October 04, 2004


Follow John Kerry's hand in this Zapruder-like footage from the first debate. Down and to the left; down and to the left.

Of screen, anyway. Drudge has more on the Miami Lectern Depositing scandal. Meanwhile, a competing theory holds that George W. Bush had electronic earpiece assistance during the debate. If so, it wasn’t coming from Mark Steyn:

Almost any of us armchair warriors could have put down John Kerry's feeble generalisations better than Bush did.

Democrat armchair warriors had their post-debate generalisations prepared in advance, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Tackett:

In more than 200 e-mails, not a single citizen-pundit thought Bush had won. Definitely a reason to pause and reflect.

If only it were real. In a first for a presidential campaign, Democratic activists decided to fire up their computers and flood the media with their post-debate point of view, except some of them were over-eager and sent their messages before the debate had ended.

Clever people. Who put them up to it? They’re not saying.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 4, 2004 02:57 PM

I've already caught a whiff of the "Kerry cheated at the debates" dealie-o some other blogs are shopping around here. I think it's awful, in the sense that we really need to be learning from the mistakes of the ABB crowd instead of copying them. Jumping on John Kerry for maybe having a crib sheet in the debates not only sounds hopelessly petty and small and it just feeds straight into the prepared Democrat response of "You're just mad that Bush lost the debate". In the words of the great Admiral Akbar, "It's a trap!"

Even if the argument is won and it is proved beyond all doubt that Kerry cheated (and you'd be up against people who claim photoshopping different typewriter fonts together proves the CBS memos are real), the final score is "Bush lost, Kerry cheated". So, for the love of God, please no one push this issue. Don't be the guy who uses the tiniest infraction as the final damning proof that the other guy is stupid and evil. Don't be Joshua Micah Marie Maleficent Marshall!

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 03:38 PM

To clarify, attack not the cheat sheet. Attack the ridiculous Global Test crap that was apparently ON the cheat sheet. Then, when we're looking back on these debates in 2008 we'll be talking about how poorly Kerry did. They thought Gore won the day after too, y'know.

In fact, some people seem to still think Gore won to this day. It must hurt.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 03:51 PM

No amount of crib notes in the grassy knoll can change the facts that a) Kerry's a smoother talker than Bush, and b) Kerry has no solid foreign policy plans, other than to "provide [the Iranian mullahs] nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes." (Didn't Clinton try something like that with North Korea?)

(Debate transcript here)

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at October 4, 2004 at 03:53 PM

Sortelli, good point, but it can't be denied that whatever Kerry brought to the debate, he broke the rules. IOW, he cheated. And that should be enough to get Fox, Limbaugh and NY Post up and at 'em. Fox has the video and they're not going to waste that edge.

Posted by: slatts at October 4, 2004 at 04:00 PM

Yes, agree with Mark Steyn, Kerry's great 'strategy' for running the USA is to have endless summits. Kerry hopes to pass wind debating for 4 solid years and hope no one notices hes doing absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile Kerry showed off his character again by not being even able to partake in a presidential debate without cheating.

What I wonder, did he need to remind himself to say that he thought he might otherwise forget?

Has he forgotten on what stage of the flip flop hes currently on?

Or did he have one or two lines written by his campaign manager he wanted to recite?

Did Sandy Berger train him in concealment techniques prior to the debate.

Whilst all these questions go unanswered, what I want to know, is what poor sucker gets to frisk him for concealed documents next debate?

Posted by: dawn at October 4, 2004 at 04:22 PM

If Limbaugh wants to go at Kerry, fine, it's his job. If Kerry cheated, that's despicable. OTOH, I think we have plenty of evidence that Kerry is a poor excuse as a Presidential candidate.

Digging into what might be a relatively minor screw up (compared to his proposed Iranian nuclear material policy, for example, or his 1971 Senate testimony) would (a) divert attention from the race itself, and (b) make us sound like them fools from the Democratic Underground.

We don't need to beat a dead horse before it gets to water (if you will pardon the mixed metaphor). Let's move on with the campaign, hmmmmm?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 4, 2004 at 04:23 PM

Kerry has cheated before. When Kerry ran against Weld, both candidates agreed to both an overall limit on campaign spending and to limit the amount of their own money spent on the campaign. When Kerry was trailing against Weld in the last week or so, Kerry infused $1.7 million of Teresa's money into a last minute TV ad buy, thereby breaking both agreements. Kerry’s nuance response was something like: “I didn’t spend my money on the campaign; I lent the money to the campaign.”

