Did Kerry Win the Debate? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Did Kerry Win the Debate?

A New York Times editorial today called Bush's performance "downright petulant": "George W. Bush is famous for fierce discipline when it comes to sticking to a carefully honed, simple message. Last night he reiterated this campaign message once again - that "the world is safer without Saddam Hussein" and that things are, on the whole, going well in Iraq. [...] But last night Mr. Bush sounded less convincing when he had to make his case in the face of Mr. Kerry's withering criticism, particularly his repeated insistence that the invasion had diverted attention from the true center of the war on terror in Afghanistan."

"Mr. Kerry found the most effective line of argument when he told the audience that 'Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror" and that the president had "rushed the war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace.' It is the strongest and most sensible critique of the administration's actions. Of course, it left Mr. Kerry open to rejoinders by Mr. Bush that Mr. Kerry had sounded far more warlike about Iraq in his pre-campaign persona. [...] But when Mr. Bush jabbed at the senator with a reminder about his infamous comment on voting for a war appropriation before he voted against it, Mr. Kerry had finally found an effective answer. While saying he had made a mistake in the way he had expressed himself, the senator added: 'But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?'

"Mr. Kerry scored an important point when the president made a more significant slip and talked about the need to go to war because 'the enemy attacked us.' The person who sent planes smashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Mr. Kerry reminded the audience, was Osama bin Laden, who was operating from Afghanistan, not Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

Instant polls are showing this morning that Kerry "won" the presidential debate last night. What do you think?

Previous Comments

ID
137165
Comment

As an Independent voter that leans towards Kerry, I watched the debate with a very, open mind and hoped like hell for a dog-fight of ideals and topics... I was a little let down by the overall debate. There were a few choice comments by both candidates that made me think about the war and homeland security in a different light. As well, I found myself agreeing with many things both said... I used three things in this debate to help better determine my vote. I can't wait to see the others to have a fuller understanding of both leaders in an unscripted environment. Body Language Kerry physically came across as more "presidential" and composed. Bush's body language leaned towards uncomfortable and defensive. Bush also began repeating himself with a more aggressive tone which seriously reduced the credibility of his statements for anyone that may be triggered by body language. What kind of prestigious president makes faces like Bush did (a few times) during a live debate? That seemed childish and further removed credibility from Bush's side. Very childish... Still, Bush seemed warm and more like a down-to-earth (but angry) citizen than Kerry. Bush's emotional tones (did I hear a voice that was shaky and on the verge of tears?) seemed a bit over-the-top even for a politician pandering votes. I think Kerry won this portion because proper body language and tone are incredibly important for a leader (on any scale) and is extremely effective when conducting business and schmoozing. Stance on Iraq I really appreciated that Kerry was willing to admit his mistakes on this issue (often referred to as his flip-flops). I think it takes a stronger man to admit mistakes, re-evaluate the situation and make a better decision based on the facts as they are presented. Bush couldn't or wouldn't do it. He seemed so stubborn that he would not admit Iraq was a mistake. It was but we now must deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Bush realizes these are consequences we are experiencing at this moment. Neither of them seems to have a sound plan to get us out of there... So, on this issue, I side with Kerry because I do agree that a new face on this issue will help ease international tension and can possibly gain new allies in the reconstruction of Iraq. Homeland Security Hands down, Kerry stomped Bush. I do not believe we are making our land secure by killing people across the globe. I do not believe Bush has secured our ports and our mass transit which (for me) is more important than Iraq at the moment. So, little can be said for Bush on this and his words are empty as far as I'm concerned. If Kerry promises to secure OUR land, he earns these points; Bush has made that promise and we are no more secure in many areas of our country than pre-9/11.

Author
kaust
Date
2004-10-01T12:45:03-06:00
ID
137166
Comment

Bush simply seemed too stubborn on his issues and not willing to admit his mistakes. Honestly, I was hoping for some inkling of understanding from him but it's not there on these issues. Everyone knows we entered Iraq for the wrong reasons and our troops are dying for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, we are left with this mess whether it was a mistake or not. After the debate, I personally feel Kerry will be able to handle the Iraqi situation much better than Bush has (and will if re-elected). I can not help but note that Bush has been a horrible business man throughout his history. Many of his ventures have been complete flops. He basically condemned Kerry for being "dynamic" and stated that "you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win." Well, Mr. Bush, as any CEO or manager in business will testify, sometimes you have to make changes in a plan if it's not a success or going "according to plan"... Sometimes you have to re-evaluate a situation and amend it or scrap it altogether if it is not for the betterment of the whole. If Bush were more dynamic as a leader rather than stubborn, I cannot imagine his businesses of past would have been flops and that we would be in such a horrible mess (aka Iraq and the War on Terror). In my opinion, Kerry one this one.

