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FOX guarding the chicken house
September 30, 2004 3:50 PM   Subscribe

FOX NEWS RUNNING THE CAMERA POOL at the DEBATES Tonight The press pool rotates who runs the cameras at the various events. Tonight, Fox News just happened to win the spin. Gives new meaning to "TV networks are flexing their muscles, saying they won't be bound by rules set by the Bush and Kerry campaigns that would prevent split-screen and reaction shots and require cameras to stay fixed on the candidate speaking." He who controls the perception of the populace, wins.
posted by jackspace (272 comments total)

 
This story of Bush's 1998 debates details how the cameras were completely controlled and the media was kept out of the room, so that no one could see Bush reacting inappropriately during the exchange.

That story, when combined with the knowledge that Fox controls the cutaways tonight. Who wants to bet you'll see dozens of scowls on Kerry's face while Bush speaks and zero from Bush while Kerry talks?
posted by mathowie at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2004


not even ParisParamus.
posted by quonsar at 3:57 PM on September 30, 2004


upon closely reading this, it does not appear that FOX will control cutaways at all. in fact, it specifically says "Fox News, which will operate the pool cameras, plans to provide feeds from several cameras, so each network can choose which shots to air. " it's a camera pool, not a production pool.
posted by quonsar at 4:01 PM on September 30, 2004


This just came over the network sound feed:

"Camera one, if I have to tell you to stop doign close-ups of the President's wet pants again, you're going to be covering Fallujah next week!

Camera three, did I not say that the President must be shot from low angles and that . . . Senator must be shot from high angles? Get with it or you're going to Fallujah too!

Camera two, get with it! You're framing him too perfectly. Whatever they taught you in school does not apply here. You got it?

Camera four, that's right. Keep on closing in on that drop of sweat on Kerry's face."
posted by jackspace at 4:56 PM on September 30, 2004


It's what we call, in the world of media, "Pre-production"
posted by jackspace at 4:57 PM on September 30, 2004


C-Span will stream it live, here. [Real]
posted by orelius at 4:58 PM on September 30, 2004


Actually, Bush will have an easy time not scowling, even without the cameras' help. He knows that all he has to do is be smarmy and jokey and "pleasant" through the whole thing, and he'll have "won."
posted by Zurishaddai at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2004


C-SPAN 1 will be airing a constant split-screen of both candidates; kudos to them.
posted by zsazsa at 5:18 PM on September 30, 2004


Thank you for the tip zsazsa!

C-SPAN to the rescue once again!
posted by EmoChild at 5:54 PM on September 30, 2004


just heard on the c-span stream that Bush won the coin toss for having the very last word at the end of the debate.
posted by Espoo2 at 5:56 PM on September 30, 2004


Pool cameras are very common at events like these. The broadcaster operating the camera simply provides raw feeds from each camera, so that other broadcasters can make their own cuts. You could argue that Fox can editorialise by being chosey with shot framing and so on, but in reality that is not really likely.

Otherwise each network would have 6 cameras in the same positions (coverage for this sort of thing is fairly formulaic) it would be a mess.
posted by sycophant at 6:14 PM on September 30, 2004


Watching right now. Ten minutes in.
Kerry's doing a great job at poking at Bush. Already some great splitscreens of Bush getting furious. A pissed off Bush is the best Bush to get. His nostril's flarin. Very fun.

This might work out. Go Kerry Go!
posted by Peter H at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2004


At every moment Kerry accuses Bush of soldiers dying or of not being properly defended, Bush very stupidly flashes two blinks and a fuck you gaze. Been going on the whole debate so far. Shouldn't he at least try to appear sympathetic? Happy to see he isn't able to even fake sympathetic emotion for dead soldiers, and interprets it as a personal attack, and gets visibly pissy, live on camera.
posted by Peter H at 6:22 PM on September 30, 2004


Ok, who's going to talk about Cat Stevens? He has my vote.
posted by adampsyche at 6:23 PM on September 30, 2004


The streaming feeds seemed pretty spotty, so listening on local NPR affiliate.

Now, if Kerry would just say "George, you ignorant slut..." (j/k)
posted by alumshubby at 6:24 PM on September 30, 2004


Thank you FOX!! All those split-screens of Bush looking pissed and impotently furious are what really decides this thing. I'm surprised, but Kerry is really kicking Bush's ass!!
posted by zwemer at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2004


I have to say, Kerry's doing really well. Good points, good sources, good reflexes. George is getting pieced away here, only 32 mins in. It's like watching a boxing match. No big shot to the face (close though) but lots of shots to the abdomen. DING DING DING.
posted by Peter H at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush is such a fidget! Pursing his lips like a kid with gum and shuffling with his ADHD...
posted by dash_slot- at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2004


zwemer, I know! awesome prize fight here. And unlike Tyson, Bush can't freak and bite for an ear or so.

Just now "and it'll rem-re-main strong. a-as l-long as i'm presidenn (stammer out)" - CONFIDENCE! —Bush.
posted by Peter H at 6:36 PM on September 30, 2004


You're all blinded. Bush is winning by leaps and bounds. Game over.
posted by Stan Chin at 6:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Stan Chin once again displays his talent for entertaining and intelligent contrary short statements. Best joke yet! Achewood sucks indeed!
posted by Peter H at 6:41 PM on September 30, 2004


Oh no fucking way, Bush is playing out the tear jerker "I met a young lady whose son went to Iraq" complete with "we prayed and teared up" and "sacrifice" anecdote this early! It's a shame she isn't in the audience so she can point her out. You can't do the "i met an old lady and America cries" bullshit more than once in a debate and he has 45 minutes to go. What weapons does he have left in his Mario Kart?

Meanwhile, Kerry has yet to let out a sweat or a glare. Go Kerry Go!
posted by Peter H at 6:47 PM on September 30, 2004


I swear there's an echo in this debate.. I've heard grand diversion about 15 times.

I have to say though, I think Bush is appealing more to the average voter at the mo.
posted by Mossy at 6:49 PM on September 30, 2004


I can't stand either of these men, but it is clear that GWB has absolutely zero poise when speaking. Kerry, on the other hand, is "debating" too much. These men aren't here to debate. They're here to endear themselves to voters, and Bush is likely doing a better job of that.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2004


I just want everyone on MetaFilter to know that I tried to love you all as much as I could.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2004


I did not expect Bush to be this petulant.
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2004


stan chin ... these things aren't decided on sound bites or talking points ... they're decided on demeanor ... kerry is slick, self-confident and forceful ... bush is nervous, stumbling and sounding confused ... he might not be so in his thoughts ... although i doubt that ... but that's how he's coming off

when kerry listens to bush, he's listening attentively, nodding, acting as if he's actually interested in what the president has to say ... when bush is listening, he looks pissed and surprised

kerry's taking copious notes ... bush is giving a fair imitation of a deer caught in the headlights

kerry is coming off as presidential ... bush is coming off as a has been
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2004


"I have a salmon doodie to protect the American purple" — George W. Bush

wtf is a fish smelling turn to protect an American color, George?
posted by Peter H at 6:55 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush still argues as if Saddam was a terrorist mastermind.

Crikey!
posted by dash_slot- at 6:56 PM on September 30, 2004


turn=turd, oop! g.w.'s infected me with "intellijunce"
posted by Peter H at 6:56 PM on September 30, 2004


(Kudos, however, to Kerry for needling Bush on the moronic "enemy attacked us" line.)
posted by uncleozzy at 6:56 PM on September 30, 2004


These men aren't here to debate. They're here to endear themselves to voters, and Bush is likely doing a better job of that.

Thank you NBC news. For a night at least, can't we pretend that it's about the issues? Can't we even get that? Won't somebody think of the children.
posted by psmealey at 6:57 PM on September 30, 2004


This is hard work.

This is hard work.

This is hard work.

(how the fuck would you know?)
posted by adampsyche at 6:57 PM on September 30, 2004


"Of course I know Saddam Hussein attacked us" GWB

hahahahahahaha!!!!
posted by zwemer at 6:58 PM on September 30, 2004


Why doesn't Kerry ask Bush which weapons Saddam needed to disarm?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:58 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry is shining. Impressive.
posted by frenetic at 6:59 PM on September 30, 2004


"Saddam didn't attack us. "

You go bitch!
posted by adampsyche at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry is shining. Impressive.

To us, anyhow.
posted by adampsyche at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2004


I like how Kerry called Bush on something "factually incorrect".
posted by Hlewagast at 7:03 PM on September 30, 2004


"We went to war to protect the American people..." - W.

Gee, thanks.
Can I have quick word with you, Mr Blair...
posted by dash_slot- at 7:03 PM on September 30, 2004


Some Bush supporter reactions.
posted by frenetic at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2004


Where is Ali G when you need him?
posted by adampsyche at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2004


For a night at least, can't we pretend that it's about the issues?

Let's pretend, for a moment, it is. This entire spectacle so far has been about "security" and "terrah" and "a freer rack," whatever that means. There has been zero -- absolutely zero -- discussion of anything else. It's apalling. I don't give a flying damn about national security, because I absolutely don't believe in the federal government's ability to protect me from anything at all. How about money? How about "a free America?"

Can these guys please talk about the US for one minute? Christ.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:05 PM on September 30, 2004


Man, I really hate it whenever I have to watch Bush on TV. Takes me 20 minutes to wipe the butt-prints off the screen afterwards.
posted by RavinDave at 7:05 PM on September 30, 2004


Can these guys please talk about the US for one minute? Christ.

I believe today's debate is only about foreign policy.
posted by gyc at 7:06 PM on September 30, 2004


Can these guys please talk about the US for one minute? Christ.

Umm.... this debate is exclusively about foreign policy, with the third to be exclusively domestic.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:08 PM on September 30, 2004


thanks frenetic!
posted by Peter H at 7:08 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush always seems to want to jump in at the end, wagging his fingers anxiously like he won't get his turn. Does he not trust the moderator?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:08 PM on September 30, 2004


I believe today's debate is only about foreign policy.

Can I please pay better attention for just one minute? Christ.

precious little "foreign policy" and far too much "national security," though.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:09 PM on September 30, 2004


(heh, I wrecked that comment, too; what I'd meant to say was "oops, mea culpa, but still too much from column a, too little from column b")
posted by uncleozzy at 7:10 PM on September 30, 2004


I swear the BBC flashed up "Bush accuses Kerry of being inconsistent" before he actually said it just now :o
posted by Mossy at 7:13 PM on September 30, 2004


Twenty minutes to go, Bush throws in the towel with an attempt to build a bridge with admiring Kerry as a father, and that his daughters have been nice to Bush's daughters.

Off-camera, his handlers curse loud obscenities, pissed that he was supposed to do that 10 minutes past the beginning, not twelve minutes after an hour!

(shit, Bush just joked about trying to put a leash on his daughters — bornagain, recovering alcoholic and closet BSDM goes public?)
posted by Peter H at 7:14 PM on September 30, 2004


i love C-SPAN so much right now.
posted by girlinblack at 7:16 PM on September 30, 2004


It would be relevant for Kerry to mention his action against BCCI & the drugs/arms/money trade, whilst a new senator...
posted by dash_slot- at 7:17 PM on September 30, 2004


Leash the twins!
posted by adampsyche at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2004


Just to clarify, I've always believed Bush had a strange power of hillbilly inspiration. Kerry may be polished, but as we all know, the american voting populace is largely stupid. All Bush really has to do is maintain that he has old fashioned leadership values and be at least 10% inspiring, which will beat well-reasoned polish every time.

Anyway, back to my normal response:

I'm so expecting Howard Dean to suddenly run up behind John Kerry and smack him in the back with a folding chair, with Jim going "OOOOOH NOOOOOOOOO!!!"
posted by Stan Chin at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry is shining. Impressive.

