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Debates

Final Round: Kerry (barely).

Well, to no one’s surprise, I think John Kerry won again. But, while I’d like to say that the Senator knocked this final debate in Tempe, Arizona out of the park, frankly, he didn’t. In the early going, I thought he seemed tired and slightly discombobulated, and, at times when a concise rebuttal could have scored some serious points, Kerry’s answers often seemed more wordy and circuitous than necessary. On the other hand, I thought this was Dubya’s best performance – he was still smirking and guffawing too much, still distorting the facts, still running from his record, and still demonizing his opponent like the best of ‘em, but at least he seemed in full possession of his faculties this time around (perhaps the wire was working tonight.) I did think that Kerry warmed up in the middle third, but he lost focus again during the final questions (Native American blessings? Idears?) That being said, given the relative lack of drama tonight and the playoff baseball on FOX, I highly doubt this final debate will end up altering the current campaign dynamic much.

So there you have it, folks. Barring an October Surprise in the next three weeks, it now all comes down to the ground game, and — given what we’ve been hearing regarding voter registration, given the white-hot contempt towards Dubya held by Dems and the ambivalence with which fiscal conservatives and many veterans view this administration, and given the usual tendency of undecideds to break towards the challenger — turnout is a factor which John Kerry should win handily (barring Diebold shenanigans.) It ain’t over yet, to be sure, but right now I’d say that, despite tonight’s missed opportunities, John Kerry and John Edwards have put themselves in a solid position to win with their cumulative debate performance. The election is too close to call, definitely, but at this point I feel pretty confident our nation will make the right decision on Nov 2.

Discussion

4 Responses to “Final Round: Kerry (barely).”

  1. You really think Kerry “won”? I’m worried that he didn’t. Though he was more articulate, well-informed, and even-tempered than Bush, he didn’t send out the warm,fuzzy feeling at the end (which is actually what matters to many voters, who are ambivalent on the substantive parts of the debate). Guess what will tip the pot is the press coverage– if lots of press goes to the final statements and comments about wives, I think Bush will have “won”. If more media goes to the Kerry proposals, then it will indicate a Kerry victory.

    Posted by Alina | October 14, 2004, 1:14 am
  2. really? i thought kerry did very well. he was short, sharp, to the point, and seemed to “make sense” more than bush. he connected all his points to what people out there are feeling. the bush smirking doesn’t work as well on domestic issues… and bush didn’t have as many facts to back it up. some, but not many.

    kerry reached out to minority voters… he talked about God, which i’ve been waiting for him to do… he finished on that note of “integrity,” which is perfect. he looked very presidential.

    i mean, bush will still get his base. no question about that. but i thought, if the goal was to get more people to know and like john kerry, and feel comfortable with him as president, i think he succeeded. bush kinda looked like he was trying to sell people something for the first half of that debate. the “liberal” tag… kerry always seemed to have an answer, and he just doesn’t look liberal. it sounded a little more of a stretch than usual.

    i don’t know… these are serious times, and kerry’s a serious guy, and i think it works to his advantage. i feel good. it just depends on how many votes bush can steal.

    Posted by Mark | October 14, 2004, 2:45 am
  3. oh yeah. and then he talked about being a prosecutor and putting criminals in jail. i’ve been waiting for him to do that for months. and hunting too. boo yah.

    Posted by Mark | October 14, 2004, 3:16 am
  4. Alina, I did think Kerry won, although not as substantially as he did in the first two debates. In fact, in those two, I thought Kerry not only won — Dubya lost. This time around, I thought Bush was reasonably controlled and on-message, despite the occasional lapses into the chimp smirk. Still, it looks like the polls have Kerry winning big, so once again I’m somewhat removed from the zeitgeist.

    Posted by Kevin | October 14, 2004, 12:14 pm

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