Friday, October 01, 2004

LIZZA ON THE DEBATE Ryan Lizza of The New Republic has posted a first person account of the action last night in the spin room.

A couple of fun nuggets:

The first inkling that the Bushies know their man didn't do so well comes minutes after the debate ends when Karl Rove walks into the press filing center. Like a game of telephone, the conventional wisdom that Kerry won the debate is already seeping out across the sea of journalists in the room. Into this skeptical ether, Rove tries out a line: "It was one of the president's better debate performances and one of Kerry's worst." Vince Morris of The New York Post stares at Rove and asks, "Can you say that with a straight face?"

The tight time limits helped Kerry--always at his best when on deadline--control his message. Instead the lights served to emphasize that Bush didn't always have enough to say to fill out his time. In previous debates Bush would sometimes answer a question with a short declarative sentence and a sharp nod of the head. The lights would have made this embarrassing, and at times Bush started repeating stock lines and seemed as though he were filibustering. The Kerry campaign used the lights brilliantly. Before the debate they even mischievously demanded that the lights be removed when in fact they knew they would help Kerry. "We protested too much on the lights and you all fell for it," Joe Lockhart told me.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.