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Now, this debate last night, to me, was not even close. This debate last night was John Edwards finally finding a client he cannot defend, John Kerry. I’ve heard some of the praise for Edwards in the spin last night, during the day today: he spoke so well, he looked so young, he had so much energy, he’s natural and fluid. May I give you my take on this? As I wrote it at the time. He is not speaking well. I wrote, “He did not speak well.” He got flustered, he ran out of material in this debate in about 25 minutes and then started repeating what he said. He was repeating campaign talking points. He was making up facts as he went along. He was sticking to documentary evidence that is provably false. The cost of the war, the stuff on Halliburton. Halliburton was no more than a lifeline for John Edwards. When he got into trouble, it was Halliburton time. That’s all Halliburton was. He didn’t score a point on Halliburton except maybe with the mainstream press and some of the left-wing kooks, but it doesn’t mean anything.

In the last half hour of this debate, I thought John Edwards was so disorganized and so unorganized and so unprepared, he didn’t quite know how to answer Gwen Ifill’s questions and so he took the occasion of each question to go back and repeat something that he had said in a previous answer, previous question or some criticism of Cheney. He was saying numerous times, “before I answer that I want to go back and say one more thing about this, the vice president said–” and blah, blah. I’m sitting watching this, and he went on almost 75% of the allotted time on going back. When you go back to say something, folks, I’m telling you, you do it because you don’t think you did it right the first time. When you have to go restate something, it’s either because you’ve got nothing new to say or because you think you didn’t say it as well as you could have the first time and you want to make sure everybody got what you were talking about. But when it came to bringing up John Kerry’s 20-year record and Edwards’ 4-year record — because they’ve been campaigning for two years — there was no defense, there was literally no defense. The stark reality was that there is no defense. These people cannot defend their voting record.
The zinger about Howard Dean that Cheney offered, saying that he was for the war then against the war, but when Howard Dean was running away with the primaries, Kerry had to out-Dean Dean so he changed his mind. And the point being he’s not consistent and you don’t know what he’s going to say or do given the moment because you can’t predict the moments. As Victor Davis Hanson has said, Kerry has a battlefield mentality that is such if you’re losing a battle it’s time to get out of the war. He doesn’t have stick-to-it-iveness, he doesn’t have the ability to have principles, some core beliefs, some objectives and goals and stick to them and make them happy regardless of the obstacles. Every obstacle John Kerry runs into he uses as an excuse to change his mind. He wants to be able to have said everything about every issue, so that everybody can say “I agree with John Kerry.” That’s fine if these are happy, lackadaisical, go-lucky times, but they are not. These are times where people want to know what their future is going to be when it comes to the protection of the country and the war on terror, and John Edwards offered no such protection. John Edwards offered no such confidence. John Edwards can’t. John Edwards doesn’t have the experience to speak for this administration in waiting. John Edwards cannot promise what this administration is going to do; he’s been nothing but a senator.

When you stack up against who he was talking to, Dick Cheney, who has spent his life in public service and has been involved in the defense of this country, the comparison, the juxtaposition of the two was striking. No gravitas, is one way to describe it. But no credibility is another. John Edwards simply doesn’t bring credibility when discussing what he’s going to do on the war on terror, nor does he bring credibility to the discussion when he says what John Kerry is going to do on the war on terror, and the reason he doesn’t bring credibility is twofold. It’s twofold because Edwards has none himself, and B, he has not been around long enough to give anybody any confidence he knows what he’s talking about. They can cite “we have a plan” all day long, they can cite we’re going to do this all day long, they can say we’re going to catch the terrorists before they catch us. Well, the stark reality is John Kerry wants us to get out of where the terrorists are, and make no mistake about this, folks, the viewers of this debate, just as they knew that Bush did not perform up to speed last week, know full well what happened last night. The American people know full well. Pay no attention to all these polls from the Internet or all these cable networks and various newspapers that show Edwards won.

In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia newspapers, some organization there, say 99% Edwards won, 72% Edwards won elsewhere, 84% Edwards won. This is because Terry McAuliffe again yesterday afternoon, sent out a spam e-mail to all the people on the mailing list at the DNC, gave all the website addresses and phone numbers and urged all the people that received the e-mail to give it to ten other people and spam these various sites to create the spin and the psyops operation that Kerry and Edwards won the debate last night. This is not genuine, and the balance is so out of whack that nobody is going to believe it, and I know the networks are citing it a little bit. I thought that after the debate when I looked at the faces of the Democrats in spin alley, they were not happy, they were not as ebullient, they were not ebullient at all, certainly not like they were after last week and that debate, and I am sure that there was disappointment on the press side, too, that Edwards didn’t do as well. Strikingly, ladies and gentlemen, the best post-debate analysis last night was not on Fox. It was on NBC where Brokaw and Russert and Matthews all agreed that John Kerry is going to have to clean up for John Edwards Friday night.

Where Mike Barnicle said that this debate reminded him of a father who has gone to college to pick up his son after his first year in school and the son wants to tell the father everything he learned, and the father is telling the son you don’t know diddly-squat. You’ve only spent one year in college, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m glad you’re excited about learning, but let me tell you truth. That’s Mike Barnicle last night on MSNBC. Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC made it plain that Cheney’s daughter, his lesbian daughter, is very much involved in his campaign, that Cheney is not sequestering his daughter from public view. She was on stage last night with her partner. They’re very close. Matthews was trying to make a point out of this as did Edwards in the debate, but it was Andrea Mitchell last night who made it plain that this is a dead-end street. Don’t go there. Cheney and his daughter are very close, and it was her decision, in fact, not to appear on stage after his speech at the Republican National Convention. I’ve got some other notes that I wrote here, but that’s basically off the top of my head, what my impressions of this debate were last night. I didn’t hear any smooth talking. I didn’t see any young, vibrant future John Kennedy on stage. I saw a guy with deer-in-the-headlight eyes.

<*ICON*>Your Resource for Combating the Partisan Media, Liberals and Bush-Haters…
(…Rush’s John F. Kerry Stack of Stuff packed with quotes, flips & audio!)

<*ICON*>Your Resource for Combating the Partisan Media, Liberals and Bush-Haters…
(…Rush’s John F. Kerry Stack of Stuff packed with quotes, flips & audio!)

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