To us, anyhow.


Yup, like Mossy said above, Bush is coming off as far more normal, natural, and compassionate. Whenever Bush says something disagreeable, they show a camera shot of Kerry smirking and jerking his head up. That's extremely arrogant and haughty. And please don't blame Fox for that. Kerry knows he's on TV; he's been a Senator for 2 decades; he knows better.

Both are coming off extremely well; Bush is just more casual, which is important for swing voters. Those who have already made up their minds don't give a shit about these intangibles. Those who haven't yet figured it all out may take these seemingly insignificant cues to heart. If my decision was based solely upon "national security" and only knew this debate and nothing else, Bush is winning because he's been able to alienate "the enemy" better than Kerry.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2004


transshipment?
posted by Hlewagast at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry brings up the issue of nuclear proliferation and Bush stammers like he's in Florida talking through a saliva-spitted hurricane.
posted by Peter H at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2004


This has been much more spontaneous than I expected. And I have to admit, Bush has been much more nimble in a fast paced verbal exchange than I thought he would. I think he and Kerry are about even in terms of flubs.
posted by MetalDog at 7:20 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush is recycling the "mixed messages" card. I think he's run out of catchphrases with 20 minutes and a closing statement left to go. Unless Kerry suddenly develops Tourette's Syndrome, I have no idea how conservative pundits are going to say that Bush won this debate.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:22 PM on September 30, 2004


Is anyone gonna defend Kerry's wish for bi-lateral talks with Korea. Frankly, I'm think Bush scored a point by bringing up the potential pressure from China.
posted by RavinDave at 7:23 PM on September 30, 2004


Last response from Bush: "ah ah I've godd a goodlationshurpt w'ith Vladimirr"
posted by Peter H at 7:23 PM on September 30, 2004


Both are coming off extremely well; Bush is just more casual, which is important for swing voters.

I honestly do not understand how you could believe that. Would you hire for a job someone with the mannerisms and stumbling of speech Bush has been doing while searching for each answer? He's answering everything as if he needs to load data off a Playstation CD.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:24 PM on September 30, 2004


Ravindave - Kerry just brought it up. In response, Bush totally fumbled.
posted by Peter H at 7:25 PM on September 30, 2004


I wish I could contribute, but I have to wait for some post-debate spin before I know what I think. Thanks.
posted by Oddly at 7:25 PM on September 30, 2004


Yay! Mission not Accomplished!
posted by dash_slot- at 7:25 PM on September 30, 2004


Well, you guys already know from other threads that I have little use for Kerry -- but (for what it's worth) I'll say that he acquited himself quite well and threw Bush off his script several times.

Would that he had started playing offense a few weeks earlier.
posted by RavinDave at 7:28 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush's basic position tonight has been "if you don't vote for me, you are probably going to die in a terrissa tack." Well then, I suppose the choice is obviousl
posted by uncleozzy at 7:29 PM on September 30, 2004


+ 20 points for kerry's grooming - such pretty, shiny fingernails.
posted by naxosaxur at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush just ruled out the draft: "an all-volunteer army...".
posted by dash_slot- at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush promising an "all-volunteer army" in his closing statement? Where did that come from?
posted by Oddly at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2004


And he asked for your vote - a relevant closing request, I'd say.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:33 PM on September 30, 2004


I was surprised when Kerry mentioned the 14 permanent bases being built in Iraq. The topic had seemed to be off-limits until now.
posted by homunculus at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2004


Closing thought:
Could Bush blink more when he talks/bullshit lies? I don't think I believe him when he lies enough yet.

CNN JUST BROUGHT UP THE BLOG LINKED BY FRENETIC IN THIS THREAD!

God that was fun.
posted by Peter H at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2004


I find it funny how different people see such conflicting things when we're all watching the same feed. Some say Bush is "winning", some say Kerry. For me, being a canadian citizen, this just makes for some good Daily Show material.
posted by mrgavins at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2004


Just to clarify, I've always believed Bush had a strange power of hillbilly inspiration.

Bang on. Listening to audio only at work, Bush was using all the right emotive (and occasionally cheesy) language for small-town America (or Canada, which is all I have to compare).

That said, Bush fumbled pretty horribly a few times, but then again Kerry's use of language was pretty uninspiring, and he didn't swing at more than a few very easy lobs. Based on audio only, a bit of a dead heat.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2004


That was hard work.

(although I now see that adampsyche already noted that phrase, I wanted to as well).

stav, it looked to me like Kerry was clearly more in charge and control, and didn't need to be any more inspiring, but then again, I'm not one of the ones he needed to convince.
posted by yhbc at 7:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Oddly: Where did that come from?

In recent days, people have been doing the math and realizing that he cannot realistically sustain this pace much longer without bringing back the draft. Can extend current duties and redeploy from Europe so many times before the well runs dry. This (of course) has been seized upon by the Roveans as a Democratic scare tactic. Kerry is (wisely) avoiding the issue. Bush is attempting to blunt it.
posted by RavinDave at 7:38 PM on September 30, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, you would never, never vote for Bush no matter what. Therefore, I wouldn't expect you to understand a swing voter's mentality.

And yes, if I had confidence in a candidate and their passion, intelligence, and conviction, I would hire them despite their inability to communicate effectively. Honestly, it's easier to train someone to become comfortable with public speaking than it is to teach someone integrity and conviction. (I'm not saying that Bush is any of these qualities; but I believe he came across that way)
posted by BlueTrain at 7:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Fucking Rudi Guliani did anyone just listen to the shit he was spewing on NBC. Making shit up and everything. How many dicks does he have to suck to be president in 2008?
posted by jmgorman at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2004


I'm guessing Kerry must have bright red stripes across his back where his handlers beat into him the importance of not droning on through 8 paratheticals. Looks like it worked. It was actually refreshing to hear a Kerry that was concise and on message.

He would have made a good VP for Dean. ;)
posted by RavinDave at 7:42 PM on September 30, 2004


Now watch as Karl Rove and Fox News spin the 'global test' statement into the 'wash' so that no one focuses on what Kerry actually said.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:44 PM on September 30, 2004


BlueTrain, a few days ago you were arguing how Kerry wasn't inspiring you to vote for him. Were you really more inspired by Bush tonight than Kerry? I simply don't believe it. You may not agree with Kerry, but did he seem phony? Did he seem agitated? Strained? Confused? Bush looked like all of these, and Kerry was a better candidate. He was a better applicant. He better proved his qualifications.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:45 PM on September 30, 2004


Sorry 'bout the troll. I'm just so frustrated with the spin. just because W says Kerry is inconsistent doesn't mean that he is. Dammit those are strong nuances.
posted by jmgorman at 7:46 PM on September 30, 2004


Now watch as Karl Rove and Fox News spin the 'global test' statement into the 'wash' so that no one focuses on what Kerry actually said.

Also, I get to cocKpunch the first blogger who brings up this:

"Kerry had a fancy water glass, Bush had a simple one. What was that about?"
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2004


I was pleased with what Kerry said, but I'm a cat, and Bush was speaking to dogs. Woof.
posted by stonerose at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2004


The only time Bush seemed charming, even hillbilly charming, was when he was talking about Kerry's character, and his kids, etc. The rest of the time he was stammering and repeating his "I know you are but what am I" level arguments constantly. That said, he could've eaten a live kitten right then and there and it wouldn't change most of his followers' minds.
posted by picea at 7:50 PM on September 30, 2004


John Kerry did a great job - better than I expected. George W Bush did a poor job - actually *worse* than I expected.

God, I hope the US makes the right decision on election day...
posted by Stuart_R at 7:54 PM on September 30, 2004


What I saw was an incompetent liar getting his ass handed to him. Bush stumbled his way through repetitive generalities and had absolutely nothing to offer in response to specific plans, arguments and accusations. What a pitiful performance by the sitting president. This is the first time I'm actually excited by John Kerry.
posted by muckster at 7:55 PM on September 30, 2004


Thanks, RavinDave. I just hadn't heard the draft addressed at all in the debate, and including it in the closing statement seemed a bit forced and out of left field. sortof like: "Well, this is the way I rehearsed it. Gotta stay the course."
posted by Oddly at 7:56 PM on September 30, 2004


Anybody watching CNN 'mysteriously' screw up Mike McCurry's audio *twice*, while Karen Hughes was pristine in her defense of der Bush?

Why do I feel like hoder, all of a sudden?
posted by stonerose at 7:59 PM on September 30, 2004


I've never heard Kerry speak before this "debate" and must say he was considerably better than I'd been led to believe based on MeFi PoliThreads. As an outsider who can't vote for either one, I say Kerry kicked Bush's ass.

I'm curious if Kerry has ever said, "Watch how many times Bush is asked something and steers the conversation to terrorism"? I doubt it, but that seemed to be all he did tonight. (I know the talk was about foreign policy but even when asked about non-Iraq stuff he brought it up.)

I missed the first 10 minutes of the program so don't know what happened there.
posted by dobbs at 8:01 PM on September 30, 2004


They talked about terrorism.
posted by yhbc at 8:05 PM on September 30, 2004


Where the hell were Kerry's kids at the end?
posted by dig_duggler at 8:06 PM on September 30, 2004


Add me to the list of those who thought Kerry did better than expected, and Bush worse. There were numerous occasions (primarily near the end) where Bush seemed genuinely befuddled -- taking far longer than comfortable to gather his thoughts. That's different from being direct and plain-spoken (which can be positive qualities).
posted by pardonyou? at 8:08 PM on September 30, 2004


The poll at CNN.com on who people think won the debate is currently reporting:

John Kerry   90% 9368 vote

George W. Bush  9% 891 votes
posted by Stuart_R at 8:09 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry was very effective in his reference to "the rush to war" & Bush deciding to divert troops from Afghanistan to Iraq, even before the official decision was made.

However, it's being spun as a Bush victory on BBC News24 by David Frum, echoing the charge of flip-flopping and 'vacillation' by Kerry.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:10 PM on September 30, 2004


Did you doublepost?

(kidding! FREE HODER!)
posted by mwhybark at 8:10 PM on September 30, 2004


Wow, StuartR, thats amazing - before the LGFers get there (or did the Atrios crowd get off the mark first?)
posted by dash_slot- at 8:12 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush was on the defensive at least 75% of the time and his petulant facial expressions while Kerry was speaking only hurt Bush. Kerry took the high road most of the time and mentioned issues which the SCLM (so called liberal media) keeps marginalized like Gen Shineski's assesment of the war and his early "retirement." Kerry also did an excellent job pushing the "Bush has failed us line," but within various narratives, while Bush kept repeating the exact same talking points, which may "stick" but makes him seem dim and thoughtless. When Bush had points to make, he made them effectively, which was his big win this debate, but most of these points were when he was on the ropes and were at least a defensive measure. I think Kerry delivered the goods, attacked, and penetrated many of Bush's defenses. Bush could only appeal to "the new world," "post 9/11 world," etc and couldn't admit any mistakes or failures in Iraq even as Iraq keeps getting worse.

Also, Bush ignoring Kerry's statment on Stem cell research and global warming was extremely weak. Kerry's lack of a rebuttal to the Hague was weak also, but he did raise his hand to speak, only to get cut-off. Bush just sailed passed what could be a diabetes cure in the next decade and climate change which is very real. Bush avoided revealing how indebted he is to the Christian fundamentalists, which should be a very open narrative as the next president will get to pick an absurd number of judges including two (more?) justices. The religious hot button issues like abortion, gay marriage/union, stem cells, etc should not be swept under the carpet this cycle. Kerry knows he has the moderates and liberals, but he needs to tell the real conservatives out there that Bush courts too closely with theocrats.
posted by skallas at 8:13 PM on September 30, 2004


In his closing statement, Bush said "We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below and it is a valley of peace." Where did that come from? Is that Bible talk, or did he just have a moment of lyrical inspiration?
posted by muckster at 8:15 PM on September 30, 2004


Atrios @ 10.23pm
posted by dash_slot- at 8:16 PM on September 30, 2004


Yeah, you won't hear many news outlets saying Kerry won, I bet.


