First Debate - Kerry Edges Out Bush

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The first debate between Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush is now history and CNN has the transcript. Who won? They both did. However, a post debate poll indicates Kerry had the edge. Overall, Sen. Kerry and Pres. Bush held their own regarding their loyal constituencies. That is to say, there were no major gaffs, no unruly behaviors, and no zingers to harm the support of their base voters. In fact, the only noticeable event outside answer content was one occurrence of Bush's "deer in the headlights" stare and pregnant pause as he collected his thoughts. But it was not significant in context.

With swing voters however, it may be that Kerry picks up a short term poll bounce due to the fact that his policy positions added clarity and filled out some details of how his presidency would be different that President Bush's. If Kerry's 'unknown' quantity caused hesitation in some swing voters, it will likely be removed for some swing voters. Kerry stated he would conduct summits with other countries to listen, discuss, and hammer out terms which would strengthen coalition efforts in Iraq and against nuclear weapon proliferation, a large issue introduced by Kerry in the debates. Pres. Bush had nothing knew to add regarding his 'stay the course' resolve and force of will as foreign policy.

The heart of Pres. Bush's debate can be summed up in one of his quotes: "The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal, is to constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty." This message was reiterated over and over in the debate. Consistency and staying on message were demonstrated throughout the debate as the President's strong suits.
The heart of Kerry's debate was summarized in one of his opening responses:

I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are....
I'm proud that important military figures who are supporting me in this race: former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili; just yesterday, General Eisenhower's son, General John Eisenhower, endorsed me; Admiral William Crowe; General Tony McPeak, who ran the Air Force war so effectively for his father -- all believe I would make a stronger commander in chief. And they believe it because they know I would not take my eye off of the goal: Osama bin Laden.

Where both Bush and Kerry failed in my opinion is in addressing how our presence in Iraq makes us safer at home. President Bush has still not made the case that the terrorists in Iraq are the only terrorists in the world who would harm us, thus, by attracting some to Iraq, others are not coming to the U.S. to harm us here. Sen. Kerry also failed by not pouncing on this fact using current intelligence reports to end Bush supporters claims that the war in Iraq is preventing terrorists from planning and coming here to America. Kerry could have easily demonstrated that terrorists are still in and around the U.S. and are not all corralled in Iraq.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on October 1, 2004 7:06 AM.

Bush Failure Facts Flooding News was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush, Kerry, Nader - Debate Analysis is the next entry in this blog.

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