"Will we ever be safe and secure?"
Kerry: President rushed us into war. [NOTE: I'm updating this post to correct typos and some places where it wasn't clear if a candidate was talking, or it was my comment. My comments will be in parens.] (Nonsense.) Pushed away allies. (There he goes again, dissing our allies.) We should inspect ALL shipments in ALL ports. (Nonsense, impossible.) Have more cops and firefighters. (He's going for the "first responders" thing, but again, that just means he's waiting for the attack. Hunker down.) Kerry does some name-dropping of past presidents.
Bush: Yes, we'll be safe, but must stay on the offensive, chase down terrorists, spread freedom and liberty. (RIGHT HERE! This is it: This is the clearest difference between these two. Bush says go to where they are, get the terrorists, make us safer by making the world safer. Kerry says, hunker down, check everything, don't try to hunt them down; not really, anyway).
Bush also talks about the elections in Afghanistan. (Good! He's enthusiastic; positive; good job.)
Kerry again makes the point about outsourcing the hunt for Bin Laden. (That's stupid. He didn't outsource anything. Hope Bush can nail him on that.)
Bush: (Yep, he is nailing him on this. And he had a few people chuckle in the audience when he said "That's one of Kerry's exaggerations again!")
Flu shots?!? (Well, it's a new question. Bush is handling it well.) Says, we relied on a company in England and they had problems with their vaccines. So, don't get the flu shot if you're healthy; save it for old and very young. He says, "I'm not getting one!" Bush also scores a point for bringing up the need for legal reform, especially related to medicine.
Kerry: This underscores problem with American health care system. It's not working. (He's not answering the question about flu shots, really, just going on the list of how many people don't have health insurance etc. )
Bush reaction shot: (He looks good! Standing tall, smiling, not smirking.)
Bush: A plan is not a litany of complaints! (That's good.) He says Kerry is doing a "bait and switch", an empty promise on health care, to give everyone the same plan that Congress has.
NEXT QUESTIONS: How can you afford these plans, Senator Kerry, without running up our debt even more?
Kerry: Starts the list: Under Bush, exports go down, jobs lost, etc. etc. "I will change that; restore fiscal discipline." He says, I've shown how I'll pay for that... roll back Bush's unaffordable tax cuts for the wealthiest. Now he's onto the "loophole" for outsourcing. (He's all over the map on this question.)
Bush: "His rhetoric doesn't match his record. He voted 98 times to increase taxes." (Good, nail him on his record in the Senate.) Tries a lame joke on Pay as you Go... he says "Pay-Go" means you pay and he goes and spends. (Joke goes nowhere. Better, now, he's talking about pro-growth policies.)
NEXT QUESTION: What do you say to someone who's lost his job to outsourcing (I think that's how he phrased it) and is now making much less?
Bush: My policies will grow our economy; go to a community college; focus on education; solve problems in education; train the work force to be productive and competitive. Four more years: I've got more to do; emphasize math and science.
Kerry: "President switched from jobs to education." (Hey, he was talking about skills for better job.) Kerry makes some lame joke about Tony Soprano talking about law and order (being like the President talking about jobs, I think) and gets a chuckle. Now Kerry is going for "the President is out of it" approach... says the Prez just walks away from the jobs problem. Then Kerry says, "help workers transition"... well, that's what Bush was just talking about!
Follow up question to Kerry: He admits he can't stop outsourcing. Talks again about the loophole, says American workers subsidize the loss of their own jobs. (I don't believe that happens, personally.) He says he'll "close the loophole in a nanosecond."
Reaction shot of Bush: Wow, someone sure told him to stand up straight. He is. And don't smirk! He's not.
Bush reply: "Whew!" "Let me start with the Pell grants; we've increased them by a million workers." Let me talk to the workers: Starts listing the tax relief; marriage penalty relief, lower bracket (10%) for lower income families; child tax credit. "Kerry says we're going to spend the government's money, but he's going to spend YOUR money!" (Tom is in the basement painting; he's yelling "BOOM" and "KABOOM" so he must think Bush is doing well on these.)
