Well, Whadya Think?

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So it's over and the talking heads have taken over the screen. But, humble reader, who did you think won this contest?

IMO, I'd call it basically a draw, though I think Kerry faded a bit compared to his previous performances. Neither of them articulated anything like a grand vision that might really energize someone.

And in the baseball playoffs, the Yanks are up 3-0 over the Bosox in bottom of the seventh. St. Louis 7-4 over the 'stros in bottom of the 6th.

NEXT: Kerry as Bush?

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  1. Bush wins…he has a pulse and a personality.

  2. Kerry began every answer with a recitation of Bush this and that, then said he would do it better because he has a plan to run out the clock before he has to time to tell us all what that plan might be.
    Same old same old same old… yawn!

    Bush won. He asked for my vote and I will give it to him.

  3. Much to my surprise, Bush actually won the debate, hands down. I like his “promises” a lot better than Kerry “promises.”

  4. I’d say Bush won.

  5. I also go with Bush…

    Felt he started strong- Kerry rallied on the minimum wage, Roe-Wade, and AWB- Bush put him away late.

  6. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  7. Make that 10-4 in the bottom of the 6th, Nick. What’s a St. Louis Cards fan to do tonight?

  8. I watched The Day After Tomorrow. Not bad for a cheesy Hollywood disaster flick based on scientific mumbo jumbo. Watching LA get levelled by twisters was especially exciting! 🙂

  9. I’ve got a little while left yet because of TiVo pauses, but unless Bush implodes hardcore in the last 20 mintues, this is a solid smackdown for Dubya.

  10. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  11. Make that 10-4 in the bottom of the 6th, Nick. What’s a St. Louis Cards fan to do tonight?

  12. Both got some good licks in. But now it comes down to turn-out. Who can get out their voters…both living and dead.

  13. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  14. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  15. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  16. Let me guess; both of them promised us all manner of goodies, then decided not to tell anyone how to pay for it. Shit, I didn’t even have to watch the debate to tell you that. 🙂

  17. I’m going to vote for Kerry, but this looked like a clear Bush win to me. From the first debate where Bush looked like a tired midget (what a terrible setup for Bush that was) to this one where he looked revitalized and passionate, there was such a positive change that it really startled me. Bush’s arguments against Kerry’s horrid health care proposal might have convinced me to vote for him, if I wasn’t certain that a Republican House would ensure that it never came to pass. Kerry was ok, but I grew very tired of his circumventing the debate format by following up a previous question in an unrelated question’s time.

  18. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  19. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  20. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

  21. Kerry’s policy proposals frustrated me more than Bush’s did this evening (minimum wage?!?!).

    I thought it was basically a draw before the final question. But Bush handled the “woman” question much better with his joking reply. Sure, Bush has a lot more material for self-deprecation than Kerry does, but he was entertaining nonetheless.

    That doesn’t mean I dislike Bush’s policies any less than I did prior to this evening, but it does mean that I think he won the debate.

    On a side note, tonight’s moderator was the weakest of the four.

  22. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.

    PS – what’s this board running on, a toaster oven? There just ain’t enough people posting for it to be timing out the wway it is.

  23. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  24. I think Kerry won by me.

  25. Kerry mopped the floor with Bush.

  26. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  27. You know, the thing I hate most about the TV news is being repeated on every blog I’ve checked. It’s all about “who won”. Like it’s the high school debate team or something.

    I think the same about this debate that I did about the other two. Both sides laid out clear plans about where they want to take the country. Their plans were different. As a viewer, I was presented a clear choice between them. Who cares who laid it out more clearly, or had the most ‘gotcha’s or whatever?

    I’m voting for Kerry. Not because he “won” this or the other debates, but because I prefer his vision to Bush’s. I assume most voters do the same.

  28. How do you keep a blonde busy?

  29. How do you keep a blonde busy?

  30. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  31. How do you keep a blonde busy?

  32. How do you keep a blonde busy?

  33. kwais,

    Can you repeat that one more time? 🙂

  34. Bush won hands down. He waffled on abortion, gun rights, and minimum wage.

    But he started strong, optimistic, and smiling. The first debate he was painfull to watch. This time, I think he could have done way better at talking about the role of govt in our lives. But he was better than Kerry. And despite his above mentioned waffles, he came across as believing what he was saying, Kerry didn’t.

  35. kwais,

    Can you repeat that one more time? 🙂

  36. How do you keep a blonde busy?

  37. They both sucked. I prefer my Bush shaved.

  38. Dude!
    I hit post, and nothing happened. So I tried again and the screen went blanc, so I hit ‘refresh’ and nothing happened. and I waited forever, and I looked at some other stuff on another screen and then went back to the reason one, and still nothing. So I shut it down and all this shit.
    I wonder what will happen to this post.

