Kathy Newton, Hebron, homemaker, Bush supporter: My first impression would be that President Bush certainly has a better handle on how things need to be handled regarding Iraq. The troops obviously can't be pulled out abruptly as. Kerry's "plan" seems to call for and Kerry talks insultingly regarding the contributions of our allies (of which he could name three or four and Bush pointed out that there are 30). Kerry talks of many things that need to be done regarding foreign policy and homeland security, but really doesn't clearly define how to follow through.Kerry made some good points regarding problems with homeland security, such as the subway systems and the ports of entry, where there is still work to be done. However, I think President Bush scored regarding Kerry's remarks about the lack of supplies (body armor, armored trucks, etc.) that the troops in Iraq have, when Kerry voted against the $87 billion supplement for that purpose.
Sally Miller, Finneytown children's book author, Kerry supporter: As I watch the debate I see Senator Kerry making his case with facts, names, substantive information. I hear President Bush repeating vague generalities and platitudes. He cannot or has not explained why our troops do not have the equipment they need. He did not explain why we he places a greater priority on guarding oil wells in Iraq than in protecting our ports, our bridges, our chemical factories. How can he dodge the fact that he has, in fact, denied other countries a part in reconstructing Iraq? I wonder how our foreign television audiences like his references to "these people," as if they were a breed apart.
Steve Carlton-Ford, Hyde Park sociologist, Kerry supporter: Kerry looks very presidential and scored strong points in echoing Bush about being strong & resolute, and then saying we have to be smart too. Kerry has the support of many military and had smart crisp answers. Much of the time Bush looks like a deer in the headlights, grasping for a cogent response. Kerry is coming off as presidential and knowledgeable. Bush repeats the same empty platitudes. Kerry demonstrates the emptiness of Bush's post-war planning.
Rick Wesley, St. Bernard driving instructor, Bush supporter: Kerry talks about "building alliances" as if foreign leaders will flock to his charismatic self. Yet France and Germany have already stated they will NOT help in Iraq, that it's not "in their best interest." Early on, both candidates are rehashing their stump speeches. I think Bush countered Kerry's "focus on Osama" line of rhetoric by countering that it is indeed a GLOBAL war on terror. And that Osama is basically isolated, on the run, and probably a non-factor now, hiding in a cave.
Kerry pessimistically attacks, yet offers no solutions whatsoever on the tough times in Iraq. As I said earlier, using a football analogy, it's easy for me to say "Marvin Lewis, that's a stupid play you just called. It resulted in an interception." Yet it's infinitely harder for me to tell Lewis exactly what play would have worked in that situation. Kerry is obviously a wordsmith and a skilled debator. But if you look past his verbosity you see a whole lot of smoke and very little substance.
Bush pointed out that Kerry's grand talk of international summits is fundamentally flawed when Kerry disparages Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Alawi, who is the most crucial component in changing the "dynamics on the ground."
Gary Leising, Clifton college professor, Kerry supporter: George W. Bush says in the debate that we have the capability to pursue both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. I wonder, why then, did we only have the capability to catch the one who did not attack on our soil? I also think that it's important that Sen. Kerry brings up issues of domestic importance, because it seems that Bush does not realize that foreign policy does, in a post 9/11 society, affect our domestic situation.
Bush says that we need a president who will "chase these terrorists down and bring them to justice." But Osama bin Laden is a terrorist, and we have not brought him to justice. Why? He kept turning the argument to "support our troops." Can't we support them by sending them into a fight that is truly for our country's safety and freedom instead of letting too many die, as Sen. Kerry noted, and they need help. If our troops, those who serve us well, need help, I would like to see them supported by someone who, in this debate, is clear in his answers and believes, unlike Bush, who is floundering and can't do much more than say we need to support our troops.
Ann R. Albin, Loveland stay-at-home mom, Bush supporter: Senator John Kerry said in Thursday's debate that President George W. Bush made "a mistake" when he decided to invade Iraq. Does he forget that he supported that invasion? That he actually voted for it? What happened toSen. Kerry's memory?
Sen. Kerry also said, "We need a President who has the credibility to bring the allies back to the table." Does Sen. Kerry not realize that our allies are not only at the table, but also in the trenches fighting with us? There are 30 different nations aligned in Iraq. Thus, while John Kerry is certainly an articulate orator, itseems as if he cares more about foreign nations than he does about protecting the American nation.
