First debate impressions

Watching on NBC, who are getting around the “no cutaway” rule by doing splitscreen reaction shots of the candidates. Meaning that Bush shared the screen with Kerry the whole time that Kerry was speaking, while Bush had the screen to himself during the response. But it looks like they’re keeping it fair by doing split screens for the initial respondent to each question.

Second question, about the reprehensible comments of Cheney about the safety of the country should Kerry be elected. Bush ducks by saying that’s not going to happen and refuses to answer the question, which Lehrer lets him do. But Kerry zings him on the rebuttal about the diversion in Iraq—then bobbles it with his military referrals—then makes an allegation about outsourcing the fight for Bin Laden.

Third question. Anyone else notice how Bush is a frowner, not a smirker, when he’s waiting to respond? Was Saddam ten times more important than Bin Laden? Rebuttal: flip-flop allegation.

Interjection: DNC fact checkers fact checking the RNC fact checkers, here.

Hmm, in the fourth question, Bush said, “Saddam Hussein,” then mumbled and corrected himself, “Osama Bin Laden.”

Bush’s response? “Flip flop.” Kerry, wisely, isn’t trying to explain the nuances of his decisions, which I don’t think are flip flops; he’s driving on the fact that this was a mistaken decision by the president.