Pussies.
posted by Espoo2 at 8:16 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush gained a key advantage when he got to go last in the closing statements. This way, Bush got to restate his Vision for America after Kerry's bland, rational recitation. If Kerry got to go last, he would have been knocking down Bush's star-eyed pedantry and ending the debates on a rational note instead. I think that, if there was one, that was the most pivotal moment of the debate. Still, Kerry won.
posted by abcde at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2004


XQUZYPHYR, like you, I vote issues. My decision to "not vote Bush" was made long ago, during the aftermath of 9/11, though not for reasons regarding the tragedy. But too many friends and family of mine don't have a detailed, long-term idea of many issues. Swing voters are those people who don't have a long term plan; they simply vote "their gut" at each election.

As I said before, both candidates appeared extremely calm, collected, and intelligent. There was a link here a couple of months ago that showed how Bush was winning through his anti-intellectualism. I don't believe that nonsense, per se, but his demeanor is more natural. His ums and long pauses are terrible for those who enjoy a well-articulated speech; however, they show thoughtfulness and everydayness to those who just want a gut motivation.

Look, I'm not a political analyst, nor would I want to be. I hate the superficiality of elections. When someone tells me "Kerry is boring", I say, who gives a shit. Vote the issues. But elections seem to be decided on BS; so while I won't join in the BS, I can at least understand it and use it to my advantage if necessary. Bush used the us vs. them perfectly. He turned Kerry's "we need intl. coalition" into "I'm not going to consult foreign leaders to defend America". That's good debating.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2004


I watched C-SPAN with the split screen, one camera coverage.

Bush blew it.
posted by four panels at 8:21 PM on September 30, 2004


BlueTrain, I don't know you, but I love you. I couldn't agree more.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:24 PM on September 30, 2004


abcde has a point; Bush was his regular self again, suddenly, during the closing statement.

But there was something very curious about it: Did anyone else notice how much he kept blinking? As though he were forcing himself to say something he didn't really believe?
posted by lodurr at 8:26 PM on September 30, 2004


I have to agree that Kerry came out swinging and stayed nicely on message. From reading some of the right wing commentary on-line, though, its clear that Bush's true believers didn't see the same debate I did. Oh well. I had fun and I will totter off to bed a happier man.

I'm glad I didn't play the drinking game where you do a shot every time GWB says "new-cue-ler" for "nuclear." I'd be falling down drunk choking on a pretzel by now.

Uh oh. Rudi is on The Daily Show! Gotta run....
posted by mmahaffie at 8:26 PM on September 30, 2004


I just wanna ask if anyone else thought, especially at the start of the debate, that Bush kept trying to hold back a grin. I couldn't escape the thought that he was trying to keep from laughing, at least early on.

That impression seemed to go away as the debate went on.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:35 PM on September 30, 2004


From MSNBC:

283,109 responses

Pres. Bush 31%
Sen. Kerry 69%
posted by Stuart_R at 8:36 PM on September 30, 2004


Did anyone notice how much Bush was pounding the podium with his hand? I have to wonder if he realized the mike was picking it up.

"When both the facts and the law are against you..."
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush seemed like he was on the verge of falling asleep during the last 20 minutes. Mumbling names and half sentences. At the end he was given a chance to rebut Kerry on negotiations with North Korea and he suddenly and inexplicably started talking about Iraq..."We looked at the same intelligence" etc. I think his talking points CD player was broken.
posted by Otis at 8:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush kept trying to hold back a grin

That's pretty much how he always looks. I usually read it as self-satisfaction, smugness, or whatever, but it's nearly always there.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:40 PM on September 30, 2004


Wow. CNN actually has paid for ads on it's front page. Now that's sneaky.
posted by Mossy at 8:40 PM on September 30, 2004


I was totally undecided at the start of this debate, but after watching it very closely I have decided that Kerry is the right choice. Bush is in way over his head and if he stays in office something even worse than Iraq or 9/11 is going to happen.

Kerry seems to have a much better understanding of what is actually happening in the world, and how to fix it. I am voting for him.
posted by alball at 8:41 PM on September 30, 2004


"If President Bush's current lead is built not upon confidence in him or his policies but in a simple belief that Kerry isn't solid enough to be president, then I think this performance could help Kerry a good deal." --Josh Micah Marshall
posted by muckster at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2004


His ums and long pauses are terrible for those who enjoy a well-articulated speech; however, they show thoughtfulness and everydayness to those who just want a gut motivation.


so bush's supporters see him as decisive and resolute and as a take-charge, go-getter...but at the same time, you theorize, they like his long pauses and "ummms" because they show thoughtfulness and "everydayness"? i don't understand.

long pauses and umms are not hallmarks of someone who is decisive and in command. i can't imagine any effective ceo or commander of troops who would tell you that they think they can strengthen their image in the eyes of their subordinates by using long pauses and ummms when speaking before them.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:45 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry wins this one.
posted by eatitlive at 8:45 PM on September 30, 2004


I thought Bush seemed downright nervous at times. There was one question where he started his answer by staring at the camera with a blank expression for close to ten seconds. His responses jumped all over the place. I can't think of any aspect of that debate where Bush performed better than Kerry. Perhaps he expected the more verbose, convoluted Kerry, the Kerry that barrages with facts but lets his message slip through the cracks. I didn't see much of that Kerry tonight. Bush appeared completely outclassed. The Dems must be ecstatic.
posted by Succa at 8:47 PM on September 30, 2004


CNN has 88% of respondents saying Kerry won, and 10% saying bush won.

CBS has 91.96% saying kerry won, and 7.29% saying bush won.

Fox news has no poll because they know their guy did not win.
posted by alball at 8:52 PM on September 30, 2004


What was interesting was on NBC's follow up interview with six voters in Ohio. I think that one of the female, mother voters put it the best: (summarized) "I felt better with John Kerry - he seemed like a strong leader with a good command of the subject. Bush seems more interested in making us afraid and in leading by fear."

That, folks, is a definition of the differences in leadership styles.
posted by tgrundke at 8:54 PM on September 30, 2004


I am with Alball (and probably many more of those who were once on the fence) on this one. Kerry now has my vote.
posted by Rattmouth at 8:57 PM on September 30, 2004


You remember that whole-world online poll? Heavily Kerry. I'm sure that those CNN and CBS polls are getting many, many votes from outside the US. And we don't like your president very much.

Anyway, I wouldn't put any stock in them as a guide to your electorate's feelings.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:58 PM on September 30, 2004


Some Bush supporter reactions.
posted by frenetic


Now THAT is scary. I don't want to live in their vision of America anymore.
posted by somethingotherthan at 8:59 PM on September 30, 2004


What I saw was an incompetent liar getting his ass handed to him. Bush stumbled his way through repetitive generalities and had absolutely nothing to offer in response to specific plans, arguments and accusations. What a pitiful performance by the sitting president. This is the first time I'm actually excited by John Kerry.

ditto every word, muckster. double ditto.
posted by quonsar at 9:01 PM on September 30, 2004


jackspace, your "reason" and FPP for this thread was total bullshit. Just saying.

And if I had to score the debate, I'd go 60/40 for the President. No "knockouts" and no major fouls by either one, and they both pretty much articulated their broad vision for national security, and they were both civil to each other.

But for cryin' out loud, why on earth does Kerry seem to be so hellbent on falling to his knees in front of the U.N. or other nations?

somethingotherthan:Now THAT is scary. I don't want to live in their vision of America anymore. Nobody's holding a gun to your head, buddy. I'm not saying "love it or leave it," but if you feel that strongly about it, then...?
posted by davidmsc at 9:05 PM on September 30, 2004


Didn't watch the debate. I'm funny about those things. Issues matter most to me, but I'm very aware of the horse race. I just normally watch the reaction and other sources. I'm not that interested in seeing the candidates work through their scripts.

Anyway, the reaction here seems pretty positive. Given MeFi's bias, I'd say that Kerry got Bush at least to a draw, and probably won by a little bit.

That's no surprise to me. Bush is incredibly weak, he's been running on inertia for a long time. Anything that actually draws attention to him is bad for his campaign. Looking at the various signs, I now think that Kerry will win the popular vote as well as the electoral college by a wider margin than most are expecting. Turnout is going to be unsually high in this election, indications are that dems are doing as well or better than the repubs at getting out the vote. But dems have higher turnout at the polls, the weird Gallup stuff notwithstanding. Combine that with the fact with what the numbers look like with the independents in the swing states. Well, I've said this all before.

The thing about Bush is that he's like the Wizard of Oz. There's this huge edifice and a bunch of loud noises and flashes to keep us from noticing the little man behind the curtain that, really, is a disapointment. It doesn't take much to peek behind the curtain—what's been happening for a long time is that the smoke occasionally clears and a few more voters become disenchanted. All the pomp and circumstance are still there, however, and for those that are still true-believers, they don't see how anything's changed. But, cumulatively, a lot has changed.

Part of the smoke and mirrors was creating a false impression about Kerry that was built around a few nuggets of truth. But what that has done has been to create expectations in many people's minds for Kerry to stumble badly "as soon as voters get a good look at him". What the Bush campaign had failed to anticipate, is that their ploy might backfire on them. They've lowered expectations of Kerry so much, that he was bound to actually be pretty reasonable and normal and straightforward compared to how they've spun him. That he came off better than many expected in tonight's debate is no suprise to me at all.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:06 PM on September 30, 2004


On Bush's rapid eye-blinking during tonight's debate
posted by Peter H at 9:09 PM on September 30, 2004


Anyone have a link to the whole debate? I'd like to watch it again, just to get a better feel. I just saw a replay of Kerry praising Bush's wife on Nightline and I saw a hint of sincerity that I've never seen before.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:09 PM on September 30, 2004


Nobody's holding a gun to your head, buddy. I'm not saying "love it or leave it," but if you feel that strongly about it, then...?

...vote out the representatives that also support that vision?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:11 PM on September 30, 2004


I'm sure the GOP machine is churning out lame victory speeches but Bush got pretty soundly trounced tonight.

I've got it all nicely Tivo'ed now and can watch Bush stutter, sputter and mutter.

So nice!
posted by fenriq at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry seems to have a much better understanding of what is actually happening in the world, and how to fix it. I am voting for him.

Another vote for alball. Kerry's challenge was to reassure people that he's up to the task of defending the country. People got to make two separate comparisons. The first is Kerry vs Bush, and in that comparison he comes out as a statesman in command of the issues. The second is between Kerry and the Bush campaign's caricature of Kerry. And there is where he really shined.
posted by euphorb at 9:20 PM on September 30, 2004


Etherial, I have no objectivity but I thought Al Gore lost in 2000 and Kerry won tonight.

But as far as your metaphor about the Wizard of Oz, I thought of that myself and it's a perfect metaphor.
posted by mikojava at 9:27 PM on September 30, 2004


Anyone have a link to the whole debate?

cspan.org has a link to video on their front page, but I'm not sure it's the full 90 minutes.

In terms of the debate, I'm hearing it was a tie from right wing guys and slight win from kerry supporters, so it's likely in the 60/40 area (slight nod to kerry). What really shocks me is that if it was a draw, on paper, Bush really hammered Kerry over and over for being a flip-flopper and not fit to be a leader. I would have thought after Bush said Kerry changed his mind on Iraq for the eighth or ninth time that it would finally gain some traction, but everyone's saying it was a good even duel.

