DEBATE NOTES: second half hour

Kerry listed the military officers who support him, and says they do because "our military is stretched too thin." He's "going to make feel safe about being in the military." HUH?

The President is upset. "Tell Tony Blair we're going it alone. Italy, Poland. "It denigrates an alliance to tell them we're going alone!"

Kerry said that countries are leaving the coalition. If Missouri were a country, it would be the third largest in the coalition behind the US and Britain. He's denigrating them.

Kerry said we need the best intelligence, "so we need the best cooperation in the world." He's complaining that the cargo holds are not inspected. That's been his pet issue for homeland security, that and ports. The President is looking at him kind of in amazement.

"That's an odd thing to say…" Kerry cut intelligence. The best way to win the war against terrorism is to stay on the offense. Kerry smiles when the President said he favored weakening the Patriot Act. He's again saying that these other countries cannot have confidence in a President who says wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.

Gibson asks Kerry what he meant by "it's not of question of if [terrorists attack again], it's when." Kerry blamed the President for that line and said he accepts it. President Bush said he's worried because of the nature of the enemy.

Domestic. Bush on Canadian drugs. Bush said he hasn't blocked them, but he wants to make sure that these drugs are safe. And to make sure they're from Canada, not from somewhere in the third world. He said it's possible that he could say in December that he thinks there's a safe way to do it. He pushed generics.

The President is looking directly at Kerry and said that he wants to remind him that Clinton did the same thing he's doing.

Kerry: "We [President Clinton and Senator Kerry] did something you don't know how to do: we balanced the budget."

Kerry: "John Edwards and I support tort reform." And his lengthy plan. "All of that can happen…"

Bush: "Okay, where to start here…" He pointed out that National Journal rated Kerry "most liberal." Kerry had said that expenses arising from lawsuits account for only one half of one percent of costs. Bush said "that shows a lack of understanding." There are other expenses related.

Kerry: "Labels don't mean anything. What means something is if you have a plan."

Here's a question about the President's refusal to veto a single spending bill. The President said we have a deficit caused by a recession which began 6 months before he took office. We have a war, and he's going to pay for that war. And he cut taxes to get out of the recession. I'm stuck forgiving the man his failure to veto spending bills – "because we worked together" – because he cuts taxes.

Kerry said his plan is not a government plan, and you are allowed "to keep your high premiums" if you elect to do so.

Kerry's talking about the surpluses turned to deficits. He's complaining about the tax cuts. 1% of America got more than everybody else, he said.

Gibson wants to know how either of them would cut the deficit. He seemed almost livid. (That was not an audience question.)

Kerry's doing the "wealthiest people in the country." Enron. "Wrong priorities. You're my priority."

Kerry is looking into the camera and pledging not to raise taxes… then he looks away and starts explaining. The questioner asked for a simple and direct statement into the camera, and Kerry cannot do it! He's giving a wordy explanation, looking hither and yon.

Kerry suspects that only three people in the audience make more than $200,000/year: the President, him, and Charlie Gibson. Let's poll the audience.

The President was tripped up a little when he thought his time had expired.

Gibson is repeating his question. How would you cut the deficit in half in four years?

Kerry's going to close loopholes. And he was one of the few Democrats to vote for a balanced budget.

The President said look at Kerry's record. He has a record, "though he didn't show up much."



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