|10-13-2004, 10:48 PM|
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11:25 p.m. ET
Final scoring: Reading round summaries, Scorer notes he failed to mark a point to Bush and subtract one from Kerry in Round Nineteen. Scorer wrote Bush's Answer strays back to 2000 election, mumbles away, now uses McCain against him, and Bush is suddenly angry, 'retreat and defeat in Iraq.'"
Scorer apologizes to both fighters. He intended to here give Bush a point, and take one point away from Kerry for leaving himself vulnerable here for leaving himself open to sucker punch. Bush had followed Kerry's two McCain invocation jabs by reminding audience McCain had endorsed him, not Kerry.
Nineteenth round scoring is thus adjusted from draw, to Bush, 2-0.
Rounds won now adjusted to Kerry 12, Bush 5, Even 4.
Net points now adjusted to Kerry 18, Bush 3.
• 10:58 p.m. ET
Points scoring: The Scorer's Table unenthusiastically reports this bout as going to Senator John Kerry by 12 rounds to 4, with 5 rounds even. On individual points, Senator Kerry is awarded a net total of 19 points, and President Bush a net of 2, having undermined his own effort with no less than eight points subtracted, three of them in a disastrous 12th Round in which the President had to be told time was up, answered a question with, in essence, 'all of the above,' and stumbled by inadvertently criticizing himself by claiming the borders of Texas were tighter than they'd been when he was Governor there. He also lost points for having twice invoked the 2000 election, and for once having given back at least a minute of time when the question hadn't really been answered.
The Scorer's Table acknowledges that the chief scorer was in a surly mood because he was kept from Yankee Stadium. New York leads Boston, 3-1, bottom eight, with Boston threatening.
• 10:41 p.m. ET
Immediate Post-Match: Kerry and Bush shake hands warmly. Kerry slaps Bush on arm. And Teresa's the first out on to the podium for the hug. And here come the Bush girls. Huge hug between Teresa and Laura. Now Kerry kisses Laura Bush. Point to Kerry. Bushes are first off the stage. Bush never mentioned "run not hide." Kerry catches Bush on a truth foul on Osama Bin Laden, when Bush said he didn't recall saying he didn't focus on him. "I just don't spend much time on him really, to be honest with you," President said during Afghanistan war, opening up the Thursday morning quarterbacks.
Two immediate supplemental points to Kerry.
Interim final scoring upcoming.
10:31 p.m. ET
Round twenty-one: Closing Statements. Kerry first, invokes bipartisanship, quotes FDR, now goes into set piece of laundry list of promises. "Let me just make it clear; I will never allow any country to have a veto" over our security. This is more like school figures in figure skating than boxing. Somebody hit somebody below the belt! Kerry gets in "stronger" and "respected." Bush now. Starts with story of a West Texas painting in the Oval Office by Tom Lee. Point to Tom Lee. Credits hard work of Americans for economic growth and educational improvements. This has not been a good fight and it's coming to a tepid conclusion. Somebody wake up the crowd. The lines at the airport may be enormous. Hardball may go off the air an hour early.
Round: Draw, 0-0.
10:30 p.m. ET
Round twenty: Bush receives on what's the most important thing he's learned from the strong women around him. "To listen to them. To stand up straight. And not scowl." Bush gets big laugh and one point. But now he veers away into a stump speech about promising Laura she wouldn't have to make political speeches. And here comes the warm and fuzzy. Where's "run not hide" -- we get "love at first sight." Kerry says all three of them "married up." Bush doesn't get the joke. Kerry gets the laugh "...me, more than others." Point to Kerry. And Kerry brings up his late mother, makes strongest sound bite of the night, says she told him on deathbed "Integrity, integrity, integrity." Kerry needed to connect with audience, does so. Point to Kerry. Round, Kerry 2-1.
