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Monday, October 04, 2004

ROUND ONE: NEW LIFE
Boy, what a difference a week makes eh? Last Monday, Democrats everywhere were wringing their hands, waiting for the sky to finally fall on the faltering Kerry campaign. Kerry supporters were in a panic mode, the campaign itself seemed to be in complete disarray, and Michael Moore was acting as the voice of reason. Things were bleak. But this Monday, Kerry boosters are floating around on a post-debate high, revived and resuscitated as much by their candidate's solid performance as by Bush's disastrous one.

Yep, the reviews are in and despite a weekend's worth of attempts by the Bush team to spin initial assessments of a Bush defeat into victory, Kerry is still being touted as the winner. The spin machine on the Democrat's side was much more effective (existent) than it was in 2000. After the first debate that year, Gore was initially declared the winner but lost the spin battle afterward and ended up a loser. Back then, Republicans jumped all over Gore for his exasperated sighs and apparent disinterest. Amazingly, Bush fell victim to the same trap on Thursday night. Yes, Twitchy McTwitchy couldn't keep his facial ticks to himself and naturally, the Democrats pounced, releasing a web video the next day called "Faces of Frustration."

Yep, happy days are here again for the Democrats. Not that it means much, but some polls have even tilted back in Kerry's favor. All giddiness aside, it's important to remember that there is still a long way to go before this thing is over. Not only are there three more debates to come (two for Bush/Kerry, one for the veeps), it's also now October which, I'm guessing, means the chances of that October surprise thing happening are pretty high. But hey, even if "the surprise" completely sinks Kerry's resurgence, at least you can make some money at it.

There are plenty of places to go for thorough analysis of the candidate's performances so I won't rehash too much here, but as The Nation's John Nichols points out it was as if the president "only arrived with 30 minutes of material for a 90 minute debate." He didn't appear as though he wanted to be there at all, which was probably the case. He was visibly irritated, childlike and maybe even a little tired. Nichols' article also talks about how weary the president seemed, chiding the president for using the phrase "it's hard work" nine different times:

It appears that George W. Bush is tired of being president. His weariness and frustration with the job was evident throughout last night's first presidential debate of the 2004 campaign. Whenever the discussion turned to questions about his management of the occupation of Iraq, Bush said, "It's hard work." Why didn't he anticipate the disaster? "It's hard work." Considering the mounting death toll, was the Iraq invasion worth it? "It's hard work."
If it's such hard work, why doesn't he just let John Kerry do it?

Full Transcript of Thursday's Debate, minus the many faces of W, can be found here.


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