Friday, October 08, 2004

Kerry Wins Again, But Closer Contest

I'm giving this debate to Kerry as well, though he was not nearly as strong as in the first debate and President Bush improved greatly. Like in the first debate, I'm going to give comments to each candidate (these are before I read the spin, by the way).

Kerry: Bad move not addressing "flipflop" on Iraq in the first question, but you got to it later so no harm down. Good job incorporating the Republicans indicting Bush's mishandling of Iraq, rhetorically quite strong. Great point on the President having to win the peace, not the military. Neat refutation to Bush's point that he "listened to the generals on the ground" on Iraq. Looked calm, dignified, and presidential, which is important. Hammered Bush on choosing Tax Cuts over Defense, which is his weak spot, excellent! Stellar performance overall on the FP portion of the debate. Might have been a little churlish on the balanced budget accusation (not that I mind). Sounded shaky when saying you supported Tort Reform, should have just focused on that it was 1/2 % of the problem (though Bush had a surprisngly good response to that). Drug reimportation was your best issue on economy. I'm not sure if saying that Bush counts as a small business under his tally is a political gamble that will pay off. Sounded very uncomfortable on abortion questions. Could have knocked Bush cold on the "mistakes" question. Closing was good, not a knockout. And I think the constant repetition of "I have a plan" is a brilliant move. It both a) makes you seem more solid and resolute and b) suggests that Bush doesn't, which is one of his weak points. OVERALL: A on Foreign Policy, B on Domestic, A- overall.

Bush: Sounded WAY out of control on the FP portion of the debate. At times you seemed almost desperate, and that's really going to hurt I think. One good FP line was how Kerry changed in response to Howard Dean, that's a damning attack. Unfortunately, it was the only good shot of that portion of the debate. Seemed like you were going to attack the moderator when arguing that we had a coalition, and Kerry's response was killer there. Overall, very poor performance on Foreign Policy, I don't think you were very reassuring. Weak answer to drug reimportation question (could come from a "third world"?). On the other hand, "defensive medicine" answer to Kerry's minimization of liability reform as an issue was stellar. I'm not sure if you want to focus on "credibilty" right now, as I think Americans are abit more worried about your credibilty than Kerry's. Reasonable defense on Environmental question. Sounded GREAT on abortion, really sticked it. Close was solid. D+ on Foreign Policy, B on Domestic, C+ overall.

Let the spinning commence.

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