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October 1, 2004
Der Spiegel: Bush Won Debate

I'm sure we will all peruse various analyses about last night's presidential debate to get a sense of how the two candidates were received, but I thought that both of them did well enough for partisans to claim victory, maybe giving Kerry an edge on debate style and Bush at least an edge on substance. In particular, I expected the European media to promote Kerry's performance, in part because (like their American counterparts) they prefer Kerry to Bush and in part because they prefer his debating style. Imagine my surprise when CQ reader KPowell referred me to the center-left magazine Der Spiegel, which claims that Bush won on points:

Die teils scharfen Angriffe von Kerry lieen den amtierenden Prsidenten Bush weitgehend unbeeindruckt: Mit der Darstellung seiner Auenpolitik und des Irak-Konflikts konterte Bush die Attacken seines Herausforderers. Fr SPIEGEL ONLINE analysiert das Forschungsinstitut Medien Tenor die erste von drei TV-Debatten im US-Wahlkampf...

Did you get all that? Well, the Babelfish translation isn't much more clear than that, but if you can pick your way through the linguistic horrors it inflicts, you'll find that Der Spiegel's 15 analysts determined that Bush remained presidential in the face of constant attack by Kerry. Bush also showed more warmth, empathy, and humor than Kerry did.

Even more interesting and more objective, in tallying up the various questions and statements, the analysts determined that Bush's statements and presentations on foreign policy were 21% more positive than Kerry's, and that substatantively, Bush scored higher as well. Bush also promoted his own policies far more than attacking Kerry's by a 3-1 margin, while Kerry spent 72% of his time attacking Bush rather than promoting his own. Der Spiegel also compares this with the Gore-Bush debates, where both men used the time to promote themselves, 69% and 88% respectively.

In other words, Kerry left the impression with these analysts that, as has been the case throughout the campaign, he debated as the Not-Bush rather than as a candidate standing on his own. If he continues to campaign that way, I don't see how he can get the needle to move much further above the 42-44% range.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 1, 2004 4:29 AM

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» Morning View from The American Mind
Only Hugh Hewitt said Bush whupped Kerry. The other blogospheric reaction considered the debate a draw. That feeling is echoed... [Read More]

Tracked on October 1, 2004 6:11 AM

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