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The Tally Ho

Thursday, October 14, 2004

What did you think?

A few things. First, there was way too much not covered like alternative energy and stem cells - science in general. Second, I thought Senator Kerry clearly won the debate. Kos refers him as the Zen Master because of how in control and calm he was throughout. Watching Mr. Kerry it seemed as if we were watching the president, not the junior senator from Massachusetts. Third, it seemed to me that the president was still pandering or reassuring his base while the senator was reaching out to the middle.

So I am feeling pretty good as I come home. After talking to my buddy Dustin, terror struck me. What if we lose Wisconsin! Basically, I think Senator Kerry won all three debates. I think Senator Kerry will win the popular vote. Will Senator Kerry hit 270 electoral votes? I think so.

Update: The CW seems to be that after the spin the president is unable to stop the good senator's momentum. Neither delivered a knock out blow. That Mr. Kerry is not fazed when attacked remains presidential throughout the debate, and the multi million dollar anti-Kerry ad campaign has had little traction and in fact Mr. Kerry has increased his likability. Mr. Bush looked a little different in each debate, as if it were a reaction to the previous debate comments (Al Gore, 2000?). James Fallows will be around the dial all day, I'll post a summary of his thoughts if I get a chance. FYI, George W. Bush is the first sitting president to lose all three debates since George H.W. Bush.

Also, remember to donate to your local public radio station.

James Fallows on Brian Lehrer: Here are a few highlights.
  • Debates as mass popular culture: Throughout New York the Yankees-Red Sox game was on without the sound at the same time the Presidential Debates were on, sound on.
  • The Debates have mattered a lot.
  • The "Massachusetts Liberal" label does in fact work. It is about Mr. Bush questioning if his challenger is an acceptable alternative, just like 1988. However, Mr. Fallows notes how the problems in 2004 are more serious and Mr. Kerry is more prepared than Michael Dukakis was. [I have read a few places that people thought the senators liberalism slipped out more last night - but didn't have that big of an effect]
  • Mr. Kerry could have discussed the flu vaccine issue but instead decided to talk about health care. Some say the senator could have knocked the flu question out of the park. But Mr. Fallows says this was purely strategic. Mr. Fallows mentioned a several times in each debate the senator had a similar chance, but stayed to his strategy.
  • Faith Response: A caller seemed to indicate that Mr. Kerry talked too much about being a good Catholic and growing up an alter boy. Mr. Fallows response was that the Kerry Campaign has found that they more they discuss personal issues about John Kerry the better he is viewed.
  • Panel vs. Moderator: Some complained that the individual moderator wasn't a good format. In the past the panels have been a distraction from the candidates as they take up too much individual time.
  • Heath Care & Government: Mr. Fallows says he doesn't know how this back and forth will play out, but that voters probably already have an idea of what they think the best approach is.
  • ABB turned Pro-Kerry: This is something I have read and heard a lot. Starting in the primaries the Democratic and left of center voters said they were ABB (Anybody but Bush). A reaction to the domestic agenda and war in Iraq. But as one caller mentioned, she is now strongly a pro-Kerry voter, not ABB. She specifically mentioned the debates as the cause. Mr. Lehrer says that the senator has been humanized in the eyes of the public. Mr. Fallows mentioned that nothing revealed about Mr. Kerry has hurt him - only helped him.

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