Senator John Kerry seems to want to support all sides of all issues. Obviously, such an approach would garner the most votes. In Thursday night's debate, Sen. Kerry criticized President George W. Bush for going into Iraq, when Kerry himself voted to authorize it. He came very close to calling President Bush a liar. You may not like President Bush, but know what he believes. He isn't a liar. Senator Kerry may not lie, but unfortunately for him, you just can't discern when he's actually telling the truth.
Monica Musard, California, Ky., stay-at-home-mom, Kerry supporter: President Bush brings up 2002 speech by John Kerry as defense for going into Iraq and unseating Saddam. Let's deal with 2004 -.the here and now! Saddam has been arrested and is awaiting trial. President Bush continues to say "We're making progress," but I want, need to know....how long till we see this so-called progress, and why hasn't he started his plan before now?
Kim McGucken, Monroe administrative assistant, Kerry supporter: On question one, Sen. Kerry strayed a little from the topic. Bush followed his lead. Neither answered the question very well.
On question two, why do we have to go along with what one man believes? Shouldn't he be representing all of us, not just his own beliefs?
Kerry's response was good. He drew the line between fighting terror and unilaterally going to war with a country that was not an immediate threat and not part of 9/11. How did Saddam Hussein deceive the inspectors? He always maintained that he had no weapons of mass destruction, which we found was true. If we should go after anyone that is developing weapons of mass destruction, then we should be at war with North Korea and Iran.
Melissa Smith, a Madisonville health care researcher, Kerry supporter: I was watching the debate to see if President Bush recognizes his "miscalculations" to move forward with a plan or will he just "stay the course" on "miscalculating". I was watching to see if Kerry offers a new fresh way to deal with terrorism and Iraq. We need a leader who will have a more effective way of dealing with terrorism and Iraq.
I listened to President Bush say the war in Iraq is a "global effort" with "strong alliances" while "keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of al Qaeda" and "keeping bin Laden isolated". He then stated he will follow through with his plan. From those statements, is President Bush recognizing his "miscalculations" and taking accountability for them? I don't see "staying the course" in this chaos meeting the challenge of terrorism.
John Kerry said, "I recognize when something is going wrong and look to make it right." That is what I want to hear. We are carrying 90% of the costs and 90% of the casualties in Iraq with no end in sight. And I might add, carrying 90% of the burden is not a coalition.
Teresa Stemann, Pleasant Ridge technical writer, Bush supporter: Kerry talked a good debate, but unfortunately what he said had no substance. He says he will take issues seriously, but he has a twenty year Senate history of achieving nothing towards what he says he'll do if elected. How can we trust this man? The times we live in today are some of the most serious times we've ever faced as a nation. President Bush has stated his objective and stayed true to that objective: To fight terrorists where there are so we don't have to fight them here at home. Kerry sounded good, but President Bush made more sense and his words had more substance. I believe the President will keep America and the world safe.
Frank Newbauer, North Avondale attorney, Kerry supporter: John Kerry answered the first question with a clear plan to build a true coalition of nations against terrorists, to consolidate the allies of the US work with American leadership. George Bush basically said let's do more of the same - which is manifestly not working. His assertion that people know what he believes is simply not enough, to be steadfast in his beliefs is not a plan when the results are not there.
Phil Yost, Springfield Township volunteer firefighter, Bush supporter: Senator Kerry's open answer lacked substance and specifics. It was campaign rhetoric, not a policy statement.
President Bush was able to point to real accomplishments.
Senator Kerry does not seem to grasp the complexity of the war on terror. He keeps talking about bringing the "allies" when the French and Germans have stated they will not join Kerry in Iraq if he is elected.
I didn't believe for a second what Kerry said about 2 soldiers telling he "We need you." That was a lie best left untold.
Senator Kerry's continued reference that North Korea became a nuclear power under Bush's watch is a just a lie. North Korea developed Nuclear weapons during the Clinton Administration.
John Myers, Springdale consultant, Bush supporter: So far, I'm hearing Kerry claim that we should not be in Iraq & Bush claiming that it is necessary to the war on terror. This is not new. I do know that the US has not been successfully attacked since 9/11, so somebody has been doing something right.
What do you think? Here are some readers' immediate reactions to Thursday night's presidential debate. What do you think about how the candidates performed? E-mail us at letters@email@example.com; fax to (513) 768-8410; or send a letter to Letters, Enquirer Editorial Page, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Listen to what they said, not how they said it
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