Friday, October 01, 2004
Chris Suellentrop of Slate was in Miami for the post-debate spin session:
Karl Rove must have known things didn't go well when the New York Post asked him whether this was the worst debate of President Bush's life. No, Rove insisted. This was one of the president's best debates, and one of John Kerry's worst. "Really?" asked the reporter, Vince Morris. "You can say that with a straight face?" . . . .Viewers nationwide score the debates here.
On the first indicator, Bush was the clear loser. One of the first questions asked of Rove was whether the president's frequent pausing was a problem. Rove disputed that Bush paused because he wasn't sure what to say. "Paused for effect, is what I think," he said. Over and over again, Bush surrogates were asked about the president's demeanor. (Question for Paul Krugman: Are you still angry about the media's focus on style over substance?) Wasn't the president defensive? a reporter asked Matthew Dowd. Didn't he look confused? a reporter asked Ken Mehlman. "I think he spoke with passion," Mehlman said. Another reporter asked Bartlett, didn't the president look irritated? Tired? "I think he showed a range of emotions," Bartlett said.