10:24 p.m. ET
Round nineteen: Kerry receives on loss of the unanimity of the time after 9/11 and how next president will deal with bringing nation together. Kerry stuns: "Let me pay a compliment to the President... he did a terrific job." Point to Kerry. Bush says thank you and Kerry moves to punch him in the teeth. "The most divided America in our recent history." Says Democrats are "locked out" of meetings. "I don't care if the idea comes from the other side." Invokes McCain again. Says no secret meetings with special interests, no ideological efforts to push people aside. Brings in McCain again on campaign finance reform. Bush says his "biggest disappointment" is partisanship and says "No Child" involved Ted Kennedy. Point to Bush but Kennedy's probably swearing. Answer strays back to 2000 election, mumbles away, now uses McCain against him, and Bush is suddenly angry, "retreat and defeat in Iraq."
Round, Draw 1-1.
10:20 p.m. ET
Round eighteen: Bush receives on faith in policy decisions. Says he prays a lot, faith is personal. Softball for Bush and one point for warm and fuzzy. Defends atheism, all religions. But Bush speaks of "calmness in the storms of the presidency" and now ducks out of the way, invoking principles, and "Armies of Compassion," leaving himself open if Kerry takes the risky chance. Kerry smiles quietly, says he respects everything President's said, and his faith. Quotes Bush "freedom is a gift from the almighty; Everything is a gift from the almighty." Kerry notes his favorite commandments. And there's the punch: more loving of our neighbor to do. Point to Kerry. Light taps to Bush's faith, scores but doesn't bloody.
Round, Draw 1-1.
10:16 p.m. ET
Round seventeen: Kerry receives on further need of Affirmative Action. Kerry jabs saying it's still needed and Administration failed to lead fight on discrimination that could've obviated need for Affirmative Action. Kerry is straining, but says we have a long way to go. Kerry says there is still the stark resistance of racism. Says Bush is first President never to meet with NAACP. Point to Kerry, but truth squadding needed here. Bush says he met with Black Congressional Caucus, mumbles about quotas. Wobbling now, invokes Pell Grants again, hasn't answered question, now into Small Business Loans. Now Bush pounding podium.
Round, Kerry 1-0.
10:12 p.m. ET
Round sixteen: Bush responds on why he didn't insure extension of the assault weapon ban. Says it wouldn't have passed. Fancy footwork towards prosecution of those who commit crimes with guns. Kerry turns neatly. "I'm a gun owner," endorses second amendment. Stunning point to Kerry as N-R-A cheers. Twice refers to hunting, says he heard a story of an AK-47 while hunting in Iowa. Neat footwork. Says terrorists can buy assault weapons in America. Point to Kerry. Says he wouldn't have settled for politics.
Round, Kerry 2-0.
10:10 p.m. ET
Round fifteen: Kerry receives on what to do if there's no draft, and how to relieve the reservists and national guardsmen. Accuses President of "bad judgment" says "military is overextended." Softball to Kerry and he turns on it. Point to Kerry. Will add two divisions and increase special forces. Beats Bush to "War on Terror" reference and brings up alliances but opens himself to Angry Bush. Bush "broke faith" in the way he took country to war. Can President respond? Will we finally hear "He can run"? Bush must score here. "The best way to take the pressure off our troops is to succeed in Iraq." Oh and the punch misses. He's talking about thanking the troops in Bangor, Maine. Now Kerry sips water while Bush talks. And Bush finally brings in "Global Test" and "international approval." Point to Bush. Kerry can score if supplementals allowed and here it comes. "I have never suggested a test... in fact I've said the opposite." Talks about Americans' guts, creates a new phrase, "Truth Test." Bush can hit him hard but he has no more than Kerry's 1990 vote. Oh and there's a hit "Can't pass any test." Point, Bush
Round: Bush, 2-1.
