Round Drew.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty of the debate, I've got to congratulate Charlie Gibson (the moderator) for picking real questions. I was afraid this was going to be a night of softball pitches and deeply partisan (despite the screening) spin doctoring, it wasn't.

Sensory perception:

Bush: He looked, sounded much, much, more confident, and relaxed. He did not make the same amount of eye contact with either the audience or the camera that Kerry did, and his body language seemed angrier than I’ve seen him on the election circuit. His tones were also notably harsher than Kerry.

Kerry: Seemed as animated as I've ever seen him. While he tended to enunciate his speech with hand gestures, they were more expansive than exclamatory. Tones and eye contact were on target.

Bush: Had mostly the same lines, with much better delivery as last time. He also had a lot more in the way of facts and figures than he did in round one. Not the same level as the Jr. Senator from Ma, but notable improvement none the less.

Kerry: Why did Kerry pull way ahead of his competitors in the Democratic Party? You saw the answer tonight, and last week. Preparation, preparation, preparation. He had all the minutia down to sway not just local voters, but he creates the impression (how fact backed it is is anyone’s guess) that he knows not just about St Louis and Show Me State folk and their lives and times but about 'your' life and times as well.

I'd call the debate a draw.

I'm not sure which candidate this is better for; on one hand, Kerry clearly was again not beaten by the President. One the flip side, the President held his ground to a much closer degree this time around.

Stupid lines of the night:

Bush: And so, I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all.
That may just be the most abhorrent law passed in America since the days of the Jim Crowe Laws.

Kerry: General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told him he was going to need several hundred thousand. And guess what? They retired General Shinseki for telling him that.
Shinseki had announced his retirement prior to ever uttering the lines that appear to have been disregarded.

Round three next week. Will we see a knockout punch, or more of the same?


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