Thoughts about the debate…

Some camera angles made Bush look really tan.

Both candidates have a tendency to lean their heads about 5-10 degrees to the right when talking. Kerry is a little more down and to the right than Bush.’s current headline is “President Bush and Sen. John Kerry argued over who had the best foreign policies for the next four years. They agreed nuclear proliferation was the biggest threat but from the war in Iraq to keeping America safe, they tried to put clear space between each other…” If you watched the debate, you should know that this is not an entirely correct statement. Bush said repeatedly, when prodded, that the “single biggest threat” is “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists“. He always followed that statement up with “in the hands of terrorists,” and he never once used the word “nuclear,” he used the wmd word.

Bob Novak noted on his blog: “Rules were supposed to prevent cutaway shots, but Fox has ignored them. Kerry is shown nodding his head when Bush talks — not a good habit.” I agree, but I wouldn’t say the look on his face was necessarily a look of agreement, it was more of a newage “I hear what you’re saying..” kind of nod.

Did you notice during the debate that Kerry never looked at the camera? This bothered me, but then at the very end for his closing remarks he looks straight into the camera and delivers his entire closing speech. This has to have been intentional, but I fail to see the psychology behind it. Is this supposed to give him a better “punch” at the end or something?

Bush studders when he talks–a lot. Personally, I think it’s embarassing. In Bush’s own words from tonight “it’s no way for the Commander in Chief to act.” Kerry’s voice was calm and controlled, but if you looked closely at the beginning you could see his hands were shaking.

Bush had a really interesting posture all throughout the debate. This had to have been intentional. He kind of hunched over and leaned in whenever he really wanted to drive a statement home, especially when the statement had something to do with values or convictions. Did you notice that? Whenever he wanted to imply that Kerry didn’t have the strength to be President, or whenever he was responding to invading Iraq or attacking Iraq he’d lean in, smirk, and then gesture with one of his hands and say something like “it’s just what you believe; deep down in your heart of hearts..” The technique is a great one. To me, I think it’s intended to send this message: “believe in me, not in what I’m saying,” and I think it works.

Whenever Kerry wanted to drive a statement home he would put on a really serious facial expression and make firm karate-chop gestures with both of his hands in sync. I think he was trying to counter Bush’s “I believe what I’m doing is right” with “I know for a fact what’s right.”

To me, the “differences between the candidates” that were revealed at the debate were: Bush offers beliefs; Kerry offers judgement.

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