Liveblogging Debate #3

8:50: I am preparing for the debate. Taking the dog out, ordering Chinese food, and waiting for George Bush “to be real positive, while I keep my foot on John Kerry’s throat”. Figuratively of course! I have no idea if that’s a real quote or not, but it should be.

9:01: I didn’t get time to finish the debate drinking game because I was so busy, but here’s what I came up with so far. Besides, this should be enough to get you hammered if you’re so inclined. Take a drink every time…

— Bush calls Kerry a liberal.
— Kerry says he has a plan.
— Kerry mentions Herbert Hoover.
— Bush says 1.9 million jobs have been created in the last 13 months.
— Christopher Reeves is mentioned.
— Kerry name drops a celebrity.
— Either candidate mentions Iraq.
— Either candidate tells a story about some anonymous citizen they met.

9:02: Ugh, I forgot Bob Schieffer was moderating this debate. What, was Brit Hume busy? How about one conservative moderator in 4 debates?

9:03: Will we ever be safe and secure again ? WW2? The Cold War? Kids were worried about being obliterated by nukes. Did we really feel all that safe back then?

9:07: Ok W, should have smashed him on the “We lost Bin Laden at Tora Bora” thing. 3 debates and W. has just let it pass.

9:09: Flu vaccine? That’s the best thing he could come up with in a presidential debate? How silly.

9:11: Kerry: George Bush has turned his back on the wellness of Americans! Whereas as John Edwards has informed us, Kerry and Edwards will make the crippled walk again if they’re elected.

9:15: Gloom and doom on the economy again. From my debate tonight at Blogcritics,

“Over the last 4 quarters, the average GDP growth has been a sizzling 4.85% as compared to an average rate of 3.1% in the 90s and 2.9% in the 80s. During that same time period, we’ve created 1.7 million jobs. In other words, the economy has been booming for a year and as long as we keep doing what we’re doing now, the economy has been booming for a year and as long as we keep doing what we’re doing now, the economy should keep growing strong.”

9:17: “What do you say to a guy who lost his job to someone overseas?”. Sorry? That sucks? Would it make a difference if he lost his job to someone in the US? Lame, lame, question although Bush handled it fine.

9:21: OK Kerry, beat up on the President for why it’s his fault that jobs have been lost overall. It’s 9:21 and I have already officially declared Bob Schieffer the worst moderator yet.

Meanwhile, the economy has been booming for a full year and John Kerry is talking like we’re in a depression.

9:25: “Ted Kennedy is the conservative Senator from Massachusetts”. Good line and true.

9:28: What is with Kerry and Edwards’ obsession with Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter?

9:29: John Kerry: he’s for and against gay marriage! He voted against Doma by the way.

9:32: John Kerry: Holly Roller! Know why libs don’t say that? Because they know this is just fluff for the election.

9:40: If you take my health plan, you’ll have the best health care plan in the world and everyone will have choice and will be cheaper and rainbows will shine over the horizon and your medicine will be brought to you by Swedish models & Carebears!

9:41: Bush was going to slam CBS there..he should have finished his thought.

9:45: Great Social Security answer by George Bush.

9:46: The reason why Democrats hate privatizing part of Social Security is because it takes the money out of the hands of the government and allows the people to choose what to do with their money.

9:47: Good question Bob to Kerry on Social Security. Kerry’s answer is complete gibberish. I’ll roll back Bush’s tax cuts and it’ll fix every problem! You can have free health care, it’ll fix Social Security, wheeeeee!

9:51: An immigration question too? I take back what I said about Bob Schieffer. He’s better than Lehrer at least.

9:53: By the way, both candidates stink on immigration although Kerry is worse….wait, “the American middle class isn’t making it”? People should laugh at him when he says things like that. And the tax burden on the middle-class has gone up? That’s just a lie…

9:55: Here’s my immigration plan. Put business owners who hire large numbers of illegals in jail. Use the military to lock down the border. Aggressively work to kick out every illegal we can find.

9:58: The minimum wage kills jobs for poor people. If you force businesses to pay people more than they’re worth, they will find a way to have less people. Either they’ll use machines, get by with less people, they’ll do SOMETHING to even things out. That’s how capitalism works.

And equal pay for equal work? Men go into higher paying fields and women take time off of work for babies. That’s the majority of the difference.

10:01: Kerry thinks abortion is a constitutional right? Wonder what Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of the Founders would say about that.

10:02: 49% isn’t enough for liberals. It’s never enough for liberals.

10:04: A big, underhanded, floating softball pitch for Kerry on the National Guard. Let me translate: Tell us how much Bush sucks because we’re in Iraq and tell us how you’d fix his mistake. Ok, he’s behind Lehrer. By the way, isn’t this another foreign policy related question? Wasn’t this supposed to be a domestic debate?

10:09: Another loaded question: So Bush, you support the Assault Weapons Ban, but it never got to you. Isn’t that your fault? L-I-B-E-R-A-L bias…

10:11: The Affirmative Action question is one Bush could knock out of the park — if he were more conservative and had strongly opposed. There are people all over America who want to hear “Yes, Affirmative Action has outlived it usefulness, if it were ever useful in the first place. It’s unconstitutional, I oppose it”. Bush can’t say that because he has triangulated on the issue…

10:17: Bush seems to be losing focus just a bit. Maybe, losing concentration a bit.

10:19: Maybe I shouldn’t say this, because I can’t prove it, but Kerry sounds like the biggest phony in the world on religion. It sounds like pure election year, Howard Dean style, pandering….

