T Nation

Debate 3 Wrapup

Very interesting.

Firstly, I thought they both presented well, and both dodged questions with aplomb – which was especially annoying if there was a good answer, which I thought was the case especially on jobs, which the President kept turning to education. Kerry didn’t have, to the best of my knowledge, any answer on social security, or how he would pay for things, and I wanted the President to nail him on that more. Not that the President is hugely better on spending, but Kerry, in the same sentence talks about cutting the deficit, not fixing social security and expanding spending on everything from social security to retinal scanners at the border (how much would THAT cost?).

Kerry seemed to have better grasp of the facts/talking points he wanted to go over, whereas the President seemed to know what he wanted to say but sometimes struggle on his delivery – par for the course. Bush came off as more likable.

As far as the instant polls go, they were all over the map – very strange that they should have such divergent numbers – one shows a tie, two show small Kerry wins, but with very different percentages from one another (implying one had far more “ties”). Just further info for me that polls are generally unreliable, and the close ones are more unreliable (with the caveat that internet polls are completely useless).

My satellite went out yesterday - no debate, no Yankees-Red Sox, no Astros-Cards. We had an unscheduled ‘family night’.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com had the debate transcript and polls and such.

Just look in the right hand column – you can even get a video link.

Here’s a round-up of talking heads and bloggers on the third debate:

Television

CNN: CNN’s commentators, who called the first debate for Mr. Kerry and the second a draw, were for the most part disappointed with the third.

“This was the least-satisfying debate, the most drenched in wonkery,” said political reporter Jeff Greenfield, adding that “I really think this was a debate where neither candidate did as much good for themselves as they could have.”

Mr. Greenfield scored the debate a win for Mr. Kerry, saying the contest did nothing to change the perceptions people already had of the president. Mr. Greenfield did say he was impressed with Mr. Kerry’s quip, after saying that both he and the president “married up,” that “some would say maybe me more so than others.”

Political analyst Carlos Watson also liked Mr. Kerry’s joking reference to Theresa Heinz-Kerry’s wealth, calling it the senator’s “best moment.” “Both actually did well,” Mr. Watson said, but he added that “Kerry ultimately found his voice, and when all is said and done I think John Kerry will be declared the winner.”

Candy Crowley, the senior political correspondent, agreed with Mr. Greenfield that “it was a bit of a wonkfest” but said the candidates both handled questions about the role of their religion in their lives well – particularly Mr. Bush. But ultimately, she said she doubted the debate would influence the poll numbers.

CNN said a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken immediately after the debate found that respondents felt Mr. Kerry prevailed over Mr. Bush, 52% to 39%. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points. The respondents were 511 registered voters who watched the debate. Their political affiliations broke down as 36% Republican, 36% Democratic and 28% independent, CNN said.

Fox News: If Mr. Bush had performed this well in the first debate, his lead would be a lot bigger than it is now, said Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard. Mr. Barnes’s take seemed to sum up the response from Fox News’ commentators, though the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol was perhaps the most direct: “I think Bush knocked Kerry out tonight. He just slaughtered him.”

In contrast to his first debate performance, Mr. Bush was smiling through most of the debate, said host Brit Hume, who described the president as comfortable, aggressive and more in command of his facts and figures than he had been in previous debates. “It was the president who was most different in term of his performance and his command of his material,” he said.

One of the harshest criticisms of Mr. Kerry came from Roll Call’s Morton Kondracke, who called Mr. Kerry’s reference to Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter “a low blow” aimed at weakening the Bush-Cheney ticket’s support from the right. “I think it’s dirty politics on the Kerry-Edwards campaign’s part,” he said.

On the other hand, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, located in the debate hall, said Mr. Kerry performed well in the questions about the minimum wage and assault weapons – both issues that Mr. Bush “ducked.” But Mr. Wallace said Mr. Bush seemed confident and happy as he lingered in the crowd after the debate, while Mr. Kerry seemed “wan,” as though he “wanted to get out of there.”

MSNBC: Commentators hesitated to pick a winner, but called the third debate itself a success. “It was an excellent debate,” said 2000 Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, a conservative, while host Chris Matthews added that “it was a great night for America. ? A lot of people had their questions answered.”

