September 30, 2004
Going into tonight's Presidential Debate I expected that Senator Kerry, with his years of experience debating in the Senate, to be the better overall debater. I was not disappointed. I feel that Senator Kerry did a better job of presenting his points and of rebutting President Bush's points.
Senator Kerry had better rhythm to his speaking, and overall was smoother in his presentation. President Bush is a less polished debater, and several times during his answers he seem to falter or stumble in his speaking. However, it was obvious that the President's coaching team worked hard on the last 30-seconds of each answer period. As soon as the green, 30-second warning light came on there was a dynamic shift in President Bush's presentation. He speech rhythm increased in speed and his delivery was more dynamic.
In terms of content I think Senator Kerry presented broader, and deeper answers to the questions. His platform appeared to be more extensive. President Bush had only a few themes, "wrong war", consistent message, and war on terror. In terms of who would be a better president, I personally think broader is better, unfortunately I fear the country has a three-theme attention span.
On my score card Senator Kerry won the debate, he started strong and continued in the same vein throughout the debate. President Bush stumbled in his opening answer period, trying to thank the moderator and commiserating with Florida. His answers were often rambling and disconnected. Throughout the debate President Bush was less polished, seemingly less prepared.
I fear the country will only remember the few points President Bush repeated over and over and over again. I fear that the seemingly easier to digest answers from the President will win the election. In the end it really doesn't matter who wins the debate when the entire country, and the world by proxy, loses.