10:21: John Kerry: If I become President, Democrats and Republicans will walk hand in hand over rose petal covered floors, Ted Kennedy will hold hands with Tom Delay, Robert Byrd with Newt Gingrich, love will be in the air, and it’ll be peace, love, and harmony forver!

10:23: “We’re all married to strong women!” Bush is knocking the question out of the park, he’s funny and warm, but it’s still a stupid question. Too bad Bob Schieffer’s strong woman couldn’t have looked these questions over for him.

10:25: Listen to Schieffer giggling like a school girl at Kerry making referrence to being a gigolo.

10:30: I’ve changed my mind again. Schieffer is definitely the worst moderator yet, by far.

Conclusion: I give a slight edge to Kerry for this debate.

Kerry relentlessly criticized Bush with some success and while Bush fired back, but trying to hammer Kerry is like trying to nail jello to the wall because he’s all things to all people.

On the other hand, I don’t think this should hurt Bush since Kerry has the edge on domestic issues anyway and since it was a small win.

A blogosphere round-up should be up in about 20 minutes or so, so hang around for that.

*** Update #1***: So far, the verdict seems to be that Bush verbally ripped Kerry’s skull open and punched him directly in the brain. Here’s what I’ve found so far. More are coming…

“Bush 3, Kerry 0. Now let’s get this election thing over with it.”La Shawn Barber’s Corner

“A smashing victory for Bush.” — William Kristol on Fox News

“It was a home run tonight (for Bush)” — Sean Hannity

“Bush stomped Kerry, without a doubt. Not only did he project a more interested demeanor, but he also showed a more pleasant speaking style and a superior grasp of detail. He projected an optimism that completely escapes Kerry, especially tonight. Kerry was the one stumbling through answers this time, including inexplicably on the question about his experience with strong women. Kerry could not stay on topic, and like John Edwards, wound up simply regurgitating his stump speeches. Bush offered more thoughtful answers, more extemporaneous, and seemed much more genuine as a result.”Captain’s Quarters

“THE CONCLUSION: Again, not bad for Kerry, but Bush is at the top of his game here at the end. He’s still no Ronald Reagan, but he’s good — much better than at the beginning or in the earlier debates. If he’d been like this in the first debate he’d be up by 10.”Instapundit

*** Update #2 ***: More reactions from around the right side of the blogosphere. There are a few dissenters, but most of them seem to think this is a HUGE win for W. I can’t say that I agree, but I guess see how it plays out in the polls…

“Again, I’m not sure whether either man won this one on substance. Indeed, I would say both had their worst debate on that score. Stylewise, Kerry has been pretty even in all three debates. Nothing spectacular but enough to come across as reasonable and decent. Bush was awful the first debate, quite good in the second debate, and mediocre tonight. If the debates are going to be the decisive factor in this election, I fear we’re going to have a new president come January. Kerry did we he needed to do in all three of them, Bush in at best two of them.” — Outside The Beltway

“We told you not to believe the hype about this topic being Kerry’s home turf – because tonight proved it wasn’t. If tonight is the last impression people got of these candidates then the President served himself extremely well this evening. Let’s just hope they weren’t glued to the baseball games. For whatever reason the President seemed to pull it all together tonight and it was perhaps his best performance in his 6 Presidential debates.” — Crush Kerry

“I know that this is a boring, repetitive assessment, but … very close to an effective tie. But with the strength of his closing, Bush actually won. The momentum is to Bush.” — INDC Journal

“I thought Bush lost badly. Most of my readers seem to agree.” — The Spoons Experience

“I’ve seen enough. John Kerry is a crashing bore. My goodness he’s a condescending jacka**. Bush is on fire, beating Kerry about the head and shoulders like a dusty rug.” — JunkYardBlog

“Bush won it. I missed the first few minutes (and I couldn’t blog from where I watched it). But I don’t think you can score it any other way. If Bush had given this performance the first night he might have put this election away. Kerry was generally back on his heels throughout the night.” — Jonah Goldberg

*** Update #3 ***: The last group of reactions from round the right side of the blogosphere…

I was watching the debate with a bunch of folks at a hotel bar. The consensus by far was that not only did Bush win, he had Kerry on the defensive on nearly every question.” — GayPatriot

“Zzzzzzzzz. I change my prediction that the debate is a draw, and I now declare that the winner is Ralph Nader…OK so the winner isn’t Nader, it’s whoever is ahead in the next set of polls. My suspicion is that there will be no movement in the polls over the next few days, which of course means it’s a draw. It was a greatest hits collection from the first two debates.” — Wizbang!

“BOTH CANDIDATES came primed. But Bush won.” — Citizen Smash

*** Update #4***: Lefty blogger Roger Simon makes some interesting points…

“Why did Kerry’s mother feel she had to remind him “Intergity! Integrity! Integrity!” from her hospital bed when he told her he was thinking of running for President? What did she know? My mother would have assumed I would have integrity in the same situation.

…Kerry is a strange dude. Bringing in Cheney’s daughter Mary’s sexuality was weird indeed. She’s not running for office.

UPDATE: CNN’s Instant Poll shows Kerry winning by 13 points tonight. I don’t get it. Who are they polling? They did say the poll was conducted immediately after the debate, before the spin doctors made their rounds, but still… I’d like to know where this comes from. It would be interesting information. These post-debate polls become self-fulfilling prophecies, driving water cooler talk the next day. If it ever becomes clear, that they were slanted by the media running them, there will be hell to pay and I will be one of those breathing the fire.”

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