I thought it was a bit shaky the first 5-10 minutes. After that Kerry just nailed it. He was calm, direct, clear and personable. He deflected the most outrageous claims and left the rest for factcheckers and pundits. The clip of Bush saying "I don't think about Osama" will be played very, very soon on every station.
Haven't you all recognized a couple of lines straight out of the "Two Americas" speech?
There were several questions to which Bush obviously did not want to answer...and when he did he made a mistake of trying to have it both ways: appealing to his base and to the independents, thus he lost both. I am thinking here of questions about guns, religion, immigration, abortion, Roe Vs. Wade, and gay marriage. He was obviously ill at ease during these questions. On the other hands Kerry had fantastic answers to these same questions, alleviating fears of the independents, countering the whispering campaigns about Democrats taking away guns, Bibles and other ridiculous nonsense that Rove spreads around.
Bush was much better than in the previous too debates. Still, why the smile on the face? Most of the stuff was pretty serious? Did not get a joke about "marrying up".
Questions were good and tough on both candidates. Kerry was better prepared - he was prepared for every question. Bush was better prepared for some questions than others. He trotted out a bunch of numbers, as well as typical anti-Kerry talking points. He was not happy he had to answer all those social-issue questions. Immigration? He dreaded it. He had to say what he said, as that was the proposal he pushed earlier. The answer did not make his base happy. though.
Has anyone picked up any biblical language? Any phrases that evangelicals may understand but we would not? Something on the order of Dred Scott = Roe vs. Wade? How about: "armies of compassion", "calmness in the storms of the presidency" and "freedom on the march"?
Paperwight's Fairshot has the scoop...again (and provides several excellent links):
"Maternity Group Homes"
The "Maternity Group Homes" to which Bush keeps referring are the
anti-choice follow-up to "crisis pregnancy counseling" where young women are
counseled (often deceptively) not to have abortions, and then are referred for
the rest of their pregnancy to group homes run by religious groups.
In Ireland, they were called Magdalene laundries, where the
history probably doesn't even rise to the level of checkered -- it's just bad.