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Friday, October 08, 2004

Initial Notes and Reaction: The Town Hall Debate

Bush and Kerry stride out to shake hands....Kerry lanky and imposing, Bush taut and jerky like a bantam rooster. I'm reminded of the cartoon character "Foghorn Leghorn".

First question: "They said you were too wishy-washy"...

Kerry responds: I've had one position on Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, etc. "I think I'm right I think he's wrong".

Bush: Kerry does change his position quite often.

SA Analysis: Bush is agressive and more prepared, yet sticks to the campaign talking points and labels. Kerry is articulate and polished, and speaks with clarity and certainty.

Second Question: "...Do you sincerely believe this is a sufficient justification for invasion?"

Bush: Hardest Decision anyone makes is going to war. 9/11 changed everything.
Taliban is no longer in power. AlQuaeda no longer has a place to plan. We've brought 75% of AlQueda to justice.

Kerry: The world is more dangerous today because the president made poor decisions....This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside and now Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than before.

SA Analysis: Bush said the same thing he did last debate, and didn't read the fact checks...It doesn't stand to reason, even if his 75% figure is accurate, that AlQuaeda hasn't appointed new terrorists to the vacated leadership roles. Kerry's presentation of the scenario seems to be on the mark.

Bush: Counters with deriding Kerry's "Global Test"--Saddam Hussein was a threat.

SA: Bush is once again left making a spurious claim that Kerry would turn over decisions to the French. Weak.

Kerry: If we would have used smart diplomacy, Osama might be in jail or dead. That's the war on terror.

SA: In other words, I'm smart, you're not. Nyah nyah nyah.

Question: Would you proceed with the same plan as president Bush

Kerry: Iraq is utter chaos. Quotes prominent republicans: "The handling of Iraq is beyond pitiful...It's in the zone of dangerous".
...I will reach out to allies.

Bush: Nobody is going to follow somebody who says "follow me into a mistake".

SA: Bush's response is lame as a rubber crutch. Should we instead follow a fu**up that got us in to the mess in the first place? Bush argues that people won't follow Kerry, but it's a sure thing they haven't and won't follow him.

Kerry: While Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons, North Korea has moved to 4-7 bombs. The president did nothing at all. We were safter before president Bush came to office. We have to lead the world to crack down on proliferation. We will get tough with Iran.

Bush: Bilateral talks with North Korea. Good idea. Axis of Evil. The Axis of Evil rhetoric...

S.A. Analysis: Kerry lays out a compelling case that the world is a more dangerous place. Bush mentions bilateral talks again, which has no resonance and questionable relevance.

Bush: The " Transforming the Military" Rumsfeldian boilerplate.

Our first Bushisms: "I Hear There's Rumors on the Internets"
"We don't need mass armies anymore"
Whoah! Bush went up like a roman candle in defense of the coalition.

S.A. : Doubtless, Bush will be portrayed as agressive and assertive and his malpropisms will be glossed over.

Preventing Terrorist Attacks:

Kerry: It's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".
I can do that far more effectively

Question: Why did you block imported drugs from Canada?

Bush: What I'm worried about is safety. Drug Discount cards.

Kerry: I think that makes sense, I think that's a good idea. He didn't level with you. He could have lowered the costs. Made it illegal to "bulk purchase" drugs. The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies...

SA: Kerry takes him to the woodshed on this one. Show me one example of a Canadian drug mishap. I dare you.

Kerry Zinger: We did something you don't know how to do. We balanced the budget.

Kerry: John Edwards is the sponsor of the Patient's Bill of Rights. Tort Reform plan. The president likes to make a big deal out of it. Less than 1% of the total cost of health care. Co-pays, deductables. 5 million have lost healthcare. I have a plan.

Bush: Weak Punkass "most liberal senator" label. He's gonna tax ya! He's gonna tax ya!

SA: Bush slapped to the mat.

Kerry's Economic Zingers: "you like your high premiums, you keep 'em"
"This is the first time we've had a tax cut during war"
"The top 1% got more than the 80% from the middle on down"
Tax cut to Enron: Good move.
The president broke the "pay as you go" plan.
Only three people here Bush, Me, and Charley, you.

Bush: He's not a credible fiscal conservative. He's going to break his promises. Grow the economy by keeping taxes low. We're growing.

SA: Kerry mauls Bush here, and the only weak defense Bush can offer is an Ad Hominem attack.

Bush: He voted 98 times to raise taxes.

SA: That's a little bit less than the 300 your campaign ads claim.

Question: Environmentalist : Air and water supplies.

Bush: Off-road diesel engines. Increase wetlands "sore spots" sulfur dioxide. Improve wildlife in the habitats. Technology will change the way we live. Hydrogen. Clean coal technology. I'm a good steward of the land.

Kerry: Don't throw the labels around. Clear Skies bill Orwellian Names. If they just left the clean air act alone. His air quality. I'm going to be a president that believes in science.

Bush Whopper: "Quality of the air is cleaner since I've been president".

S.A.: Sen. Kerry doesn't have to try on this one. How many recognized environmental organizations endorse Bush?

Question: How can we be competitive in industry?

Kerry: Cornerstone: Energy independence.

Bush Cluelessness: I own a timber company? That's news to me.

SA: Just saw this confirmed via an ABC fact check.

Question: Why are my rights being watered down?

Bush: I don't believe they are....

Question: You've made thousands of decisions. What three mistakes have you made? I made mistakes in appointments, but I'm not going to mention the names.

Kerry: Gut check time: Was this really going to war as a last resort. There wasn't a plan to win the peace. We didn't guard tons of ammo. We went in without ammo. That's not a reason, that's an excuse.

Kerry Closing statement: Our nation is strongest when we lead the world. I have a plan. I have a better plan for Iraq. A fresh start, new credibility. I have a plan for healthcare. I have a plan for schools, protecting the environment. I believe our best days are ahead of us but we need to make smart decisions.

Bush Closing statement: Who can lead, who can get things done. 1.9 million new jobs, we're on the move. Keep taxes low. We're at war. Steadfast, strong, and determined. Keep on the hunt. Freedom is on the march.

SA Verdict: Kerry wins, but not by the same margin. Bush was better prepared than he was in the previous debate, but the bottom line is that when Kerry clearly states his plans and explains his objections to the Bush policies, Bush is forced to defend policies that most Americans can't get behind.



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