My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Live Blog the Debate

Questions for John Kerry

You seem to have an awful lot of information about “secret plans” in the White House; would you, at this time, either divulge the source of your information about the secret plan for a draft, or completely dismiss that rumor which you’ve been talking about in your stump speeches?

Pete Coors—[blogs] heightens the accountability. . .makes everybody watch what they say so that the other sides bloggers don’t have fodder

Would you care to elaborate on your plan to provide enriched uranium fuel to Iran? For instance, what leads you to believe that we could be any more successful maintaining an inspections regime when a similar plan from President Clinton vis-à-vis North Korea has proven to be a dramatic failure?

NOTE: as I'm commenting, I'll put the JFK or GWB in front of it to indicate whose answer is inspiring my thoughts

1908 Opening statement all about making the alliances. . .I can do a better job. . . the Senator’s opening statement is just as personable and engaging as a table. . . cold, impersonal, negative. . . .C-

GWB ticks off a list of successes that fall back on a first principle. . .freedom . . . B+

GWB on another attack—SLAM; shut the door on that question, and project strength, confidence and capability;
I really appreciate the offered prayer—it plays to his core and the strong beliefs that guide him

GWB seems impassioned and relentlessly on message—he is clearly in his comfort zone

JFK just has so little ability to project core beliefs

Gotta admit, highly charged partisan atmosphere makes it a little difficult to stay focused on what the Sen is saying

JFK talks about building a true alliance—yet he voted against the true alliance in 91
JFK is just not able to be funny or engaging; he ticks off a list of former high commanders who support him, but I’m not convinced

GWB swings back effectively and quickly; cites JFK’s own words; takes a sidewise swipe at the UN; pre-Sep 10th mentality: good line

1718 GWB clearly has a better core of belief—he’s optimistic about our ability to accomplish multiple missions and who understands the nature of the conflict; he seems pretty charged up—maybe even a little too passionate about this issue. His eloquence on this isolated issue leads him to speak a little too excitedly

JFK should not talk about body armor after voting against the $87 billion; he can’t make headway when he only cites the negatives with no vision for a better future

JFK must have some polling that indicates that turning the focus onto UBL would play into his strengths

GWB gets it—the way to respond to attacks is to prevent them by taking the fight to them on foreign soil

1927 GWB asked about bringing troops home, talks about success first—that’s what Americans understand; why is it important for Iraq to be free is crucial

JFK remarkably is always able to cite these multitudes of anonymous supporters; oh, good—call your own troops “occupiers”

JFK keeps calling for a summit—perhaps, like the one he held in Paris in 1971?

GWB is a little more aggressive than I was expecting—he’s not pulling any punches at the Senator

JFK keep talking about the UN; I’d rather stick with the real alliances

JFK “I’ve had one consistent position” . .. and it’s shaped like a pretzel; that teed up a pretty good humor line

GWB specific citations about troops—real people with real reactions; very human, serious, sober, and genuine; strong contrast

JFK “confuse the war with the warrior”???? seriously, considering how he described the atrocities and war crimes of his fellow soldiers upon his return? Seriously?

GWB may have just missed an opportunity—talking about “wrong war, wrong time, wrong place” is just not, I think, the approach; it would have been better in my opinion to talk about his undermining of his own troops in the 70s

JFK point to the website for information? Isn’t it incumbent on the candidate to deliver the message, not make the voters go looking for the message;

I think the question was about a specific plan; this is so vague I have no idea what he just said.

GWB good—bring it back to Allawi, and hammer the just-a-minute-ago statement of the opponent

JFK preemptive strike is a right? But he proves he’s unwilling to use it; did he just cede that the use of preemption is incumbent on the agreement of the UN?
GWB too easy—brings it back to the ability to our ability to defend ourselves regardless of “world opinion”

2004 GWB hammers on the popularity contest that the Senator seems to want to win

GWB seems to be losing a little momentum—stumbling on his words just a little bit; may have hit his seventh inning stretch; doesn’t change that his message is strong and right, just the delivery is a little faltering

JFK if the US should have been more involved in curbing Iran’s nuclear program, why did he just offer nuclear fuel to them?

I’m just guessing, but probably most of the country has tuned out by now. I wonder what the overall impressions are going to be. I expect that the President’s ability to stay relentlessly on message made the point he wanted to early on, and the overall impression of John Kerry was probably not changed. My guess is most people walked away thinking “blah blah blah” whatever. I think everybody got what they were expecting before tuning out, which leaves us back at square Bush +7.

GWB nice to take the high ground with the Senator related to an easy question: character. This was an opportunity for humanity, which the President has in deeper supply than JFK.

The crowd is not losing any momentum—they are still right on message. “I have never wilted” JFK what an interesting comment—didn’t get past the laugh test in the room.

We’re getting down to the last ten minutes here. So far, the vast majority of the debate has centered around Iraq; brief diversions into Iran and North Korea interspersed.

I wonder how Russia feels about JFK pledge to secure the nuclear materials in four years; I wonder if that encroaches at all on their sovereignty.

One quick hit at Russia; after most have tuned out. Neither answer was very interesting.

Final Statements: JFK has he not learned—WE DON”T CARE ABOUT VIETNAM. I have a plan. . .I have a plan. . .blah blah blah. Back to this message: stronger at home, respected abroad. This just doesn’t resonate, in my opinion.

GWB—strong first statement about the role of America in leading the world; appreciate the quick hit about the all-volunteer military; there’s nothing new here—this won’t change anybody’s opinion, but at this point, that’s good.

FIRST TAKE: I don’t think this moved the field at all. Neither scored any great points, neither lost any points. It’s not as if we didn’t know this already. I think the big thing was that GWB came out aggressively and was not going to cede any ground on foreign policy, and that showed just the sort of leadership we have come to know.

CHENEY: 2058

Points out how Kerry spoke of commitment and support, but was constantly negative about the outcome. Draws the contrasts, and notes the strength of experience on the one side and the inconsistencies on the side of the “wannabe.” “Global Test” line seems to be the soundbite. Brief comments—has to do the interviews.

I know the nature of this live blog renders this a bit hard to follow. I apologize. While I will acknowledge that, maybe you should just consider this preparation for reading James Joyce later.

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