2nd Presidential Debate of 2004

I thought it was an even performance by both candidates. Bush was more 'likable' than he was at the first debate. However, I still did not like his answers to the questions as well as I liked Kerry's. I was surprised this morning that polls suggest slightly that Kerry won. I had thought it would be the other way around, since Bush had some good "one-liners". Maybe people really are paying attention to the issues, and not to the candidates' performances. I liked the town hall format, where the audience got to ask the questions. I liked Kerry's answer to the abortion question, where he said that his personal beliefs should not interfere with how he legislates. Bush seemed to reenforce his "country-boy" image, which appeals to some and turns others off. I still think Kerry seems like more "presidential". His political savvy is obvious. This, too, appeals to some and not to others. I laughed pretty hard at Bush's response to the "timber company" answer by Kerry. "Need some wood?" I thought this was a pretty witty reply by Bush, but in fact, he does own a timber company. I suspected that he probably did, and just didn't know about it. I tried to watch the debate objectively, and to not allow my personal dislike of Bush to skew my "analysis". I think I did a pretty good job of that. Of course, I still plan to vote for Kerry, who is obviously the more progressive of the candidates. I like his vow to fight for the middle class. Who knows if he actually will, but at least he is promising to do so, while Bush doesn't even seem to be pretending much this time around.

I also thought that Kerry missed an opportunity toward the end of the debate when an audience member asked Bush to name three mistakes he had made. Bush totally bombed on the answer to this question, and couldn't really come up with anything besides saying that he had made some mistakes with some appointments. I thought Kerry should have responded with something along the lines of:

"I don't think the president answered your questions. Since I've spent most of the night explaining what I think his mistakes are, I'll interpret your question as if it had been directed at me. I have made mistakes. Anyone in politics has, if they are honest about it. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. Here are three mistakes that I have made, and what I have learned from them."

I think that this would have increased Kerry's credibility and honesty rating, and he would have seemed more in touch with the American people. Instead, he simply repeated the mistakes that he thought the president had made, which everyone already had heard him say throughout the debate.

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