Kerry responds: "I've voted for tax relief xxx times" (sorry, missed the number but it was big.) Bush jumps in: Senator, you voted to increase taxes XX times. "There's a mainstream in American politics and you're on the far left bank!" Wow.
NEXT QUESTION: Gay marriage. "Do you think homosexuality is a choice?"
Bush: "I don't know." Talks about tolerance, but also says I believe in protecting the sanctity of marriage. Also says he's against activist judges. He's deeply concerned that judges, and not the citizenry, is making these decisions. Says the best way to protect this is to change the constitution.
Kerry: "We're all God's children."
Blogging timeout: 5-year-old needs me.
OK, I'm back.
Kerry is saying that he protects the environment because of his religion. (Oh, but you can kill unborn babies and that's OK with your religion? Senator Kerry, I'm a Catholic, and I know Catholics, and Senator Kerry, you're no Catholic.)
Bush talks about promoting a culture of life. He talks about partial birth abortion; talks about funding maternity group homes, abstinence programs, adoption, "viable alternative". (Sorry, I don't think he nailed this question. He could have done better.) [UPDATE: Commenter thinks he did OK; on second thought, I think he did, too.]
NEXT QUESTION: Something about health care costs... didn't catch the whole question.
Bush laughs (I missed why, but he shouldn't laugh.) Is addressing rising costs of medical care; talks about medical malpractice, about generic drugs, about introducing more technology into the system. (Oldest daughter asks: Who do you think is winning? Me: I don't know yet. But I'm getting stressed, so I don't think that's a good sign.)
Kerry: Talking about windfalls to drug companies because of Bush; talks about other bad things Bush did... I missed some. Now he says we need health care for all Americans.
Bush: Nails him on his record; Kerry has NO record in the Senate about leadership on this issue. Now mentions the prescription drug plan for seniors.
Kerry: Says "I did so too pass bills in the Senate." Says the President is misleading people again.
NEXT QUESTION: How will you pay for your health care plan, Sen. Kerry?
Kerry: First, two major news networks (who, CBS and PBS? HA!) said the President isn't being truthful about his analysis of my plan. Says, my plan is all about competition, choice, is what the Congress has, your health care is important, but you can choose. Small business gets 50% tax credit on our already lower health care costs. (This is complete pie in the sky.)
Bush: "With all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations... oh never mind." (He was going for the same joke I made above about CBS. Didn't get a laugh.) Talks about the reality: other countries with federally controlled health care isn't good; our system is the best in the world; the best quality.
Kerry: Says President isn't funding the VA. Says, "I'm not promoting a government health care plan."
Bush: We've increased funding for VA twice the amount of my predecessor. Veterans know that. Of course we're meeting our obligations.
NEXT QUESTION: Social Security will run out of money. (OH Lord, the third rail.)
Bush: First, let me tell all seniors you're safe. You'll get your checks. Last election, they said, if Bush is elected you won't get your checks. (Good, he's calling them on their demagoguery.) Says, for our youngsters, we need to think differently. Says they could do better with a different plan; compounding interest effect. Says he's willing to take on the issue. (That's courage!) Cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of trying to save the system for our children.
Kerry: You just heard the Prez say that young people should be able to take money out of their accounts to invest. Says that's a prescription for disaster. Says the CBO says there'd have to be a cut in benefits of up to 40%. Says Prez isn't saying where the money will come from. Accuses him of driving the largest deficits in history (NOT TRUE! As a percentage of GDP, this one isn't that big.)
NEXT QUESTION: Let me stay on social security topic; quotes Greenspan as saying we can't pay the benefits promised unless we change retirement age, etc. Kerry, you just promised "no changes." Does that mean you'll leave the problems for our kids?
