kerry by a mile

I surprised myself by making it all the way through the first of the presidential synchronous press conferences debates without barfing — although it helped to have nerf balls to throw at the screen. Kerry did very, very well: he had clear answers with specific data, and he kept to a strong, simple core message. Bush got it wrong, here’s how, I’ll get it right, here’s how. Someone in the Dem camp has been watching the Republican success with the press and taking notes. Kerry pushed home the fact that he has been far more consistent than Bush, despite the “flip-flop” theme, and he pushed hard on Bush’s weaknesses: no plan for peace, no credibility with erstwhile allies, no action on bin Laden, insufficient support for the troops, allowing nuclear proliferation to accelerate. Bush looked confused and agitated much of the time, and relied on sound-bite nonsequiturs: it’s hard work, the world is safer, you’ve got to be resolute. No matter the question, Bush kept coming back to the same few tired points without even varying the phrases; compared with Kerry’s focused theme, it was unsubtle and ineffective. I am more confident than ever that, come November, Bush is a goner.
I have one specific question: Kerry claimed that Bush has cut funding for nuclear nonproliferation work, whereas Bush claimed he has raised it by 35%. Who’s right?