Maybe that whole repeating phrases thing didn't work out for Bush as well as he hoped? I certainly hope so, because it seemed petty, unfair, and patronizing to repeat a phrase about an opponent over and over. I didn't see Kerry saying the same thing 8 or 9 times over and over. Maybe Bush took it too far, because people seem to be responding poorly to it, even on right wing blogs.
posted by mathowie at 9:29 PM on September 30, 2004


bush was like a broken record with the talking points. seemed like he had the same answer for every question:

... mixed messages ... mixed messages ... mixed messages ... you are getting veeeeeerrryyyy slllleeeeeeeeeppppyyyyyyy ...
posted by whatnot at 9:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Yeah, the repeated talking points work well with the press and with stump speeches but not during a debate. In a debate you're supposed to use your own narrative, respond to what the other guy says, etc not just reply with the same canned answers all the time. Kerry debunked Bush once and that was all it took. Something along the lines of "Yes I voted for this, but I trusted you to follow through on the process." I think this jibes with a lot of people I know, especially when we were all saying, "Did he just pull out the inspectors? While Blix was making progress and destroyed these missiles that broke the 91 mile limit?" Next thing you know CNN et al are all doing war porn.

So Kerry very much put himself in the shoes or you or me. I dont care what politics you like, the war was a shock and after all this talk of mushroom clouds, drones, mustard gas, etc the WMD-less followup was even worse. Kerry is capitalizing on this and Bush has no defense. Well, his real defense is being neocon-lite. I say he should just come out and talk about oil, israel, regional dominance and a small american empire and be done with it. Let America decide if they want to follow the Neocon agenda.
posted by skallas at 9:38 PM on September 30, 2004


Last I checked foxnews.com has the whole debate on video in 6 parts.
posted by abcde at 9:41 PM on September 30, 2004


And if I had to score the debate, I'd go 60/40 for the President.

Of course you would, davidmsc.

Complete debate transcript.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:42 PM on September 30, 2004


And in fairness, lets see what the Freepers (freerepublic.com) were saying:
Posted on 09/30/2004 7:21:10 PM PDT by dictatorMA

this is not good folks..
before you react like some freepers do and tear me apart.. please think this through from the following perspective:
The people we need to win over here are the stupid "undecided" folks... and tonight THEY saw the liar Kerry tell them all kinds of wonderful sounding things (they were of course all lies but they will never know this), Kerry sounded strong, he used the word "kill" the terrorist while our guy said "bring to justice"..
bush allowed Kerry to get away with one lie after another..W even let him get away with accusing him of being guilty of not properly arming our troops!!!... I mean come on!!!
yes all us here in freerepublic land know better and we know the truth.. but the morons that will decide the election do not.. and I am sad to report that the president lost this debate because he did not appeal to those folks.. the media will go wild now with the resurrection of the near death kerry campaign... Tonight was not a good night for us...
I am just being honest"
Ah, "the morons who decide the election." The irony, it kills.
posted by skallas at 9:42 PM on September 30, 2004


Is that Bible talk, or did he just have a moment of lyrical inspiration?

Deuteronomy 34
posted by muckster at 9:45 PM on September 30, 2004


I thought that Bush was surprisingly good in the first hour, much better than I'd seen in 2000, but visibly tired in the last half hour when he started spacing out. Kerry was strong in continually to attack Bush. He also tailed off a little in the end, but not as much as Bush. So I'd say a slight advantage for Kerry, but then I thought Gore won the first debate in 2000, so I'm not exactly in tune with the popular opinion.
posted by gyc at 9:45 PM on September 30, 2004


Didn't watch the debate... I'm not that interested in seeing the candidates work through their scripts.

Sticking to the script turned out to be Bush's major weaknesses in this debate. He offered more of the same message that he's been giving all summer. Kerry, on the other hand, launched several strong counterattacks -- control of nuclear materials, initiation of an Iraq summit, and reestablishing US control over negotiations with N. Korea. And he did this with a freshness that truly caught Bush off-guard. What the hell happened to the Republican attack machine? Bush didn't even come up with any new spin on the foragainst bs. Looks like Rove's counsel for Bush to stay on message and maintain consistency at all costs just might could backfire.

My prediction for the next debate is that Bush will try to regain the mantle of Innovator of Foreign Policy. I forsee a four-part plan that involves faith-based hydrogen-powered armored humvees, advancing the cause of freedom in North Korean nuclear rape rooms through truly responsible stem cell research. There is power in the blood.
posted by eatitlive at 9:46 PM on September 30, 2004


pmurray63, why did you feel it necessary to "mock" me with your statement? The vast majority of the posters here are stating how they think that Kerry won, hands-down, but you don't see me saying, "Well, of course YOU would feel that way." *shrug* Just seems pretty pointless of you, and rather petty.

And if anyone wants a transcript, here you go.
posted by davidmsc at 9:46 PM on September 30, 2004


The President’s missile-defense fixation.
posted by homunculus at 9:46 PM on September 30, 2004


Moo-lahs
posted by euphorb at 9:52 PM on September 30, 2004


I guess there is a winner and a loser of the debate. Does that reflect who will gain or lose potential votes?
posted by tomplus2 at 9:53 PM on September 30, 2004


yeah, I was really surprised that Kerry let Bush skate on the missle defense thing at the end. Bush even called it a "21st century way to fight terror" even though Reagan pushed for it 20 years ago, back in the 20th century. And there's the whole "it doesn't work, has never been shown to work, costs billions, and terrorists just use box cutters these days."

Kerry should have jumped on that goofy missle defense shield comment and I felt he left a really obvious blunder go by.
posted by mathowie at 9:56 PM on September 30, 2004


BUSH: "Of course we're after Saddam Hussein -- I mean bin Laden.

Hehhee-he ... I guess it's easy to forget when you haven't said the name in months.
posted by RavinDave at 9:56 PM on September 30, 2004


Wow, I feel like what it must have been like in 1960 when radio listeners felt Nixon won, and TV viewers felt JFK won. I listened to the debates with my hair stylist (hey, she does awesome color! I wasn't going to postpone getting my highlights done for this!) and so we weren't able to actually see the G. W. Bush Talking Chimp Smirk & Glower Medicine Show.

As a result, we both came away from it feeling (horrifyingly) like Bush won it by a slight margin. Without visuals, Kerry sounded a little awkward and over-oratorical at moments ("Jim, I'm glad you asked me that question, and I'm going to answer that question by telling you exactly what my position is," etc.), while at the same time Bush seemed to be hitting the mark with the whole flip-flopper bullshit combined with the "we're so much safer now" meme. ("It's like Kerry's hitting a few singles and doubles, but where the fuck are the home runs?" my stylist fumed whilst snipping my bangs. "But whatever happens in November, honey, they can't take away the fact that this lighter strawberry blond color really brings out your eyes!") Anyway, it's interesting to hear how the perception was different for you viewers out there in TV Land.
posted by scody at 9:57 PM on September 30, 2004


But for cryin' out loud, why on earth does Kerry seem to be so hellbent on falling to his knees in front of the U.N. or other nations?

Bush: We must have China's leverage on Kim Jong Il, besides ourselves.
posted by y2karl at 9:57 PM on September 30, 2004


Anyone that wants to watch the debate again can catch the rerun at 1:30 Eastern on C-SPAN.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:59 PM on September 30, 2004


Bringing up the missile defense system alone should sink that fool little man. But I think he did it to appeal to some nostalgic vein in those folks missing old Ron Reagan and his SDI.

Oh the good old days when your enemy would stand still.

Scody, interesting that you have Bush taking it by a nose. Watch it, see him speak, see him squirm, see him wince as Kerry metaphorically kicks him in the nuts.

It was nice to watch. Really, really nice to watch.
posted by fenriq at 10:00 PM on September 30, 2004


davidmsc:

1. I honestly don't see how you can conclude that Bush did better than Kerry. Not even a tie. I loathe Bush, but I was trying my best to judge it fairly, and it didn't seem close.
2. The early vibe I'm picking up from the networks' instant polls, etc. (NOT online polls) is a definite Kerry win in this round. Not a knockout, as you say, probably not enough in the long run, but a definite advantage to Kerry.
3. You're right about how the others feel; the fact that you're outnumbered here is precisely what got my attention. I was reading comments and got to yours and went huh? until I saw who wrote it, at which point I thought, oh, that explains it. Perhaps I was a bit too quick to post, but that was my honest reaction. No insult was intended.

At this point I'd still bet that Bush will win, if it makes you feel any better.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:01 PM on September 30, 2004


Oh, and my favorite WTF??? moment of the entire evening:

BUSH: My opponent just said something amazing. He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves.


I thought Bush was gonna do an Elmo Wright dance after spitting that out, which made the non-sequitur all the more funny.
posted by RavinDave at 10:01 PM on September 30, 2004


Here's my two takeaways: first, if you just looked at the split screens without any sound and asked someone which of the two was the president, most people would say Kerry. Bush looked whiny. (Especially when he kept asking Lehrer if he could rebut--by the way, he was allowed to answer a lot more often than Kerry was, but he didn't come off well when he did.)

Second, the money quote is when Kerry said he made a mistake when he phrased his answer to the question about the $87 billion, Bush made a mistake when he led us into war, which was worse? Kerry won the debate on points, and I don't think there were any knockout punches, but that's one of the obvious soundbites and Kerry nailed it.

Moo-lahs

What the fuck was that about? Even if he's never heard it pronounced, it's fucking spelled mullahs.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:06 PM on September 30, 2004


pmurray63: Cool -- thank you for the explanation, and I'm sorry to have lunged so quickly.
posted by davidmsc at 10:10 PM on September 30, 2004


re-broadcast right now on CNN.

blink -sneer- blink blink ...
posted by Peter H at 10:10 PM on September 30, 2004


Kerry shredded Bush tonight on both substance and appearance. Kerry was calm, resolute, and direct, turning every question into a challenge on Bush's conduct in Iraq and the war on terror -- his supposed strengths.

Bush was hunched over and defensive to Nixonian levels. Even when Bush made a successful retort, he weakened it by using the same retort over and over.

I expected the president to do better and Kerry to do worse. Considering polls that give Kerry a 20-point lead among independents on the who-won question, I think this pushes the race back to a tie, at the very least. I'm pleasantly surprised.
posted by rcade at 10:11 PM on September 30, 2004


Check out the stance. Bush is hunched over and resting his forearms on the podium, Kerry is standing up straight.

The leash comment was priceless too. A soft lob over the net for Kerry to smash right back at him. Doh!

I bet Bush is still getting reprimanded by Cheney and Rove and the other adults.
posted by fenriq at 10:13 PM on September 30, 2004


Bush / Cheney 2004
posted by eatitlive at 10:13 PM on September 30, 2004


I won't tell you my analysis until 35 people e-mail me and ask "Please, PP, please offer your analysis."
posted by ParisParamus at 10:14 PM on September 30, 2004


PP, I have been waiting!
posted by eatitlive at 10:15 PM on September 30, 2004


But for cryin' out loud, why on earth does Kerry seem to be so hellbent on falling to his knees in front of the U.N. or other nations?

Perhaps he feels that we're all in this together. You know, here on Earth.
posted by ulotrichous at 10:17 PM on September 30, 2004


I was astounded at how bad Bush looked during the debate. From the very beginning, Bush looked *much* smaller than Kerry, even though he was on the right or "good" side of the screen. This was compounded by strange facial expressions, including virtually non-stop blinking. That "tell" is associated with lying, in my experience questioning witnesses, and indicated to me that Bush was acting like he knew he was talking rot.

