September 30, 2004

1st Kerry/Dubya debate.

This magpie definitely calls it for Kerry. Not a slam dunk, but not too far off, either. Kerry started a bit slow but skills in courtroom argument and legislative debate showed.

Dubya appeared unsure and often sounded petulant. He was repetitious, and it was obvious that he was working off a memorized crib sheet. He spoke in generalities, and his main points were that the country shouldn't change leaders mid-war and that Kerry is a flip-flopper.

Kerry was articulate and specific, and obviously was thinking on his feet. He also obviously had his talking points, but he didn't repeat them like a litany. And he did an excellent job of both showing his own foreign policy expertise, and hacking away at Dubya's supposed foreign policy leadership.

What did you think?

More: If you missed the debate, CNN is gradually posting a complete transcript, which begins here.

And more: This Reuters photo from the debate pretty much says it all in terms of how Dubya presented himself:

smirking_chimp.jpg [Photo: Jim Young/Reuters]

Pretty presidential, huh?

Posted by Magpie at September 30, 2004 07:24 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

When David Brooks calls it a tie, you know Kerry hit it out of the ballpark!

Posted by: Norman at September 30, 2004 08:01 PM

most of the pundits i caught after the debate seemed to think it was pretty even, which probably confirms what you're saying.

perhaps the worst part of the debate for dubya was the split screen. on one side, you had dubya pursing his lips and looking uncomfortable -- sometimes even looking like he was waiting for the recess bell to ring & get him out of an answer. and on the other, kerry generally looked thoughtful and attentive.

(kerry even spoke in short declarative sentences, which we suspect was quite a reach for him.)

Posted by: Magpie at September 30, 2004 08:18 PM

As an impartial observer watching the debate from a far away land (Wales), I'd say Kerry looked much better. Was Bush a rabbit frozen by headlights, or a president?

Posted by: Ifan at September 30, 2004 08:19 PM

I watched the C-Span for the debate and CNN for the post-debate snarling match.
They said Kerry did well but couldn't help but give Bush marks for 'staying on point'. They drifted into GOP territory when they brought in the wonks. They gave more weight to the GOoPers, seemed to give the Kerry reps bad sound equipment. Karen Hughes could be heard in the next room, Mike McCurry had a dead mike and a lousy feed. We heard her slam Kerry but couldn't hear Mike respond. Wolfie tried to make nice abut you could tell the fix was in.

Kerry verbally kicked Bush across the stage but to get any acknowledgement, he would have had to reach over and put the Chimp in a full nelson.

Posted by: David Aquarius at September 30, 2004 08:28 PM