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October 8, 2004

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Presidential Debate II: Poland's Revenge

Debate liveblogging in 40.

Looking back on the morass of inscrutable half-observations that was my VP debate post, I am going to tighten it up this time.

I think you should comment in real-time, too. Yes, you. It’ll be like a little e-party.

Update: E-party in the comments!

In retrospect: Yeah, well, that was an interesting experiment… it’s cool to see 49 comments over on the right, anyway. This must be how Kevin Drum feels.

Posted October 8, 2004 at 8:24 | Comments (53) | Permasnark
File under: Election 2004


aye sir.

Ooh, maybe I'll just post my observations here in the comments so we can have a little back-and-forth...

It's a dude named Robin! Woo for men! Let's reclaim the name!

(That's right, it's all substantive policy commentary here.)

Kerry: "Let me tell you straight up, I never changed my mind on Iraq." That actually kinda worked.

Kerry looks hella presidential, yeah?

Kerry definitely sounds sure of himself, and Bush seems to be on the defensive.

Also, does dropping names work?
"Yeah, I was totally chilling with tony blair last week, we're tight yo."

Kerry has often argued for fewer troups and greater reliance on special forces. Now he is complaining about too few troups.

Kerry's name-dropping, too, and it's really effective. He has all sorts of testimony from generals and Republican committee chairs ready to whip out.

J.K. looks good, too. I think he's been drinking John Edwards' sweat.

Bush: "The Brits"? Who calls the people of England "the Brits"?

Dude, did you guys hear there's going to be a draft??!

(Bush said there are "rumors on the Internet" there's going to be a draft. Just playin'.)

oh no! there are rumors on the internets!

Whoa, there's a debate tonight, eh? Who schedules a debate on Friday #@($%#@??

Umm, Bush just said "I hear there's rumors on the Internets." Heh. That'll haunt him.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:30 PM


(Wouldn't it be funny if there were whole other internets & you just never knew about them?)

Maybe it was one of those other Internets that Gore invented.

I agree, Bush's less-than-great grammar and extreme familiarity makes him seem like just some crazy Texan dude who happened to get power over a... group of folks.

D'oh! Comments suck. I'm late.

Did Kerr-Kerr take locution lessons from Dennis Kucinich? His name-dropping moment just now (blah blah blah Joint Chiefs yadda yadda) really eerily reminded me of Kuch's voice.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:32 PM

my officemate just commented, Kerry needs to look at the people more. He's talking to the people, but looking at Bush.


Bush: "This war is a long, long war."


Don't put that on the bumper stickers just yet.

Bush says Missouri "Mizz-UR-uh." I guess that means he's a real American.


Oh, just get it over and fight. That's what this is all building up to. Good old-fashioned fisticuffs. I mean, all this posturing is just the time-honored who's-got-a-bigger-endowment ass-shite anyway. The President of the United States has the standing heart beat of a marathon runner.* John Kerry windsurfs. Laura Bush is a hottie. I hear Teresa Heinz Kerry has a dwarf fetish. Whatever. Let's get a real knock-down, bang-out, fists-up brawl going. Chen-Chen and Eddie can join up too. Just not Donald Rumsfeld, 'cause he'll clearly win.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:42 PM

Anyone else annoyed by the tag-team style, 20-second answer format?

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:44 PM

Kerry's jab about Bush adding more debt than all president between Washington and Reagan? Not necessarily very substantive, but rhetorically sweet.

Re: fisticuffs -- Bush wants to. I can see it in his eyes.

How does Kerry know all of these facts?!
Especially about the group of folks in missoura.

OK, there's something strange going on with the OB-GYNs. Let's check the record ... brb.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:47 PM

I know! It's Encyclopedia Brown up there!

He knows detailed demographic and economic information about every community in America*.

*That's hosting a debate.