It seems likely that those who saw the debate would leave with the impression that Kerry looked more "Presidential" tonight.
posted by rdone at 10:17 PM on September 30, 2004


Daily Show on comedy central too

"a retarded man held his own against a senator, you've gotta reelect him!"
posted by Peter H at 10:17 PM on September 30, 2004


Conspiracy Theory:
Because Bush the puppet clearly embarrassed himself and the republican party, Cheney and all his rich cohorts (the ones who are really in charge), decide he will be eliminated. How? Well, a few weeks back there was a story of a guy from New York who was supposedly out to kill Bush with a shotgun, remember? The story has since died away but still fresh enough in the collective unconscious that when Cheney's cronies do the deed they can scoop up this lone-gunman looney and pin it on him. 5 weeks before the election? The American public will be in such disarray that they will all patriotically back the newly commissioned vice-president who could sweet-talk his way out of any prior scandal while loudly demanding "strength in time of trouble", same shit W was saying all along....but now it really hits home, eh? NO CHANCE FOR KERRY!!!!!!!
posted by protocool at 10:25 PM on September 30, 2004


Devastating Critique from DRUDGE:

Kerry also misspoke when he referred to looking at KGB records in "Treblinka Square" in a visit to Russia. Treblinka was a Nazi death camp. He meant Lubyanka Square...

That's the best they got, folks.
posted by RavinDave at 10:34 PM on September 30, 2004


It's all been said. I'll just note that I had to "translate" the video impression I got to my dad and his e-mail friends who heard it on radio (though they didn't think he won, not the least because of all the stammering). The body language was astonishing -- Bush was leaning into the lectern for dear life at times. (They insisted on the particular lectern height, too.) This one definitely goes into the history books as a replay of 1960 (and the GOP was hoping it would be Kerry who'd sweat).

In one respect I think Bush was successful at Lakoff-style moments -- the "worth it" question, when he did an extended riff on talking with a soldier's mother, let him get very emotive in the Clintonian way that voters respond to, and he was surely more successful at articulating the "vision thing" that plagued his dad and isn't Kerry's strong suit either. Those moments merely mean he held ground with his base, though, I'm sure. My initial impresion was one of a rough draw, but after seeing all the loyalist bloggers out there crying in their soup, I'm astonished to think that Bush got creamed.

The spin (one that was set up in advance, natch) is that Lehrer was "unfair" or "partisan" to throw so many questions about Iraq or Bush's record out for both candidates, instead of those critical questions about Kerry's voting record from 10 years ago. Expect a blitz on PBS affiliates -- I wouldn't be surprised if they try to get Gwen Ifill booted next week or some such nonsense. They think they've got Rather on the ropes with just a few blog posts, after all.

I was astonished that the GOP allowed the business about the camera angles to reach the level of a "flap", in that both the Commission (it's the parties' lapdog!) and FOX (it's the GOP's lapdog!) felt the need to defend their integrity and their right to show what they wanted. (No kidding. It's about the only choice they had left in any part of this.) My initial thinking was that they must not want Bush's reactions shown; then I got too Machiavellian for my own good and decided it was part of the expectations game.

Well, Rove must have been having sleepless nights over Bush's performance in practice debates. It's clear W can't fucking control his face. Anybody for poker?

On preview: protocol, don't be daft. The GOP knows damn well that Cheney isn't electable. His chances would be worse. So don't be spewing these silly conspiracy theories -- they'll off him after the election.
posted by dhartung at 10:36 PM on September 30, 2004


Conspiracy Theory: Bush wins the election.
posted by stbalbach at 10:39 PM on September 30, 2004


I won't tell you my analysis until 35 people e-mail me and ask "Please, PP, please offer your analysis."

What if 35 of us email asking you not to offer your analysis?

I'm a little (pleasantly) surprised that the consensus (even among the more enthusiastic of BushCo's supporters) is that Kerry was more presidential and came out on top, having listened to the audio only. In fact, after it finished, I went out into the garden and thought 'well, that's it, we're screwed', because I thought it was too close to call.

Visuals mean a lot, as we've known since 1960 of course (as dhartung mentions), but it's fascinating to me that it worked for the FrankenKerry this time.

I was also pleasantly surprised (and chagrined when Kerry yelped about 'the rules', the fool) that it resembled more closely a real debate than the utterly stage-managed travesty I'd been led to expect. Maybe there's hope yet!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on September 30, 2004


And though his performance wasn't all that great, kudos to Lurch for his deflection as unworthy the only truly idiotic question from Lehrer, about 'character'. And, to be fair, half-kudos to Bush for holding off on going for the talking-points throat on that question long enough to be gracious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:50 PM on September 30, 2004


stalbach, of course, refers to the events of year 2000.
posted by Peter H at 10:50 PM on September 30, 2004


Collecting spot for blog comments on the debate: AllahPundit, yeah, who knew?

Found via A Small Victory so I'm imagining that its leans a little to the right.
posted by fenriq at 11:15 PM on September 30, 2004



posted by quonsar at 11:27 PM on September 30, 2004


After watching the camera bobble on the C-SPAN split screen, all I could think was:

<homer>Kerry goes up, Kerry goes down, Kerry goes up, Kerry goes down</homer>

All the while, the camera on the President didn't move. Subtle hints from Fox? Or too many mai tais before work? We report, you decide.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:29 PM on September 30, 2004


I won't tell you my analysis until 35 people e-mail me and ask "Please, PP, please offer your analysis."

Well, we could send emails... but isn't it largely something all of us can foresee anyway?
posted by clevershark at 11:32 PM on September 30, 2004


The spin (one that was set up in advance, natch) is that Lehrer was "unfair" or "partisan" to throw so many questions about Iraq or Bush's record out for both candidates

Personally, I thought most of the questions were phrased like "Bush did foo, Kerry, what would you do different?" or "Bush, you did foo, how do you intend to complete foo?" Didn't seem too unfair to either.

But the gist of the spin cuts both ways. There was a question to both guys about Cheney's comments a few weeks ago that was something like "If Kerry is elected, will we have another 9/11?" It was early on, but I still think it's an insane question and can't believe it was seriously asked.

The other question that seemed a tad unfair was asking Kerry how "Bush lied" even though Lehrer did say "some in your camp say..." instead of flat out accusing Kerry of saying it, but forced Kerry to defend it.

Overall, I thought the debate was refreshing because Bush is so infrequently challenged on Iraq. Maybe it came off as unfair because he's been on one campaign stop or another for the past year, in between scripted appearances on friendly news shows. How many press conferences has Bush had all term? 1? 2?

For many of us, it seems like it was the first time Bush ever had to answer for any part of Iraq, and as for helping me be an informed voter, I think the questions did a service.
posted by mathowie at 11:35 PM on September 30, 2004


It's interesting to watch the blog reactions on AllahPundit. I think the "Scored on Points, but needed a Knockout" meme is one that we will be seeing repeatedly throughout the week.

I was surprised at how badly Bush came across. He was hunched over the podium so badly that it made his shoulders narrow and gave an impression of looking like a young boy. His speech was slow and the fact that it took him ten seconds worth of blinking to get started answering a question didn't really help his vague answers.

The sheer repetition of his talking points was incredibly annoying. Do Bush fans actually enjoy it? Every time he mentioned Iraq as "hard work" or how terrorists "hate freedom" I couldn't help but to groan.

The missile defense shield bit was a huge clunker. I wonder if he ad-libbed that.
posted by rks404 at 11:48 PM on September 30, 2004


And yes, if I had confidence in a candidate and their passion, intelligence, and conviction, I would hire them despite their inability to communicate effectively.

That would be extremely foolish if their primary responsibility in the job was to be as communicator.
posted by rushmc at 11:51 PM on September 30, 2004


Just got done watching the CSPAN rebroadcast. At the end, it's great - modest clapping. Bush leaves the stage and then with Kerry alone with his wife he puts his hand up in a still wave and the crowd swells into a louder burst of applause with a little WEEEOOOOO! howl, belonging all alone to him with Bush gone from view. Deserved, too. Good job, John.
posted by Peter H at 12:00 AM on October 1, 2004


One could say, matt, that the another 9/11 question was deliberate bait laid out, like Bernard Shaw's if Kitty were raped question. At the time, it was considered appalling, but people have come to appreciate it as an opportunity of revealed character.

Definitely it was one of the few times Bush has put himself out for open-ended questions on his Iraq policy, and he was really unprepared -- and I mean tactically and emotionally, not in terms of material. His most recent press conference -- his 15th, and an informal one at Crawford -- lasted 13 minutes. It's one thing to avoid them because the answers are bad and you know it, but then he didn't get the practice steeling himself through the tough questions. He looked like he hated answering for his policies, and it showed.
posted by dhartung at 12:02 AM on October 1, 2004


I wonder how the "town hall" format of the upcoming St. Louis debate will compare with tonight's performances. Assuming it has that dressed-down kitch, can Kerry amble about the stage in a plaid shirt without looking like a lumberjack? And would a lumberjack make a good president? Can King George walk, talk, and gesture at the same time?

mathowie, you bring up a really interesting point about Bush's evident lack of polish. The press has repeatedly called his the most secretive presidency ever, and not having to openly and personally defend his actions much may be coming back to bite Bush in a big way.

Mullah -- a Muslim educated and trained in the law and teachings of Islam
Moolah -- why we went to Iraq in the first place
posted by Bixby23 at 12:05 AM on October 1, 2004


Peter H, its on Fox News, man, I wish I had my Tivo in the office.

I like the split screen where Bush's podium is like five inches higher than Kerry's to keep their heads on the same level.

Bixby23, Oh He's a Lumberjack and He's Okay, He Sleeps all Night and He Works All Day!
posted by fenriq at 12:08 AM on October 1, 2004


Looks like the Global Test line is going to be the one that the Republicans seize on.

Damn, Brit Hume looks like he died five or six years ago and no one told him. Eeeek!
posted by fenriq at 12:37 AM on October 1, 2004


"From the very beginning, Bush looked *much* smaller than Kerry, even though he was on the right or "good" side of the screen. This was compounded by strange facial expressions, including virtually non-stop blinking. That "tell" is associated with lying, in my experience questioning witnesses, and indicated to me that Bush was acting like he knew he was talking rot...."

There are a lot of angles to consider in assessing this debate, but a couple stood out in my mind.

I wouldn't misunderestimate the extent to which Bush may have felt, as a child of exceptional privilege who has never had to answer for anything in his life, suddenly on the defensive as another man of privilege and a fellow Bonesman, John Kerry, took Bush to task in what amounted to a public shaming.

Bush's position's on Iraq, foreign policy, and national defense just don't add up but for once, he met a format and an adversary which brought this fundamental shakiness to the fore.

But that's about logic. Look elsewhere for Bush's failure - remembering Ronald Reagan, the master of illogic who could defuse incredulity with an "aw shucks" shrug which proved nearly irresistible :

Bush looked ridiculous for a simple technical reason which - in and of itself might determine the election : camera work which attempted to present Bush to be as tall as Kerry backfired and made Bush look like a child or a midget.......or Alfred E Neumann. Bush's head was WAY too big for his body, and the podium came WAY too high up on his chest :

George W. Bush, the incredible shrinking president.

Kerry is taller than Bush, but the podiums seemed to be the same size, - so Bush's podium came almost up to his chest! - and the camera people attempted to compensate for this with a closer focus, but this had the unanticipated effect of making Bush look like a munchkin, a dwarf or a hobbit.

