Skip to comments.Fred Barnes: Help Is On the Way
Posted on 10/06/2004 1:18:17 PM PDT by RWR8189
Dick Cheney does his job taking care of Edwards, putting Kerry's record back on the table, and setting the president up for the next debate.
IF IT'S POSSIBLE for a vice presidential debate to matter, last night's duel between Dick Cheney and John Edwards did. Why? Because Vice President Cheney did two things that might help President Bush. He attacked Bush's presidential opponent John Kerry effectively on the war on terrorism and Iraq--something Bush failed to do in his first debate with Kerry. And Cheney put Kerry's dovish record on national security over two decades as a senator firmly on the table as a campaign issue. Edwards's effort to thwart Cheney was unavailing.
Now it's up to Bush to follow through in his national security speech today and his second debate with Kerry in St. Louis on Friday. He'd better be ready this time. Last week, he wasn't, and he knows it. Bush was dissatisfied with his performance and with those who prepared him. A Bush aide likened the coaching of Bush with the arduous preparation of President Reagan in 1984 for his disastrous first debate with Walter Mondale. At the time, Reagan's vice president, the elder George Bush, didn't help much in his debate with Geraldine Ferraro. But this time, for Bush junior, help was on the way.
The Cheney-Edwards debate was 90 minutes, but only the first half was significant. That's when national security, terrorism, and Iraq were discussed and when Cheney rushed to Bush's rescue. Cheney knew more and explained things better than Edwards did. He pointed out that Kerry's strong words now about fighting terrorism were undercut by his weak national security record. Edwards tried, but not very hard, to defend Kerry. When Cheney attacked Kerry's idea of a "global test" which should be passed before pre-emptive military action is taken against an enemy, Edwards's response was half-hearted, meandering, and unpersuasive. On national security, to put it simply, Cheney was strong, Edwards was weak. And to the extent that mattered in the presidential race, it aided Bush.
Cheney had the trenchant sound bites. "You cannot use tough talk during the course of a 90-minute debate in a presidential campaign to obscure a 30-year record in the United States Senate," Cheney said. "I'm saying specifically that I don't believe [Kerry] has the qualities we need in a commander in chief because I don't think, based on his record, that he would pursue the kind of aggressive policies that need to be pursued if we're going to defeat these terrorists."
The vice president didn't let up. He said Kerry "doesn't display the qualities of somebody who had conviction." Both Kerry and Edwards "voted to commit the troops" in Iraq, then voted against the funding to supply and arm them, Cheney said. "I couldn't figure out why that happened initially. And then I looked and figured out that . . . Howard Dean was making major progress in the Democratic primaries . . . based on his antiwar record. So they, in effect, decided they would cast an antiwar vote and they voted against the troops."
Then came the killer quote from Cheney: "Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to al Qaeda?" Edwards's response was lame, and he never regained his footing so long as national security was being discussed. Cheney looked like he concluded that Edwards could do neither him nor Bush any real harm.
He didn't smirk, but he didn't look worried either. In the debate in 1992 between Vice President Dan Quayle and Al Gore, it was Gore who failed to defend his presidential running mate, Bill Clinton. He didn't try, and both Clinton and his wife Hillary were furious. Edwards tried, but couldn't pull it off. He quickly ran out of talking points and began repeating himself.
On domestic issues, Edwards shined, but it was too late and the issues were too diffuse. For his part, Cheney seemed bored by domestic concerns and didn't engage Edwards strenuously. He acted a bit like Bush did during his encounter with Kerry last week--uninterested and unable to fake any amount of passion. But he'd already done what he could to help with the paramount issue of the campaign: national security. Nothing more could have been expected.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.
John Kerry says he can do a better job than President Bush.
What is Kerrys record during his 20 years in the Senate?
Kerry voted against most of the major weapons systems that our troops use today.
Kerry voted against the $87 billion for support of the troops, after he voted for it.
Kerry led the fight against President Bush's Department Of Homeland Security, voting against it six times and delaying it for 112 days.
Kerry missed more than 75% of the meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Kerry proposed slashing the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion after the first attack on the World Trade Center.
Kerry has voted at least 350 times for higher taxes.
Kerry has been able to persuade congress to pass only eight insignificant laws that bear his name, and most of those were strictly ceremonial.
Kerry has proposed that use of force by the US must meet a global test.
Kerry voted against the first Gulf War, after Saddam invaded Kuwait. By Kerrys standards, Saddam would still be in power, and in Kuwait.
Kerry says he has a plan. Custer had a plan, too.
Kerry can do a better job than President Bush? Oh really?
This is what I am talking about. Taking action to correct a problem, not acting like it did not happen or is not there.
Very good piece by Fred Barnes. Hits the nail on the head.
Yes. Carville wife is admitting on Harntiy just admitting that they had a good 90 minutes thrusday night and the dems got too happy too soon.....
I can't believe that Barnes thinks Edwards "shined"on economic issues! I just don't see it.
Well, its time to buckle back down because that bad debate can be recovered from just as Reagn did in 84'.
LOL It's food for thought I like :)
Question? Have all the MSM gone over the edge?
Chuckle--yes, I heard some of the same things from some of the 'rat flacks on Fox this morning before we left for the day. One woman, Mary Beth someone or other? Anyway, she said how awful it was that the Republicans were dragging out the past, instead of concentrating on the future. No coffee-spitting alert, either. Considering how Kerry brings up his Vietnam "service" every chance he gets, I think mentioning his senate record should be fair game.
Heh Heh. Cheney blew right past Edwards and was able to engage the top of the ticket directly. And they're trying to spin it as an Edwards win. Heh.
Kerry isn't running against Reagan...
Yet Edwards stated last night that Kerry had voted 600 times to LOWER taxes.
I have not read or heard anywhere today the evidence to support this. Neither have I read or heard anywhere that Edwards lied. Where and how can this seemingly blatant statement be checked?
If he's not happy with the results, I wonder who it was?
I like to hear the real story behind the fiasco last Thursday -- how Bush was prepped, who did it, and what he did in the 48 hours prior to the debate. I know he visited with the hurricane victims some of the previous two days (also including the day of the debate??) and he may have been tired and irritable. But he'd better be much improved on Friday, or else only an anti-Kerry October surprise can save his candidacy.
You know she's on our side, right?
.....and in Saudi Arabia, repository of an estimated 25 percent of the world's oil.
President Bush didn't have to work hard to tank the debate. It came naturally to him.
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