Author
kaust
Date
2004-10-01T12:45:12-06:00
ID
137167
Comment

Even the Freepers were buzzing about Bush's failure last night. As you can imagine, Daily Kos was very funny this morning.

Author
corrosiongone
Date
2004-10-01T17:09:04-06:00
ID
137168
Comment

A new Newsweek poll finds that Kerry has pulled ahead of Bush since winning the debate: With a solid majority of voters concluding that John Kerry outperformed George W. Bush in the first presidential debate on Thursday, the presidentís lead in the race for the White House has vanished, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. In the first national telephone poll using a fresh sample, NEWSWEEK found the race now statistically tied among all registered voters, 47 percent of whom say they would vote for Kerry and 45 percent for George W. Bush in a three-way race. Removing Independent candidate Ralph Nader, who draws 2 percent of the vote, widens the Kerry-Edwards lead to three points with 49 percent of the vote versus the incumbentís 46 percent. [...] Among the three-quarters (74 percent) of registered voters who say they watched at least some of Thursdayís debate, 61 percent see Kerry as the clear winner, 19 percent pick Bush as the victor and 16 percent call it a draw. After weeks of being portrayed as a verbose ìflip-flopperî by Republicans, Kerry did better than a majority (56 percent) had expected. Only about 11 percent would say the same for the presidentís performance while more than one-third (38 percent) said the incumbent actually did worse that they had expected. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans felt their man out-debated the challenger but a full third (33 percent) say they felt Kerry won. In fact, Kerryís numbers have improved across the board, while Bushís vulnerabilities have become more pronounced. The senator is seen as more intelligent and well-informed (80 percent, up six points over last month, compared to Bushís steady 59 percent); as having strong leadership skills (56 percent, also up 6 points, but still less than Bushís 62 percent) and as someone who can be trusted to make the right calls in an international crisis (51 percent, up five points and tied with Bush). Meanwhile, Bush's approval ratings have dropped to below the halfway mark (46 percent) for the first time since the GOP convention in late August. Full Newsweek story On his blog, Andrew Sullivan says Karl Rove should be "panicking a little": My own view is that Bush's critical problem is the last year in Iraq - and his arrogant, Pollyannish response to it. What happened Thursday was that for the first time, the public saw the president confronted with these issues directly and saw that he had no real answer. Worse, they saw him visibly angry at being called to account at all. Out of it and pissy. Not a great combination.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-10-02T16:23:42-06:00
ID
137169
Comment

Tucker Carlson on Bush's debate performance: "No matter how you feel about Bush, watching him speak is difficult. Itís like watching a drunk man cross an icy street." (I got the quote from AndrewSullivan.com, too.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-10-02T16:24:49-06:00
ID
137170
Comment

Etched into my memory as deeply as Al Gore's irritating and condescending sighs of 2000 is hearing Bush's voice saying "Sending mexed missages... uhm, mixed messages." Another blog raises the possibilty that Karl Rove was screaming into Bush's earpiece when Bush blurted out 'Let me finish!" for no apparent reason. (Forgive me, I have forgotten which site.) I am very glad the DNC quickly worked on maximizing the damage done to and by Dim George. However, expect to see a different Bush show up at the next joint appearance. Somebody in the Whitewash House has taken on the job of hanging the bell around the cat's neck, even if they know they will be fired.

Author
corrosiongone
Date
2004-10-02T18:06:17-06:00
ID
137171
Comment

the "whitewash house" hehe One of the things I disliked most about Gore in 2000 was his inability to keep those sighs to himself. He just seemed so immature in a lot of debates with his eye rolling and heavy sighing. Oh, and Bush! Look at you following in ole Al's footsteps with those childish faces. Check out www.democrats.com They have a video of Bush's 'best' faces of the night.

Author
casey
Date
2004-10-03T10:39:41-06:00

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