Sunday, October 03, 2004

Debate 1 Round-up

I watched less than a minute of the debate. I couldn't handle Jim Lehrer nor his softballs, nor the thought of listening to Senator Kerry drone. I'm willing to read what the man says, but watching him just gets me aggravated.

Anyway, the official transcript of the first debate is here.

My friend Dangerous Dave wrote,
Here is what I learned from watching the debate last night:
Kerry is a better speaker than Bush.
Bush has a better sense of Humor than Kerry.
Kerry will raise my taxes.
Kerry "saw combat" in 1969 and thinks that would make him a better leader of the US armed forces in 2005.
Kerry thinks all the worlds problems can be solved with international summits.
In my opinion, the only problems solved by international summits are the problems of overstocked caviar and champagne.

Allahpundit has a summary of various bloggers' opinions on the debate, with a follow-up here. (Hat tip INDC Journal)

Hugh Hewitt did a "boxscore" format listing questions, answers, and his grade. While Senator Kerry may be a polished debater, what he actually said didn't win the hearts and minds of Bush supporters. It's content versus appearance.

Hugh is also conducting a virtual symposium on the topic "Did Kerry blunder in denouncing nuclear bunker busters? If so, why? If so, how great the damage to his candidacy?"

The Bush campaign provided a real-time rebuttal "fact list" here. The Kerry campaign's list is here in blog format, so you'll have to scroll down.

Arthur Chrenkoff notes that the Polish President didn't appreciate Senator Kerry "dissing" the allies during the debate and dissed him right back. (Hat tip to Hugh's radio show.) Arthur has a couple of other posts on the debate here and here. A sample nugget:
Kerry's infatuation with multilateralism was again apparent during the debate, where virtually the whole basis for his claims that Bush's conduct of war was a disaster and that he, Kerry, would do a better job resolving the crisis seemed to have come down to one simple idea: share the burden. The huddled international masses out there yearn to breathe free and extend their helping hand to America as soon as an elegant and sophisticated Massachusetts resident moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, cracks a wide smile and waves at them.
Neither China nor Iran are excited by Senator Kerry's proposals either.
Lastly, there are the opinion polls. Newsweek proclaims "Bush’s lead in the NEWSWEEK poll has evaporated". Powerline gives some perspective:

Drudge is headlining a Newsweek poll purporting to show that President Bush's lead has completely disappeared in the wake of the drubbing he ostensibly took from John Kerry Thursday night. We knew this was coming; the media story line for the next 30 days is Kerry's comeback, which has the effect of wiping the slate clean and avoiding discussion of how he got behind in the first place.

Is the comeback real? Rasmussen shows the President continuing to enjoy a three-point lead. Among his respondents, 6% say they changed their vote as a result of the debate--3% now voting for Kerry, 2% for Bush, and one percent now undecided.

The Democrats' strategy is to dominate the mainstream media with headlines about Kerry's big win and consequent comeback in the polls; they will portray momentum as being all on their side, with Kerry's many campaign blunders forgotten. This will probably work to some degree. There will be a ripple effect as people read and talk about the debate, and read about Kerry's comeback in the press. This will also set the stage for the next debate, in which the press will portray Bush as on the defensive, and maybe (depending on poll numbers yet to come) on the brink of collapse.

In short, neither the Kerry campaign nor the mainstream media are anywhere near ready to give up, nor should they be.

Political Vice Squad analyzes the numbers behind the Newsweek poll, which are a bit, er, strange. (Hat tip

By the way, the DNC sent out emails to the faithful before the debate, encouraging them to vote in the various on-line polls after the debate, and write letters to newspaper editors. That backfired somewhat, as evidenced by this editorial in the Washington Post:
To Our Readers (and Writers)

Saturday, October 2, 2004; Page A20

WE RECEIVED THE following letter from a woman in Yonkers, N.Y.: "Dear editor: This debate made it clear: John Kerry is a leader we can trust to tell us the truth when it comes to our nation's security. George Bush has had his chance; I'm ready for a new direction."

Cogent, succinct, personal -- everything we look for in a letter. So why are we writing about it here, instead of publishing it in the columns to the right? Unfortunately, the letter, perfect in every other way, arrived in our electronic in-box Thursday afternoon, four hours and 14 minutes before debate moderator Jim Lehrer posed his first question.

Ahem. (Hat tips to LGF and Captain's Quarters)