  39. I hit post, and nothing happened.

    Me too!

  40. Hey Jason and others,
    I read all the posts since I first typed my stuff, and apparently there are even double postings making fun of double postings.

  41. YANKEES WIN!!!!

    YANKEES WIN!!!

    YANKEES WIN!!!

  42. Kwais-

    Seems like at least one other person saw the exact same debate as I did!

    Seems like you watched it three times, though. :o)

  43. I think common wisdom that emerges over the next couple of days will be that Kerry basically won all three debates: did what he needed to do to undercut Bush. In almost every debate, Bush and Cheney’s delivery was either targeted to their base, or unconvincing in their pleas to the center. Kerry and Edwards solidly went after the center to whole time. This kept them from being the knockouts that partisans demanded, but it seemed to serve them well as time went on. Tonight was no different: Kerry came out looking like the more thoughtful on policy issues, while Bush was more entertaining than before, his one-liner are getting more and more strained. His presidency has revolved around being doggedly on talking points, avoiding real debate or accountability, and it ultimately hurts him in these settings, because people have steadily grown hip to it. Bush made some serious gaffes and errors of fact, the worst of which is the Osama claim where he not only denied saying something he actually had said, but actually called others liars for claiming he had. That looks very bad on many fronts, and it will certainly be the clip of the night.

    I’m not with Kerry on many issues, but I’m also not with Bush. What these debates showed me is that I could live with Kerry’s direction, and that I’m tired of Bush’s. After enduring a lot of veiled implications that Kerry will had us over to the terrorists, I just can’t find them credible. Kerry called for more troops in Afghanistan when both the left was opposing sending any troops and the right was trying to destroy the reputations of anyone that dared criticize the President. It’s just not easy to square that with the image of flip-flopper or peacenik, and the Kerry everyone saw in these debates just wasn’t what Bush was trying to paint.

    I think that divided government is the best hope we have, fiscally.

  44. lol, plunge

    does the DNC (‘managed markets and deluded minds’) pay you $3 per blog post?

  45. I can’t stomach either guy’s policies, so I guess I qualify as unbiased.

    In my “unbiased” view, Kerry won handily. He seemed much more comfortable and appeared to do a better job of justifying his answers. In other words, he seemed more “presidential”, whatever that means. Mind you, I disagree with most of his views, but he did the better job of presenting his position, and that’s the basis on which I judge the debate.

    The undecided voters will be convinced more by the candidate’s style and presentation than by any arguments – after all, if they had firm opinions on the issues, they wouldn’t be undecided. Yeah, it’s kinda sad that presidents get chosen based on style points, but such is life. To a fair extent, style conveys content anyway, so it’s not a total loss.

  46. Bush was probably the best he’s been in this debate, but there was still a noticeable gap between him and Kerry. Kerry won all three debates, not only in my opinion but according to scientific polls. And if you doubt that Kerry’s victories aren’t helping him in the election, just look at his recent surge in national polls.

    The revelation for the viewing audience in this debates has been that Bush – the man, not his image – just isn’t as likeable as Kerry. I think Dubya’s team knows that this is costing him and they tried to do everything they could to fix it. As a result, whereas Kerry projected the same thoughtful, serious persona in all three debates, Bush was all over the map. The first one was a disaster for him, of course, and in the second he overcompensated by being pretty darn angry. This time around he tried and partially succeeded in being more jovial, and although his permasmirk annoyed the hell out of me, it’s probably the best he can do.

  47. Kerry won, but not by the margine of the first two because Bush was more under control this time. The biggest loser, however, was Bob Schieffer. Lousy job, Bob.

  48. the more I think about, more I think the gridlock of government in the 90’s was the key to success; record economy and government shut down…. Now should I have a republican congress and democratic presidency or vice versa…?

  49. $ to donuts the last 5 pro-kerry posts are from the same ip

  50. Leno said it best: the real winner tonight was anyone who watched baseball…

  51. If not from the same IP, certainly from the same mindset. I hate scripted stuff.

  52. Man, and I thought Julian Sanchez was the one person on this damn site who could be counted on.

    If Bush pulled down his pants, shat in his hand, and then proceeded to form an igloo out of it on the podium whilst whistling the Popeye theme song, half of you would still say he won the debate.

  53. Defnitely a Kerry win. I think he won on substance, but I would; the real meter is that Bush used so many obvious falsehoods that can easily and succinctly be talked up in the news the next few days. The Osama line in particular is going to sting, because there’s video to show refuting that.

