T Nation

The Gloves Are Off: Debate 2 Roundup

Wow, both guys are being alot more aggressive in this debate. Its definitely a feisty one. I am suprised that theses softball questions are actually eliciting worthwhile responses.

By the way, anyone who thinks bush cant speak is fooling themselves. He has clearly held his own and if not excelled in this debate. He might be hitting some talking points, but he has certainly excelled in a format that no one thought was suited to him.

Yep, it is a very good debate. I think it is really a draw, unlike the first one where Bush was a total chump.

However, a few points to consider…

  1. Bush has to stick to generalities and fear when trying to talk about Kerry. For example, he voted for taxes 98 times. Everyone with a brain knows that raw voting records aren’t really indicative of anything – however, plenty of people don’t have brains, so it will get traction with them.

  2. Both candidates avoided the questions and talked about what they wanted to talk about. I guess in this day and age we can’t really expect otherwise.

  3. Bush claims that everything about the world is improved due to his leadership of the last four years, he’s never made any mistakes, and the country will be doomed if he isn’t re-elected in November. You have to chuckle at that.

  4. I still find Bush has to turn to answers stating that “we increased spending in that area”. This type of answer is not very good. It is not specific and it doesn’t show that good progress has been made even if the numbers sound impressive.

I’m sure if you are anti-Kerry you’ll pick up some issues concerning him instead, but I still think it was probably a draw. Maybe the polling numbers will shift in the next few days and identify a winner?

However, there were some real good lobs that are just sitting there waiting for the next debate!

A draw? I don’t think so!

In terms of style I think President Bush showed much more warmth and personality. He gave the voters something to relate to.

Kerry on the other hand was stiff and preachy. His dour tones cast a sort of negativity over his persona.

On terroism I thought President Bush showed a command of the issues and pointed out quite adeptly how Kerry cannot say it is “the wrong war at the wrong time” and be an effective leader. He also pointed out his many flip flops relative to the Iraq war. I think Kerry dropped the ball when singling out Bin Laden as the only terrorist.

On domestic issues I think that Bush again won, but by a smaller margin. Kerry banged away at the “tax breaks for the rich” myth, pretty effectively. President Bush refuted it once by pointing out that there are 900,000 small business “S” corps that would be effected by Kerry’s tax hike on those making over $200,000 per year. He also pointed out once or twice that everyone received a tax break.

I think he should have mentioned the constant class warfare theme present in Kerry’s attacks. Is someone who made 40-K last year supposed to get back the same amount as someone who made 100-K? Maybe in Kerry’s world, but not in reality.

Without a doubt Kerry’s two weakest moments:

  1. When he tried to explain his stand on abortion. That was the most convoluted answer that I think any politiician has ever given in a debate. It was simply awful!

  2. When he tried looking into the camera (notice he couldn’t quite do it) and telling people he would not raise their taxes. That was a comical moment and those who viewed the debate were treated to a belly laugh.

Overall, it was Bush’s night.

Good debate. I think Bush did better.

Kerry presented himself well, but his style got the better of him.

  1. Bush was looking for a fight. He had his ideas down and talked policy, but not in a wonkish way. For anyone who doesn’t follow politics and went in believing the notion that Bush isn’t bright, they discovered something different.

  2. Kerry has done a decent job of getting himself out of the flip-flop label. He doesn’t really give an good explanation why he isn’t inconsistent, but he has done a good job of deflecting the questions in these debates.

  3. Kerry’s name-dropping of generals was transparent.

  4. Kerry continues to drip away at the ‘squandered surplus’ and Bush gave a great defense. But Bush has a lot of room yet to poke holes in Kerry’s shibboleth.

I thought Bush did a good job of explaining his economic vision - very succinct. Kerry hopes to high heaven folks actually believe there was a real mountain of money in the coffers of Washington that Bush somehow lost, but if Bush is smart, he’ll continue what he started last night and dismiss such nonsense.

  1. Kerry on abortion and judges - yikes.

And isn’t funny how Liberals run from the label “liberal” like it was a spitting cobra? Why is being called a “liberal” such a bad thing? Conservatives don’t run from their label.

  1. Bush deflected the “three mistakes” question all right, not great, but this is a question he should have been prepared for. He should have three policy choices lined to hit out of the park.

Overall, I think Bush did better. He was more natural, more straightforward, and gave answers on substance.

