13 October 2004

Last Debate / No spin reaction

I just finished watching the entire debate from Tempe on television, and turned it off immediately so as not to hear any of the instant spin from television commentators telling us what we should think.

My reaction, in general:

Bush was well-schooled in "handling" himself, and acquitted himself creditably in that regard. But, when it came to substantive answers to many of the questions, he really had little or nothing to say. His campaign, especially recently, has been all about pandering to people's fears of an uncertain world. When it came to any solid record of domestic accomplishment or plans to solve America's problems, Bush had little or nothing to offer on almost every front.

Kerry was vague about some of his plans (inevitably in a debate format), but was nonetheless far more coherent in his responses than Bush. His message of connection with the needs and primarily economic concerns of the majority of Americans was communicated much more effectively than Bush was capable of.

In all, I think it was a win for Kerry, and to the extent that it was viewed by a reasonable fraction of the television audience, it should help him to edge ahead in the next three weeks.

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