Bush (9/23): I met OB/GYNs across the country, all across the country who are quitting their practice.
Bush (9/27): You ask your docs what it's like to try to practice medicine; ask your OB/GYNs what it's like to try to practice medicine when they're getting sued and sued and sued by frivolous lawsuits.
Cheney (10/5): I was in New Mexico the other day and met with a group of OB/GYN docs.
Bush (10/6): Lawsuits are threatening OB/GYNs all across our country.

It goes on. And it's not just a recent thing, either ...

Bush (3/7/2000): We're actively involved in signing people up. In terms of women's issues, we've done a good job in the state of Texas; we've got the direct access to OB-GYNs, we've got—low-income women are able to get free mammograms across the state.


Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 09:53 PM

Now that's some real-time Googling!

Bush is replying to Kerry re: taxes.


Bush on the environment: "I've got a plan to increase the wetlands by three million."


Three million WHAT?

Unitless policy! It's the hot new thing!

Also notable: " help improve wildlife... in the habitat..."

Personally I worry about the wildlife in the habitat.

Bush still talking about the environment. Cutaway to the guy who asked the question. His eyes say: "What? What the hell are you talking about? Three million WHAT?"

How is this "Kerry's not credible as a fiscal conservative" argument supposed to work for Bush? That's like the pot calling the kettle culinary.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:03 PM

Ooh, "the work of 160 nations over 10 years." Nice.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:05 PM

Random audience member: "Mr. Candidate, what can we do about the problem of America's unicorn population having wasted away to nothing? Do you have a plan to bring the unicorn back to the American heartland?"

(I.e., Sorry, "Jane," we aren't getting the manufacturing jobs back. Let it go. Find a new industry. I've heard renewable energy's hot these days.)

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:06 PM

Little know fact: The current design of Snarkmarket was also the work of 160 nations over 10 years.


Kerry, read this. Outsourcing? Healthy and inevitable.

Periods of lackluster economic growth and rising unemployment tend to produce convenient bogeymen for the political class to blame, and offshoring is their choice to explain the latest slump.[6] While it is undoubtedly true that U.S. importation of services has risen in the past few years, there is little statistical evidence to indicate that it is responsible for recently stagnant job growth. In reality, most studies show that the jobs situation is better explained by other factors such as the decline in the world economy, higher rates of domestic labor productivity, and the bursting of the technology bubble. As University of Chicago Professor Daniel Drezner states, "Believing that offshore outsourcing causes unemployment is the economic equivalent of believing that the sun revolves around the earth: intuitively compelling but clearly wrong."

I just think this protectionism thing is going to bite him in the arse one day, if he gets into office.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:12 PM

(Re: embryonic stem cell research.) Nice save after a tough question, Kerry.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:16 PM

Nice comment without any context there, Matt.

(Still RE: stem cells) OK, but then, Kerry, bad job on the Bush-rebuttal.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:19 PM

Ooh, GOOD specific question: "Who would you pick to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court?"

Can't expect a specific answer, but still, props for the question.

President Bush, please, please, don't speak about judges or the Constitution. You make me sad.

"(paraphrase)I'm against the Dred Scott decision that said slavery was OK because of property laws(/paraphrase). The Constitution says we all -- we -- it -- it doesn't say that."

But good job on catching yourself and not quoting the Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:23 PM

Kerry's answering a question about abortion. It's totally great. Aaron just threw a bottlecap at the TV and said "Awesome! I love you!" to John Kerry.

Wow. The exchange on abortion lays bare the difference in Bush and Kerry's styles better than anything else.

Kerry: It's never quite that simple.
Bush: Yes it is.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:29 PM

Cutaway over Bush's shoulder to the woman who asked the final question, as he was answering it. The look on her face: "WTF?? Who are you?"

It's not like Kerry's campaign strategists didn't know there was a debate. Couldn't they have come up with a closing speech at least a little more rousing than this one that we've heard over and over? "I have a plan" doesn't exactly compare to "I have a dream" as an applause line, Kerr-Kerr.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 10:37 PM

Bush used the word "nexus" in his closing statement.

