Skip to comments.Keeping Score: A round-by-round look at how Bush and Kerry did during the debate.
Posted on 09/30/2004 9:27:18 PM PDT by Pokey78
HOW DID Bush and Kerry do tonight? A mixed bag for both. Let's look at the scorecard.
Round 1: How will Kerry make America safer? Kerry says he'll use alliances and won't upset Muslims around the world. Bush stumbles before giving the numbers of al Qaeda killed and captured. Round to Kerry
Round 2: Will Kerry's election increase the chances of a terror attack? Showing the certitude that makes thinking people cringe, Bush replies, "That's not going to happen" because he's going to win. "In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work," he says. Kerry calls Iraq a "colossal error in judgment." Round to Bush
Round 3: What misjudgments has Bush made? "Where do we start?" Kerry asks. Let the record note that he mentions Vietnam ("as someone who's been in combat") at 9:12 p.m. Unfortunately, he then spins off into talk about multiples of ten. It probably isn't numerology, but who can tell. Bush quotes Kerry's old stance on Saddam. Looking peevish, Bush says "That's part of a pre-September 10th mentality" and gestures to Kerry. A good line of attack he should have pressed more. I mean, wasn't that the theme of the Republican convention? Round to Bush
Round 4: What about going after Saddam and not bin Laden? Bush says, sensibly, "We have to be able to do both." Kerry flops around about the "rush to war" and how Bush didn't fund body armor. Round to Bush
Round 5: What would Kerry do differently on Homeland Security? Kerry attacks Bush's funding of firehouses and the tax cuts, which is weak.
But Bush flounders, muttering something like, "Pssshhht" and shrugging his shoulders. In his rebuttal, he nearly shouts that you better have a president who understands that you have to protect America. Round to Kerry
Round 6: What criteria will you use for knowing when to bring troops home from Iraq? Bush says, "When our generals on the ground" tell us that Iraqis are ready to protect themselves "from these terrorists." Kerry says, "Help is on the way." ("I know what it's like to go out on" missions where you don't know what's around the corner--second Vietnam reference.) During rebuttal, Bush hits Kerry's $87 billion vote for the first, and inexplicably the only, time. Round to Kerry
Round 7: Are Americans now dying for a mistake? After saying he agrees with Bush, Kerry says Iraq is like FDR invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. Then again with the summits. And then Halliburton. Welcome to the MoveOn.org portion of the program. An increasingly surly Bush responds, "That's just absurd. . . . What does he say to Tony Blair. . . . You can't expect to build alliances when you denigrate the contributions of those who are serving side-by-side with Americans in Iraq." Ouch. Round to Bush
Round 8: What was Bush's miscalculation on post-war conditions in Iraq? Bush says, basically, that the Baathists were cowards and didn't fight and, also, Tommy Franks won too fast. Also: "I know we won't [win in Iraq] if we send mixed signals." Kerry makes news by saying that now he would not have gone into Iraq knowing what he knows now. Or maybe this isn't news. To be honest, I've lost track. Anyway. Round to Kerry
Round 9: How has Bush lied on Iraq? Kerry says that he's "never used the harshest word which you just have." Hmmm . . . can that be true? Someone should look into it, since this isn't the type of thing the RNC would send out a press release about. Bush's rebuttal is a non sequitur: Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide how America defends itself. Huh? Bush seems personally offended at the suggestion that anyone else might get to do his job. And for the fourth time or so, says, "That's not how a commander in chief acts." Kerry is going to win this round, but he makes one gigantic mistake: "I've had one position, one consistent position," on Iraq, he says. Oops, that should go in an ad. Round to Kerry
Round 10: Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost in lives? Bush's finest moment so far. He names a woman he met whose husband died in Iraq and talks about how they prayed together. "I thought her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy. Because I understand the stakes of this war on terror," he says. "Every life is precious, that's what distinguishes us from the enemy," he says. If only he could have brought himself to name "the enemy" he keeps referencing.
Kerry's rebuttal is, "I understand what the president is talking about because I know what it means to lose people in combat," and, that "reminds me of my own thinking when I came back from fighting in that war." If you're keeping score at home, this is the fourth time he's brought up Vietnam.
