The Debate: Who Saw It?

So, who watched the first Presidential Debate last night? What were you impressions? I could read a boring news summary of it, but I’d rather see what the people here have to say.

11 Responses to “The Debate: Who Saw It?”

My impressions? A solid Dubya, but my Kerry is still in its formative stages.

Um, I’m pleased as punch with it. Bush was tasting bile, getting exasperated and out-of-sorts. He was pretty single-minded: “Kerry’s a flip-flopper”, and Kerry parried that repeatedly, then went on the attack. Bush tried to defend by saying, “Um… Kerry’s a flip-flopper”.
Meanwhile, Kerry got Bush good. “Osama bin Laden attacked us, not Saddam Hussein.” (And Bush’s petulant little ‘I know that! You think I don’t know that?’ type response). Pulled it off nicely.
If you get a tape of the debate and watch it, there are multiple points where Bush says “… uh… um… Senator Kerry” and there’s just about enough time in there to hear Bush saying “What’s his name?” Same thing happened when he was trying to remember Saddam Hussein’s name, too.

Owen - October 1st, 2004 at 1:46 pm

From the sources I’ve heard (well, second-handedly from the NY times and such), polls show that Kerry won. That’s all I really cared about 🙂 (Somebody should do a search and post a link here — I would but I’m visiting relatives out of state and only have a modem connection! The agony!) I did watch it too though… it was painful. The thing is, Bush usually talked very simply, and Kerry actually used specific facts and solid evidence, etc, that probably the general public wouldn’t quite understand (and Bush is appealing to those guys because of his simplification of problems). But, Kerry looked better, I think (in my biased view), because often times he said something which really agitated Bush, yet Kerry never seemed to get agitated. One of Kerry’s main problems was he seemed hesitant to attack Bush — it was as though he wanted to look like a “nice guy” and it took him a while to really warm up to string together justified insults and such.

Yeah, the who attacked us comment was great, Owen — especially when Kerry said our response was similar to as if “when Pearl Harbor was attacked we responded by attacking Mexico.” Owen’s also right about the “flip-flopping” — Bush often just retorted with insulting Kerry’s “flip-flopping” instead of coming up with a more intelligent, penetrating answer. But, we talked about “flip-flopping” before and I still feel it’s right when justified — Bush even said at one point that we shouldn’t have a president that “changes policies over time” or something.. and I just felt like “what? You mean.. since the Cold War’s over we shouldn’t still be anti-Soviet Union and doing the arms race or something?” I just feel it’s ridiculous. So, that’s my long-winded take on it… but you really should go look at some reviews online 🙂

Teisha - October 1st, 2004 at 8:25 pm

I also wanted to mention that Bush must have said it’s “hard work” to be president, etc., a couple dozen times (would love a word count on that). Also, I wanted to mention that it was stated that neither candidate knew the exact questions in advance, but only the general topics (Iraq and other foreign affairs, right?).. because somebody thought that they did get the exact questions in advance. Please correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

Teisha - October 1st, 2004 at 9:36 pm

Gallup (which sends me e-mails every time they’ve got the least bit of news) sent me it’s “quickie poll” on this.
I don’t know if you all can access “this link”: but the basic results of their polls: 53% say Kerry “won”, 37% say Bush won. And given Gallup’s recent conservative-lean, that’s saying a lot.

Owen - October 1st, 2004 at 9:41 pm

Thanks for the link, Owen (and saving my lazy butt :). Wow, 71% of the Republicans still support Bush…

Teisha - October 1st, 2004 at 9:53 pm

I actually woke myself up to watch the debate (3am here in Denmark) then felt kind of stupid when I found out the program’s libraian taped it for us to watch at a decent hour.

Anyway my general impression was that Bush seemed to be relying more on rehearsed speeches then Kerry did, sometimes it seemed like Bush wasn’t even listening to the question, just for keywords. When Bush was spontaneous it seemed like those times people have already mentioned when he seemed angry more then anything else. Also I thought it was hilarious when Bush asked for the extension to make another point, then spent a couple of seconds trying to figure out what to say. You would think he would have at least been able to say something.

mcmillan - October 4th, 2004 at 10:02 am

I heard that Bush had been giving out so many speeches to people who firmly supported him lately that he somewhat forgot how to deal with people who had a different opinion… just what I heard… (Sorry again — no link because I heard by way of the grape vine.)

Teisha - October 4th, 2004 at 11:11 am

To get in to a Bush rally you have to sign a “loyalty oath”:, saying “I will vote for Bush”. Anybody who doesn’t, or wears anything they don’t like, doesn’t get in (and “sometimes gets arrested”: Naturally, the “Ask the President” sessions are filtered so that the “questions” are, in fact, “grotesque fawning”. And while you must have a ticket to get in to Kerry’s rallies, you can print those off the internet. To get a Bush rally ticket, you have to get it from the GOP, and they “suggest” that working in their offices “improves your chances” of getting a ticket.

Owen - October 4th, 2004 at 12:08 pm

And after my liberal ranting, I forgot to actually make my point:
All of which is to say: Bush hasn’t had to face a negative question or even a negative thought in all his campaigning. He’s rusty, to say the least.

Owen - October 4th, 2004 at 12:09 pm

Given what seems to have been a poor performance for Bush… How do you all think that the next debate will turn out? It should be interesting, since (I believe) it is set to focus more on domestic issues, which is an area that Bush perhaps has a better chance defending.

Well, that might be too generous, what with the highest deficit ever, huge unemployment rates, a recessed economy, and more… But hey- I tried!

Paradoxdruid - October 4th, 2004 at 12:59 pm

The next debate will be a “town hall” setup. This will be another advantage for Kerry, having done real town hall situatiions.
The last debate is the “domestic issue” debate, which is where Kerry is strongest, or rather, Bush has more vulnerabilities.

Owen - October 4th, 2004 at 1:40 pm

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