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Friday, October 01, 2004
Debate, 9/30

I watched the first presidential debate last night. I definitely believe that it's the responsible thing to do as a citizen, even if the format lends itself better at times to a scripted play. Still, it's too important not to take a look at the men who want to be president, especially in rare circumstances when they are not being directed by handlers.

My impression, particularly during the first two-thirds of the debate, was that both men gave good account of themselves. At times, Kerry seemed to be trying to restrain himself from really diving in deeper in his emotional response, which was something of a surprise, given his rep as a very calm, cerebral type. It seemed like he saw openings that he just wanted to really kick a hole in, but wanted to remain civil. All told, he seemed fully prepped and informed.

President Bush, to his credit, remained on message, as always. He hammered away at the same points that he always does. "I'm resolute, you know where I stand," etc. Interestingly, he seemed to get a little worn out past the halfway point of the debate. His pauses got longer, his blinking became more pronounced. I think he sensed that Kerry was making some excellent points, especially in areas where the president has been for months painting his challenger as confused.

I'll give a slight edge to Kerry on this one. Probably not enough to really change anyone's mind, but probably very important in helping Kerry close the current gap in the polls. Still not sure how anyone can still be undecided, but then, we have our share of nitwits.

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posted at 9:53 AM

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