At home alone with two small kids and no TV reception, I opted out of trying to watch the debate last night. So I'm poking through last night's coverage. My favorite quote I've come across so far is Bob Novak's summary:
I thought Bush won the debate. Kerry didn't make any major gaffes but Bush showed he wasn't the ninny that he appeared to be in Florida.
Because of space considerations Novak did not go on to admire the President's ability to fog a mirror or marvel at his possession of all four limbs.
My goodness: Let's print bumper stickers! Let's make buttons! That can be the new Bush campaign slogan: Bush isn't the ninny he appeared to be in Florida. With all due respect to administration mouthpiece Bob Novak, I think the office of President of the United States requires a little more than an absence of obvious brain damage.
My second favorite is the Bush psycho-stalker horror footage that Oliver Willis has up. (Also, did I get another glimpse of that rectangular object between Bush's shoulder blades? There is a moment when Bush has his back to the camera at a slight angle in that clip.) Where did Bush get the idea that physically intimidating Charles Gibson was a good debate tactic?
Bush arguing the case for his own infallibility is very strange. (Washinton Post video clip here.) It seems unlikely that he wasn't coached on how to admit to mistakes.* It is one of the job interview basics. People get asked that question even when interviewing for minimum wage jobs. So, clearly, he resisted any coaching he received on how to address this aspect of the debate format. Who would hire a CEO who can't admit he ever makes mistakes? Most of us wouldn't even hire a baby sitter who couldn't deal with that issue.
Here's the scene as described in the NYT editorial:
One of the uncommitted voters in the audience sensibly asked President Bush to name three mistakes he'd made in office, and what he had done to remedy the damage. Mr. Bush declined to list even one, and instead launched into an impassioned defense of the invasion of Iraq as a good idea. The president's insistence on defending his decision to go into Iraq seemed increasingly bizarre in a week when his own investigators reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction there, and when his own secretary of defense acknowledged that there was no serious evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
Even worse, the president's refusal to come up with even a minor error - apart from saying that he might have made some unspecified appointments that he now regretted - underscores his inability to respond to failure in any way except by insisting over and over again that his original decision was right.
Well, it is a good thing he's not a ninny, but it would be better if he could answer a basic job interview question.
* (Unless Rove & Hughes believe he's God's Own PresidentTM. But that would be crazy!)