One commentator afterwards, some talking head, said that he thought Bush’s performance would play well with men. I agree. Bush doesn’t pretend to be all things to all peoples, and his answer of “I don’t care what the capitals of Europe think” play well with men who like toughness in their candidate.

I thought the saddest part of the debate was when George Bush went after John Kerry for his voting against the ban on partial-birth abortions. Kerry defended his position by saying that while against partial births abortions, he wasn’t comfortable supporting the bill b/c of lack of language regarding cases where the mother’s life is in danger (and I suspect no abortion will often result in the death of the child AND mother). While not everyone may agree with this, it seems to be a solidly defendable position. Then Bush comes out and acts like Kerry couldn’t give a straight answer. He goes back the ‘You’re either with us or against us.’ mantra. ‘You’re either for partial birth abortions or against. And you can’t be against if you don’t support my bill!’ I hate this reduction of every issue to black and white. Same thing happened with the abortion question re: funds. I really loathe it b/c so many of the voters won’t see past the rhetoric to what candidates’ opinions really are, and why they have them. I know Bush does this a lot, and I’m sure it gets him votes. I don’t really notive Kerry doing it, but I might not have picked up on it, so if he does, let me know! Anyway, that was pissing me off this morning…though I felt better after watching a show with the Green and Libertarian candidates on PBS…holy crap, politicians who are intelligent, forthright, and live in reality!

Style-wise George Bush didn’t humiliate himself like he did last week. However, once again the challenger looked far more presidential than George Bush did.

Bush came off as impatient, impulsive and immature, especially during a long stretch in the middle. Bush repeatedly raised his voice and was clearly agitated. It seemed like he was browbeating the people in the audience. He jumped off his stool several times, and interrupted the moderator at one point. All in all, Bush looked like he couldn’t keep his cool under pressure. Some of Bush’s answers came out sounding incomprehensible, for example his comments about Korea and bilateral talks.

Bush smirked and he winked at the audience. He answered one question by saying “I’m not going to tell you” (the judges question). Yes, a small point but it was part of a larger pattern of the president appearing juvenile in general. Bush’s comment about “wanna buy some wood?” (again, juvenile) may bite him in the ass the same way Cheney’s “I never met you” comment came back to haunt him (check FactCheck.org, Kerry was right).
http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx@DocID=265
The info regarding the timber company is about halfway down.

As far as content Bush spent most of the debate on the defensive. Bush’s record is absolute shit as far as jobs, the economy, etc. Sadly, the best thing Bush has going for him is that we were attacked on 9-11… that was the high point of his presidency.

Bush lost again, this time on a split decision… but still a loss. His challenge this round was to reverse the damage that he inflicted on himself last week… and he didn’t.

Good article on the debate here:
“Bush Fights to Keep Emotions in Check”
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041009/ap_on_el_pr/debate_analysis

Zeb, the polls so far are calling it even, hate to bust your bubble. You have a very polarized view. Although I don’t like Bush, at least I can call a draw when I see it. Turns out the polls supported me on the Kerry win of the first debate too.

You are batting 0-2 Zeb… lets hope the next president has better judgement than you do. :wink:

I thought Kerry’s response to the abortion question was clear: separation of church and state.

I only caught the last 40 min, but I definatly found Kerry more reassuring.

And after seeing the video of Bush’s ineptitude upon being informed his country was under attack on 9/11, I cannot comprehend his support.

[quote]t bone y2j wrote:
And after seeing the video of Bush’s ineptitude upon being informed his country was under attack on 9/11, I cannot comprehend his support.[/quote]

Bush chokes under pressure, as the past 2 debates have shown. (The first debate was far worse, but last night showed that Bush is impulsive and lacks self-control).

That might explain why Bush sat like a deer frozen in headlights after being told “America is under attack”. While people were jumping from the top floors of the World Trade Center, George Bush was sitting in a grade school classroom with a glazed look on his face.

vroom:

Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were supposed to echo the latest polling information.

I watched all of the top news channels after the debate. Also watched them today for quite a while. I certainly could have posted what the latest Gallup poll stated (which incidentally showed Bush gaining further ground in the areas of Terrorism and Iraq).

I was simply giving the board my personal take on it. If the polls indicated that they tied then that means half the people surveyed thought that President Bush won.
I am one of those people. Unless, everyone surveyed thought that they tied, which is doubtful.

Giving you my honest take, not rgurgitating the latest polling information like you are.

