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Rock’em Sock’em Robots: Round Three to Kerry.

Oct
14
2004

Well, we now know one thing about Presidential Debate #2: looking into the camera and speaking directly to the TV audience polled very, very well for Democrat John Kerry. He did it several times last night.
That’s not why he won – by a hair – the debate but it does represent a change form the way Senator Kerry addresses his audience and thinks about his answers. He’s not going for points, he’s going for votes. And he finally – finally – dusted off that old John Kennedy line about being a president who “happens to be Catholic.” Jeez, Senator, aren’t there any other Massachusetts altar boys on your staff?


Last night was another slog fest, of course, with the two candidates emphasizing their differences repeatedly. Kerry’s fiscally responsible. But he’s too Liberal. Bush is a resolute leader. But he’s launched a war and managed it badly. If you don’t know these issues by now, well, you realize these debate are only partly about issues. We like to think that how a candidate stands on the issues is why we elect them. That’s high-minded. But it’s only partly true. We elect president’s based on our own personal instincts about how they’ll do the job.
Kerry came out for the debate smiling and didn’t get pushed around. President Bush stayed on message relentlessly. But he can barely contain his contempt. And Kerry did something very clever: he waited. He held back. It was debate rope-a-dope. Let the other guy punch and get nasty. You’ll notice Kerry didn’t go in for the kill when could have easily checked Bush on the FDA’s Chiron vaccine screw-up, on his statements that he wasn’t worried about Osama Bin Laden. He held back and let Bush take the swipes at his liberal voting record, his tax-and-spend mentality. I think that’s why Kerry won the debate — he moved above the sniping — and I think that’s why the chances of his winning the election just got a whole lot better.
SIDENOTE: If Kerry wins, it’ll be good for San Francisco Democrats in a number of ways. First of all venture capitalist Mark Gorenberg, Kerry California finance chairman, who has now raised more than $30 million for the campaign will get to go to the Inaugural. Gorenberg’s such a nice guy, I’ll bet he takes the whole firm with him. But, more important for the city: Mayor Gavin Newsom’s father, Judge Bill, has played his politics right on this one. Newsom’s been a Kerry supporter from the get-go. Stuff like this matters particularly since Newsom – the mayor, not the judge – has pretty much become the best-known Democrat in state politics.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:36 AM | Permalink

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