Bush starts his rebuttal by laughing out loud and then coming to tonight's lodestar: "You cannot lead the war on terror if you keep changing positions" again. Kerry's rebuttal uses Colin Powell as a club on Bush and then starts talking about the Pottery Barn Rule. They teach it at SAIS, you know. That and the little known Crate and Barrel Corollary. Round to Bush
Round 11: Give us specifics for how you would end U.S. involvement in Iraq. Kerry talks about 14 military bases in Iraq and guarding the Oil Ministry and we're off to MoveOn land again. we're building 14 bases and guarding the oil ministry only, a sop to the MoveOn types. Says you have to close the borders and bring in allies. Round to Bush
Round 12: Is it now more or less likely that you'll go into a preemptive war again? Bush says, "by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages" it is less likely we'll have to use troops again. Kerry rebuts that "the enemy" was Osama, not Saddam, and that Bush should have used U.S. troops, not Afghan troops, at Tora Bora. See? Bush should be using multinational troops where he's using American troops and American troops where he was using foreign allies. That makes sense. Round to Bush
Round 13: What is your view on preemptive war? Kerry says the POTUS always has that option and then, amazingly brings up JFK's consultation with the French during the Cuban missile crisis. That is, as the saying goes, a big matzah ball hanging out there.
Shockingly, Bush passes up the opportunity. His rebuttal is, however, devastating. He says he doesn't know what it means to "pass a global test. . . . My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people." That's a standing 8-count. Round to Bush
Round 14: Can diplomacy solve the problems in Iran and North Korea? President Bush wants to work with the Moo-lahs to convince Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions. Kerry beats Bush over the head with Powell again. This is Kerry's best moment, until Jim Lehrer steps in. Lehrer wants to clarify what type of negotiations the two candidates favor. Bush wants bilateral. Kerry says, naturally, "I want both!" Round to Kerry
Round 15: Darfur--why won't you send in troops? Kerry mentions the "back-door draft" and says we're too overextended in Iraq to do Darfur. Bush, interestingly enough, knows about the timing of the African rainy seasons. Round to Kerry
Round 16: Are there underlying character issues serious enough to deny Kerry the job? For looking like such a sourpuss all night, Bush is limber and charming here: "Whew, that's a loaded question," he smiles. He admires Kerry's service and appreciates that he's a great dad and that his daughters have been so kind to the Bush girls. He admires Kerry's service in the Senate, but not his record. "He changes positions on the war in Iraq" and on things "in his core" "in his heart of hearts" and, even worse, sends "mixed messages." Kerry makes the fair point that "It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and wrong." Round to Bush
Round 17: What do you think is the single biggest threat facing America? Kerry doesn't hesitate: "Nuclear proliferation." Round to Kerry
Round 18: Did Bush misjudge Vladimir Putin? President Bush thinks that it's important to have good personal relationships with former KGB agents as they try to roll back important civil freedoms. This way you can disagree constructively. Kerry doesn't have a better answer, but did get a neat-o tour of KGB headquarters right after the fall of the Soviet Union. Round to Kerry
I've got this fight scored dead-even: 9 to 9. Of course there are intangibles to consider. On the whole, Kerry was more relaxed and polished and certainly calmer. He also managed to sneak in a fifth Vietnam reference during his closing remarks ("I defended this country as a young man in war.") Kerry was a grounded presence and his performance should give Democrats hope.
Bush was, as someone once put it, surprisingly more tart than sweet. At times the president faltered and you could see the wheels spinning as he flipped through his mental Rolodex, looking for the right card. Peevish is the word which kept coming to mind. He was, however, ruthlessly on-message. If Kerry really is being damaged by the sense that he's a flip-flopper who doesn't know his own mind--and the higher-ups on Team Bush insist that this is the key to beating him--then the president did exactly what he wanted to do. But if the central issue of this election is the September 10 versus the September 12 party, then Bush may have let slip a fair opportunity.
Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.
Just saw this at Drudge,
FLASH: Kerry stated: 'That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there.' (Driving home point that Bush as not done enough to protect the country.)
The NYC subway did not close at all during the convention, according to a report on cable outlet
This seems to be a fairly accurate appraisal. Bush did not score a knockout punch, but neither did Kerry. The President did fine, he could've done better.
He seems to have totally missed the "Global test" question. Kerry blew it tonight. By responsing that he would defend America only if the cause "met the global test". So while the various spin misters get all caught up in Bush's speaking style them missed the substance.
And he lied about the money spent in Iraq: it's not $200,000,000, it's closer to $119,000,000, which includes Afghanistan, too.
And Franks said NO WAY did they divert material or men from Afghanistan to Iraq.
I think that was HUGE!
