Ed Schweppe (edschweppe) wrote,
Ed Schweppe

Semi-random thoughts about the US presidential debates

President Bush looked like a complete idiot in the first debate, except during his closing argument (which was presumably pre-written). He looked better in the second and third debates, which I'm sure will cheer his base, but even in the final debate he looked smirky and petulant, with lots of podium-pounding. The exceptions, again, were the closing statements, where he looked and sounded well.

Senator Kerry, on the other hand, looked calm and presidential in all three debates. Not perfect, by any means - he seemed a bit tired towards the end of the third debate - but he certainly showed more "gravitas" than did the President.

In each debate, Kerry made at least one comment specifically referencing the local impact of whichever national statistic he was addressing (cargo screening in Florida, folks who lost health care in Missouri, average wages in Arizona). Bush, on the other hand, never did. (I haven't seen the pundits pick up on this. Maybe the punditry thinks that the undecided voters don't care about local impacts.)

In each debate, Kerry started his first answer by thanking the moderator and the locals, and acknowledging Bush. Bush started his first answer by thanking the locals, sometimes thanking the moderator, and ignoring Kerry.

How the heck did Kerry win all three coin flips? Oh, well, it's a one-in-eight chance.

Both men were quite willing to ignore the question that was asked in order to get back to their preferred messages, but I was struck by how much Bush really was stretching things to drag in his talking points.

Bush was really ducking the Roe v Wade issue as hard and as fast as he could.

I was unpleasantly surprised that there wasn't any mention of environmental issues in either of the two podium-style debates. I was pleasantly surprised that the whole mess of who did or did not serve or not serve and get or not get honorably discharged in the Sixties and Seventies wasn't brought up.

I thought that both men had good closing statements. And Bush has to get specific credit for remembering to actually ask people for their votes each time.
Tags: politics

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