Saturday, October 09, 2004

Winning the Expectations Game

Well the pundits are saying President Bush earned a tie in last night's debate. I thought he did better than the first debate, but I thought Kerry had the better performance.

Bush kept raising his voice and practically yelling. Granted, he was more assertive and avoided the obvious mistakes of facial expressions during the first debate, but I think his performance was stronger for his base, than for likely swing voters. He kept throwing out labels and attacking Kerry without listening to Kerry's answers.

I think he "beat the point spread" because of his weak performance in the first debate and the resulting lower expectations for the second debate.

Bush clearly made mistakes with his attitude and steamrolling over the moderator, Charles Gibson. On the other hand, Kerry missed some opportunities for a knock-out. When Bush invoked the memory of Ronald Reagan, I was hoping Kerry would reply "I knew Ronald Reagan, I served with Ronald Reagan, and although I disagreed with many of his policies, I can assure you sir, you are no Ronald Reagan."

The other opportunity was the question when Bush continued to refuse to name a mistake that he's made. Kerry went back to Iraq which he had already covered. I would have preferred that he name a mistake or two of his own. Perhaps something like "Well I wasn't clear when I said 'I voted for it, before I voted against it' I should have been clearer and said 'I voted for it when Iraq and wealthy Americans were going to pay for the 87 billion and I voted against it when the 87 billion was going to be added to the deficit.' But which is worse making a mistake in how you talk about the war or about going to war in the first place."

Lastly Bush's statement about rumors on "the Internets" is going to be replayed over and over. That's bad for the President. Not that I am disappointed. : )

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