Great post Lumpy. Thanks for that link to FACTCHECK.org which demonstrates clearly another way that Bush, like Cheney, mislead and then simply hope to forget it. Why would Bush make that claim? Who knows – he probably has no idea what his taxes reported.
I missed the debate live, but caught the rerun on CNN today.
Style-wise: Yes, ZEB, Kerry may be a bit “stiffer,” but I think he’s loose enough to appear normal, which is really all that matters. We’re not voting for the High School prom king here, we’re voting for President – and I think Kerry comes off as rather approachable but very Presidential. As such, I appreciate Kerry’s focus during a debate, rather than Bush’s semi-antics (interrupting and practically shouting at Gibson).
Bush did far better this debate than the first. The first was simply embarassing, he HAD to do better. I think the ability to move in the townhall setting benefitted him, as did what must have been endless “cramming” this past week to brush up on some stats and get further in line with the positions Rove wants to push this campaign. Bush’s joke about finding it hard not to scowl was brilliant! I thought he tried too hard to make a joke when he said “anyone need any wood?”
Substance-wise: I like how Bush can say over and over that we know where he stands on the issues. He says it to the point that we nearly forget that we actually aren’t so sure where he stands on many issues! Thus, his skirting of questions and sidestepping issues somehow goes unnoticed until you stop and ask yourself what he just said and if it was even relevant.
I think Kerry continues to solidify his positions in the minds of Americans – a major uphill battle since letting Rove and Co. go so far painting him as a flip-flopper without putting up a fight.
Bush didn’t list three mistakes like the question asked, and I’m not surprised. This is ONE of my biggest fundamental problems with him and his presidency – the lack of accountablity and fallibility. Surely he can’t be happy with every decision he’s made, and I contend it’s a quality of a strong leader to admit when he was wrong.
Another major problem I have with Bush’s arguments in these debates is how he claims it’s weak leadership to criticize the war while leading troops into war. Bush states the argument as if KERRY declared war while criticizing the approach. Kerry is perfectly able to criticize Bush’s approach while leading troops strongly – it’s called cleaning up the mess. I blame Kerry, however, for not putting Bush in his place on this matter, as I do him failing to address the Bush campaigns focus on the “global test” comment – everyone knew what he meant, except Bush, apparently.
My call on this debate: Kerry over Bush, but by a far smaller margin than in the first debate: say, Kerry 55% over Bush %45. I don’t think this debate made the impact on the election that the 1st did, but I think many dems and “voters for change” are continuing to get excited about Kerry.