The debate: Kerry vs Bush
Bush started ok, he was loaded with ideas combined with right and effective gestures, the gestures that work in American politics, The gestures that move American general public's emotions. Some of the things that George Bush said were perhaps fairly effective to portray him as a firm leader who doesn't cave in to the "enemy". I am sure he was trained to act this way. Some facial gestures, he had been told, would have great impact on people. He did it fairly successfully at the beginning and for a short time after ward.
However, Bush rapidly faded. Lack of substance started surfacing very quickly. Almost, every new topic and every new question would get him back to repeat the same ideas he had said at the beginning. Except occasional cases, he really didn't have much to say. He kept repeating himself so many times. Most of what he said, was not backed by facts but by rhetoric and "good talk with no substance".
Bush repeatedly paused to find words. He tried to not show that without his papers he was empty, but it was clear that he would be disarmed without the papers. Sometimes, what he said, wasn't even relevant to what Kerry had just said, perhaps because many times when Kerry was talking, Bush wasn't listening; he was preparing for his next talk without knowing what was being said. However; many times, after Kerry had responded to the points made by Bush and it was time to move onto next question, Bush jumped in and was awarded additional 30 seconds to have the last word.
Many times, when Bush was asked the question, he tried to joke, he tried to be funny, but it was obvious that he wanted to pass that stage without being forced to repeat himself to the ridiculous level of repetition as he had no much new to say.
When asked about how he felt about 1050 US soldiers who had died in Iraq, by an example relating to the family of a dead soldier with whom he had visited, he tried to show his compassionate side. If I am not mistaking, he even tried to shed some tears at the middle of the debate to show how human he was, but his attempt was unsuccessful.
In most parts of the debate, Bush sounded like he was lecturing bunch of kids about good and evil. He practically never considered his audience as adults with brains, he just saw them as he was seeing himself in the mirror.
Although there was no major weakness shown, unlike George Bush, Kerry did not start well and first he seemed to be heading for a defeat. But as the time passed, he gradually gained the control of the debate. Soon after, although Kerry maintained the consistent position, by his control on the debate kept increasing and that was due to rapid fading of George Bush, not a sudden change in Kerry's way of communication.
Unlike Bush, Kerry never personally attacked or ridiculed Bush. He never made fun of him, however, in many occasions, Kerry was harsh on Bush without trying to be funny and insulting. Unlike Bush, Kerry never expressed himself with stupid facial gestures. For most part, Kerry was classy, firm and relied on facts and not rhetorics (although that too occasionally happened).
Kerry clearly was the winner of substance. He did not rely on his notes. He talked from his mind, many (but not all) of what he said, seemed to be fairly spontaneous.
Kerry was much more relying on facts compare to Bush. He touched on domestic problems with facts. He touched on the isolation of the US in the world. He touched on the issue tax cut to the wealthy. He touched on Halliburton and the fact that Iraq contract bids were limited to companies from the countries which participated in the war. He touched on the problems with North Korea which were resulted from the changes in the policies of the US after Clinton administration. He touched on Iran and its move towards WMD. He accused Bush administration for being responsible for allowing North Korea to acquire atomic bomb in last couple of years. He kept mentioning Iraq by stating some facts as Iraq has become the center of recruitment for terrorists, because of this war. He kept attacking Bush's policies for practically pushing aside the issue of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and attacking Iraq where there was no real treat to the United States existed.
Kerry was clearly promoting the UN on international issues. He accused Bush for having damaged the respect the US once had in the world. The high part of what he said was when he mentioned about J.F. Kennedy who was once trying to convince general deGul of France about Cuba during the Cuban crisis, by offering to show him some related pictures, but was stopped by deGul when he said "no, no need for pictures, the words of the US president is enough for me". He then asked whether this is the opinion of many world leaders today about the president of the United States.
Moderator and questions:
I noticed one big question that was just an indication of selfishness and arrogance of those who had made up the questions for this debate and that was when the question was stated as "Do you think the loss of 1050 American lives was worth ?"
Although everybody knows that tens of times of this number are killed from Iraqi civilians, it did not seem to be a worthwhile issue to be included in the question. I hope I am wrong, but it is perhaps because the general American public doesn't care about non-Americans and the only concern is, if any, the lives of the Americans.