Thoughts on the debate

There are plenty of others liveblogging the debate. I haven’t read them all, but I have been watching a few. Blogs for Bush, Instapundit, PoliPundit, and Hugh Hewitt all have plenty of commentary and/or links (and Hugh’s got a running debate scorecard).

One thing that struck me, in particular, was the President’s response to the second question regarding the chances of another 9/11-style attack should Sen. Kerry be elected: “It isn’t going to happen.” Kerry being elected, that is. I can’t help but think that this was a response intended both to deflect the question and not answer it directly and that it was intended to knock Kerry back on his heels. Clearly he was prepared for a question like this.

Kerry regularly seems like he’s speaking before he thinks his answers through, often seeming like he’s spewing a canned response. Bush sometimes hesitates, most often (and most noticeably) in the middle of a sentence.

They’re going to be done shortly, but let me get this straight: Kerry wants it one way with Iraq, and another way with North Korea? The President is confident and strong in his response regarding North Korea, and seems to be making a lot more sense on this point.

Kerry is differentiating himself from the President, which is a good thing, but my reaction is that he doesn’t really have a coherent set of principles. Bush, on the other hand, appears to be talking entirely from a set of strongly-held principles, whether popular or not.

Overall, I’d give this debate to Bush.

Kerry: B-
Bush: B+


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