Friday, October 01, 2004
election is 32 days away and the first presidential debate is
over. One down and two more to go between President
Bush (search) and Massachusetts Sen.
John Kerry (search).
The Metrosexual and the Cowboy
Rallying supporters in Tampa Friday, Kerry played up his
performance in Thursday night's debate, in which many
observers agreed the Massachusetts senator outperformed the
"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good
debate!" Kerry said Friday.
With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry
hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction
Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the
next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with
a focus on women and abortion rights.
"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do
manicures," Kerry said.
Kerry still trails in actual horse-race polls, but aides
say his performance was strong enough to rally his base and
further appeal to voters ready for a change.
"I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy," the Democratic
candidate said of himself and his opponent.
A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong
aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on
his appearance and lifestyle.
What's That Face?
The Kerry campaign on Friday released cutaways of the
president's facial expressions seen during Thursday's debate.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told FOX News on Thursday night
that they planned to show Bush appearing arrogant, annoyed and
aloof at various times.
"I think that's fine — I hope they send it far and wide,"
Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (search) told FOX News after the debate. "The
fact is, the president was listening to Sen. Kerry and taking
notes ... they would rather have that kind of distraction than
talk about the facts."
A 30-page set of rigid guidelines governed the debate;
among the rules was a ban on news networks' split-screen views
of both candidates. But some, including FOX News, ran the
split screens anyway.
The technique allowed viewers to see the facial expressions
of both men, and Kerry definitely showed less emotion than
"Several times it looked to me as if the president was
sucking on a lemon," said Washington Post political
writer and FOX News political analyst Ceci Connelly.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry
McAuliffe (search) said the cutaways that will be shown
are true to Bush's form during the debate, adding that Bush
"You looked at a president of the United States tonight
that looked annoyed during the entire time of the debate, he
looked angry, he couldn't answer the questions as to what's
been happening in Iraq," McAuliffe told FOX News. "The
cutaways merely are George Bush. I think he even sighed a few
times ... he did not look presidential tonight. You saw a
president tonight — and that was John Kerry."
Kerry also didn't appear to sweat. The debate rules dictate
that the temperature had to be 70 degrees — a plus for Bush,
who loves the heat of central Texas. Kerry, who tends to
sweat, reportedly wanted the room cooler.
Each podium was the same size, which illustrated Kerry's
3-to-4-inch height advantage over the president.
Silence and Power Outages
While it is not uncommon in press filing centers for
reporters to laugh, cheer, groan and audibly react during a
presidential debate, there was silence in the press room
There is a growing consensus among reporters that Kerry's
criticisms got under the president's skin.
Sen. Bill Nelson (search), D-Fla., told FOX News that
between 300,000 and 400,000 Floridians were unable to watch
the debate because they were still without power after their
state's quadruple walloping by Hurricanes Charley, Frances,
Ivan and Jeanne.
Bush Twins and Kerry Kids
On another note, the daughters of Kerry and Bush apparently
have become quite close while stumping for their fathers.
When asked what Bush thought Kerry's biggest character
flaws were that could prevent him from being elected, the
president started off commending the senator for being a
"great dad" to daughters Alexandra and Vanessa.
Bush said he appreciated "the fact that [Kerry's] daughters
have been so kind to my daughters," adding that "it's been
hard" for the children of both candidates while their dads
have been on the campaign trail.
Kerry told Bush he appreciated his comments about his
family "enormously," and said he'd followed the progress of
the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara.
"I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments,"
Bush laughed, saying, "I'm trying to put a leash on
Thou Shalt Not Smear Democrats
Sen. Robert Byrd (search), D-W.Va., delivered a statement on
the Senate floor Thursday criticizing a Republican National
Committee flyer sent en masse to West Virginians, which he
said suggests that Democratic officials want to ban the
Byrd sees the flyer as the "latest in a pattern of
distortions from the RNC and the Republican leadership" and
points to the situation in Iraq as evidence.
The RNC is "spreading this tripe to smear Democrats, and
the president ought to demand that the Republican National
Committee apologize to the people of West Virginia," Byrd
said. "The political hacks behind that blasphemous flyer
should be required to re-read the Book of Exodus. There is no
free pass from the commandments in an election year."
Republicans "must think that spreading nonsense about
banning the Bible is a sure-fire way to get votes in an
election year. But the people of West Virginia are smarter
Byrd said truth is "tailored to fit the occasion" this
election year, and "nowhere is this more evident than on the
subject of Iraq. Whether it be weapons of mass destruction or
an imminent threat or mushroom clouds, the reason for the war
changes faster than the weather. Talk about flip-flops!"
