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
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Check out the latest edition of Hurricane Magazine. ...

Members from the Miami track and field team spent the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami ...

University of Miami diver Briadam Herrera collected a 1-meter national title at the Greensboro Aquat ...

Two Hurricanes receive AVCA All-America recognition for first time since 2014. ...

Coming off its first top-25 victory of the year, the Miami women's basketball team will play it ...

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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.