I think the Nixon/1960 moment comparison is very apt for this reason : an unanticipated technical issue made Bush look silly and that, combined with other flaws in his delivery, had the net effect of undermining his usually successful approach of ceaselessly repeating pre-scripted talking points which are often irrelevant or wildly at odds with reality.

I thought that - in terms of pure acting - Bush beat Kerry on several points of presentation, but that didn't really matter in terms of the overall effect, especially for the fact that Kerry wasn't playing the same game - Kerry wasn't acting at all but, instead shining a klieg light on Bush's illogic while wee George squirmed, stammered and blinked : Bush looked ridiculous and acted like a trapped animal blinking in the headlights of Kerry's insistent logic that cut through Mr. Bush's buzzwords of "Freedom for the Iraqi people" and "Saddam was a bad man" and revealed them for the hollow and bizarre Orwellian constructions of misdirection that they are. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with September 11, and invading Iraq was a massive distraction from the "war on terror" which gobbled up military resources, left Afghanistan to fester, and got the US mired in a horrible morass. Iraq will go down in history books as one of the great fiascoes of the century, and Bush can't squirm or obfuscate his way out of the fact that responsibility that stops at the oval office desk.

He looked ridiculous and sounded not much better - His acting wasn't bad, but this time George W. Bush was in the wrong costume, at the wrong play, in the wrong school - where the teacher wasn't buying the "my dog ate my homework" excuse anymore and, meanwhile, the other kids were sticking bits of gum on his back while George pleaded against a detention.
posted by troutfishing at 12:48 AM on October 1, 2004


Brit Hume looks like he died five or six years ago and no one told him. Eeeek!

OK, that's really funny fenriq.

Also, via Mofi, a debate's Blog. (I don't watch TV, I'm just guessing that this was funnier than TV.) It also features a damning mp3.
posted by NewBornHippy at 12:50 AM on October 1, 2004


Ouch. That mp3 is the stuff of any public speaker's nightmares. I can understand rooting for the home team, but it's hard for me to fathom how some conservative commentators have gone beyond merely glossing over such an awkward delivery to actually being effusive about this performance by Bush. There's some serious cognitive dissonance going on there.
posted by DaShiv at 1:34 AM on October 1, 2004


Does anyone remember the book where people would vote only for the person that looked better physically? Something about a wife talking about the polls on TV where a man on stage who had poor people skills and extra thick glasses was the opposition to a man standing on a podium 1 foot taller? It was a mainstream book.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:49 AM on October 1, 2004


Wasn't that Fahrenheit 351, Keyser?
posted by toby\flat2 at 2:55 AM on October 1, 2004


If you missed the debate, here's the transcript. You can also click here to watch it over the 'net.

I could tell you what I thought about the debate, but I'm feeling benevolent, so I'll rely on the pollsters and conservative pundits instead.

Apparently, the pollsters thought Kerry won bigtime.. The CNN/Gallup poll shows Kerry winning by 53% to 37%, the CBS poll shows Kerry won 44% to 26%, and the ABC poll shows Kerry winning by 45%-36%... all substantial margins of victory. The Gallup poll was weighted towards "likely voters" and had a higher percentage of Republicans to Democrats as a result, so that's really saying something.

As for the conservative pundits...

"In tone and bearing, (Kerry) seemed calm, authoritative, and, yes, presidential. . . . this was critical to undermining Bush's constant assertion that Kerry is unclear, wavering and unreliable . . . it was Bush who was grimacing, furrowing his brow, almost rolling his eyes and at the very beginning, looking snippy and peevish." - Andrew Sullivan

"The Bush campaign miscalculated on having the first night be foreign policy night." - Jonah Goldberg, National Review

"(Kerry) was shockingly succinct and sharp . . . Bush was badly hurt by, yes, the podium height, which made him seem smaller, in comparison to Kerry, than he actually is. (Bush) looked . . . a bit like a gargoyle, or someone who needed the podium for protection. After an hour I'd had enough of Kerry's humorlessness. But I no longer had such a problem with him being humorless in the Oval Office." - Mickey Kaus, Slate

"I think Kerry did pretty well tonight, he was forceful and articulate." - Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard"

"Kerry was tougher than I had expected . . . Bush started off weak" - Glen Reynolds, Instapundit

"(Kerry) does not come across as arrogant and obnoxious as we believe him to be. . . The President is a dismally poor public speaker. - John Derbyshire, National Review

"Despite my partisan inclinations, I have to admit that Kerry has won this debate . . . Kerry comes off as the prosecutor accusing Bush of incompetence. Bush comes off as his Meet-The-Press, press-conference version - dogged, arrogant and unlikable. Kerry will get a significant bounce in the head-to-head poll numbers from this debate." - Polipundit.com

"I thought the President was repetitive and reactive . . . Kerry was smoother and proactive..." - Kate O'Beirne, National Review, The Capital Gang

"Kerry is the more fluid debater . . . I think he might have picked up some undecideds because I thought he looked and sounded plausibly Presidential." - John Hillen, National Review

"Tonight (Kerry) seemed to find his voice for the Democratic view of the world." - Tim Russert, Meet the Press

"This is the President's turf, this is the place that the President is supposed to dominate, terror and the war in Iraq. I don't think he really dominated tonight. I think Kerry looked like a commander-in-chief." - Morton Kondracke

"AND THE WINNER IS . . . Kerry. Five weeks, white knuckles." - Richard Brookhiser, National Review

Wow. Isn't it *nice* when everyone agrees for a change?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:14 AM on October 1, 2004


Occassionally Bush stood up for himself, but he looked like a scared child holding his his beliefs. Kerry did so well. I'm so glad that Kerry is getting passionate about this now.

(god bless bittorrent)
posted by holloway at 3:36 AM on October 1, 2004


Did Kerry beat Bush? Yh, I think he did - though I doubt he'd beat Blair. Blair wouldn't confuse Ljubliana & Treblinka: maybe because he's european...
posted by dash_slot- at 3:49 AM on October 1, 2004


"....Kerry will get a significant bounce in the head-to-head poll numbers from this debate." - Polipundit.com

Does anybody else want to punch this guy in the mouth just for his choice of domain name?

Anybody? Bueller?

Well, OK then...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:05 AM on October 1, 2004


Kerry v. Blair death match: Yeh, but the war in Iraq is probably the only major thing that Blair and Kerry would differ over.

That would be an interesting debate, though: Kerry v. Blair on the Iraq war. I mean, a real debate -- no phony rules (though these worked better than I thought), no position-posturing, nothing at stake but the points at hand. That would be good. That might actually show us something.
posted by lodurr at 4:07 AM on October 1, 2004


what are you thinking -- "Polly-Pundit wanna cracker"?

And what the hell are so many people doing up this early?
posted by lodurr at 4:08 AM on October 1, 2004


It's beer o'clock in Korea.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:13 AM on October 1, 2004


Anywhere I can download the whole debate in split screen version? C-Span had it earlier, but now it's the shot-countershot version.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:31 AM on October 1, 2004


... to Nixonian levels.

If Bush were half the intellect or a third the public speaker that Nixon was, we'd be in very, very deep shit. I recently listened to some Nixon speeches from '72, and I gotta say: They guy was good. He knew pacing, he had a good "instrument" in his voice (and knew how to use it), and he was well-educated and well-spoken...usually. Our recollection of him as defensive and small comes from the times when we saw him on the ropes after much worse punishment than GWB has ever suffered.

What's interesting to me is that the Republican Party is marginalizing exactly the people who could help it most. Think of all the current "stars", and aside from Liddy Dole, you'll be hard put to find one who's a really good public speaker. Why is that? It has to be because they're afraid of them. People like Fred Thompson or Orrin Hatch (how odd to live in a time when Orrin Hatch looks moderate....) scare them with their relative confidence and intellect. Nixon, today, would have to choose between being a pol, or a second-string elected official; he'd never get a Presidential nomination, because they'd be scared of him. Whatever else he was, he was a smart S.O.B.

On preview: Ah ... so that's how you came to teach in a Korean correctional facility... so, what did you think about the Korea stuff?
posted by lodurr at 4:40 AM on October 1, 2004


While it's true, as some people mentioned, that Kerry missed a few opportunities to press a point by letting Leher continue with a new question, it was probably smarter for him not to be insistent. He came off as the more mature debater. Bush's insistence in breaking the rules to get those extra 30 second rebuttals came off as peevish and disrespectful (the fact that he rarely had anything substantive to say in those 30 second rebuttals only highlighted this). In fact, the only time that Kerry raised a fuss about Bush's disregard for the previously agreed debate rules, he came off as peevish. I think the Kerry camp was trying to avoid a Gore "sighing too loud" moment, a wise decision, even if it cost him a few chances to rough Bush up. The result was that Kerry projected a poised and mature image while Bush appeared defensive, irritated and befuddled. Although I liked his DNC speech, this is truly the first time I connected with Kerry as a candidate. He did an excellent job.

That said, the perception of the debate victory can easily be shifted in the next few days by the media spin. Look for the SCLM to extract some meaningless item (something like a too loud sigh) and hammer it home until by monday it appears that Kerry lost the debate.

Siiiiiiigh.
posted by sic at 4:45 AM on October 1, 2004


Does anyone remember the book where people would vote only for the person that looked better physically?

There ya go again, confusing books with MetaFilter.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:26 AM on October 1, 2004


Early on in the debate, Bush was talking about "before September 10th" - can anyone fill me in on what happened that day?
posted by SNACKeR at 5:40 AM on October 1, 2004


"(Kerry) was shockingly succinct and sharp . . . Bush was badly hurt by, yes, the podium height, which made him seem smaller, in comparison to Kerry, than he actually is. (Bush) looked . . . a bit like a gargoyle, or someone who needed the podium for protection. After an hour I'd had enough of Kerry's humorlessness. But I no longer had such a problem with him being humorless in the Oval Office." - Mickey Kaus, Slate

I'm glad SOMEBODY noticed the little podium/camera framing fuckup! That was EXTREMELY important - as in "the edge between a Kerry win and merely a draw" important.

Bush looked ridiculous - I started laughing hysterically and couldn't stop for a bit at one point.

Some terms used to describe Bush, with his (seemingly) oversized podium with his (apparently) oversized head and prominent ears :

"a gargoyle" , "a hobbit" , "a munchkin" , "a gnome", "a midget", "a dwarf" , "Alfred E Neumann", "........

"a frightened child"


"....Nixon, today, would have to choose between being a pol, or a second-string elected official; he'd never get a Presidential nomination, because they'd be scared of him. Whatever else he was, he was a smart S.O.B." (lodurr)

Bush - it goes without saying - is no Nixon. Watergate notwithstanding, Nixon had a far greater regard for the truth, and far too great a sense of responsibility for the common good - and the intelligence to know where that lay.

[ PLUG FOR NIXON, last great liberal president ] Lodurr - Ah yes, Nixon : the last great Liberal president. Shame about his regressive foreign policies overall and (like his predecessor) his inability to come to grips with the Vietnam debacle....and, like his predessor Johnson, Nixon was also an irresponsible "Guns and Butter" man. Indeed the policies of those two great, failed Liberal presidencies defined the period during which the US went from being a creditor nation to being a debtor nation : that period was the tipping point. Nixon, however, beat Johnson in terms of Liberal legislation signed into law. Plus, he went to China. As I said, the last great Liberal president. Clinton ? Well, that little cigar incident seems at the moment still a blot on his record but, more importantly, his domestic policies were conservative or neoconservative. So : it's all Nixon.

"What's interesting to me is that the Republican Party is marginalizing exactly the people who could help it most." (lodurr)

- That's what happens when an extreme ideology crawls up it's own ass (and they often do) : it can no longer find it's way in the dark.

