Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Insta Response

Kerry was solid as usual tonight but what impressed me most was that he looked at the camera more and made a point to connect with the audience. He really impressed on the issues of the minimum wage, health care and affirmative action and finally actually said the words "I will protect Roe v. Wade" with minimal explanation. Finally. But again, I'd say it wasn't a clear win and it would have been nice if Kerry had stepped it up. He could have framed the entire debate as "Bush is out of touch" and referenced the fact that his treasury secretary's comments called job loss a myth. Also, Kerry looked a little weathered, as though he's aged between the first and third debates (yes, I know he's aged 13 days but you get what I'm saying.) What was up with that? But I must say I've never been more moved by Kerry before. Sure he couldn't help himself from wonking it up with numbers and throwing committee names around, but he came across as the true compassionate one on that stage.

Certainly, it didn't hurt Kerry's cause that for the first half of the debate Bush was foaming at the mouth in between forced smiles. Bush was committing the sins of Gore 4 years ago where he seemed to adopt a different persona in each debate. Kerry's consistency throughout all three debates I think has done some good as far as putting the flip flop accusation somewhat to rest. But I must say, halfway through Bush found his mojo and managed to speak coherently and emotionally without scowling or any gratuitous smiling.

I will say that I felt the questions were a strange mix. The "domestic issues" debate began with what essentially was a foreign affairs question, albeit couched as "will we ever feel safe again?" This of course allowed the president to repeat his "take the fight to the terrorists" rhetoric. Also, the flu vaccine question, while timely, merely allowed the president to give a policy speech. Kerry handled it great by turning the topic to health care, but the question could have been replaced by a topic my brother reminded me was not mentioned at all during this debate, the environment. That is a true failure of Bob Shieffer as the questioner this evening. I mean come on, we all could have lived without the "women in your life" question.


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