Posted by: pajama_jihad at October 4, 2004 at 04:39 PM

Slatts- But the thing is, there are so many better things to nail Kerry on. This ain't one of them. I'm dead set on voting for Bush already and even I roll my eyes at this. Think of what it does to the mythic swing voter. Everyone accepts the unhappy idea that their politicans probably aren't 100% honest and they go for the guy who at least keeps his dishonesty at an acceptable level. Kerry's crib-sheet falls into that acceptable level, unless it comes out that his notes came from those computers stolen from a Republican campaign office or something, and I doubt that.

And like I said, anyone who pushes this is going to be engaging people who are willing to believe any possible stupid thing they can already, nail Kerry for cheating and they will put up a picture of GWB knocking someone over in rugby or make mythical claims that Bush had a magic invisible ear-piece on. Wait, they've done that already. These are people who think that anecdotal evidence of Bush cheating on a high school test would be enough to destroy his presidency.

Kerry's always provided a target rich environment, and the media has been very good at playing defense for him so far. Look at the Swift Vets. All the press had to do is repeat the word "discredited" over and over and they can convince a lot of people that the Vets are discredited just like that. They can easily frame the crib-sheet issue as an example of crazy straw-grabbing by Karl Rove's zombie minions without ever even addressing whether or not Kerry cheated. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's political poison. We need to aim better, because they're already running that line of defense on serious issues, like CBS running fake memos. If we make that defense seem a little more valid by getting hysterical over something small like whatever was in Kerry's pocket, it will make it easier for them to brush us off the next time they go shopping for an anti-Bush story that's ridiculous on its face. Dan Rather will be angrily defending himself from accusations that those crazy nitpicking conservatives who keep complaining about questionable pieces of paper are now complaining about his scoop on the memo that proves Bush took his girlfriend to have an abortion after stopping off to make a donation to the American Nazi Party.

Like Alan said earlier, we can just ask Kerry why the hell he thinks giving Iran nuclear material is sane. We have substance, we don't need to bust Kerry for running in the halls.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 04:43 PM

Iran just turned down the Kerry/Edwards offer of non-military nuclear fuel. What now, Senator?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 4, 2004 at 04:44 PM

Although, heh heh, I do like making it in to a Sandy Berger reference as Dawn did.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 04:45 PM

Instead of sending nuclear fuel, Senator Kerry will send the Energizer Bunny, which keeps going, and going, and going, and ......

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 4, 2004 at 04:57 PM

Is it too late for the Pentagon to order development of a bunker-busting Energizer Bunny? All nice and cuddly and pink and BOOM...

Posted by: PW at October 4, 2004 at 05:29 PM

There's going to be a lot of crow eaten in the Blogosphere. According to the reliably anti-Kerry New York Post, they've reviewed the video and it was a black pen.

Our Dan Rather moment. Let's see how we handle it.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at October 4, 2004 at 07:16 PM

If that's a black pen in his hand in that clip, I'm about to slip between the sheets with Angelina Jolie.

Posted by: slatts at October 4, 2004 at 07:35 PM

On reflection, I gather that his black pen must have been contained in a light-coloured, oblong holder. If the Post is satisfied, that's good enough for me. Although he's technically broken the rules, I agree with Sortelli, it's not worth pursuing. Now, back to Angelina.

Posted by: slatts at October 4, 2004 at 07:48 PM

Our Dan Rather moment.

Well, not quite. Nobody made up phony vidcaps in order to support their argument against Kerry.

Posted by: PW at October 4, 2004 at 07:54 PM

All this stuff about Bush being a poor public speaker...

I saw one newsclip of him talking to a hometowm crowd, holding a free microphone, pacing the stage up and down like a revivalist preacher-
He was great. He would have got me up on my feet singing Alleluiah!

(Yeah I know, the 1st Amendment or whatever...)

Posted by: Om at October 4, 2004 at 08:57 PM

"Nobody made up phony vidcaps in order to support their argument against Kerry."

No. And for the most part the blogs in question don't pretend to be unbiased news sources, either.

But the biggest problem with Rather is what happened after the forgeries were revealed. He vouched for the documents authenticity, attacked his critics as partisan and claimed that the documents were peripheral to the main story -- rather than the heart, which they were. Without the documents, the 60 Minutes piece was just warmed-over 30 year old rumor.

The Boston Globe, which hasn't received as much attention, is just as bad.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at October 4, 2004 at 11:52 PM