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Kerry is coming out swinging

October 1st, 2004

Kerry is coming out swinging in his first rebuttal to Bush, making the point very, very strongly about Bush failing to follow up in Afghanistan and went to Iraq when it was not necessary.

And now Lehrer just gave Kerry a real softball right over the plate: what failures is Bush guilty of? Kerry’s trouble here is that he doesn’t have enough time–he started a bit weak, but he’s now focusing on how Bush did not go to war as a “last resort,” and made points about the cost in lives and money, and bringing the point back to Afghanistan.

Bush’s response: misquoting Kerry and misrepresenting his opinion, now he’s going for the flip-flop spin. Then Bush tried to explain his reasons on going into Iraq; maybe others would buy it, it’s not very convincing to me. And now, on the next question, he’s trying to say that (a) our forces are not stretched, and (b) we have a real world-wide coalition. Bush is now stumbling a bit on his words, and sounding less organized, but he’s getting his points in there–though he’s not attacking Kerry as much as I’d expected. Kerry’s obviously preparing well on his rebuttal, taking notes behind his podium.

Kerry’s shooting back about how Iraq was not the center, or even part of the war on terrorism. A very good, straightforward point here; he’s hitting Bush hard on how badly things are going in Iraq. Bush responds again claiming that Kerry supported the war. Kerry declined to answer that, but made the point that he has the legitimacy to bring other nations to the table.

Did Kerry say “Weapons of Mass Destruction” coming into Iraq in there? Maybe I misheard…

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