One answer was wrong, Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham said: President Bush denied Mr. Kerry’s claim that the president had said he wasn’t worried about Osama bin Laden, but Mr. Meacham said he had seen the video clip showing otherwise and predicted it would be replayed frequently. “George Bush made a mistake,” he said. Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign-affairs correspondent for NBC News, said Mr. Kerry’s apparent stance against a drastic overhaul of Social Security was one he may regret: “John Kerry really pandered on Social Security. … He made the kind of promise that candidates make but presidents have to live with.”

Overall, though, the panelists agreed that both candidates did very well. “Sen. Kerry was very much at the top of his game,” said Mr. Buchanan, adding that “you saw the humanity of the man.” Of Mr. Bush he said that “in a human way, I found him an immensely attractive candidate.”

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough also called the contest a draw, though he said Ivy League debate coaches would favor Mr. Kerry – neglecting to mention that both candidates took the same Yale debate class – but “middle-class, working guys” in the Midwest would identify more with the president. Mr. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, concluded that “the most important thing about tonight is, it gave Republicans a reason to be excited about President Bush, and it gave the Democrats a reason to be excited about John Kerry.” Anyone who is ready to declare a winner, Mr. Scarborough said, is a liar, a partisan, or was watching the Yankees-Red Sox playoff game.

PBS: Both David Brooks and Mark Shields said President Bush performed better than in prior debates – though Mr. Brooks called Mr. Kerry “consistent.” Mr. Shields called the senator “factual, organized, concise” but said he showed only “flashes” of vision and lacked “any flashes of humor until the very end.”

Mr. Shields noted that while the first debate, focused on foreign policy, had been expected to be the better forum for the president, Mr. Kerry shined there. This last debate, on domestic issues, was “probably the president’s best showing of the three.” Mr. Brooks said the president was strongest on education, while his opponent was strongest in pushing for raising the minimum wage. But Mr. Brooks called both men “two candidates with big promises,” saying both “dodged” the issues of how to pay for their plans.

News Sites

Washington Post: David S. Broder calls the debate “less antagonistic in tone” than the earlier Bush-Kerry match-ups, but he added that “the relative absence of personal barbs served only to highlight the scale of the policy differences between the two men.” Under the headline “Standing Tall in Their Respective Corners,” Mr. Broder says Messrs. Bush and Kerry “sharpened their differences on social and domestic issues ? with each candidate comfortably articulating the positions his most loyal supporters wanted to hear.”

He notes that Mr. Bush “avoided the physical slumps and the scowls that marred his performance in the first debate,” while Mr. Kerry was “as unruffled as he has been throughout his personal confrontations with the president [and] did nothing to damage his prospects.” President Bush “was alert to opportunities to label Kerry as a liberal – or, as he put it once, a politician who dwells on ‘the left bank of the mainstream,’ along with his Massachusetts colleague, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy,” writes Mr. Broder. “Meanwhile, Kerry rarely passed up a chance to depict Bush as someone with a shaky grasp on reality – whether it was the fragile conditions in Iraq or the pressures working-class families are feeling in this economy,” he says.

“The contrasting political agendas were underlined by the amused but skeptical expressions on the faces of both men when the other one was making his argument,” Mr. Broder writes.

Los Angeles Times: Sen. Kerry and President Bush outlined “sharply divergent” platforms in the debate “and differed just as deeply about their records in office,” writes James Gerstenzang. “Stepping back only slightly from the bitterness of the divisions they demonstrated in their first two debates, ? [both men] offered time after time responses that came down to this: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” he says.

“The angry tenor of the campaign was palpable,” Mr. Gerstenzang writes. “Only in the closing statements of their critical confrontation did they strike optimistic, measured tones.”

New York Times: The candidates “ended the last of their three debates as they began them, with starkly defined differences in substance, semantics and style on almost every major question facing the American public,” writes Todd S. Purdum, adding that there is “every indication that their debates mattered – perhaps more than any such encounters in a quarter century.” Summing up the three confrontations, Mr. Purdum says: “Mr. Kerry delivered a consistent set of assertive, collected performances. Mr. Bush appeared in three guises: impatient, even rattled at times during the first debate, angry and aggressive in the second, sunny and optimistic last night.”

