Friday, October 01, 2004

Presidential Debate 9/30/04 review

The SF Chronicle asked some undecided readers to review the Presidential debate on 9/30/04. Here is my analysis.

To: 'Coile, Zac'Subject: RE: Chronicle debate watch panel

1.) Did the debate help you make up your mind about which candidate you will vote for on Nov. 2? Why? No. I think the debate overall was a draw.

2.) What did you think of Kerry's performance in the debate? He was very sure of how he wanted to attack Bush’s record and actions, but he didn’t really say what he would do, just that it would be different and that’s not good enough. He always had a goofy smile when they showed him listening to Bush. He also said he would kill people, like he’d gun them down himself, which I thought seemed like he was trying too hard to sound tough.

3.) What did you think of Bush's performance in the debate? His main message was that to be an effective president, you have to be very clear and don’t waver or the enemy will take advantage of you. He kept laying the “mixed message” label on Kerry and Kerry didn’t rebut it much if at all. His reaction shots when Kerry was speaking made him look very annoyed like a fly was buzzing around his head and he just wanted to swat it.

4.) Which candidate did a better job explaining how he would handle the conflict in Iraq? Bush just said we’ve got a plan and Kerry just said he’s got a different plan. Bush nailed him when he said that if you call the war a diversion and the wrong war, you’re not going to get any other countries to come and help out.

5.) Which candidate did a better job explaining how he would protect the United States from terrorism? Bush said that his plan is working and the main part is taking it overseas and Kerry said about the same.

6.) What was the most memorable moment of the debate for you? Why? When the question of preemptive war was asked, Kerry said that any president can’t rule it out, but it would have to pass some “global test” and Bush sounded incredulous and said that he would just make a decision on protecting the American people.

7.) Are you going to watch the next two presidential debates? Not sure… maybe just the highlights.

8.) What more do you need to hear from the candidates to make a final decision? Kerry would have to tell me something specific and I’m not sure he can.

9.) Any other thoughts about the candidates? Or about the tone of the debate? I thought the format was fine and the questions were OK, but foreign policy could have included more than 80% Iraq.

Link to the SF Chronicle Story

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