Aaron: "I don't think he knows what the word 'nexus' means."

ABC News is following the debate with a segment called "Fact Check" where they correct inaccuracies in candidates' debate statements. Cool!

Closing thoughts: Fie on Doug and Kevin for abandoning the comments party. Any party with just me and Robin in attendance is no party at all. I plan on returning to my rightful place on the front page with next week's debate.

I'd like to point out this little typo in the Washington Post debate article before they find and fix it:

Kerry was asked to pledge not to raise taxes on people making $200,000 or less. "Absolutely yes, right into the camera. Yes -- I am not going to raise taxes," the Democratic challenger said. Bush scoffed at the answer. "Of course he's going to raise your taxes," the AP said.

Love it. Anyway. a) I hated the format of this debate. Way too ADHD for me. Even if they had the same functional amount of time as they have in past debates, the standing and walking for every question made the session twice as hollow-seeming as either of the other two. Just sit down and answer the questions.

b) "Weapon of Mass Deception"? Boo.

c) Again, that exchange on partial-birth abortions succinctly laid bare for me every difference between these two men. Here it is again, for posterity:

Kerry: The president just said, categorically, my opponent is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not that simple. No, I'm not. I'm against the partial-birth abortion, but you've got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother. Secondly, with respect to parental notification, I'm not going to require a 16-or 17-year-old kid who's been raped by her father and who's pregnant to have to notify her father. So you got to have a judicial intervention. And because they didn't have a judicial intervention where she could go somewhere and get help, I voted against it. It's never quite as simple as the president wants you to believe.

Bush: Well, it's pretty simple when they say: Are you for a ban on partial birth abortion? Yes or no? And he was given a chance to vote, and he voted no. And that's just the way it is. That's a vote. It came right up. It's clear for everybody to see. And as I said: You can run but you can't hide the reality.

I'd argue that how you view that exchange might determine which of these men you back.

Posted by: Matt on October 8, 2004 at 11:04 PM

Sorry I had to ditch the party. A friend of mine just escaped left Outlook today and I went out drankin' with him to celebrate.
I was however listening in the car (first time I've ever played AM radio in my car*) and I almost called Robin to ask "did bush just say something about green eyeshadow?? and also about the "increasing the wetlands by three million" unitless value thing.

OK, I just looked up the transcript, and Bush did indeed say "We've got battling green eye shades."
What the hell does that mean?

*AM radio sounds really weird. like some kind of close encounters alien broadcast with crazy backround noises. and it doesn't work in a parking structure at all.

(reading through the transcript at 3am. why? i have no clue)

Kerry, talking about abortion: "I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that."

That is the best thing i've heard. Seems to me, he understands that whole separation of church and state thing. It pisses me off to no end when anyone states religion as a reason for anything having to do with the government. And not just because i'm agnostic. Gay marriage and abortion are probably most affected by it.
As far as the government is concerned, or should be, marriage should just mean two people living together as one unit. Religions can call it what they will, and think about it however they want, but that's not relevant to the law. Religion is not an excuse for discrimination.
And as far as abortion goes, well, it's a little trickier, but like Kerry said, he's catholic, but that doesn't matter to anyone who isn't a catholic. and he has to represent everyone. He doesn't like abortion for religious reasons, but that shouldn't affect his decision.

I also liked this quote:"I made a mistake in the way I talk about it. He made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is a worse decision?"

If any of the preceding statements didn't make sense, it's because it's 3:30am and i shouldn't be saying anything.


When did "Weapon of Mass Deception" come up in the debate? Was Kerry referencing the book by Sheldon Rampton?

Posted by: Peter on October 10, 2004 at 03:08 PM

He said it early in the debate. It was just a throw-away sound byte, no actual references involved.

Posted by: Matt on October 11, 2004 at 08:43 PM
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