October 4, 2004
By now everyone has weighed in on the first presidential debate.
Here's my take.
On substance, I thought President Bush won because he articulated the reasons why we are in Iraq much better than Senator Kerry argues the reasons we should not have gone there, should not be there and ought to get out of there.
I thought the president scored points when he spoke of Kerry sending the wrong signal to our enemies, to our allies, to the Iraqi people and to our troops.
In war, victory is the only acceptable exit strategy and promises to bring the troops home without a reason for doing so signals the enemy that all he has to do is hold on and America will retreat again.
Kerry rose to the occasion and sounded much better than the president.
But Mr. Bush is not an orator.
He simply says what he believes. Kerry says whatever he thinks will make people believe him. There is a huge difference.
The vice presidential debate is tomorrow night.
The voice of experience, Dick Cheney, will debate the first term rookie, Senator John Edwards.
That will be interesting, but not decisive. In Friday's debate, the president had better put his opponent away.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Watch his television show, After Hours with Cal Thomas, on the Fox News Channel, Saturdays at 11 p.m. Eastern Time