Pretty slick, Charlie

Here’s a paraphrase of the last question that moderator Charlie Gibson chose for the debate: “Mr. President, name three wrong decisions you’ve made.”
It wasn’t even a question. It was a cheap shot at President Bush that forced him to either look like he thinks he never makes mistakes, or look weak for committing errors. The implied question, of course, was “why don’t you admit that you screwed up by invading Iraq?”
Kerry must have loved it. He had absolutely zero exposure, since the focus was all on the other guy’s mistakes. It was the rhetorical equivalent of giving him a free kick to Bush’s nuts.
Gibson chose which questions to use, and he chose the order in which to ask them. He knows darn well that the end of a presentation is what sticks in the mind.
Sneaky little twerp.

  1. I admit the timing of the question was a little odd. I’m not sure if that was done so much as jab as it was for a nice closing question since was directed at only one of the candidates. Fitting in somewhere else in the debate would have been difficult at best without rewording.
    The question itself gave Bush the opportunity to shine, which he chose not to do in this particular instance.

    Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it.

    Many independents, myself included, view Bush as someone that thinks that he is infallible and his way is the only way when there may or may not be viable alternatives.
    The President was given the opportunity to show that had has gone into situations and realized and error in judgment and taken corrective action. I think this is a trait that all of us would like to see in a leader. It’s pointless at this point for Bush to push ahead with an ‘I’ve done no wrong.’ philosophy when we can clearly see that some mistakes have been made.
    He really could have shined by bringing up the supplemental $87 billion, starting and stopping talks with Palestine and the initial ‘shock and awe’ plan in Iraq. These things would have resonated well with independents and help Bush shine in an area where Kerry is generally weaker.
    All in all I would call the debate a draw which Bush desperately needed to stay in the race.

  2. I agree with your overall take. It was a draw, or at best a slight Bush win. I stand by my take on the last “question”, though. It was a lose/lose situation for Bush, and a free groin kick for Kerry.

  3. If I can be asked questions like “describe your greatest weakness” in job interviews, questions like that are fair game for a man interviewing to keep his job as president.
    (p.s. The only good answer to the “weakness” question is “sometimes I work too hard.“)

  4. Now I agree with Chet – at least his postscript.

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