October 9, 2004

Debate 2, Short Take

Bush beat the first debate Bush, but didn’t beat Kerry. (Running Commentary is in a previous post)

Kerry came out swinging and he’d obviously got Bush a little off balance in the first half of the debate. Bush grew increasingly agitated and finally was pretty ornery with Charlie Gibson. who was trying to give him an extended response. However, less of the dumbfoundedness from last debate was evident in this match-up.

Kerry was calm and friendly in the debate, and made his points clearly and forcefully when needed, although he had one or two episodes of not punctuating a clear point before wandering into detail.

There were some zingers, buy lying as seen in the vice presidential debate was kept to a minimum.

I thought one of the worst moments for Bush was when he completely bungled that last question, which was, admittedly, a challenging one. He actually tried to answer that his mistakes were in his appointments, in other words deferring responsibility once more for bungling. This was the president so many people told me was going to have a team of the best and the brightest. Now he’s reduced to blaming his appointments.

I see many people calling this a draw, and perhaps the undecideds will see it that way as well, but I can’t agree. Bush has no good answers for the hardest questions. His excuse against Kerry’s deficit reduction plan is simply “don’t believe him” and he relied heavily on labeling Kerry “liberal” to get his message across.

In summary, I don’t see anything in this debate that would slow down Kerry’s momentum. Bush merely showed that in one out of two debates he doesn’t look like a complete incompetent.

Posted by James at October 9, 2004 10:58 AM
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One of his handlers obviously told him to speak forcefully and his two-sizes-too-small brain interpreted that as 'scream!'

By my count, Bush didn't answer a question. Oh sure, he talked a lot and regurgitated the info his team pumped into him but he never gave a clear, direct answer.

Posted by: Steve at October 9, 2004 1:23 PM

I thought Kerry did really well. I don't know what the polls are saying, but I thought he did even better than last week.

Bush also did better, contentwise, than last week, but instead of scowling this time he acted impatient and snippy, which is not an improvement.

Posted by: Julie at October 9, 2004 3:22 PM

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