Election Politics on the Hill
Election politics strayed onto the Senate floor again
Kicking it off, Sen. Ted Kennedy (search), D-Mass., beat the same drum he did
Wednesday, saying the premise for war in Iraq was faulty and
blaming Bush for the violence and instability there now.
Sen. Gordon Smith (search), R-Ore., rose to the president's
defense and methodically cited various statements Kerry has
made about the war, pointing out what he described as
Kennedy: "It's now clear from very moment he [Bush] took
office, his agenda was clear — find a rationale to get rid of
Kennedy: "In the Rose Garden in 2002, the president said
Iraq is a threat of unique urgency ... On Oct. 7, he echoed
[Condoleezza] Rice's image of nuclear devastation ... and said
we cannot wait for the final proof, the mushroom
cloud ... This was the administration's rallying cry for
Smith: "It seems to me that Senator Kerry is playing a
rather false game with the American public ... I've heard him
complain we don't have enough troops ... and now he says bring
them home ... Then he said he has the ability to change the
dynamics on the ground ... he does have the ability to change
the dynamics ... The enemies of democracy would feel
emboldened to wait it out until our forces leave."
A CBS poll of 200 "fence-sitters" found that 44 percent
thought Kerry won Thursday night's debate, 26 percent said
Bush came out the victor and 30 percent said the two
candidates were tied.
An ABC News poll found that 45 percent of respondents said
Kerry won, 36 percent said Bush did and 17 percent said the
two men were tied.
Cutter told FOX News that the Kerry camp's internal flash
polling showed their candidate's favorability going from 43 to
68 as a result of the debate.
As for national polls showing Kerry behind in the race,
aides to the Democratic challenger dispute the accuracy of
surveys of likely voters, arguing that they fail to account
for newly registered voters recruited by groups like MoveOn,
Rockers, HipHop and America Coming Together (ACT).
According to a Los Angeles Times national poll conducted
Sept. 25-28, Bush has 51 percent, compared to Kerry's 46
Among the 1,100 likely voters surveyed, 3 percent were
undecided. Among 1,531 registered voters, Bush had 49 percent
support, Kerry had 45 percent and 6 percent were
Kerry has a slight lead over Bush, however, according to a
Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 489 likely New Jersey
voters, conducted Sept. 23-28. Kerry got 45 percent in that
poll, while Bush got 44 percent and independent candidate
Ralph Nader got 1 percent; 10 percent were undecided.
Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania
Bush has a 10-point lead over Kerry among the 704 likely
Florida voters surveyed in a CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll.
Conducted Sept. 24-27, the poll found that Bush has 53 percent
support over Kerry's 43 percent.
Bush gained four percentage points since an earlier poll
was conducted by the same group. Four percent or respondents
That same group surveyed 664 likely voters in Ohio from
Sept. 25-29 and found that Bush got 50 percent support, Kerry
got 48 percent and 2 percent were unsure. In a three-way race
with Nader, Bush got 49 percent, Kerry got 47 percent and
Nader got 1 percent; 3 percent were unsure.
Among 654 likely Pennsylvania voters, a CNN/USAToday/Gallup
poll found that Bush has 50 percent support, Kerry has 47
percent and 3 percent are unsure.
Throw Nader in the mix and Bush's support drops to 49
percent, Kerry's to 46 percent and Nader gets 1 percent
support; 4 percent are unsure.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray's opponent this fall, U.S.
Rep. George Nethercutt, has a new ad out that includes remarks
she made after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks about why
people in the Arab world like Usama bin Laden.
Sponsor: George Nethercutt
(Photo of bin Laden)
Voice-Over: "When most Americans think of Usama bin Laden,
they think of this:"
(photo of World Trade Center wreckage)
On Screen: "Patty Murray has a different view of bin
Murray: "He has been out in these [Arab] countries for
decades building schools, building roads, building
infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health
care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful he has
made their life better. We have not done that."
On Screen: "Patty Murray on Usama bin Laden"
Voice-Over: "He had made lives better?"
Nethercutt: "I am George Nethercutt and I approved this
message because winning the War on Terror means fighting
terrorists, not excusing them."
Print Ad: 'That Dog Don't Hunt'
Sponsor: National Rifle Association
Text: "John Kerry says he supports sportsmen's rights. But
his record says something else."
The ad lists six issues Kerry voted on that appear to be
against the right to bear arms, including how the
Massachusetts senator voted for an amendment to outlaw most
ammunition used by deer hunters, supported a higher tax on
firearms and ammunition and his purported 20-year record of
voting against sportsmen's rights.
The bottom of the ad says: "If John Kerry wins, you
On top of the ad is a huge white poodle wearing a Kerry
sweater and the tag line "That Dog Don't Hunt."
FOX News' Liza Porteus, Corbett Rhiner, Carl Cameron
and Julie Asher contributed to this report.