10:05 p.m. ET
Round fourteen: Bush receives on Kerry's statement Bush never said he wouldn't try to overturn Roe v. Wade. Bush answer is about judge litmus test, then abandons his time. Minus one procedural point to Bush, who's on an issue in which he seems to be sweating worse than Bill O'Reilly at a conference of women in television. Kerry comes back saying Bush still hasn't answered the question. Time management: says Bush renegged on promise to fund "No Child." Point to Kerry. Bush responds with "a liberal Senator" at 1:01 of the debate. Bush getting fired up on "No Child," but swing misses. Kerry reprimands Bush sternly on not getting the job done. Point to Kerry on hard hit to the solar plexus.
Round, Kerry 2 to -1.
10:01 p.m. ET
Round thirteen: Kerry responds on raise for minimum wage increase. Schieffer's voice is straining now. Split screen of Bush drinking water while Kerry talks makes it look like a ventriloquist's act. Can we get him a sippy-straw? Kerry calls for minimum wage increase. Kerry says "I'm tired of politicians talking about family values without valuing families," broadens it to gender inequity on pay. Point to Kerry. Bush says he supported McConnell minimum wage increase, but says "No Child Left Behind" is really a jobs program. Bush bobbing and weaving. We're a long way from the minimum wage and Bush is getting sterner. Speaks of "minority achievement gap."
Round, Kerry 1-0.
9:57 p.m. ET
Round twelve: Bush receives on what Schieffer says was the most emailed question: illegal immigration. Which is it: societal, security, economic issue? Bush says it's everything. Minus one point for answering "all of the above." Bush introduces "temporary worker card" allowing workers and employers to "mate up." Can the OB-GYN's be far off? Straying from the conservative base here; I can hear Pat Buchanan screaming in Tempe all the way here in New York. Bush opposes amnesty and talks about line crowding. Schieffer has to tell Bush time's up. Minus one point for red light foul. Now Kerry's voice strains as he swings to gap between incomes at the ends of the spectrum. Says president broke promises on immigration reform. Says borders are leaking more than 9/11 and connects solidly. One point to Kerry. "It's against the law to hire people illegally." Minus one point to Kerry for tautology. Bush responds saying Kerry doesn't know the borders. Swings hard, but says the borders of Texas are tighter now then when he was Governor. Oops. Minus one point to Bush. Kerry rebuts evenly.
Round, Kerry, 0 to -3.
9:52 p.m. ET
Round eleven: Kerry receives on Greenspan's comments on cutting Social Security benefits. Does that mean no changes? We're all getting older thanks to this debate. Kerry invokes Tim Russert. Says he can redirect Bush tax cut to top 1% to extend Social Security into 2020's. Punches getting weaker. Kerry says he was part of saving of system in '90s, will do it again, steers back to job growth and here come the Herbert Hoover references. Bush smiles, says he heard no plan to fix Social Security and "more of the same." Point to Bush. Bush claims tax cut went to "middle America," says Kerry opposed the measure to get country out of recession. Point to Bush, but he leaves his gut wide open for Kerry pounding on job growth, who got the tax cut. Bush pounding the podium.
Round, Bush 2-0.
9:48 p.m. ET
Round ten: Bush receives on collapsing financial state of Social Security. Where does he get the money to cover it? Oh and Bush is on the defensive, saying a 2000 charge that "if George W. is elected" Social Security recipients won't get their check. Minus half a point for invoking the wrong campaign. Minus half a point for calling himself "George W." Bush invokes the Moynihan Committee and his advocacy of it. Point to Bush for cross-party iconic reference. Kerry back clearly with "an invitation to disaster" if young people can take money out of Social Security as Bush proposes. Says Bush has never explained the short-term transitional funding. Point to Kerry. Bush smiles oddly as Kerry quotes Washington Post. Kerry strong "I will not privatize it."
Round, Kerry, 1-0.
