Kerry won tonight

The presidential debate tonight was just about as interesting… and entertaining… as I thought it would be.

Kerry did better than I expected. He finally managed to sound as intelligent, and intelligible, as he probably really is. Too bad for his campaign that tonight’s Kerry hasn’t been on hand throughout the campaign.

Sadly, it seems he is totally incapable of talking without somehow referring to his service in Viet Nam. Enough already! And I could have slapped him for those haughty smiles we kept seeing during cut-aways (the cut-aways that weren’t supposed to happen).

He made one point I really loved when he said we must not confuse the war with the warrior. It was a perfect, beautifully succinct summary of my feelings about both the Viet Nam and the Iraq war. You can oppose the war while supporting the warrior.

Bush did fairly well. I’d call it an average Bush performance. He was no more or less articulate than he usually is. He could have done much better, however. There were several times when he appeared to be at a loss for words, long silences as he looked at the camera and struggled to marshal his thoughts. The cut-aways hurt him, too. At times he looked smug, smirking; other times he looked a bit angry, although he kept it in check when he spoke. Props to him for not saying “flip-flop,” not even once.

Both men had best practice their off-camera poker faces before the next “debate.”

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