Democrats & Liberals Archives

Town Hall Debate

Wow. That was an interesting debate. What was up with Bush near the beginning, where he almost punched Charley Gibson in the nose when he thought he wouldn’t get a chance to respond to Kerry?

Some people are going to say Bush was forceful, but he looked defensive, strident, and belligerent to me. I can see why Bush's generals, like Franks and Abizaid, only say they need more troops for Iraq in private. And it's pretty clear that when CPA guys like L. Paul Bremmer and Larry Diamond repeatedly requested more troops, they got shouted down the same way Bush stepped all over Gibson.

Anyhow, while Bush did a better job this time with his basic speaking skills and not to making the faces (but what were the smirky winks all about?), it was clear Kerry won. Kerry was calm and presidential, he had a clear grasp of facts and figures, and he deftly parried Bush's tired old flip-flop attack - by the end of the debate, even Bush didn't look like he believed it.

While Kerry provided clear answers to the questions asked, Bush was still fighting last week's debate. He brought up apropos nothing the "global test", bilateral talks with North Korea, and "the summit", but worst of all, Bush is still in denial over Iraq's non-existent WMD.

Despite acknowledging yesterday what the CIA has concluded - that there were no WMD, no WMD programs, and no meaningful terrorist connections in Iraq - President Bush continued to rave, "Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies."

Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

As Kerry pointed out, "you can't say, because Saddam might have done it 10 years from now, that's a reason; that's an excuse!"

On domestic issues, Kerry clearly differentiated himself from President Bush,

The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the drug companies. And I'm fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada, and I'm fighting to let Medicare survive. I'm fighting for the middle class. That is the difference.

Kerry even scored a hat trick on energy, education and jobs,

We're going to be more competitive, by making sure our kids are graduating from school and college... We've got to create the products of the future. That's why I have a plan for energy independence within 10 years.

And we're going to put our laboratories and our colleges and our universities to work. And we're going to get the great entrepreneurial spirit of this country, and we're going to free ourselves from this dependency on Mideast oil.

That's how you create jobs and become competitive.

Kerry also pledged not to raise taxes on families earning less than $200,000 a year, and backed up his commitment to fiscal responsibility by pointing out,

I've even scaled back some of my favorite programs already, like the child-care program I wanted to fund and the national service program, because the president's deficit keeps growing and I've said as a pledge, "I'm going to cut the deficit in half in four years."

This presidential debate was much more substantial than the last, but even though President Bush looked less like a deer caught in the headlights (or "pensive" as Karl Rove described it), he still wasn't in control and he was on the defensive all evening. This one goes to a very presidential John Kerry.

Posted by American Pundit at October 9, 2004 8:42 AM