I have to say that neither President Bush nor Kerry lost the debate last night. And I will admit that Kerry did a creditable job. He simplified his message and kept hammering it home at the president. Bush, meanwhile, came across as earnest and passionate. His main message appeared to be, “We’ve done a good job under difficult circumstances, now let us finish it.”
At first, I was annoyed at the repitition. I thought that Bush mocked Kerry’s “wrong war, wrong time, wrong place” mantra too many times, and they both repeated the same statements over and over again. I thought it was a result of asking politicians used to the 10-second soundbite to expound on topics for 90 minutes, but Melanie reminded me that they’re addressing an audience that needs endless repitition to remember anything.
I think Bush could have done a better job of outlining exactly why we went to war in Iraq. He also could have had better responses to some other of Kerry’s accusations that I think he let fly past without challenge.
I would call the debate a tie, with perhaps even a slight edge to Kerry just because he was the underdog and he didn’t screw up. Of course, the mass media will trumpet it as a great victory and predict a massive surge in the polls, hoping to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. But then unless Kerry made a major mistake they were going to credit him with a win anyway.