In the final debate, Mr. Purdum says, neither side “made anything that would count as a major gaffe, and neither seemed to score a knockout punch. But Mr. Kerry repeatedly chastised Mr. Bush for lost jobs, the growing gulf between rich and poor, inequitable pay for women and lack of health insurance. Mr. Bush ignored the specifics of many of Mr. Kerry’s complaints, instead frequently citing his efforts to improve American educational standards,” he writes.

“Mr. Kerry has a confessed fondness for nuance, but he gave clear and direct answers last night on topics that Mr. Bush dodged, declaring his belief that people are born gay and that he would not appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. On the question of homosexuality, Mr. Bush told the moderator, ‘You know, Bob, I don’t know,’ and on abortion, he twice avoided a direct answer, saying only that he would not have a ‘litmus test’ for judges,” Mr. Purdum says.

Bloggers

Slate: Mickey Kaus at Slate.com called the final presidential debate a “technical draw that helps Bush more than Kerry.” He says Mr. Bush “was personable, upbeat, human and articulate (he seemed to have gained about 20 IQ points since debate #1), while Kerry was near-funereal. He even looked like a mortician. Where’s the Man Tan when you need it?” Mr. Kaus says both men “moved to the center – Bush just did a better job of getting there, talking about education for minorities while Kerry was stuck defending racial set-asides.”

Summing up, Mr. Kaus blogs: “My gut tells me that, contrary to voluminous polling data, many voters are looking for reassurance that it’s OK to re-elect Bush. If so, I think he gave them that reassurance.”

Matthew Yglesias: Blogger Matthew Yglesias says even though each side won some rounds in the debate, Sen. Kerry “won the important rounds, on health care and jobs. Especially on jobs. It’s easy for the professional media to overlook the extent to which jobs overshadow talk about, say, the deficit since, by definition, media professionals are not unemployed. Nor do media professionals live in the areas of the country that are afflicted by job losses. But in Ohio, West Virginia, and elsewhere that stuff’s a huge deal and all Bush said to people who are hurting is that they should go back to school. It’s pretty insulting for a president (especially this president) to suggest that the reason folks are struggling is that they’re too dumb.”

Power Line: “A sensational performance by the president” is the verdict of John H. Hinderaker at Power Line. Mr. Bush “was even stronger than in the second debate, which raises the question of what was going on the first time. The exhausted, halting look that Bush had then is long gone, and Bush’s supporters could hardly have hoped for a better performance than he delivered tonight,” he writes.

Mr. Hinderaker says the debates “defining moment” came when the candidates were asked about religion. “Bush’s answer was perfect: straightforward, inclusive, heartfelt. When Kerry’s turn came, the contrast was astonishing. To call him a deer in the headlights would be an insult to America’s deer population. After 15 seconds, it was clear that he would have been better served to pass,” he writes. “Make no mistake: President Bush mopped up the floor with John Kerry tonight,” Mr. Hinderaker concludes.

Hugh Hewitt: “Bush wins because of the faith question, the gay-marriage question and the emphasis on education and Kerry’s global test,” says blogger Hugh Hewitt. He says Mr. Kerry was “strong on jobs and health care, but weak on connecting with people.” The senator also was “on the defensive on many issues that matter to voters, and especially Catholic voters and voters with children.” Mr. Kerry’s “worst fumble” of the night was “not answering the cost question on health care,” Mr. Hewitt writes.

“Kerry finished the debate sequence as the candidate of global tests, truth tests, France, tax hikes, government health care, uncomfortable with faith, for taxpayer-funded abortion, and very well spoken in saying all those things,” Mr. Hewitt says. “Bush finished the debate joking about his mangled syntax, speaking from the heart about his faith and prayer, praising Laura Bush to the sky, promising to keep working hard for children and the armies of compassion, resolute in the war, thrilled by Afghanistan, optimistic about Iraq, and comfortable with every voter in his potential pool.”

Talking Points Memo: Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo gives the edge to Sen. Kerry. “It wasn’t a trouncing. Bush did okay. But here are several reasons why I think Kerry bested the president,” he blogs. Mr. Marshall says Mr. Kerry:

– “looked more presidential than the president.”

– “seemed collected and forceful through the whole thing. The president, meanwhile, seemed excitable, edgy and sometimes ungrounded.”

– “controlled the tempo of the evening. He kept the president on the defensive. He landed his key points about the budget deficit and the president’s avoidance of the job issue several times.”

