I hope you all were as interested as I was in this debate. It was a good one. The exchanges between President Bush and Senator Kerry were hot and pointed. One major difference between the two is credibility. Bush has it, Kerry doesn't. Examples:
Kerry consistantly denigrates our allies in the coalition serving in Iraq, specifically the UK, Australia, and Poland.
Bush did retaliate with "Tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going alone. Tell Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland we're going alone." A very nice jab back at Kerry.
Kerry did attempt to come back at W when he points out that eight countries have left the coalition, he fails to mention the reason is that they caved in to the demands of terrorists holding their countrymen hostage.
Although he doesn't say so directly, Kerry also denigrates the contribuion of all of the allies, spcifically El Salvador, before they pulled out. The troop of El Salvadoarn soldiers participated in a tremendous firefight a few months ago, at great cost, serving along side their U.S. counterparts, heroically and proudly. Let us not forget any of the coalition forces, or their contributions, even those who pulled out due to pressures at home.
In another question, Kerry is challenged to look directly into the camera and state he will not raise taxes on Americans making less than $200K. Believability of the "No New Taxes" Mantra: zero. I could see his nose growing with every word he said.
His plan for tax cuts - $1000 child care tax credit, which is a drop in the bucket if you have children in day care, meaningless if you don't; $4000 tuition tax credit, also meaningless if your kids decide not to go to college, and join the work forces, or choose to serve their country; federalize health care. Yeesh!
End result, even though I don't earn $200K a year, my taxes will not get any lower, and may still go up! Same with any family where there is a stay at home parent (so much for the child care tax credit).
All this from a man who never met a tax increase he didn't like, including raising the taxes on Social Security benefits that retirees receive.
Later on in the debate, Kerry is asked a direct question concerning the use of OUR money to pay for abortions, despite that many Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong (and repugnanat). His response:
"First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today."
If you are playing the debate drinking game, take five shots: four mentions of his religious background and Vietnam!
Meanwhile, instead of addressing the concerns that American tax dollars would not be used to pay for abortions, he skirted around the question as much as possible, however, when he mentions Constitutional rights, he as much says that he will spend OUR money on this abhorrent practice. I never knew that people had a Constitutional right to a taxpayer subsidized abortion until now.
Okay, overall, I give this debate to W. He presented himself a lot better than in the first debate, and he speaks with honesty and integrity, whereas Kerry frequently danced around the questions in attempts to obfuscate the real meaning of his answers, and just wasn't credible on many of his points.