9:44 p.m. ET
Round nine: Kerry receives on governmental pickup of many large medical expenses and can pay for it on tax cut rollback. Kerry quotes news organizations as calling Bush interpretation of Kerry plans as "fiction" and "untrue." Now Kerry jabs smoothly emphasizing choice, and Bush's eyes flicker wildly. Point to Kerry. Pounds "choice" three times but doesn't answer the how's it getting paid for? Kerry off onto how early diagnosis of diabetes can save $50,000,000,000. Bush responds slamming quoting news organizations but winds up punching himself in the Axis. Minus one point, Bush, for a joke foul. Says independent research calling Kerry plan financially irresponsible. Kerry scratches eye with middle finger extended. Bush says Kerry plan could lead to rationing. Opens himself for major scoring if Kerry hits on flu. But Kerry swings wildly with references to V.A. and Medicare. Kerry pushes Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Is this thing sponsored? Bush responds with increased funding for V.A., but is off point.
Round, Kerry, +1 to -1.
9:39 p.m. ET
Round eight: Bush receives on who's responsible for increased health care costs. Bush receives with snicker, "Gosh, I sure hope it's not the administration." Laugh frightens small children in back round. Bush opens himself up with jabs on health savings accounts, now with a hard punch on medical liability reform, saying Kerry was wrong on the figure of 1% of health costs owing to litigation. Lawyers may sue to shorten this debate. Maybe Kerry will call Bush a liberal. Kerry responds as Bush again goes to the water. Kerry says Bush has "stood in the way of common sense" solutions like importation of drugs from Canada. There's an answer in here somewhere. Now Kerry mentions Rather. Oh, sorry, that's "rather." Now Kerry connects with a jab, tying drug company windfalls to administration moves. Point to Kerry. Bush asks for reply, bangs Kerry as having no record at all on leadership on health care. Point to Bush. "I led." Kerry says he's passed 56 bills, not 5. Open point here on fact check. Come on bloggers -- who's right?
Round, Draw 1-1.
9:34 p.m. ET
Round seven: Kerry receives on Catholic Bishops' warnings that voting for him may be a sin because of his support for abortion and stem cell laws. Kerry has to tread carefully: choice between "A woman, God, and her doctor." And Kerry wakes up: will defend Roe V. Wade, won't let court change it. Point to Kerry. Quotes bible: faith without deeds. Point to Kerry for stealing opponent's thunder. Bush looks challenged. Will he out-religion him? Bush replies with a "hospitable society" and says he understands there are differences on the issue and he can help reduce number of abortions. Again calls Kerry out of mainstream, but holds back on the "Liberal" line and we're 31:40 in to the debate.
Round, Kerry 2-0.
9:30 p.m. ET
Round six: Bush receives on gay marriage -- do you believe homosexuality is a choice? "I don't know," President replies, requires tolerance, consenting adults should be allowed to live as they want, defends sanctity of marriage. Point, Bush. Seems like he's pro-gay rights and anti-gay marriage, pro-amendment but also pro-states choices. Nifty footwork. Kerry answers "We're all God's children, Bob." Oh and a point for bringing up Dick Cheney's daughter. "She's being who's she born as." Says it's not a choice. Kerry is standing on the apron of the ring here, bringing up men or women in marriage who discover they're gay. Jim McGreevey is blushing somewhere. Kerry moves back towards safer ground by defending partnership rights and state management of marriages.
Round, Bush 1-0.
9:27 p.m. ET
Round five: Kerry receives -- is it fair to blame a president for all losses of jobs. Kerry says he can't stop it, Bush can't either. Promises fairer playing field, end of subsidizing "the loss of your own job." Says he'll shut the loophole in a nano-second. Scorer's table is going to pass out in a nano-second. And now Kerry awakens by accusing President of "discovering Boeing during this campaign." Bush smiles quietly to himself, comes back with a "Woo." Accuses Kerry of "misstatements," says he's raised Pell Grants by a million. Maybe this has finally started. Bush insists there's more money in your pocket; his breathing and here it comes -- record doesn't meet rhetoric? Where's the line? Kerry comes back by dismissing the "98 votes" incantation -- says he's voted for cuts over 600 times. Stinging reply on Pell Grants! More are eligible because more people are in need. Point to Kerry. Bush comes back "Senator, nobody's playing with your votes."
Round, Draw 1-1.
