Initial Debate Thread
Preliminary Thoughts: I thought Bush did better tonight, which given how bad he did in the first debate isn't saying much. Bush looked better because he has mastered the art of arrogance, denial, and ignorance.
Take some of the online polls and share your thoughts.
Update: Update: Some reactions from some unexpected places.
President Bush smirked and winked and chuckled to himself. He jumped from his stool, chopped at the air and interrupted the debate moderator. As he fought to keep his emotions in check in a testy, personal debate with Sen. John Kerry, the president asserted, ‘That answer almost made me scowl.’” [AP, 10/8/04]
Mort Kondracke: “… I think Kerry won this debate as he won the first debate I don’t think… I thought that Kerry was much more aggressive and the president was basically on the defense and didn’t have new arguments didn’t have…wasn’t as facile as he should have been.” [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]
Bill Kristol: “I guess I think if you think the President was doing okay and didn’t need a win in this debate, he did fine, but I think, if one thinks that Bush missed an awful lot of opportunities to go after Kerry in the first debate he had to make some of them up in this debate, I’m not sure he really succeeded in doing so.” [Fox New Channel, 10/8/04]
Brit Hume: “Is it now fair to say that in each of these debates in terms of marshaling arguments, and remembering them and presenting them that this is something John Kerry has proved he is very good at. And that it doesn’t play to the president’s strong suit.” [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]
Mort Kondracke: “I thought [Kerry] was very effective. I thought that he was also on the attack a lot and frankly I thought that the President seemed to be on the defense a lot and trying to explain things and not explaining them all that well.” [Fox News Channel, 10/8/04]
Tim Russert: “John Kerry, also, energetic, forceful.” [NBC, 10/8/04]
“On the question of whether Bush did everything he needed to tonight, I don't think so. I think he helped himself, but Kerry leaves these debates energized.” [Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, 10/8/04]
Mark Shields: “He just absolutely, I thought, demolished the President’s claims about the coalition in Iraq.” [PBS, 10/8/04]
James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly: [Kerry's best moment] “I think his best moment was at the series of new lines. Again like this Missouri line of saying that that I was able to do with some of my votes in the Senate what you have failed to do, which is balance the budget, so I think it was the general vividness of his approach.” [CBS, 10/8/04]
Carlos Watson: “I think when all is said and done, John Kerry ultimately will be perceived as the winner of this debate.” [CNN, 10/8/04]
Bob Scheiffer: “Well, I think that John Kerry is very comfortable in this kind of a setting. He's a very good debater. He's able to marshall facts. He seems cool. He makes his arguments. The President does not seem as comfortable as a debater.” [CBS, 10/8/04]
Bob Scheiffer: “I thought that that John Kerry got off to a much better start as he did in the first debate tonight.” [CBS, 10/8/04]
Jeff Greenfield: “I thought one of the senator’s strongest points was on reimportation of Canadian drugs.” [CNN, 10/8/04]
George Stephanopoulos: “You saw him [Kerry] putting those skills to work here tonight, addressing the audience members by their first name, working in Missouri in several answers, of course the citizens in St Louis, as you said, confronting President Bush, and also laying out his plans.” [ABC, 10/8/04]