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Summing Up: Kerry Comes Away with the Advantage

October 1st, 2004

Okay, they’re in their final statements now. Since Kerry had the first answer, Bush has the last statement. Kerry’s statement had a few stumbles, but mainly hit his main points. Bush comes across as reassuring here, looking at the cameras, not the audience. “We will stay the course,” more or less. He also hits his main points. He stumbles a bit as well, but I think comes across as more personable. Ah, and now he’s using landscape metaphors.

So, how did the debate go?

On points, Kerry won, most definitely from the first half hour, where Kerry pounded Bush and Bush was weak and on the defensive. However, a lot of people will focus more on the ending, and Bush had recovered by that time. But one of the main goals for this debate for Kerry was getting exposure, letting the people see who he is, and he did an admirable job here. Anyone who watched this one saw a good representation of Kerry. Kerry was more poised and definitely came across as presidential. This is critical for Kerry, for undecideds, and even Democrats and Republicans, to see him as presidential material, capable of doing the job, and holding his own on a stage with Bush–and that’s what he did. He managed to state his case well, and stayed on the offensive against Bush, never letting up.

Bush’s goal was more to hold his own, and while he succeeded later in the debate, he fumbled it in the first half hour. Any analysis on this debate will depend on whether or not that is counted. Bush did have a warm, reassuring style, but he was weak on the facts, not to mention the mention of “the enemy attacked us,” obviously implying that Hussein attacked us. Kerry did very well to call him on that immediately, and Bush will lose points on that one. Overall, Bush could have done a lot better.

Kerry did not get a knockout here, but he definitely won on points (even the pundits on CNN are pretty much in agreement on that one).

It’ll be interesting to see the broader response in the media, from the public, and in the polls. But for now, I gotta run to work. More later.

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  1. Bob Villa
    October 1st, 2004 at 13:02 | #1

    I think that Bush LOST ground over the course of the debate. Although he had no problem pulling up his tried-and-true one-liners, Bush always was looking “defensive”. He was holding on the the podium AND ROCKING IT! for a good portion of the debate.

    Kerry grabbed “the ring” when Mr. Lehrer asked about what the most pressing issue is. He quickly said “Nuclear Proliferation” and, from that point forward Kerry was on offense and Bush on defense.

  2. Enumclaw
    October 1st, 2004 at 18:40 | #2

    The wide consensus at work (where there’s a mix of fairly right wing, left wing, with most in the middle) was that Kerry pretty much kicked W’s butt.

    I ran into one friend of mine (who last week jokingly offered me a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker to cover up my “air traffic controllers against W” or “Kerry/Edwards 2004” stickets).

    I said “hey, I heard your boy is getting his (butt) whupped.”

    He said “Paul, it was so bad I couldn’t watch. I’m still going to vote for Bush but man, he was terrible.”

    When a die-hard conservative is saying that, you know it was a good debate for Kerry. The immediate after-debate polling of fence-sitting voters looked pretty good, too, with one poll putting it at 70% of the folks saying Kerry won. Given that 30% or so of the people are going to say Bush won no matter what, that’s pretty good.


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