The debate totally surprised me. Both candidates directly answered most of the questions. There was a fair amount of substance.
I think Bush started a bit fuzzy, but ended up quite strong. There were a few factual contradictions that I suppose the press will short out tomorrow (did Bush decrease or increase Police in the US, for example).
No doubt the Saturday Night Live spoof of the debate will have the Bush character just say “wrong place, wrong war, wrong time” and “hard work” a lot.
It’s really hard for someone during a time of war, to criticize the commander and chief, and I think Bush made effective use of this inherent advantage.
Depending on your politics, you might put more emphasis on the points one candidate scored or the other. I suspect someone objective (which I hardly am) would call it a tie.
But Kerry did appear credible, and if someone were uneasy about Kerry before the debate, they might feel better now. I don’t think Bush either helped or eroded his support.
I did think Bush did make one mistake that I wish Kerry had picked up on: “Senator Kerry and I looked at the same intelligence.” That’s true, but it was the Bush administration that developed the intelligence. If the intelligence was bad, the Bush administration is responsible.
Bush both took credit for, and denied responsibility for sanctions against Iran.
I wonder what those Moo-Lahs thought?