  54. skippy,

    LOL! If Bush did that, he’d win my vote — maybe you’re on to something.

    Paging Karl Rove…

  55. skippy: Into which hand do you think it would be more effective for him to shit?

  56. You know crimethink, now that you mention it, it’d probably sway me more than anything else I can think of as well.

    But then again, Jesse Ventura is my favorite elected politician ever, so maybe I’m a sucker theatrics.

  57. ahem, that should be a sucker FOR theatrics.

  58. Did Bush say he unleashed the Armies of Compassion? Was that before or after he unleashed the Armies of bombs and bullshit?

  59. not only in my opinion but according to scientific polls
    Scientific polls? Conducted by real scienticians? Wow! Get off it dude, there’s more science in scoring a boxing match than scoring a press conference. Seriously, competative interpretive dance makes more sense than trying to say who won these things.

  60. Responding to the issue of Bush not fighting for re-passage of the “assault weapon ban”, Kerry’s story about hunting with a sheriff in Iowa (LOL, not only is he a sportsman, but he has lots of black friends too!) who told Kerry about a bust where a drug dealer had an AK-47 next to his bed bugs me. Kerry knows the AWB had nothing to do with fully automatic weapons. He also knows when he says “AK-47”, most people will envision fully automatic military assault weapons and not the semi-autos with conspicuous grips that were banned in the US. The audience is being led to believe letting the AWB sunset will legalize machine guns for felons, as opposed to just re-legalizing semiautos that were banned based largely on perception. He could have been a lot more honest and simply said, “Bush did not work to prevent the re-legalization of newly manufactured relatively high capacity magazines for semi-automatic firearms”, but that might not be as effective at swaying the uneducated as the suggestion Bush doesn’t care if drug dealers have Uzis. (I couldn’t find a news story on Kerry’s claim. You would think all drug busts in Iowa involving “assault weapons” would be big stories. Perhaps this sheriff is an “unimpeachable source”?)

    And Bush didn’t give a cool Libertarian response like “who cares what type of gun he had”, or conversely “it was probably a MAK-90, and not a real AK”, or “the guy wouldn’t have needed that gun if his drug distribution business had the legal protections of the law”, or “it was probably a semiauto, no different than any number of hunting rifles”, or “the guy only used that gun for shooting big government libruls and uppity kings”. Or he could have gone into what is wrong with the AWB, and how its purpose was primarily one of a stepping stone to further gun restrictions including the eventual elimination of all semiauto weapons.

    They didn’t talk enough about guns in this debate…

  61. I’m terribly dissapointed by Kerry. Who is advising him on his debating points? He props up weak or incomplete arguments that Bush can easily knock down. He should be able to mop the floor with Bush, instead he makes Bush look good.

    On Iraq he complains the war was mis-managed, that they guarded this when they should have guarded that. Who cares, sounds like nit-picking. He never challenges the central thesis that the War in Iraq was a good idea in the overall fight against terrorism.

    Kerry harps on about alliances without ever explaining why its important. He cites the cost. Who cares about the cost when there is so much at stake. How about the fact that having credibility and legitimacy is critical to sucess? How about the idea the perception of legitimacy is as important as the reality when you are fighting what amounts to an idealogical war with Ismalic fanatics. Etc.

    I am so frustrated, I wrote my own debate answers in a what I call “If I were John Kerry”. Check it out here: http://www.geocities.com/alangil5/Kerry.html

    (Its written to be average American intellect friendly).

    Also, I didn’t bother with economic issues, since I’m mostly inclined to agree with the Republicans on those.

  62. How it turns out for Bush will hinge on the spittle factor.

    If the spittle gets a lot of play, it could be for him what 5 o’clock shadow was for Nixon.

    Also, it’s kind of insulting the way he responded to questions about jobs with talk about No Child Left Behind. As if the real solution to mid-career people with college degrees but without jobs is to go back to third grade.

  63. Kerry, but it was a squeaker. I thought Bush came off looking uncomfortable and the momentum will continue to move toward Kerry.:)

  64. Bush rhetoric may be better and as long as you are willing to confuse rhetoric with reality …. And doing so would be easy enough if we had no experience with either of them. But for heavens sake Bush has been Prez for 4 years – rhetoric isn’t worth much.

  65. Why are you guys voting anyhow?

    Ever heard of libertarianism? You are using using force if you vote!

    Statists!

