Opinion

Why Kerry didn’t really win Thursday’s debate

From where I was sitting in the Convocation Center last Thursday, it appeared the two candidates in the presidential debate were evenly matched. Each candidate had his own strengths as well as his weaknesses. It seems that I’m not the only one who thought that at the time, as the C-SPAN microphone indicated when it overheard senior Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart say to the person next to him that the debate was a draw.

As these things tend to go, the opinion of the people in the hall differed from the people who watched the debate on TV. To them it appeared that Kerry won. While I won’t deny that Kerry is a superb orator, he failed to accomplish the mission he needed to accomplish.

There’s no denying that President Bush didn’t look his best. Many times he looked visibly annoyed and appeared to be on the defensive, completely unfamiliar debating ground for him having so often been the challenger in the past. He even appeared to be shorter than normal because he was leaning forward on the podium. Placed next to Kerry’s natural patrician demeanor, these things presented the President in a less than optimum light.

I thought Bush’s delivery, however, was very good overall. Yes, Kerry’s delivery was certainly better. When it comes right down to it, Kerry is a good orator. Kerry is also a very skilled orator. Unfortunately, Kerry is not a great orator, and at this all-important debate, a great orator was what he needed to be.

Nobody is going to sit here, especially me, and tell you that Bush is a great public speaker because he just isn’t. He’s certainly better than he used to be, but still not great. No one expected that he would be great, and it wasn’t necessary for him to be. All he had to do was be steady and stick to his message, something he accomplished without difficulty. It wasn’t Oscar-worthy, but it got the job done. The bottom line was that Kerry needed to hit a homerun out of the park, and while he played a very good game and scored some good runs, in the end he failed to do this.

The best post-debate analogy I heard was in football parlance: “All Bush had to do was run out the clock.” While the clock isn’t out yet, Kerry missed the touchdown. And the game is almost over.

Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at s.wacholtz@umiami.edu.

October 5, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

UM chatter: • One lesson learned in recent years, as one UM official put it: Don’t get your hopes up ...

The unopened Christmas gift that University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz recently spoke ...

Joseph Yearby declared early for the NFL draft. Gus Edwards transferred to Rutgers. Trayone Gray is ...

The University of Miami is in conversations about playing the University of Alabama to kick off the ...

He’s all grown up. Yet University of Miami defensive end Scott Patchan is only 20. Two reconstructiv ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

Former University of Miami Dean of Students William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr. passed away on August 6 a ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.