks around the word “debate” because there was an entire rule-book worked out between the two sides specifying the parameters of the debate down to its finest detail.
First the two candidate’s campaigns tried to bully the news networks into not showing split screens (or cut shots) of the other candidate while one candidate was talking. They didn’t want us to see Bush shaking his head and Kerry chuckling at Bush’s responses. The News networks told them to screw off but there were a lot of other stupid parameters such as not being able to directly pose a question to the other debater, however you could pose a rhetorical question :P
Despite all this crap, the debate came off pretty good. Jim Lehrer of PBS moderated the debate and asked some pretty good questions and tried to make sure everyone was clear on their positions by following up particularly contentious discussions.
I was pleased with how Jon Kerry presented himself in this debate. Most people wouldn’t find that shocking seeing how I support Kerry in this election, but in the past I’ve really felt like Kerry wasn’t on the offensive enough. He just didn’t seem to have an pizzazz. I think that tonight the big difference was that he was placed side-by-side with the President and you could see a noticeable difference between the two of them. Kerry stood up straight, was assertive with his answers, talked straight and gave pretty good answers to almost all of the questions directed at him. I feel he did a good job pointing out how he differs from Bush on the issue of Iraq and I think he dug into Bush in all the right spots and didn’t go overboard with it.
Bush on the other had seemed off-balance, shaken, and maybe a little nervous. At some points he simply ran out of material to present. There were many instances of him bumbling around and some pretty long pauses between questions asked and responses given. It was certainly not Bush’s finest debate. He had one or two key points and he repeated them as often as he could. I suppose he wins points for making those points sticking with me:
All decent messages but he applied them towards discussions and in instances where they quite frankly didn’t have any relevancy.
Clint’s verdict on this debate: