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Posted on 09/27/2004 2:38:50 PM PDT by CHARLITE

Debate Tips from

In the past week, both John Kerry and his octogenarian ideological grandpappy Jimmy Carter have hyped the coming presidential debates. This will be John Kerry’s time to shine, the thinking goes. Put this statuesque intellectualoid on stage with that babbling cowboy and we’re right back in this thing! Um, yes … we’ve heard that story before. Nonetheless it is true George W. Bush is not the best public speaker to hold the high office of President off the United States. (Though he is far more articulate than he is generally given credit for being.) And John Kerry is alleged to be a powerful debater. (Though consider this, he debated his fellow Democrats perhaps a half dozen times during the primary, but does anything outstanding stick in your memory?)

We are told ad infinitum by his many admirers in Big Media that John Kerry is a “classically trained debater.” So what? That and 25 cents will get him a gumball. The presidential debates are not set up as “classic debates” but rather joint press conferences. John Kerry’s assertive, domineering style will get him nowhere, unless he wants to berate Jim Lehrer, who is the only person allowed to ask him question and the only person to whom he can respond. (We’d pay cash-on-the-barrelhead to see that, by the way.)

Furthermore, only 37% of voters watched the Bush-Gore debates and there is little reason to expect an explosion in new viewers. Still, just by having this tanking fool on the same stage as our President will heighten his stature in the eyes of many. So we offer a bit of advice for the Bush team as they prepare for Thursday night’s debate. Take it or leave it.

1. Don't take the bait and play Point/Counterpoint. George W. Bush is ahead and polls show people like the fact that he has a vision for what he wants to do while most people think Kerry is an attack dog without a plan. In this time of war, that dichotomy is compelling. So instead of going into detail as to why Kerry's 4 point plan is wrong for Iraq, he should highlight the reason we went in, really pump up the fact that we're better off without Saddam and project strength and resoluteness. Here’s one factoid. Saddam Hussein killed approximately 60,000 Iraqi’s every year. Nowhere near that has died in the ongoing Iraq war and reconstruction (aggressive estimates put that figure at 20,000 since in April, 2003.) Fewer people have died in war-torn Iraq than in the average year of “peace” under their benevolent dictator.

2. Of course, Bush does have to take shots at Kerry's plan - all 30 of them. However he shouldn't get bogged down with specifics. What people like about Bush is that he's straightforward. Just mention generally that Kerry's changed his position more times than most people change the channel on their TV, and point out in a time of war that's dangerous and would cost American lives, to say nothing of emboldening the enemy. Kerry will of course respond that he's had the same position, but he will be forced either by the moderator (or because he knows he's got a problem here) to go into a long winded boring explanation as to why his vote was a vote for authority but not war, and talk about "the speech I gave in Detroit/New York/Boston last week/month/year." That turns people off.

3. Bush should call to mind Kerry’s absurd assertion some months ago that he has had secret conversations with European leaders and he knows they will fight and die in Iraq if we just ask nicely. If we were crafting the president’s talking points, we’d have him say something like this: “You know John, I was deeply frustrated that the French and Germans decided against dethroning Saddam Hussein. But I understand you have a close relationship with those fellows. May even have spoken to them during the course of this campaign. Well, I’ll assemble a bi-partisan delegation in my second term to try to bring those countries back into the fold. And I will invite you to head that delegation up. I believe America could benefit handsomely from your special relationship with the French.” Again, such a remark would call to mind Kerry’s absurd remarks. But it would also paint George W. Bush as someone who cares more about getting things done than about winning partisan points. Backhanded slaps are the hardest slaps of all.

4. George W. Bush should state emphatically and without equivocation that if John Kerry were President, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Iraq. Kerry will vociferously oppose this rhetorical utterance. And he will probably open up a discourse on how he voted to authorize the use of power and how he would have gotten the French involved, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile viewers will say to themselves, “hey, I thought this guy opposed the war. What’s he talking about?”

5. Kerry is unlikable to begin with, and his pessimism and dourness on Iraq doesn't exactly make him more likeable. (See the sample Q and A below on how to capitalize on this.) Acknowledge the problems in Iraq, but point out the big picture - Saddam's out of power, which is good for us now, but more importantly good for our children's security. Bush should say that under his watch there will be no helicopters leaving from the tops of embassies. Not only would that make us less safe, but would cause no one to trust us again.

6. Give Americans the modern equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s “there you go again.” When John Kerry busts out into an incomprehensible, pointless iterations about how he’s so much smarter than everyone else in the world on this issue and that issue, Bush should flash his trademark smirk and just shake his head. Maybe even roll his eyes. It’ll drive John Kerry nuts and take his enormous head out of the game.

