Campaign 2004

VP Debate Reaction

Well, this turned out much as I expected. Both Edwards and Cheney were polished and there weren’t any moments where either candidate really screwed up. Cheney was doing what he needed to do – which is be the attack dog for the President. On this, Cheney did excellent.

The first half of this debate is the part that mattered. This is a foreign policy election, and most viewers probably tuned in only for the first half – even I was getting a bit lost by the second half. In that first half, Cheney wiped the floor with Edwards. He put the issue of Kerry’s record in the Senate front and center in this campaign, which is something that Bush should have done in the first debate. Those are the points that needed to be made.

On the second half, Edwards did quite a bit better. If I were charitable, I’d call it a narrow Edwards victory, although my instincts are to call it a draw. Kerry is on much firmer ground on domestic policy, even I have some big disagreements with the Bush Administration on domestic policy. However, this isn’t a domestic policy election, it’s a security election. That, and most of the viewers probably went to the playoffs halfway through. Edwards also did very well in his closing statement, and showed his ability to appeal to an audience.

However, as I’ve said repeatedly, this is all about the gravitas. Edwards looked young and brash, and Cheney looked firm and unbending. His line about the debate being the first time that he had met Edwards was quite effective. As Bill Kristol just said on FoxNews, Cheney made Edwards look like a showhorse rather than a war horse. At a time of war, we don’t need a pretty face. I think the choice of John Edwards was made for superficial reasons and I think it showed in this debate.

At the same time, I think this debate lost most viewers to the playoffs (go Twins!) and the choice of Vice President has a negligable effect on voting to begin with. Cheney was the nominal winner of this debate, but in the long run it doesn’t matter all that much in the big picture.

The Kerry Spot says that this was a one-sided drubbing for Edwards.

Stephen Green seems to think the same thing

On the other hand, Spoons thinks that Cheney got spanked

Jeff Jarvis agrees with Spoons that Cheney lost this one.

John Hinderaker of Power Line is on NBC – unfortunately with Ana Marie Cox, who brings down Hinderaker’s intelligence with her special brand of vapidity. However, she’s saying that Edwards lost herself… also, kudos to Hindrocket for his subliminal Apple promo…

PoliPundit also says that Cheney walked away with this one

ABC’s post-debate polling shows Cheney winning the debate

UPDATE: On the other hand, the CBS poll of undecided voters showed Edwards with a win. My take is that not a lot of people saw it, most of them were not undecided voters, and it doesn’t matter all that much who won or lost. Neither of them screwed up and neither of them knocked out the other.

12 thoughts on “VP Debate Reaction

  1. Cheney lost this debate in his very first exchange…when he said he wouldn’t do a single thing differently in Iraq on the very day Paul Bremer said the administration royally screwed up. Cheney got some better jabs in than Bush did the other night and I’m sure his base was roaring. Unfortunately for them, the GOP base represents only a third of the electorate, and even many of thing think we’ve handled things very badly in Iraq, despite Cheney’s claim that it’s the model of foreign policy perfection.

  2. And now, it’s just been smoked out that Cheney was lying when he claimed he had never before met John Edwards. They had met twice before. This means one of two things. Cheney is either not mentally stable enough to remember people he’s encountered in the past, or he’s a liar. Either way, the American people will respond much as they did when Gore lied about his visiting Texas after floods with the FEMA director.

  3. “it’s a security election”

    Well, if you want to accredit M.Moore’s theory that Bush and his team have just been playing on the fear of the population to create paranoia and unstability to get elected, then you’re probably right. If not then, despite the “war on terror” and other marketing tools, unemployment is still a pain, just as much as AIDS and other afflictions of the american population. I know that you don’t care Jay, but not everyone is like you.

    >>Flash News<< Why is not covering the revealation of Mr Rumsfeld that he has never seen a document linking Irak to Al-Qaida? You think Rumsfeld is a weasel? You think he's wrong, because you have better source? You are too proud to admit you've been wrong for months, and that whatever the "blogosphere" debunk is parstisan based on partisan websites? I'd say the latter.

  4. I would never accredit Michael Moore with anything other than being a fat treasonous sack of crap.

    And Mr. Rumsfeld’s comments were directed at a connection between Iraq and 9/11 which there is no evidence for. However, given that Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq long before the war anyone who argues that Iraq and al-Qaeda was entirely unconnected is simply ignorant or lying as VP Cheney said last night.

  5. I posted the information about Rumsfeld in a previous post (citing bbc news as my source) but I guess decided to censor my remarks.
    But here is the story:
    Rumsfeld said this:
    “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two,” he said, though he later issued a statement saying he was misunderstood.

    then he said this:
    Several hours after his appearance, Mr Rumsfeld issued a statement saying his comments had been “regrettably misunderstood” and that he had acknowledged there were ties between Osama Bin Laden and Iraq based upon CIA intelligence.
    Here is the link to back up the story.
    so I said this. “can we say flip flop?”

  6. Actually, it’s more lying than “flip-flopping”: I can remember very well the speeches he gave where he claimed a link. Now, he says the above, which means HE LIED to push to war.

  7. “I would never accredit Michael Moore with anything other than being a fat treasonous sack of crap.”

    You don’t understand Jay: I’m not asking you if you support Moore’s theory (I know you hate the guy). I’m TELLING you that you are accrediting his theory!

    Explanation: You (and you are a republican, right?), just said in your post: “it’s a security election”. By saying that, you are proving what Mr Moore says in his movie (that you should have seen because it’s always better to know your ennemy, but I mean, you’re the open-minded one!) was right: e.g. Bush and his crew have created a situation of fear to push population to do whatever they want, because people tend to act irrationally when confronted to panic. You’re Moore best apprentice!

  8. That debate definitely went the opposite direction than I thought it would. I thought Edwards would have his way with Cheney- instead, Dr. Evil put Austin over the shark tank. While Edwards was stronger in the second half (and I loved the smile he shot the audience right at the beginning of the debate), Cheney was collected, polished, and completely on-message- Edwards came off as a petulant chihuahua next to him. While Cheney still doesn’t win many points in my book, Edwards clearly isn’t ready for prime time.

  9. Nicholas, I completely disagree. I tried to be objective in this debate, but did not come away with any sense that Cheney had won, particularly after saying in his opening statement that the administration’s decisions in Iraq have been picture perfect on the same day as Paul Bremer declared them woefully inadequate. Cheney got some good jabs in, but the media is likely to spend the next couple days discrediting most of them, such as the lie that he never met John Edwards before last night. Most scientific and unscientific opinion polls I’ve seen showed Edwards chosen as the clear winner. It eludes me how anyone could watch that debate and think Cheney won it.

  10. More bad news for Bush….

    The latest ARG poll shows Kerry with a two-point lead over Bush in Florida. Republicans cried foul over ARG’s last poll in Florida, which showed Kerry led by one point, because they said it was conducted at a time when northern Florida was without power because of the hurricane. A fair point, but the same can’t be said about the new poll taken after the debate, validating Kerry’s slight edge. Another ARG poll shows the race dead even in New Hampshire. Granted, everyone thought Kerry would have an easy time in New Hampshire this year, but considering undecideds break for the challenger 4-1, neither of these poll numbers can be perceived as anything short of disastrous for Bush.

  11. Mark:

    After reading more blogger’s opinions, you might just be right. A good point was made on Andrew Sullivan’s blog- Cheney talked to the wonks, while Edwards talked to the people. While Edwards didn’t impress me (and strangely enough, Cheney did), it was mainly due to the fact that I, being a hair away from finishing a political science degree, am not a member of Edwards’ target audience.

    But we’ll see…

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