  66. The debate stunk because the moderator stunk. Bob Shieffer is forever lost in the past. Shieffer recently tried to stake out moderate ground by claiming he was for the death penalty. Why must all liberals use the death penalty to prove their “moderate” bonafides? Aren’t there any other issues that Sheiffer isn’t pure lefty? The questioins sucked! Affirmative action? minimum wage? and healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. Where was the question on energy independence?

    The best point was when Bush said you can’t trust the major news sources anymore, but he could have delivered a better “nevermind”. How in the fuck did CBS get to choose the questions anyway. And who are all these rare posters claiming Kerry won, like we don’t know they are DNC operatives.

  67. I think Bush won.

    And I’m glad he finally zinged Kerry on his no vote on the first gulf war.

    Kerry has been bellowing hot air about how Bush should have gotten more allies involved, etc. in the Iraq war.

    All that plus UN approval was in place in the first gulf war and Kerry still voted against it.

    If Kerry’s “superior” foreign policy judgement had our policy, Saddam would not only still be in power but he’d have Kuwait. He would have massively destabilizied the entire middle eastern oil supply and wrecked the economies of the western world. We know he had WMD’s at that time and he would have been handing them off to terrorists and financing their operations all around the world.

  68. “Kerry won all three debates, not only in my opinion but according to scientific polls. And if you doubt that Kerry’s victories aren’t helping him in the election, just look at his recent surge in national polls.”

    LOL

    ‘Scientific polls”?

    What, exactly is “scientific” about polls?

    The actual election is the only “poll” that counts.

  69. Kerry won, not as big as his margin the first debate (when he blew Bush away), but bigger than his margin in the second debate (which was close to being a draw).

    But what amazes me is that there have been four debates, and in every single one of them, the Republican has told a demonstrable falsehood. Not just told it, but drew attention to the dispute. “You forgot Poland.” “I didn’t know I owned a timber company.” “I’ve never met you before tonight/I’ve never suggested Iraq was involved in September 11.” And now, “I never said I wasn’t worried about Osama.” How the hell does this keep happening?

    Because of the way the media completely abandoned any effort to report facts about Bush’s tax cut proposal during the 2000 election (“Depending on how you calcuate the saving…” remember?), they have taken a beating for four years. So this time, there are all kinds of “fact checker” segments on all the news shows. Knowing this is going on, what’s up with Bush and Cheney?

  70. “Bob Shieffer is forever lost in the past. Shieffer recently tried to stake out moderate ground by claiming he was for the death penalty. Why must all liberals use the death penalty to prove their “moderate” bonafides? Aren’t there any other issues that Sheiffer isn’t pure lefty?”

    You mean the same Bob Shieffer who is friends with the President, who’s brother is a longtime business partner of the President, and who has repeatedly said that he favors southern candidates and hates nor’easters? Man, yeah, he must have really been choking down that liberal bias!

  71. “The actual election is the only “poll” that counts.”

    I know some folks in Florida who would dispute that.

  72. The presidential debates are nothing more than a semi-rehearsed photo op and a chance for people to confirm any and all preconceived notions. I cannot imagine John Kerry doing anything at a debate short of human sacrifice that would change Joe’s mind. Of course, we can all relax now that Fodderstomp has given us the “scientific” data on the winner. I suppose we can simply accept the existence of ghosts and aliens based on the same sort of “scientific” polling data.

    I find it difficult to imagine a reasonable intelligent person listening to the debate could emerge with anything save a sense of impending doom.

  73. “I know some folks in Florida who would dispute that.”

    Yeah like the Democrat operatives who were trying to manufacture votes out of invalid ballots by “diving” the intent of the votor.

  74. make that “divining” the intent

  75. Oh Great Ouija Board, and Spirits of the Beyond, has there been a pin pushed though this piece of paper, or not?

    Maybe if I sacrificed a goat, I’d be better able to determine if a piece of paperboard had been punched.

  76. Bigbigslacker, you speak the truth. I wish Bush would have spoken like you suggest.

    I would have even been happy with the answer the majority leader of congress told Chris Mathews.

  77. “How it turns out for Bush will hinge on the spittle factor.”

    No one seems to have mentioned that the left side of Bush’s face was somewhat paralyzed last night. I’ve never noticed that before. It could just be a pinched nerve in the neck from a bad night’s sleep.

  78. I take some comfort, Joe, that you are limited to serving on an election board in the Commonwealth of Massachussetts where Kerry is certain to win, even if dies before the general election. Were you in Florida, I suspect your partisan sympathies might cloud your vision of chads, hanging or not… and Florida is one of the handful of states where the vote may actually matter.

  79. “Maybe if I sacrificed a goat, I’d be better able to determine if a piece of paperboard had been punched.”

    Go dimple your hanging chad.

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