Senator John Kerry is the clear winner of the first debate. His performance demonstrated the qualities one wants in a leader of the free world: good judgment informed by years of experience in the Senate dealing with foreign relations, sound analysis of the options given tough problems, smooth delivery and the ability to stay focused on the question at hand, strategic planning and initiative, restraint when matters of international or national urgency are colored by personal experience or relationships, and poise in the face of an adversary whose main objective is to inspire fear and to degrade confidence.
In the days ahead, some pundits and networks will cut and edit the debate videos to make President Bush appear to be all of the above when in fact any honest viewer saw that when the right questions are asked by the right man at the right time in the right place, Bush falls back on his arrogant and divisive character traits. Clever spinning won't obscure the facts of his failures of performance, both in this debate and in office.
It's "mullah", Mr. President, not "moolah". You are confusing the leaders of Iran with a former executive of Halliburton. It's Vladimir, not Vladimurr. One would think an Ivy League educated native of Maine would be able to pronounce these, but one suspects years of feigning a Texas accent has side effects.
Clear speaking and clear thinking are hard work too.