Kerry: No, of course not. (Is this going to be a flip-flop??) Now he's on to tax cuts; says the wealthiest Americans could have paid for (... something... Social Security? ... ) if they hadn't gotten that tax cut. Says we'll do what we did in the 1990's and fix the problem. (Doesn't say how, except by repealing tax cuts on rich??) Says, we need to create jobs. (How does this relate to the question????) "I have a plan to put America back to work."
Bush: He forgot to tell you he voted to tax S.S. benefits. I didn't hear any plan to save S.S. He talks about the tax cuts... they went to middle class Americans! (Good, he's talking about the facts on the tax cuts.) Says my opponent opposes tax relief. Says people need to remember about the stock market declining before I got in to office; reminds of 9/11 attacks; sure, there's more work to do, but we shouldn't increase taxes, etc. (Good answer, all around.)
NEXT QUESTION: Immigration.
Bush: (He's doing great on this already.) He talks about immigration as being a security issue, an economic issue, a human rights issue (something else, too, but lost it while typing). He says he was a border president so he knows about this (good answer!) He says, "no amnesty". Says if someone wants to come into this country they can wait in line like all the others. My opponent is for amnesty.
Kerry: Starts talking about take home pay and how the tax cuts were wiped out by increases in gas, ... etc. Throwing around stats comparing this time to other times in history. OK, now gets to immigration reform. Says Bush broke his promise on immigration reform. Says we need to harden our borders; crack down on illegal hiring (ends up saying something that I believe is for amnesty but he cloaks it pretty well.)
Bush: Says the borders ARE more protected; says Kerry doesn't know what the situation is.
Kerry: Says we should use thumbprint technology for people crossing the border (huh? I think Bush is right, he doesn't understand the borders.)
NEXT QUESTION: Minimum wage.
Kerry: Says President doesn't want women to be able to raise their kids on a decent wage. (Mean Bush, mean, mean Bush.) Says the rich get tax cuts but women don't. Says women get 76 cents on the dollar; says we want to raise women's pay (HUH? You can't raise women's pay! What the heck is he talking about!?) but the President is stopping that. (Mean Bush.) I will fight tooth and nail to pass the minimum wage.
Bush: Actually, there was a plan I supported (huh?) Says, We need to fix education. Talks about No Child Left Behind; says we have to increase standards. Talks about spending more money on education to fix problems. Says this is what people need. Says, we can't compete in the 21st century unless we have excellence in education. (Not a good answer, I don't think.)
NEXT QUESTION: Litmus test for judges? Overturn Roe v. Wade?
Bush: No litmus test.
Kerry: I won't appoint a judge who will overturn. (Apparently, Kerry has a litmus test: only pro-abortion judges.) Now is talking about unfairness in our society; black drop-out rate, etc. Says President refused to fully fund No Child Left Behind. Kerry is talking about something... Frankly, I'm getting tired of this.
Bush: "Only a liberal senator from MA would say a 49% increase in funding is not enough." (GOOD ANSWER!) Says we have to get people educated to end inequality (something like that.)
Kerry: "Kids lost afterschool programs." (Boo hoo. Wants the Nanny State to take care of everything, I guess.)
NEXT QUESTION: Back door draft? (military issues)
Kerry: Increase by two divisions (I think that's what he said). Relieve pressure on armed forces by recognizing that we are strongest when working with real alliances; statesmanship, diplomacy. (Dissing the allies again. Gosh, he's such an internationalist. Ugh.) Says Prez didn't choose war as a last resort. (Wrong time, I guess, out of the "Wrong War" refrain.)
Bush: Says the best way to relieve our troops is to win in Iraq; train Iraqis. Mentions 125,000 Iraqis trained by end of year. Personal story: Talks about high morale of serviceman; they want to serve their country. Says Kerry wants the "global test". Says "I will never turn over our defense to others." (Good.)
Kerry: "I never said that". No nation will have a veto over us. (Yeah, right, he wants the U.N. to have that, and we all know it."
Bush: Says Kerry voted against first Gulf War, even with a huge coalition. (Good.)
NEXT QUESTION: Gun control?