Then, it dies and stinks up the whole country.
posted by troutfishing at 5:41 AM on October 1, 2004


And no one stood up for Cat Stevens. It is a dark day for America.
posted by adampsyche at 5:44 AM on October 1, 2004


Damn, Brit Hume looks like he died five or six years ago and no one told him.

I find Hume to be an unprofessional partisan hack today, but I think it's worth pointing out that his son Sandy, also a journalist, committed suicide at age 28 six years ago. I can't imagine anything that would age someone more quickly than something like that.

I recently listened to some Nixon speeches from '72, and I gotta say: They guy was good.

One thing that President Bush and his gang of power-mad crooks has done well is to reform the reputations of Republicans like Nixon. Pat Buchanan, who sounded insane and shrill at the 1992 Republican National Convention, has become one of the voices of moderation and principle in his party.

If Nixon were alive today, he'd be received as an elder statesman in the manner of Carter, who ought to be remembered as the most accomplished president -- after his term -- in U.S. history.

Strange times.
posted by rcade at 5:51 AM on October 1, 2004


Strange - I had a dream about Carter last night. I went to his door on some errand and then had to tell him I thought his was a great presidency....at which point he clutched his heart and collapsed on the couch. Then, his wife came out - she looked dramatically younger and sexily dolled up in a provocatively cut dress.

I wish I knew what the hell it meant.

"If Nixon were alive today, he'd be received as an elder statesman in the manner of Carter" - and, he'd be doing Viagra or Ciallas commercials too, no doubt. But - yeah - the US political spectrum has been shifted considerable to the right.

It's amazing, just amazing what 5 or 10 billion dollars, well spent, can do.

___________________

Meanwhile........Bush Administration attempts diversionary tactic to distract public attention away from debate loss by US offensive to retake Iraqi city of Samara.

They're flailing, their latitude for dirty tricks is shrinking by the day.....the spooks (many of them) are pissed off and watching too closely. Iraq's a weak, self defeating hand to play - one that won't sustain long.

Bush's day as a useful idiot has come and gone.
posted by troutfishing at 6:11 AM on October 1, 2004


And no one stood up for Cat Stevens. It is a dark day for America.

*dons a fake-ass pseudo-faux-muslim Cat Stevens chin-merkin, stands up, proudly, for America*

Strange times.

Evil, stupid times, rcade. But entertaining as fuck, you've got to admit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:12 AM on October 1, 2004


Kerry's one misstep, IMO, was when Lehrer reminded him of his "last man to die for a mistake" quote, and asked him if the war in Iraq was a mistake. He quickly said no, and whooshed on to a "support the troops" line. Seemed like a little inconsistency there, seeing as how he spent most of the rest of the debate saying the war WAS a mistake...

Also, I wanted to hear him say this: "Yes, I saw the same intelligence the President did, and I voted to authorize the war. That was a mistake. I made the mistake of believing the President when he said he would exhaust all diplomatic means, and would build a coalition. I made the mistake of trusting the president."
posted by luser at 6:13 AM on October 1, 2004


On the "last man to die for a msitake" point: Kerry has to say that they're not dieing for a mistake for more than cynical reasons. He has to say it because he believes (as a lot of people do) that the national interest is not served by leaving Iraq in an unstable position. So having troops there now is a practical necessity -- hence, people in service in Iraq now can be seen as serving their country in an honorable fight.

The problem is that I don't think he's ever articulated that, so it looks like a cyncal "no".
posted by lodurr at 6:20 AM on October 1, 2004


On the "last man to die for a msitake" point: Kerry has to say that they're not dieing for a mistake for more than cynical reasons. He has to say it because he believes (as a lot of people do) that the national interest is not served by leaving Iraq in an unstable position. So having troops there now is a practical necessity -- hence, people in service in Iraq now can be seen as serving their country in an honorable fight.

I think Kerry did address this when he talked about the "Pottery Barn Rule":

"Now, if you break it, you made a mistake. It's the wrong thing to do. But you own it. And then you've got to fix it and do something with it. Now that's what we have to do. There's no inconsistency. Soldiers know over there that this isn't being done right yet. I'm going to get it right for those soldiers, because it's important to Israel, it's important to America, it's important to the world, it's important to the fight on terror. But I have a plan to do it. He doesn't."
posted by Stuart_R at 6:31 AM on October 1, 2004


CNN pundit scorecard.

Bob Novak is such a hack. Why isn't that guy in jail yet, btw?
posted by psmealey at 6:36 AM on October 1, 2004


Bush asked nicely for my vote.

I don't think Kerry asked at all.

I should give over my vote to Bush, cuz he asked nice and all.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2004


Keyser, I think that's Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. Everyone had government imposed "handicaps" in order to enforce "equality". From what I remember, attractive candidate had to wear thick glasses and false teeth, short candidate stood on platform, etc.
posted by Hlewagast at 6:50 AM on October 1, 2004


psmealey - Interesting. The CBS public scorecard gives Bush C's for both content and delivery, while Kerry gets a B+ for content and an A- for delivery.

All of CBS's three pundits give Bush far more favorable marks than do the CBS public.

The TV punditocracy is fatally compromised, and it's notable that even the Blogoshpere's conservatives have opinions on this debate which seem to sync up more closely with the public view.

Meanwhile, the TV pundits are drifting lazily away from reality - somewhere tending bar and shining shoes on a yacht called "Fellatio to Power lll"
posted by troutfishing at 6:58 AM on October 1, 2004


rough ashlar: I know you're joking, but Bush believes in "asking for the sale," as they say in another line of work. He does it in all his speeches.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:00 AM on October 1, 2004


Bush last night regarding war on terror:

"The only consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent. He changes positions. And you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win. And I expect to win. It's necessary we win."

Bush August 28, 2004 regarding war on terror:

"I don't think you can win it," Mr. Bush replied. "But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

Bush April 13 regarding war on terror:

"One of the interesting things people ask me, now that we are asking questions, is, 'Can you ever win the war on terror?' Of course you can."

Geez. What a flip.....oh, forget it.
posted by Otis at 7:04 AM on October 1, 2004


There are many delicious varieties of cheese that one might try, if one were keen to explore the flavour universe of the cheese.

Mmmm, cheese.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 AM on October 1, 2004


Stuart R, that Pottery Barn Rule threw me, it felt contrived and hokey. If you break something, its a mistake and you own that mistake? Didn't really ring all that true.

But there are dozens of superb soundbites out of this. The Daily Show's take was excellent. I loved watching Bush flap his eyes and look like he had absolutely not even the first clue where he was or what he was doing.

Rough Ashlar, I vollunteer on the Kerry campaign, I just an email from Mr. Kerry asking me to specifically request the honor of your support in November. Scout's honor!

On Preview: Troutfishing, I voted and gave Bush the same grades he got at Yale, C-, just barely passing.
posted by fenriq at 7:18 AM on October 1, 2004


I'm just gonna jump on the bandwagon here and admit that, for once, I found Kerry impressive. but then, it was never in doubt that the man has brains and much more stature than his 2004 opponents (Bush and the other Democrats in the primaries).

also, he doesn't believe that the world is 6,000 years old. that helps boost one's credibility, too

this doesn't change the fact that Kerry didn't bleed enough in Vietnam, plus he got an orange tan and his wife is weird and a furriner, hence he must not get elected.

but still, it was good to watch.
posted by matteo at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2004


The more I see of John Kerry, the less he seems like Lurch and more like Abraham Frikkin' Lincoln !
I am gradually converting from "anyone but Bush" to actually liking John Kerry for Prez.

Anyone else notice that Bush had a whistling booger (either that or all the coke has given him a permanent whistle-y inhale),
that's got to be distracting when you are on national TV without a kleenex.
posted by milovoo at 8:15 AM on October 1, 2004


The crowd from "The Note" made a clever observation, though they didn't expand on it.

It's no great secret that the Bushies fought tooth-n-nail for a visible warning light displayed so that the audience knew when a candidate was running over. They were obviously banking on Kerry being long-winded. But Kerry turned it to his supreme advantage; using the light to keep his replies sharp, concise and on-message.
posted by RavinDave at 8:34 AM on October 1, 2004


If you break something, it's a mistake and you own the shards. You are responsible. If it's real expensive, like a Ming vase, or a whole frikkin' country, you oughta do a repair job on it.

I must admit, it didn't look like Bush understood this point.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:52 AM on October 1, 2004


... that Pottery Barn Rule threw me, it felt contrived and hokey.

That's an interesting observation. It means (I think) that the source of the quote wasn't in your consciousness. I wonder how many people now remember that the remark was first attributed to Powell? (As you may recall, Pottery Barn themselves were kind of pissed at the remark. Humorless bastards. I thought it was an apt analogy, myself.)
posted by lodurr at 8:53 AM on October 1, 2004


and his wife is weird and a furriner, hence he must not get elected.

If Ms. Kerry sees fit to sell Ermaine or sable, i see no problem with this.

come on, two bones debating?
like watching The Illuminati do synchronized swimming.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 AM on October 1, 2004


If you break something, you pay for the damage, and leave. If you purposely go somewhere to break things, say a Pottery Barn, or Iraq, you will and should be arrested. (but with countries, there's noone to arrest you, just citizens of that country who will keep killing you until you leave.)

I was watching in a bar, and the sound was off, but the closed captioning was on. The split screen was hysterical, and the height of the podium on Bush's side to keep his head level with Kerry took up much more space, and did make him seem smaller, even tho i think Fox thought they were doing him a favor. Did Bush always have such narrow shoulders and such a big head? Kerry's answers seemed shorter than usual, but i haven't seen many soundbites of him today. (only the one in response to voting for the war then against it, about which mistake is bigger)

I immediately thought Ross Perot, when finally hearing Bush's tone. and Alfred E. Neumann indeed.
posted by amberglow at 9:04 AM on October 1, 2004


Scoring the debate thread:

Best concise summary: quonsar.

Best collection of surprising quotes (even if they were cribbed from Kerry's site): insomnia_lj

Best prediction: whatever happens in November, honey, they can't take away the fact that this lighter strawberry blond color really brings out your eyes!
posted by soyjoy at 9:07 AM on October 1, 2004


clavdivs - "like watching The Illuminati do synchronized swimming."

Lovely image! Welcome back clavdivs.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:11 AM on October 1, 2004


Since no one else mentioned it, I may in fact have to conclude that I read entirely too much into things, but during their little "Oh, your wife and kids are just great!" patter in the middle of the debate, Bush said something about keeping his daughters on a leash, and Kerry smirked and said, "I've learned not to do that."

I assumed it was a *very* barbed comment about Abu Ghraib.

Anyone? Anyone?
posted by occhiblu at 9:13 AM on October 1, 2004


The DNC has a video up already on Bush: Faces of Frustration

occhiblu: it may have been too subtle, if it was intended to reference that. I would have been bitchier in response: "Oh, like you instructed the torturers at Abu Ghraib to do?"
posted by amberglow at 9:27 AM on October 1, 2004


The Pottery Barn comment from Kerry actually began:

"Secretary of State Colin Powell told this president the Pottery Barn rule: If you break it, you fix it. "
posted by Stuart_R at 9:30 AM on October 1, 2004


Amberglow -- yeah, I wish he had taken half a second to make it sound a bit bitchier, because it was a great off the cuff comment. Assuming it was intended that way.

And I see that the Wonkette read it the same way, so at least I have some company. She calls it Bush's attempt "to sell Kerry on the Lynndie England approach to child-rearing."
posted by occhiblu at 9:31 AM on October 1, 2004



I assumed it was a *very* barbed comment about Abu Ghraib.


yes! bush threw down the plank then walked it himself! it was the high point of the show!
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on October 1, 2004


I found the Bush strategy of hammering home his talking points to be very effective -- after the seventh rendition of "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" I really started to feel it. Bravo!
posted by eddydamascene at 9:45 AM on October 1, 2004


well at least he didn't say that all the Iraq economy needs now is a good shock therapy
posted by matteo at 9:45 AM on October 1, 2004


And did he really say "it's hard work" a million times? Poor baby.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on October 1, 2004


And did he really say "it's hard work" a million times? Poor baby.

