October 3, 2004
POLITICS: Did Kerry Cheat? [UPDATE: No]
Well, anyone who's done any kind of public speaking or argument can tell you that a guy who has prepared notes can whup a guy with no notes nine times out of ten, unless the guy without notes is (unlike George W. Bush) really a masterful extemporaneous speaker. Is it really possible that a Kerry operative told Drudge, in response to questions, "See you at the inauguration, Drudge"? That does sound like the Kerry people's type of self-justification, although it also sounds like the kind of unverifiable reporting one tends not to trust, coming from Drudge.
A colossal scandal? Not really. But pretty low-rent behavior and not the mark of a man with any honor, if you ask me. I just assumed watching the debates that Kerry had prepared notes - he certainly appeared to be using note cards - and was wondering why Bush didn't have better ones himself. I hadn't realized that the candidates had agreed to do without them.
UPDATE: The NY Post claims that the video shows that Kerry pulled out a pen. Apparently this was also in violation of the rules, although I could have sworn I saw Bush taking notes and I know I saw Kerry taking notes almost every time Bush was speaking. Clearly, bringing in a pen isn't a big deal. Bringing in prepared notes, when you've agreed with the other guy not to, is something of a bigger deal, although I'd tend to agree with a number of commentators who think that this isn't going to put a dent in Kerry either way, and we're best off leaving the issue. Frankly, I think the quality of the debate - which was actually pretty good - and its ability to inform the public would have been improved if the candidates had agreed to bring prepared notes, just as any competent lawyer will have prepared notes at an oral argument or a trial. How many decisions does a president make without the ability to consult notes or talk to advisors, anyway?
SECOND UPDATE: Bill has reviewed the evidence and retracted his accusation. End of story.
Y'know, if it was anything it was probably just a pen, something you reflexively take out of your pocket without thinking about it. If that breaks the rules, well, according to the rules, there weren't supposed to be any split screens or time extensions either.
I can't see this becoming an issue but it's going to look pretty silly (and petty) if it does.
If you want to play that game, watch Bush pull his notes out of his pocket as he gets to the podium.
So, stick to the baseball, bub. You're good at that.
The liberal media is already trying to spin it as a pen! HAHA! I watched that video at least thirty times and I saw a PDA -- nobody else could see this cause his back was turned. Thank God for Fox running the cameras!
Keep this important story alive!
They were allowed to take notes-- but the commission was to place on the lecturn the paper and pens for them before they went on the stage.
No matter what it was, be it a pen or notecards or a hankie or a blowup doll, it was a rule violation.
Not that this will matter. I doubt this story has legs. But it does mean that whatever he did, he probably won't do again next time.
Another classic Crank not-that-I-think-it-should-be-an-issue-and-I-really-don't-want-to-give-much-creedence-to-these-guys-but-this-Swift-Boat-Veterans-thing-seems-to-have-legs-so-I'll-post-about-it-for-the-two-weeks type of post.
And tkc with this "keep this important story alive" post! This is an important story? Kerry was able to be steady because he had cards while Bush didn't?
I hope this story has legs because its a non-starter. The only people its going to turn off are those who wouldn't give Kerry a vote in a million years to begin with.
PS - While watching the debate, I was struck how a couple of times Bush picked up his pen and started making writing motions even though it appeared he wasn't writing anything at all. You know, like the motions didn't jibe with actually writing. It was more of a coloring outside the lines type of motion.
Seriously, is this the best they're gonna come up with?
I wish I hadn't deleted the debate from my Tivo, because I could swear they both took paper out of their pockets, and I thought at the time "Hmm, I thought they weren't allowed to have notes..." In fact, I thought Kerry was pretty obvious about it. Maybe that was the pen moment.
Whatever, it's a non-issue either way.
I have a couple good links on bush's notes at my blog.
Come on Crank! Take tkc's advise and keep this important story alive!
That's absurd, that video is far too blurry to suggest a note card. Check out this for information on the real cheat.