October 6 2004
THE CHENEY-EDWARDS DEBATE: Bottom line: Cheney
dominated. Actually, I thought John Edwards acquitted himself
pretty well last night - and he still got killed. Cheney
was in total command during the first half of the debate
- which was really the only part that mattered - and he
pounded on John Kerry's record from every possible angle.
got in what I thought were a number of sharp blows that
left Edwards looking frustrated and helpless. The first
was when Cheney derided John Kerry's "global test"
remark from Thursday night and then said:
little tough talk in the midst of a campaign or as part
of a presidential debate cannot obscure a record of 30
years of being on the wrong side of defense issues."
questions later Dick Cheney eviscerated John Kerry's record
on defense issues and finished with a devastating critique
of both John Kerry and John Edwards' decision to vote against
the $87 billion to support the troops:
couldn't figure out why that [the vote] happened initially.
And then I looked and figured out that what was happening
was Howard Dean was making major progress in the Democratic
primaries, running away with the primaries based on an
anti-war record. So they, in effect, decided they would
cast an anti-war vote and they voted against the troops.
if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard
Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to
a few minutes after that, in an extremely deft move that
capitalized on Cheney's previous point that John Kerry was
unfit to lead the War in Iraq because of his willingness
to disparage and demean our allies, Cheney took Edwards'
rebuttal and knocked him all but senseless. If this were
a prize fight the ref would have had to step in and give
Edwards a standing eight count. Here's the full exchange:
The vice president suggests that we have the same number
of countries involved now that we had in the first Gulf
War. The first Gulf War cost the American people $5 billion.
regardless of what the vice president says, we're at $200
billion and counting. Not only that, 90 percent of the
coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition
casualties, are American casualties. Ninety percent of
the cost of this effort are being borne by American taxpayers.
It is the direct result of the failures of this administration.
Mr. Vice President?
Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the
contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're
in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there
putting their necks on the line to take back their country
from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are
still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to
demean their sacrifices strikes me as...
Oh, I'm not...
... as beyond...
I'm not demeaning...
It is indeed. You suggested...
No, sir, I did not...
... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to
be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent
of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if
you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution
the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.
win when they take on responsibility for governance, which
they're doing, and when the take on responsibility for
their own security, which they increasingly are doing.
Cheney took some tough, pointed shots at Edwards' record
Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's
not very distinguished. You've missed 33 out of 36 meetings
in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings
of the Intelligence Committee.
missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on
hometown newspaper has taken to calling you "Senator
Gone." You've got one of the worst attendance records
in the United States Senate.
in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of
Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most
Tuesdays when they're in session.
first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage
this morning that the Kerry campaign is holding up this
picture as proof that Cheney's final sentence was a
lie. I don't think so, especially if you acknowledge the
universally accepted notion that "meeting" someone
involves face-to-face contact and the exchange of some form
of expression like a handshake and/or a "hello."
This pictures shows the two men in close proximity to each
other but in no way disproves Cheney's statement last night.
If it turns out the two have met at some point
in the past then "yes", you'd have to say Cheney
wasn't telling the truth.
in all I thought it was a good old fashioned drubbing. I'm
not sure this debate is going to matter one iota in the
final analysis, but given the president's performance last
Thursday combined with the favorable spin for Kerry and
post-debate bump in the polls, for reasons of momentum and
enthusiasm Dick Cheney needed to win the debate last night
decisively. That's exactly what he did. - T. Bevan
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