Yeah, I'm thinking of making that my new excuse at work and with my girlfriend. Think it'll work?
posted by mkultra at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2004


lodurr, yeah, I think I recall Powell saying it now but at the time, it was a WTF? moment.

eddy, you mean Bush's repeat the smear efforts actually worked on you? Bummer. Does your brain feel squeaky clean now?

Funny, I didn't get Abu Ghraib on the leash comment, I got Bush trying to control his daughters and Kerry saying that it was best to let them live their own lives. I loved it.

And loved the imagery of the Bush twins on leashes. Thanks Mr. Bush! Be right back, this one handed typing is hard! Its HARD WORK, HARD WORK, HARD WORK.

Last thought, Bush did try to make a decent attempt at an end around on the final question about the greatest threat to the US. He took Kerry's excellent response of nuclear proliferation and tried to use it to justify attacking Iraq by playing the WMD card again. I don't think it worked and his smirky grin that he'd neatly stolen Kerry's thunder just helped illustrate very candidly that he was reaching.

Now let's see them polls start moving!
posted by fenriq at 10:04 AM on October 1, 2004


Some Bush supporter reactions.
posted by frenetic at 10:04 PM EST on September 30


And now the hosting provider's current reaction?
posted by juiceCake at 10:07 AM on October 1, 2004


and meanwhile, in the BC04 War Room...

Rove: Get Ridge on TV now! We're tanking! Time for another "warning"
posted by amberglow at 10:08 AM on October 1, 2004


Bob Novak is such a hack. Why isn't that guy in jail yet, btw?

I ask myself that every time I see his ugly mug. I can take Ann Coulter, she's good comedy. Tucker Carlson and Larry Miller are bright guys who happen to not share my politics. Other conservative pundits I meet with various levels of eye-rolling and head shaking and even occasional agreement (or outright laughter).

But with Novak, all I can think of when I see him is that he's a traitor who needs to be tried and hung, preferably on pay-per-view.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:16 AM on October 1, 2004


Colin Powell actually said, "You break it, you own it," in warning Bush about the possible consequences of invading. (the Pottery Barn rule)

That to me sums up the difference between Vietnam and the current quagmire. As difficult as it was to pull out of Vietnam in terms of lost prestige, fear of the domino effect, etc., at the end of the day you could always say, "It's not our war. Let the Vietnamese work it out."

This is OUR WAR. We broke the country. Now we own it.

If it took a dozen years to extract ourselves from a war we didn't have a real stake in, how long will it take to get out of this one? And in Iraq, the domino effect is real, as the longer it goes on, the less stable some of the surrounding countries (iran, syria, pakistan, saudi arabia) become. Scary as hell. But we own it.
posted by luser at 10:22 AM on October 1, 2004


Bush said something about keeping his daughters on a leash, and Kerry smirked and said, "I've learned not to do that."

Totally about parenting styles - and the fact that one has a vanilla family, the other is a little blended. Different cultures weaving into one - that's surely very American, no? I'll bet TayRayZa HK has quite different views on her girls freedom, than does her husband (& her husband's enemy)
posted by dash_slot- at 10:22 AM on October 1, 2004


But didn't they want to own Iraq all along? Wasn't that the point? It's not a warning of things to come, when it was actually planned for (included maps of Iraq pulled out at Cheney's energy meetings).
posted by amberglow at 10:27 AM on October 1, 2004


(included maps of Iraq pulled out at Cheney's energy meetings).

You have a cite for that, amberglow? Not being snarky -- I'm truly curious.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:44 AM on October 1, 2004


How lazy are you?
posted by mkultra at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2004


I bet Cheney popped wood every time he looked at those oil maps.
posted by fenriq at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2004


Alfred E Neumann! That's it! I've spent every waken hour since the debate wondering who the fuck Bush looked like. I knew it was something familiar, but I couldn't find it.
Alfred/DonMartin 2004?
sorry if my english is flawed, but i'm kinda on wasted the stavrosjuice
posted by mr.marx at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2004


Alfred E Neumann! That's it! I've spent every waken hour since the debate wondering who the fuck Bush looked like. I knew it was something familiar, but I couldn't find it.
Alfred/DonMartin 2004?
sorry if my english is flawed, but i'm kinda wasted on the stavrosjuice
posted by mr.marx at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2004


pardonyou:
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/35372#728414

found in 60 secs via google
posted by dash_slot- at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2004


you forgot poland
posted by adampsyche at 11:16 AM on October 1, 2004


[via chicobangs]
posted by adampsyche at 11:17 AM on October 1, 2004


I'd say anyone who thinks Kerry's comeback on the leash thing was meant as a torture reference either wasn't watching it at the time or doesn't grasp the tightrope walk that these debates are for presenting "character."

This was a rare moment of quasi-commiseration, father-to-father, between the two - even if insincere, it was a period of a different, less-confrontational tone than the rest of the night, and Bush showed some vulnerability in acknowledging his inability to control his own children. If Kerry had turned that into a cheap, explicit jab at one of the Bush admin's most egregious international scandals, the pundits would not have waited for breakfast, they would've eaten him for a midnight snack. And rightfully so. Not because Bush doesn't deserve it, but because it would've been a profound miscalculation as to how to play the debate game.
posted by soyjoy at 11:17 AM on October 1, 2004


re: tightrope walk

I should amend that to say that it was a tightrope walk for Kerry, since Bush consistently came across like a complete asshole, but the rules are different for him, of course.

In fact, a good Kerry comeback would've been: "Mr. President, the only consistency you have is in consistently being an asshole."

posted by soyjoy at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2004


I smell a flash/photoshop bush-jenna-leash-thingee
posted by mr.marx at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2004


Er. Not a good comeback on the leash thing, of course - rather, on the "consistency" line.

OK, I'm done.

posted by soyjoy at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2004


Me worry
posted by euphorb at 11:48 AM on October 1, 2004


euphorb, YES! That made today all the better and damned if he didn't look almost exactly like that last night.

I do have to admit that I had a Kerry-looks-like-Dukakis moment in the beginning but it passed, thank goodness.
posted by fenriq at 12:12 PM on October 1, 2004


you forgot poland

The Rodney Dangerfield of Europe.
posted by y2karl at 12:15 PM on October 1, 2004


eddy, you mean Bush's repeat the smear efforts actually worked on you?

Smear? All I remember is wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.

Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2004


Soyjoy: I read the leash comment the same way. Kerry would have been insane to give up a chance to humanize himself with that father-to-father moment. Anyone who thinks that was an Abu Ghraib reference needs to stop bogarting the blogosphere.
posted by rcade at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2004


found in 60 secs via google

I followed the link, and it doesn't say anything about these maps being "pulled out" during meetings (which would suggest heightened importance), as opposed to being included as reference material. The fact that maps showing locations of known oil fields (a.k.a. the source of most of the world's energy) might be of interest to an energy task force strikes me as fairly obvious.

Not to mention, the linked site specifically notes that similar maps of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates were also included. Doesn't that weaken your implication that these maps were brought out to plan for post-war Iraqi oil?
posted by pardonyou? at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2004


Looks like it might be too late for the leash... Ryan Cormier of the Wilmington News Journal found this interesting image from last night.
posted by mmahaffie at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2004


I followed the link, and it doesn't say anything about these maps being "pulled out" during meetings

OMG, pardonyou?, you can't be serious... can you? You're really, truly asking for a link that tells us just which documents were "pulled out" at these meetings and which weren't?

I guess for that we'd have to check the webcam Cheney had set up to keep us informed on their progress.
posted by soyjoy at 1:33 PM on October 1, 2004


Give me a break, soyjoy. My point was that amberglow's post used the maps as evidence to try support his stated point: But didn't they want to own Iraq all along? Wasn't that the point? It's not a warning of things to come, when it was actually planned for.

I'm pointing out that there's a huge difference between the fact that maps of Iraqi oil fields existed as task force documents (along with similar maps of UAE and Saudi Arabia), and the insinuation that these maps were pored over as part of the administration's "plan" to "own" Iraq back in March 2001. The former is (to me) innocuous. The latter is (to me) criminal. Amberglow's post implied the latter, but the documents themselves do no more than show the former.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:45 PM on October 1, 2004


I thought it was very telling when Kerry hammered Bush on the invasion of Baghdad and the only building they protected was the oil ministry.

That was solid, informative and made ShrubCo look like greedy oil-mad fools.
posted by fenriq at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2004


Who the fuck can afford to shop at the Pottery Barn in this economy?
posted by jpoulos at 2:33 PM on October 1, 2004


...The former is (to me) innocuous. The latter is (to me) criminal. Amberglow's post implied the latter, but the documents themselves do no more than show the former...

You tell me what went on in the secret energy meetings...the docs mentioned are the few that have been released. Until you tell me why they were secret in the first place, no one will know. I know that this has been a plan since the 90s.

And "own" or "control"? Is there a difference? We're installing our puppets, building huge permanent bases, etc...You tell me. It's not innocuous any way you look at it. And Iraq was under embargo when Cheney had those meetings. What could they have been talking about re: Iraq?
posted by amberglow at 2:58 PM on October 1, 2004


It was nice to see that Stewart didn't let Rudy G. get away with his crazy shit on The Daily Show last night. Stewart is usually fairly accomodating to guests from all political walks of life, but he clearly didn't have much patience for the illogical spin that Rudy was trying out last night. Good stuff.


Smear? All I remember is wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.

Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.


Hahaha.
posted by The God Complex at 3:00 PM on October 1, 2004


And did he really say "it's hard work" a million times? Poor baby.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh this afternoon when a female caller was on exclaiming what a hard worker George Bush is-- after all He is President of the United States! That is a full time job. He doesn't have time to sit around all day getting facials and having his hair and nails done.

George Bush: Hard Worker!

I get the idea she was picturing him in his shirt sleeves with smudges of dirt on his face squatting in the mud in his jeans, showing a little moon, while he strained to re-right some poor Floridians overturned double-wide trailer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:15 PM on October 1, 2004


Apocalypse Now: Scarborough just said that he was embarrased by the President's performance last night.
posted by jaronson at 7:11 PM on October 1, 2004


From Ruy Teixeira's site:

“In Spin Alley last night, a weird dynamic takes place. Both sides start on almost equal footing, but as everyone shares note and impressions about Kerry's "control" or Bush's weird facial ticks, as the first wave of instant polls overwhelmingly crowning Kerry the winner roll in, as the pro-Kerry punditry on cable gets passed around, things shift. Kerry's surrogates start to seem more caffeinated and giddy, while Bush's sound defensive...Tad Devine, who lived through Al Gore's disastrous trio of debates in 2000, is bouncing up and down and shouting after an aide reads poll results off a blackberry. "CBS, two-hundred fence-sitters," he says, "forty-four Kerry, twenty-six Bush. ABC, forty-five Kerry, thirty-six Bush." Devine is ecstatic. "Ha! Killer!" he yells, head cocked, eyes bulging. "That's crushing. Crushing!"

A few minutes earlier, Karl Rove had tried to float the notion that "It was one of the president's better debate performances and one of Kerry's worst." But, in sharp contrast to other occasions, he couldn’t make it fly. As Lizza noted “Vince Morris of The New York Post stares at Rove and asks, "Can you say that with a straight face?"

posted by psmealey at 7:57 AM on October 2, 2004


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