Last night’s debate was long! My wife left about two thirds of the way through for bed. In my opinion, it was too long on Iraq without saying much! The other thing that debates miss is fact checking during it. What I would really like to see is a buzzer sound every time someone gets a fact wrong. For instance, there were many statements that the President had to correct Kerry on. A buzzer would have helped there tremendously.
Critique of the President
The President looked/acted like I do when I’m tired (which, with two young children happens often). He had trouble recalling what he was going to say. He fumbled with “the day before 9/10” in which he mixed
two different ways of saying acting like 9/11 never happened. His body language on some of the wide shots made him look agitated, and my wife noticed a smirk.
I thought his best lines were to do with avoiding sending mixed messages and denigrating our allies. He also made good points regarding actually talking with our allies instead of saying that he will talk with them. I thought he answered the critiques that he was “doing nothing” well. I don’t know if the tactic of addressing Kerry’s stump speeches carried that well, since undecideds may not be listening to stump speeches, and some people don’t even know positions!
Critique of the Senator
The Senator had a lot to prove here. He was impressive in his presence. I thought he stayed pretty general on things, and used Vietnam much more than I thought he would. I wish that he would have gotten the “what do you think about the other guy” question too. Some things just didn’t sound accurate– like when he claimed to never accuse the President of lying.
I thought he was articulate as he could have been. I thought he appeared knowledgeable, and did a good
job communicating what he previously said in nuanced ways. If this was the first time you’d heard both of them, you would definitely find Kerry likable.
I think Kerry won this one, not so much because of facts, etc., but because he came across as someone you could trust– had you not been paying attention up to now. And that’s where the President can improve his game.