Andrew Sullivan: Blogger Andrew Sullivan says Mr. Kerry had “a clear advantage” on substance, Mr. Bush won on manner and style. The president “came in extremely strongly in the last half-hour, emerging finally as the funny, humane figure that many of us came to admire in the last election cycle. Over all, Kerry cemented his new image as calmer and, oddly enough, more presidential than Bush,” he writes.

“But Bush critically regained his likeability, his rapport with people, and his moderate voice ? but he didn’t really advance on his fundamental weak spot: competence and a vision for the next four years. He never gave us a reason to re-elect him, except more of the same. Kerry, while emerging as a less appealing character for the first time, offered plan after plan. The whole debate advanced a narrative: that you don’t have to hate Bush to vote for change,” Mr. Sullivan says.

“The big surprise is that Kerry clearly won the exchanges on fiscal discipline, guns and immigration,” Mr. Sullivan writes, saying that Mr. Kerry seemed tougher on illegal immigrants than Mr. Bush. “This is Bush’s big weakness with his base – and he didn’t help himself. Kerry was able to use the ban on AK-47s to buttress his tough stance on terrorism,” he says.

“On fiscal matters, Bush was destroyed. He simply has no credible answer on deficits or spending. Kerry’s insistence on pay-as-you-go, his reminder of his support for balancing the budget in the 1990s, and his great ‘Tony Soprano’ line was enough to dispense with the president. ? Over all, Kerry seemed defensive and unsure on social issues, but far more commanding on economic ones,” Mr. Sullivan says.

National Review Online: Gary Andres says both candidates “made strong comebacks in Wednesday night’s presidential debate, but with starkly different results.” Mr. Bush “clearly roared back ? scoring his best performance of the three debates. John Kerry ‘came back’ as well ? but the old John Kerry returned, one that had a hard time with crisp, concise answers and one that, at times seemed aloof and sanctimonious,” Mr. Andres says.

Mr. Bush “was more energized than his opponent and hit just about every point he needed to make,” he writes. Mr. Kerry, meanwhile, “must have lost the pages from his briefing book on values and manners. His values were about as wobbly as a ship in a storm in Boston Harbor, and I’m not sure after listening if his theological pedigree is based more on St. Timothy or Timothy Leary. He’s Catholic, an alter boy, in favor of marriage, but he can’t vote to protect it,” Mr. Andres says.

Write to the Online Journal’s editors at newseditors@wsj.com

I called it a draw or a slight win for Bush. But I wanted more from Kerry and didn’t expect much from Bush.

Interesting debate. I thought John Kerry had a very strong moment when he addressed the minimum wage issue. He went on to exlain how it helps single Moms etc. Might give him a bounce where he needs it with women.

President Bush’s strongest moment came when he exposed John Kerry as the tax and spender that he is. Referring to his 20 year record in the Senate and talkig about how many times he voted to raise taxes (95?).

He also lashed out against Kerry: “A plan is not a litany of complaints. And a plan is not to layout programs you can’t pay for.” Very well said! You can tax “the rich” as Kerry likes to say, but that will not pay for the sort of health care system he wants to put into place.

John Kerry’s low moment came when he mentioned the Vice Presidents lesbian daughter for no reason other than to attempt to chase away some fundamentalist Christian votes. Quite a low moment for him and disapointing. Isn’t it Bill Clintion who said that children are off limits? That one comment my have a strong boomerang effect!

President Bush’s low moment came when he could not give a good answer to the minimum wage. He side stepped it and talked about education. Will that hurt him with the voters? I doubt it, how many people making minimum wage actually vote? Many are not even old enough to vote, and the 18 to 24 year olds are the least likely age group to vote. I think the last election turned out about 33% of that age group to the polls.

Overall, while Kerry was, as always, a very clear and coherent speaker, it was President Bush’s night! I thought that this time he not only won on style, but on substance. Placing Kerry on the defensive several times and showing some personality while doig it.

Funny summary:

http://www.celluloid-wisdom.com/pw/index.php?/weblog/entry/protein_wisdom_the_third_presidential_debate_verdict1/

the third presidential debate verdict.

John Kerry: ?Whatever you need, it?s yours. Need a job? You got it. Need a higher living wage? Done. Need cheap, universal healthcare? I?m your man. Need a better education? Have at it, paid in full. Relying on social security for your retirement? I?ll put it in a lock box. Tax relief? I can give you that, too. Want to lose your virginity to a teenage Mexicali hooker and a donkey? I?ll print coupons. And the best part is, every single one of my plans comes with free cole slaw and a plate of homestyle biscuits!?