Interesting comments from other posters: - Kerry mentions - War on the cheap. He then complains about cost! Then Kerry says would add two more divisions and double the special forces.How? Also - Good news for the mullahs: Kerry opposes the US developing bunker busting nuclear weapons. for what John Kerry did with that statement was to set a moral equivalence between the acquisition of WMD by terrorists and a a nuclear weapons research program (approved by the US Congress) that is vital to the national security of the United States.
Iran and the Norks have repeatedly violated international anti-proliferation treaties. North Korea is a notorious WMD proliferator and has sold nuclear-capable missiles and missile technology to terror-sponsoring nations. North Korea also played a major role in Pakistan's rogue nuclear weapons program. Both nations have buried their WMD manufacturing facilities in mountain-sides beyond the reach of conventionally-armed 'bunker-busters'.
For John Kerry to swear that he'd unilaterally disarm the United States in the face of implacable defiance by Iran and NK demonstrates an astounding lack of judgement. And add to that his long records of opposing our ABM program.
That was a good debate. Kerry did well for himself, as a matter of fact I think he won. The President was in command of the facts too though, and stayed on message.
I don't think that there will be any significant movement in the polls however.
So in effect, Bush has a lead going down the stretch and is holding Kerry off.
For me, personally, who would I like in the foxhole next to me..W
There was more than one report that the subway that went under the Gardens would not be used while Bush was there.
Now that could have been a nice lie that discouraged the terrorists from trying it, or it could be that Kerry took that to mean it would be shut down during the entire convention.
I think that's right. Bush let slip an opportunity. A draw favors Bush because he's ahead, but if favors Kerry because Bush could have destroyed him and didn't.
However, the "global test" and "I have one consistent position on Iraq" nonsense may give Bush a chance to win retroactively, as it were.
Good Analysis, but it didn't mention that Kerry said he was going to give "Nuclear Fuel" to Iran and see if they misuse it. Or did I hear him wrong?
My response this evening to a Lib friend:
President Bush did a great job of making the case for strong, consistent leadership focused on the need to defeat terrorism. He was knowledgeable, clear and committed to the American people. John Kerry, on the other hand, failed in his mission to convince people he actually has any plan that is better or that he understands what it takes to fight global terrorism. He is committed to the "world" but not to America.
He wants to place his trust in the UN, France, Germany, Russia, and all the other countries who were on Sadam's payroll, and he denigrates England, Australia, Japan, Italy, Poland, and the other 30 countries who stepped up to the plate and understood the need to take the fight to the terrorists. He of course failed to mention that France and Germany have both reiterated that they will NOT send troops to Iraq whether Bush or Kerry is elected!
He says he is going to have to pass a "world test" before using preemptive measures. A test graded presumably by the same scumbags who were dealing with Sadam. We have no test to pass before defending America other than that of convincing the American people such action is needed. And President Bush did that on Iraq- and John Kerry voted in support of that action! Only now, out of political expedience, does he vacillate and try to weasel out of his vote.
He wants to give Iran nuclear fuel rods for "peaceful" purposes, just like Bill Clinton did for North Korea, and then trust them not to use the material for weapons. Well the North Koreans scammed the Clinton administration just like the Iranians will scam John Kerry.
John Kerry wants to destroy the diplomatic efforts to corral North Korea by going alone to the North Koreans thus undermining the coalition we have built with the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese, and the South Koreans. Unilateral talks with the Koreans under Clinton is what got us into this mess. Without China and Russia in the process, it will fail.
John Kerry spouted a lot of platitudes about what "he will do" to fix various problems, but gave us no confidence he can make any of them happen.
So yes, I do support a man with a clear vision, a consistent message, and a proven record of effective leadership- President Bush.
**FLASH: Kerry stated: 'That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there.' (Driving home point that Bush as not done enough to protect the country.)
The NYC subway did not close at all during the convention, according to a report on cable outlet**
Another gaffe by Kerry!
A very fair analysis. Bush had better do/speak better in the next debates on domestic issues or his lead could slip.
Bottom line: Kerry wins on delivery, Bush wins on substance. (DUH! to self)
I disagree with this assessment... I think Bush won this exchange...
Ridiculous...no way that Kerry took rounds 6, 9, 14, 17.
This guy doesn't like Bush refusing to acknowledge Lehrer's question about the President being a liar.
It was so biased that it points out how seriously they miscalculated Lehrer's partisanship.
Bush is supposed to be Mr Nice Guy while they discuss him being a liar.
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