7. Bush should hit Kerry hard on his denunciation of Allawi. Why? Because if Kerry wins he's going to have to deal with Allawi. All Kerry's talks about diplomacy with nations that don't want to help us, but when it comes to the guy actually in the trenches who will be the direct recipient of all this help he slams him. Also point out that this guy lives under a real threat of assassination every day, and to make him out to be a lying stooge is not only insulting, but shows an utter lack of judgment.

8. Bush should welcome discussion of his domestic agenda. Inherent in the modern Left’s worldview on economic matters is an overriding pessimism that says, this is as good as it gets, let’s just keep everything we have and shut out the rest of the world because it’s never going to get any better. Bush should declare affirmatively that John Kerry’s insane plan to suspend foreign trade for 120 days while he sanitizes trade pacts for planks offensive to Big Labor and Big Environment will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not millions, and will almost certainly lead to a recession. Argue that Kerry’s tax-and-spend plan would actually add $168 billion to the annual federal budget deficit, according to the pro-Kerry Washington Post. President Bush supports an “Ownership Society” that will not only empower families to make more financial decisions on their own, but will also allow them to amass the financial tools necessary to achieve in such an environment. Again, this isn’t a battle of details, here. It’s a battle of visions.

9. In addition to beating the drum of “the Ownership Society” and other such pleasantries, we think the president should work in the verb “to forge” as often as possible. “We must forge head in the war against terror” … “we must forge a new Ownership Society for all Americans” … “On Iraq, John Kerry would forge a different trail.” It’d be fun to see how the reporters get around the President’s frequent usage of the word, just to avoid having to rekindle all that CBS News unpleasantness.

10. Follow our advice on the following, highly-predictable exchanges:

MODERATOR: Mr. President, you claim that things are going well in Iraq and that democracy is around the corner. Yet, the facts on the ground tell a different story. Just this month, more US soldiers were killed or wounded than in the last 2 months. There are areas of Iraq totally under the control of terrorists who weren't there a year ago. Large swaths of the country are not safe for our troops. Terrorists are pouring over the border from Syria and our own CIA intelligence estimates paint a bleak picture telling us the best we can hope for is a stalemate of the violence that is killing so many Americans and Iraqi's. Further, basic living conditions have deteriorated. Based on these facts, and the fact that you were wrong on the issue of WMD's or that there were significant links between Al Qaida and Iraq, why should the American people have any faith that you have a plan to fix these problems or to level with them about the realities on the ground?

BUSH RESPONSE: These are the words of a defeatist. Are things perfect in Iraq? No, they are not. We mourn the loss of every American life in Iraq and there is still much work to do. The constant refrain of doom and gloom pessimism serves no purpose other than to embolden our enemy and send mixed signals to our allies and those Iraqis who only hope for a good life is if he we forge ahead and accomplish our mission.

Let me tell you what's going on in Iraq that Senator Kerry won't talk about. First, 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces are totally secure. Saddam Hussein, a madman who was a supporter of global terrorism, who used WMD's on his own people is sitting in a 10X13 jail cell instead of playing a cat and mouse game with the international community. Further, because he is in that jail cell there are no more mass graves being filled, Iraq women are not suffering in the rape rooms of his sadistic regime, families are not having their loved ones scooped out of bed in the middle of the night never to return and WMD programs are no longer being hidden, simply to wait until no one is looking. Thus, despite what Senator Kerry believes, both we and the world are better off and most importantly, safer because he is in that jail cell.

And Sen. Kerry implies that Iraq did not have terrorists prior to our invasion. That is simply untrue. The brutal beheadings of Americans in recent days were carried out by Abu Musab Al-Zawheri, who Saddam Hussein gave refuge to while in power. Is he not a terrorist? And if Iraq has become a terrorist magnet then we have succeeded in choosing the proper battleground. Rather than reacting to the type of horror we saw on 9/11, we are keeping the terrorists off our shores and in a place where they cannot strike us in our homeland. Rather, these terrorists are fighting the best armed forces in the world who do what citizens on our shores can't do - identify and locate them and kill them before they kill us. Or would Senator Kerry rather have law enforcement hope they can find and prosecute terrorists here, instead of facing them with the bravest, best well equipped and deadliest fighting force the world has ever known? You know where I stand. Can you say the same for Senator Kerry?