Bye for now vroom!

Lumpy:

I will say this about you, unlike some around here, at least you are funny!

Televised political debates are a complete sham. The issues no longer matter, but rather how one looks and how camera savvy one is.

I recommend you all read the book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Niel Postman. The whole book is great, including the chapters on debate.

He sites examples of a debate between Douglass and Lincoln at a country fair that went on for four hours will people intently listened. Now, all people want is sound bytes and clever video clips.

The only thing worse than the televised debates are the political anylasts afterwards. I hope no one actually allows these people’s opinions to influence their decisions.

Rant over. Thanks.

G.W.Bush!!!

When I saw his face, I remarked, “Thank God, he got some sleep!!!” It showed.

He was so much better it’s almost hard to believe.

He had Kerry mumbling, bumbling and regurgitating.

I almost fell of my chair when Kerry made his $84 timber loophole comment.

W. said, “I own a timber company? That’s news to me.” Then a 10 second pause, “Want some wood?” The audience loved it!! I loved it!!!

His command of the subjects was pretty evident. His record of achievement on homeland security speaks for itself.

I couldn’t give two farts and a shit how we play in Paris. W. made that point very well.

He was hilarious when he said, “My opponent ridicules me as a unilateralist in Iraq, yet, wants me to have only bilateral talks with North Korea.” Beautiful!!!

W. echoed what I had said about three months ago to Lumpy. Lumpy/Kerry said that Tort reform would lower our overall health care costs by only 1%. As I had replied to Sump-Pump-Lump, W. said that the defensive medicine that has to be practiced by Physicians today, costs far more than the 1% of total health care costs. There are so many more indirect costs to health care that are not being accounted for in that figure.

As usual, lurch was offensive and smelly. Not even worth talking about.

W. won his re-election last evening!!!

I knew he would rise to the occasion!!!

Thank God,

JeffR

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.

Lumpy:

It’s interesting that you would accuse the President of choking under pressure. Theresa’s little boy was quoted as saying that after seeing the attacks on television, he was shocked and didn’t know what to do for about a half hour.

Sounds like good concisive leadership to me!

[quote]ZEB wrote:
vroom:

Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were supposed to echo the latest polling information.

I was simply giving the board my personal take on it. If the polls indicated that they tied then that means half the people surveyed thought that President Bush won.
I am one of those people. Unless, everyone surveyed thought that they tied, which is doubtful.

Giving you my honest take, not rgurgitating the latest polling information like you are.

Bye for now vroom![/quote]

Well to be fair Zeb, I think most people would say the purpose of these debates is for the candidates to sway potential voters into believeing they are the more deserving of the position. Polls, although flawed, are the most direct report we have of that metric. I just don’t understand your argument, you are right about who swayed impressed more voters because you are voicing your bias, and Vroom is wrong because he is reflecting the metric we have for you is swaying more voters. That’s kind of like the cheerleading for a losing (or tied) team chanting “rah rah we won” and criticizing someone else for “rgurgitating” the score, isn’t it? I think the misunderstanding between the two of you is that Vroom is assuming a more standard definition of “won the debate” while you are using some other yet unspecified definition. One thing’s for certain, these debates (or rather the declarations of victory) have been an entertaining barometer for individuals’ personal biases.

Personally, My take was that Kerry had a very slight edge on argument, which Bush was able to, for the most part, negate via presentation of argument. I predicted that Kerry would have a slight edge in the polls that would be close enough to be called a draw, and that was my honest take minutes after watching the debates. Turns out my prediction for all three debates to this point have been mirrored by the polls. It’s not because I’m reguritating the polls (my opinions were formed before looking at the polls), it’s because I sat down, threw my bias aside and actually listened to what both sides were saying.

rsu, nice how you leave out the FACT that kerry fudged several FACTS ~ read factcheck.org

bush won this debate overall, but all this debate really did was re-energize the base, which is all that is need on election day

President Bush 2000-2008

Dont any of the Bush supporters care about how the Bush administration makes America looks to the rest of the world. Like ruthless morons

Bush: [If John Kerry were president] “Saddam would still be in power and the world would be a better place.”

This had to be Bush’s best point of the night.

[quote]skrying wrote:
Bush: [If John Kerry were president] “…the world would be a better place.”

This had to be Bush’s best point of the night.[/quote]

Yes, that IS a good point he made. It’s great that he’s big enough to admit that in public, too.