George Bush: ?Anybody who believes this guy can deliver on even one percent of his promises deserves four years of John F?n Kerry. God bless, and good night.?

To any intelligent person Kerry did get slaughtered.

Every program he proposed, was going to increase spending. When asked how he would pay for all of it, he said repeal the top bracket tax cut. Seeing that that repeal would’t even pay for kerry’s health care plan, How is it going to pay for his increase in education plan, Kerry flat out said he would not deal with the SS crisis untill we had reduced the defecit to zero. He can never do that by increasing spending unless he taxes the hell out of us.

Kerry said he would be a champion of jobs, yet he said in 4 years he would increase the minimum wage to $7 an hour, this move at that rate would actually lose jobs. If companies have to pay each worker more, guess what, someone is getting the axe.

Bush had real vision on the healthcare issue and I think he slaughtered kerry. Bush called for medical reform, For hospitals to take the step into the 21st century like all other businesses. My father does this for a living at our local hospital and they are reducing the costs of doing business by the millions, each year! This is real tangeble change that is already starting to occur. The hospital has recieved grants from the government to implement these changes, and in the end they are saving millions of dollars and giving their patients better care with less mistakes. Bush Is dead on with this issue.

Vegita ~ Prince of all Sayajins

BB that was pretty funny and how I actually see Kerry, I’m still voting for him though.

One thing that really pissed me off was the question about the flu vacine.

Here’s how I saw that question get answered.

Question: So were having a flu vacine shortage, what should we do?

Bush: Kerry is a flip flopper and can’t lead this country.

Kerry: Bush led this country in to a bullshit war and caused us to lose half of our flu vaccine.

Since this is an issue that I know something about I could really see the bullshit they were spewing.

At least Bush got the message out about not getting a shot if your a young healthy person. I give him a lot of credit for that. But I also think because he got to answer the question first it led to him being able to answer it in that way.

Go figure I can’t wait until next election to see the bunch of jokers we come up with.

Kevin:

I want to know why in the bloody blue hell that question was even included in the Presidential debate? Is provision of flu vaccine really under the Presidential baliwick? I’d bet dollars to donuts that’s the first time anyone in any Presidential debate has fielded a question about flu vaccines.

Really, this gets to an issue that bothers me about how people view the President. He is the chief executive officer of the country, but he should neither receive credit nor blame for every little niggling thing that happens in the country – and, really, not even for a lot of the major things.

I mean, aside from the fact that Kerry’s quotes on how much jobs pay are either wrong or completely unprovable, depending on which economist you ask, it’s the general consensus that Presidents don’t influence average wages.

I dunno. I guess people are always going to look for someone to blame – or someone to take care of them. Even though it’s 12 years ago now (I think it was during Bush I v. Clinton - may have been during Dole v. Clinton), I will never purge from my mind the picture of that idiot who commented that the President should think of us as his children and asked how he would take care of us as his children. Children always blame their parents when things go wrong, whether it’s their fault or not, because they don’t understand how things work.

I think the question of the flu shot was dumb, for either candidate.

That being said, my impression was that we got a standard setup - vote for Kerry if you consider yourself liberal, vote for Bush if you consider yourself conservative.

The debate was the classic dichotomy is American politics, and you just have to decide which candidate shares your values.

There was no great home run or foulup, similar to the other debates.

As far as who won - I don’t know if there was a true winner. Both candidates succeeded in explaining what they are. Kerry looked all the part of a Northeastern liberal who wants to solve a multitude of problems with government expansion and spending; Bush looked the part of a tax-cutting conservative.

Nothing particularly revolutionary - a settling back into familiar roles by the party candidates, in my view.

BB I don’t know why that question was asked. I thought Bush did a good thing in staying on message with what the cdc is advising people to do. while I am a reluctant Kerry supporter he pissed me off when he said that this points out what is wrong with our health care system. While I agree with Kerry that nationalized health care will (or can) lead to overall better health for our country the lack of flu vaccine doesn’t have anything to do with it. This and only this is why I give this debate to Bush, because he took this question and instead of turning it into politics he stayed presidential and delivered the message that needed to be delivered.