Bush: Best way to keep people safe from guns is prosecute those who violate laws.
Kerry: Failure of Pres. to fail to overturn gun ban. "I'm a hunter." (Did you see those pictures of him with a gun? Senator Kerry, I know hunters, and you're no hunter.) Says prosecutors wanted the assault weapons ban. Says terrorists can come in here and buy assault weapons. Refers to Bill Clinton. (Still going for those coattails?)
NEXT QUESTION: Affirmative action.
Kerry: No, we're not far enough along to get rid of affirmative action programs. Says this Prez hasn't met with the NAACP or the Black Caucus.
Bush: Says, it's not true that I didn't meet with the Black Caucus. Says we shouldn't have quotas; says we need more education and Pell grants. Make sure every child learns; make sure there's access.
(HELLO to everyone who's stopping by!! I just checked the Site Meter and, hey, I've got visitors!)
NEXT QUESTION: God. What role does faith play in your life?
Bush: I pray a lot. I pray for my little girls (that's sweet!). I believe in a free society you can worship or not; Christian or Muslim, as you see fit. Prayer sustains me. I receive calmness in the storms of the Presidency. I take comfort that people pray for him all around the country. Don't want to impose my religion, but I stand on principle. Mentions faith-based initiatives. I believe God wants everybody to be free! That's what I believe. That's part of my foreign policy. I'm so encouraged to see freedom on the march. (Oooh, good answer, but the lefties are going to HATE this.)
Kerry: I respect what he says. He says freedom is a gift; everything is a gift from the Almighty. Mentions Koran and Torah and native Indians. "I went to a church school" and was taught to love God with body, soul, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. We have a long way to go in that.
(Daughters are mimicking his hand motions right now.
NEXT QUESTION: Division in America.
Kerry: PI want to pay a compliment to President right now; talks about speech after 9/11. Says he was touched. Says we were united, but now we are more divided than ever in history (huh? Ever hear of the Civil War?) [UPDATE/CORRECTION: Listened to the debate again last night, and and he only said "in recent memory". OK, Civil War doesn't apply, then.] Says congressman are locked out of meetings (huh?? I picture Bush turning a lock on some shouting senators. I don't think so.)
Bush: Biggest disappointment: This town is so partisan. Says No Child Left Behind (hereafter: NCLB) was bi-partisan. Says something about tax cuts. (Sorry, missed some of it.) (He's looking tired; I'm exhausted.) Says we were divided before, in the 1990's, in the 2000 election. Says Kerry mentions Sen. Cain; says Sen. Cain supports me. Says Kerry has a plan of "Retreat and Defeat" in Iraq. (Good line!! Why didn't he use that before!??)
NEXT QUESTION: "We all have strong women in our lives (Bob S, Kerry, Bush). What have you learned from this?"
Bush: "To listen to them." (Laughter!) I love my wife and daughters. (Gives a very touching answer.) Talks about loving strong women in his life.
Kerry: Says "we're lucky because we all married up!" (OH MY GOSH! I can't believe he said this.) Some say me more than others! (YIKES! He is BOMBING on this and the audience seems stunned!!!! Good God, man, don't admit your a gigolo!!!)
Kerry: Mentions Vietnam indirectly (Daughter says, "He almost forgot to get that in." Talks about our dreams, safety, says he'll never let other countries veto our security (yeah right). (He looks bad; a little shell-shocked. Maybe is thinking, "I'm a walking dead man." Goodbye fortune.)
Bush: Talks about a picture that symbolizes optimism. Talks about what we've been through; recession, attack, etc. Talks about education. (His voice is REALLY good here; not strident, just reassuring, strong, calm. He looks good.) He closes the sale, "I'm asking for your vote". (Strong, assured.)
UPDATE: (Thursday morning) Yes, Bush won; he didn't do really well in the beginning, but I believe he finished strong. Definitely more human than Kerry (who looked like an old, tired woman robot, for crying out loud.)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
"Will we ever be safe and secure?"