9:22 p.m. ET
Round four: Bush receives on what do you say to the American who loses his job to outsourcing. Again another opening for the Liberal or Run lines. Instead slings himself into a clinch on education for kids; steps away from the ropes to broaden out to adult education. The crowd is no longer voluntarily staying quiet; it is asleep. Finally Bush swings -- training assistance. Kerry answers noting the President switched topics and analogizes Tony Soprano telling him about Law & Order. Cultural reference point to Kerry; first hard hit of fight. Thank goodness Bush hadn't taken the sip of water a second earlier, there would've been the first spit take in a presidential debate (Nixon 1960 was a sweat wipe). Bush doesn't get follow-up.
Round: Kerry 1-0.
9:18 p.m. ET
Round three: Kerry receives on "domestic security" and his pledge to keep taxes unchanged on those making less than $200,000. Responds by summarizing "Pay As You Go," but slides on a wetspot and now gives a laundry list of the Bush job losses but the scorer's table is visibly confused. Kerry rights himself with jabs about McCain-Kerry Commission on loopholes— one point Kerry for mentioning the guy in the front row. Claims Bush is supporting the guy who imports ceiling fans from China. Ceiling fans from China, Gracie? Minus one point to Kerry. Bush responds: "rhetoric doesn't match his record." Bush warming up for the bolo punch: will it be liberal or run-and-hide? Bush still winding up. Oh and he blows "Pay As You Go" into "Pay Go." Missed opportunity and minus a point to Bush, who now leaves himself open with the small business tax burden -- will we have wood? There's a wood warning! No follows...
Round, Kerry, 0 to -1.
9:15 p.m. ET
Round two: Bush receives about how flu vaccine shortage occured. Bush seems stunned, admits he's looking to Canada for more flu shot. Oopsie. Minus one point to Bush for a policy foul against his own policy; opens himself up to pounding by Kerry. Oh, and the Texas Thunderbolt comes out of the fog by turning it into a tort reform discussion. Dazzling switch but he's shuffling. Kerry responds by starting at the broad point, and throwing out stats for Arizona. Now the numbers for Ohio. Everything but the Red Sox score (it's 1-0 New York, mid-third). What about the flu shots? Plan to cover All-Americans or All Americans. Bush asks for 30 seconds rejoinder and brings in a definition of a "plan." Bush laughs at end of his answer. Kerry now pounds him with saying the Congressional plan was offered by Bush. Point, Kerry.
Round, Kerry 1 to -1.
9:08 p.m. ET
First round: Bush and Kerry are penalized two points each for debating on the only night I could've actually attended a Red Sox/Yankees playoff game. And that Schieffer too. Is it accidental that John McCain's head just happens to be peeking up camera right of moderator Schieffer? Looks a little like a trophy -- no, that was 2000. And here come the fighters to a standing ovation and a stunner! Bush has switched ties! Bush has switched ties! The man from the red states goes with a red cravat; Kerry sticks with what Mike McCurry identified as his "lucky red tie." Kerry receives with Schieffer's question that "hangs over" the debate— can we regain the safety and security that we had in the past? Obligatory thank you. Both men look rested, eager. Kerry answers "Yes -- we absolutely must be." Right into Iraq at 3:09 of the debate. Trying to weave Iraq into domestic policies. One point to Kerry. Kerry stumbles on a 95% cargo inspection stat. Minus one point for the slip. Also makes reference to "Safer"— that's Schieffer, Senator, not Morley Safer. Answer is lackluster but invokes FDR late. Bush responds. Smiling and calmer. Is he restraining himself? Repeats "3/4 of Al Qaeda leaders are captured." Invokes a 19-year old voter in Afghanistan. Nobody said this was about American domestic issues. Invokes "nuisance" inside the 6:00 mark. Still smiling, cordial. Kerry rebuts not with defense of "nuisance" but to outsourcing of the search for Bin Laden. Bush snickers at reply. Point to Bush but overenunciates "exaggeration."
Round: Bush, -1, to -2.