I’m surprised that a lot of people are saying this was a great debate. I thought that both candidates dodged almost every question.

[quote]KevinKovach wrote:
I’m surprised that a lot of people are saying this was a great debate. I thought that both candidates dodged almost every question.[/quote]

Kevin:

That’s just pre-election spin. Thunder was right – they were basically just regurgitating their talking points and defining themselves. I think Kerry spoke more to the “undecideds” and Bush to his base.

I don’t know for certain which strategy is smarter at this point, but I lean toward mobilization of the base. The true undecideds who were going to see something new on which to base their vote has got to be a small group at this point. However, contra that, if someone needed motivating, he probably turned the channel to the baseball game because the debate bored him to death.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Interesting debate. I thought John Kerry had a very strong moment when he addressed the minimum wage issue. He went on to exlain how it helps single Moms etc. Might give him a bounce where he needs it with women.[/quote]
I thought the same thing, keeping in mind the arguments you’ve been making around the forum lately. I think this point, and his discussion on abortion both may have helped him with women voters.

[quote]
President Bush’s strongest moment came when he exposed John Kerry as the tax and spender that he is. Referring to his 20 year record in the Senate and talkig about how many times he voted to raise taxes (95?).[/quote]
This frustrated me because it seems to be another case where we must go to factcheck.org just to get the story straight…BTW Kerry said he’s voted for tax cuts over 600 times and has written or co-authored over 50 bills vs. the President’s quote of 6 (?)

I thought Bush’s finest moment was in praising the women in his life. When he said he’s learned “to listen to them. To stand up straight and not scowl…and (Laura) speaks a lot better English than I do.” That latter comment had me rolling! I thought it was a brilliant and ballsy political move.

[quote]
John Kerry’s low moment came when he mentioned the Vice Presidents lesbian daughter for no reason other than to attempt to chase away some fundamentalist Christian votes. Quite a low moment for him and disapointing. Isn’t it Bill Clintion who said that children are off limits? That one comment my have a strong boomerang effect![/quote]
I agree that it was unnecessary and perhaps in bad taste to bring up Cheney’s daughter. He could have answered the question adequately without mentioning her. However, it’s true that she’s gay and thus, perhaps, a legitimate example to use for the question.

I disagree with this interpretation…here are my random thoughts on last night’s debate:

Bush blinks a lot. A whole lot. It’s weird how much he blinks. His new nickname has got to be “Blinky.”

Bush had spit in the corner of his mouth for much of the debate. I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but it was nasty. Kerry too, was caught wiping his brow and looked a bit uncomfortable at times…I wonder if the thermostat was working properly at ASU.

Bush lied. He said “Gosh, I don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about OBL.” He most certainly did say it…you can find it anywhere to read or listen to.

Kerry is a marvel with stats! Granted, I’m sure he memorizes a handful that he’s sure to be able to include during the course of the debate, but he whips those babies out and just the right time and really gives the impression that he’s in tune with things – something that’s been a problem for Bush for as long as I can remember (though he had a few stats to drop of his own yesterday).

Kerry’s highlight was his joke about marrying up with Teresa. It was a good move, allowed him to laugh at himself and open up a bit. I think it came off well.

The flu shot question was, I think, and attempt by Mr. Scheiffer to ask questions that relate to current events. I think it really caught Bush off guard, though his response wasn’t too bad. Kerry used it as an opportunity to underline what is wrong with healthcare under Bush.

The argument over Pell grants annoyed me…won’t someone tell the truth, please? Get on the freaking level.

I wish Kerry didn’t play the “Marriage is between a man and a woman game.” I think liberals disagree with this and consider it shifty.

Bush was clearly making an effort to smile as opposed to scowl (and shift his body and slump and scoff and whine, etc.), but it appeared way too phoney. BUsh’s smile is a snarl. He looks cocky a lot of the time, and considering the ideas he presents and the manner he presents them in, he has nothing to be cocky about!

Bush developed an annoying habit of banging on the podium. I think this was a distraction and may have implied some frustration on his behalf.

I didn’t like how Kerry answered the question about the Catholic attack on him. He should have attacked the said priests right back by saying that they shouldn’t be involving politics with their services…and they shouldn’t.