MODERATOR: Mr. President, in 1991 when your father ousted Saddam Hussein from Kuwait he had a global coalition behind him, the financial cost of which was born largely by our allies. Yet today, over 90% of both the human and financial cost of this war falls on the United States. If indeed Iraq is, as you say, a main battleground in the war on terror why have so many other nations refused to send troops and help pay for this war? Is it because of your failed diplomacy? In fact a major cause of the problems we face in Iraq today can be largely attributed to the diplomatic failure with Turkey, and their refusal to allow the 4th Infantry Division to pass through their country.

BUSH RESPONSE: We went through diplomatic channels for over a year, going to the UN twice, even though he had violated 17 resolutions. What else could we have done? What Sen. Kerry doesn't realize is that in the real world you're going to run into situations where you can't make countries do anything they don't want to. We were told prior to the last UN vote, that it would be vetoed no matter what? What would Sen. Kerry do, keep running into that wall? Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. That's Sen. Kerry's plan - insanity. If it were up to him, Hans Blix would still be begging to see a palace bathroom. Because we acted, our troops now live in the palaces paid for with the oil for food money. Notice how Sen. Kerry never mentions the reality of the oil for food scandal being an immovable object in our quest for a UN Resolution. It's because it doesn't fit into his ivory tower world of thinking people will do what he wants simply because he acts.

MODERATOR: Mr. President, you stand to be the first US President to actually lose jobs during your first term in Office since Herbert Hoover, the disgraced engineer of the Great Depression. How do you expect regular Americans to re-elect you with such an atrocious economic record?

BUSH RESPONSE: Once again, those are the worlds of a defeated man. When I took office, our economy was already showing signs of a dramatic recession. Then, disaster struck on September 11th, 2001, right in the heart of one of America’s financial powerhouses. Then, we were plagued by the revelation of financial scandals that had occurred in the late 1990s by certain mega-companies. We’re still working to clean up all of those messes. And guess what? It’s working. This year alone, we’ve created 1.7 million new jobs. Unemployment is at the same level it was in 1996. Our economy is growing. And the only thing that could stop it are policies that raise taxes on working folks, such as the policies my opponent has promoted. Or closing the gate on foreign trade, which would spiral our economy right back into recession.

Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 11:05:40 EDT by admin

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: content; debates; gwbush; jimlehrer; jimmycarter; johnkerry; moderator; president; style

1 posted on 09/27/2004 2:38:52 PM PDT by CHARLITE
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"MODERATOR: Mr. President, in 1991 when your father ousted Saddam Hussein from Kuwait he had a global coalition behind him, the financial cost of which was born largely by our allies."

Bush's Response: Are you referring to the same global coalition Senator Kerry voted against? Yet, he voted for this coalition, but now he criticizes it as window dressing. I'm confused. What kind of coalition is Senator Kerry really for, and for how long?

2 posted on 09/27/2004 2:47:33 PM PDT by DTogo (U.S. out of the U.N. & U.N out of the U.S.)
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Mr. Kerry, the President has indicated that he would forge ahead on several key domestic and international fronts. How, or what, would you propose to "forge" ahead on?
3 posted on 09/27/2004 2:54:20 PM PDT by rightwingreligiousfanatic (Member: Vast Right Wing Pajamasphere ("powerful and well financed"))
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So how do we get this script into the president's hands?

4 posted on 09/27/2004 3:03:07 PM PDT by mumzie (
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"Mr. Kerry, you have repeatedly called the war in Iraq "The wrong war at the wrong time, in the wrong place". How sir then, do you propose to bring in more help from our reluctant "allies" to assist us, with potential casualties, in a war you deem wrong?".

Naw, never happen.

5 posted on 09/27/2004 3:04:31 PM PDT by Right Brother
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator


Gore tried #6 (groaning, eye-rolling). Didn't go over well at all.

7 posted on 09/27/2004 3:20:36 PM PDT by ctdonath2
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Bush should say the democrats have based their entire campaign on the hope that something bad will happen to America.

Bad terrorist act.
Bad economic news.
Bad things in Iraq.
Bad weather.

It's that simple.

8 posted on 09/27/2004 3:27:37 PM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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Here's my suggested line:

You know, my mother used to say, when I was making an ugly face, that if I kept doing that, my face woukld freeze in that position.

Well the democrats have been making that ugly face for decades now, predicting doom and gloom, feeding on bad news, denying good news, basing their election hope on bad news for America.

And you know what? Their face HAS frozen in that position, and there's not enough botox in the world to get that face back into a smile.

9 posted on 09/27/2004 3:32:35 PM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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