I’ve never done this, but here goes:
– Whoa! Split screen. I thought the rules forbade that. Bush looks pissed as Kerry says he can do a better job of defending America.
– About sentence three of his first statement before mentioning 9/11. Next question: Bush “doesn’t think that’s gonna happen [another attack if Sen. Kerry is elected]”, but it’s unclear if he means “Sen. Kerry getting elected is not gonna happen” or “another attack is not gonna happen.” Oh wait, he clarified. Sen. Kerry’s election is not gonna happen, says Bush.
– Note to Bush:
vociferously. Making, given to, or marked by noisy and vehement outcry.
– Kerry: generals love me. We let Osama go. “Collosal failure” Great stuff, Sen. Kerry!
– Kerry knows his stuff. And his delivery is strong.
– “Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming,” Bush just said. Query: disarm what?
– In fairness, Bush’s speaking — in terms of cadence and pronunciation — is pretty good by his standards. Soft bigotry of low expectations, I suppose.
– Kerry: “Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on error before the president invaded…” Nice one. Then move on to failure ot “plan for the peace”.
– Bush: “what message does ‘wrong war at wrong time’ send?” Delivered well, clearly practiced. But Kerry counters. Strong.
– Honey Bear thinks Kerry is doing a great job. I agree.
– Port security, passenger airplane cargo holds’ contents not inspected. “Does that make you feel safer?” Great one.
– Bush just got a litle flustered, said Kerry wouldn’t have the money for his safety proposals because of the “tax gap”. Then he moved on, apparently remembering his role in creating said tax gap.
– “A free Iraq” will apparently cure all the world’s ills.
– Kerry just cited Bush pere’s explanation for why he didn’t go into Iraq: “no exit strategy”
– Bush seems to return to previous points whenever he gets flustered.
– Big moment: Bush just played the $87b card. What will kerry respond?
– Good response, but Kerry didn’t give the simple answer: “You mean the $87b that you threatened to veto, Mr. Bush?”
– On Gen. Shinseki [who said, prewar, we’d need several hundred thousand troops in Iraq]: “Instead of listening to him, they retired him.” Pearl Harbor, Mexico, al Qaeda, Iraq.
– This just in: Look closely at the split screen and you’ll see (at the 32 minute mark, perhaps elsewhere) the screen shows Bush’s podium as noticably higher. 3-5 inches so, perhasps corresponding to the height difference?
– Note to Bush: stop using the “wrong war, wrong time” line; it’s a decent line, but you devalue it via repetition.
– Kerry: “We went in with US, GB, and AU. That is not a ‘grand coalition'”. Bush’s response: “You forgot Poland.”
– Bush: the post-war is such a mess because we won so quickly.
– Yep, the uneven podiums appear in every split-sccreen. In fact, looking again, the top of Bush’s head is even with Kerry’s.
– Is there really no intelligence that the President sees but the Senate Foreign Relations commitee does not?
– Kerry: Saddam was a threat and there was a right and wrong way to deal with it. Bush chose the wrong way. Pretty good line.
– Lehrer: Was the war worth the 1058 lives lost so far? Bush: “every life is precious.” Now, here’s a story about Missy Johnson. Yikes, within the story, “You know it’s hard work, to try to love her [Missy Johnson] as best I can, knowing the decision I made can cause her loved one to be in harm’s way.” Then more talk. Then finally, “But I think it’s worth it.” Because a free Iraq will lead to Christmas every day.
– Kerry just called Bush’s Iraq plan, “four words: ‘More of the same'” Good line. Bush’s grand riposte? Reusing the “Kerry said, ‘wrong war, wrong time'” line. As I said, it was devalued 20 minutes ago. But that doesn’t mean you won’t hear every blathering idiot on TV and in blog repeating it endlessly.
– Kerry’s smiling, what’s coming next? Oops, next question to Bush. Ok, here it is. Saddam didn’t attack us, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda did. And we “outsourced” fighting him at Tora Bora, and he escaped.
– Nearly out of nowhere, Bush just brought up the International Criminal Court, to denigrate Kerry and the value of cooperating other nations. Lehrer gave Kerry no chance to respond.
– Bush just said “Mooolahs”, pronouncing the word as in “the cow says, ‘mooo'”. He just did it again.
– Now, on N. Korea, Lehrer just asked a follow up question — contra, I believe, the debate rules.
– Factual question for knowledgeable readers: Does N. Korea have plutonium or enriched uranium?
– Kerry: “We’ve got a backdoor draft going on in America today.” JK wants to add 2 divisions to the US Army and double the number of special forces troops. He also said, “We can never allow another Rwanda.”
– Lehrer to Bush: “Are there underlying character issues about Kerry that you believe are serious enough to deny Sen. Kerry the job as commander in chief of the US?” Bush: “Whew, that’s a loaded question.” Then said some good things about Kerry and his daughters. Then said, “you can not lead if you send mixed messages,” and went on to the repeat the need for non-flip-floppery on the part of a president. He was almost gracious, there.
– Kerry responds: he loves the Bush daughters and Laura, and he’s not going to talk character … then “it’s one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong.” People, please repeat this when you talk about the debate tomorrow. Just this one line. Remember.
– Kerry was very unambigous on his opposition to the creation of new nuclear weapons (e.g., bunker-busting nukes).
– Kerry says Bush has cut nonproliferation funding; Bush says he’s increased it by 35%. Who’s telling the truth?
– Note to Kerry: lay off the “13 years” line.
Well, hell. I really did live blog the rest of the debate, but I think the servers got overloaded and I lost the last part of the post. In any case, I really do think Kerry helped himself a lot tonight. He was well-spoken and very knowledgeable without being pedantic or long-winded; I’d even say he was tough, but likeable. Bush was as usual, which some people seem to like.
As they say at these things, Good night and God Bless!