I don’t think either cadidate adequately answered the SS question…but I don’t think anyone can. We need some major econo-brains on this matter and fast.

Kerry gets back $89 billion from rolling back the tax cut? Wow…that’s a lot of dough…money the rich doesn’t need and money that might pay for some of the things Kerry hopes for.

I would just like to comment on John Kerry’s proposal for raising the minumum wage to $7 per hour. Labor economics is one of my better suits, and raising the minimum wage would be disastrous for jobs across america. The marginal productivity theory of labor demand is a negatively sloped demand curve, with an inverse relationship between labor and wages. The elasticity of labor demand(how much an increase or decrease in wage effects the number of employers hired or fired) is fairly inelastic, around -.3(% change in labor over % change in wage). So for a 35% increase in wage rate, the number of jobs is likely to decrease by 11%. Not good. There are other institutional factors to consider as well, far too many for the scope of this post, but in the short-run, this will most likely have horrible ramifications.

I think the issues that were clarified for me were each candidate?s stance on Immigration, appointment of judges, abortion, and definition of marriage. I liked the moderator. I thought that he did an excellent job. I would have liked to see each candidate stay on the question and not jump all over the place. In some cases there can be a good way to tie to issues together, but in most cases just answer the friggin? question. I think that over all both candidates performed well. I think Bush did better. More content and he seemed to be more sure of who he is. He did not seem to be making promises to everyone under the sun. Bush should have lain off education. Kerry needs to come up with a catch phrase other than ?I have a plan?. The new low point had to be the comment about Cheney?s daughter.

Me Solomon Grundy

I didn’t get the point of the minimum wage increase either. Who is that supposed to appeal to? No one over the age of 18 should be working for minimum wage.

RSU:

I don’t think your analysis is to far off the mark. Although I think Bush was the clear winner. This was the first debate where Kerry was actually on the defensive on various occasions. Kerry had no answer for the Social Security problem. Bush offered potential solutions. Bush really had his best night.

I never saw the spittle in the corner of Bush’s mouth, but both men were sweating. I didn’ like Bush’s hand popping up and down on the table either now that you mention it. However, he was optimistic and very compelling to watch.

“Blinky”? Yea…now that you mention it he blinked more than he had in past debates. I think I know why too…he has been spending to much time on the “internets.” Whaha (I couldn’t resist).

In all seriousness your following statement is what really separates a conservatve from a liberal"

“Kerry gets back $89 billion from rolling back the tax cut? Wow…that’s a lot of dough…money the rich doesn’t need and money that might pay for some of the things Kerry hopes for.”

Who said the rich don’t need it? Who earned it? Who does the money belong to? What ever would make you claim that they “don’t need it?” How do you define need? And what makes you think that someone does not “need” money that they have a right to?

How many business’s will not get started because that 89 billion is out of circulation? How many of the 900 thousand small business who do “need it” will be harmed because the government is taking more of their money?

As you know over 90% of all employees are employed by small business. Will this tax hike cause some employees to lose thier job? New business not getting started. Small business not growing. That sets the stage for an economic downturn in my opinion.

Oh they need it! And what’s more they have every right to keep it!

Wguitar –

This is one area where Democrats traditionally take advantage of economically ignorants voters, and where the Republicans – those that understand economics anyway – generally refuse to stand up in the open and oppose them.

Not only would raising the minimum wage raise unemployment, but it would raise unemployment in precisely those areas and among the subgroups (mostly the undereducated) that are hurt most by unemployment. It’s the entry level jobs that get cut – or replaced with machines. High-school dropouts, seniors looking to supplement income, teenagers looking for employment and workers such as working mothers who are willing to trade pay for flexibility with hours are the ones who see their jobs disappear in these situations.

Skilled, educated employees wouldn’t get hurt – although some unions who have contracts specifying a certain multiple of minimum wage would see a wage increase. It would amount to an income-transfer program from the uneducated poor to the skilled middle class.

Here’s a question. Did the debate actually influence anyone here one way or the other?

I didn’t learn alot about either candidate quite frankly. I knew where Bush stood on most issues and he didn’t change his position on any of them. I guess I learned a few things about Kerry but nothing I didn’t already suspect. Just got a little more detail.

I think the debates proved Kerry is a better debater. I’ll give him that. Also proved to me that Bush is a lot more likeable (I knew that).

So did it influence anyones vote?