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By Geoff Metcalf

October 4, 2004

So much has been written and articulated in the wake of the first Presidential debate, it is frankly surprising so little has focused on the substance of what was said, rather than how it was said.

Notwithstanding the revisionist spin being applied by both partisan camps, Joe Lockhart was right when he told Mike McCurry initially, "The consensus is it was a draw." Kerry may have won on 'Form' but Bush won on 'Substance'.

Presentation skills aside, the meat of what was said is hugely significant, and demonstrate (for those not too blind to see) the clear distinctions between the two opponents.

Most people will probably take away from the debate whatever they wanted tosee and hear. The debate reaffirmed preconceived opinions and prejudices, and there seems a myopic obliviousness to rejecting anything that contradicted what was already assumed.

Hopefully someone smarter than me can put a finer point on this but the North Korean exchange spoke volumes.

Kerry says he can do a better job with North Korea with bilateral talks? THAT is the erotic dream of Kim Jong Il. Bush wants to maintain the six country multinational approach so as to include China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and the other words, the "multilateral" approach.

HOLD ON! Kerry has been picking at the fictional scab of Bush's refusal to engage 'multinationally'? Bush wants multinational negotiations...Kerry wants (and so does North Korea) bi-lateral negotiations. It is an interesting distinction since Kerry routinely complains about Bush not reaching out multinationally...when the President DOES...Kerry opposes it?

The duplicity is sufficient to gag a maggot because what he really means is he would require a United Nations (a dysfunctional gaggle of incompetent, corrupt anti-US spoiled brats) imprimatur.

So Kerry wants to abandon the Bush multinationalism and replace it with bilateral negotiations? Arrogance, myopia, and brain flatulence are the cornerstones (yes there are only three) to the Kerry foreign policy pyramid.

Shame on the President (and punditry class) for failing to focus on the most successful Bush brand of 'new multilateralism'. Sure, Bush mentioned the Proliferation Security Initiative, but the Wall Street Journal detailed this better mousetrap back in January. Unlike Kerry's "nuanced" plans...PSI really WORKS!

Despite my failed efforts not to taint my analysis with my own prejudices, here are some key points that the punditry universe isn't focusing on enough.

  • Kerry said Bush took troops away from General Tommy Franks for Iraq. NOT TRUE! General Franks already has said and written THAT IS NOT TRUE. I recently spoke with Franks number two, Lt General Mike DeLong, and he reaffirmed, it was not true.

  • Troop levels in Afghanistan actually GREW during Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • and there are more troops there now that before the Iraq invasion.

  • Kerry said Gen Shinseki was fired/relieved for insisting we needed more troops in Iran. FALSE. Shinseki was relieved for ticking off Rumsfeld BEFORE he claimed troop levels needed to be more.
  • Kerry said he never used the "lie" word.....? At least twice in December 2003, Kerry said, "This administration has lied to us."
  • Kerry claimed bin Laden recruits by saying 'The US declared war on Islam.' BULLFEATHERS! Osama declared war ON US in 1993.
  • The 'great debater'/'great trial lawyer' said Bush imposed sanctions against Iran? Huh? Didn't that happen about 20 years ago before Bush got clean and sober?
  • Kerry insists that 'somehow' he will convince allies to replace our troops with theirs for 'the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place'? However, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, the French and the Germans have ALREADY put the kibosh to that brain flatulence. It ain't gonna happen!
  • Kerry 'plans' for everything including cleaning up Russian nukes in 4 years is both unrealistic and unattainable...based on false confidence fueled by ego and unsupported by facts.
  • His absurd and dangerous suggestion we should have "offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel" to the Iranians exceeds the P.J. O'Rourke admonition about "giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy..."

Meanwhile, Gallup reports Kerry was the better debater by a whopping margin of 53 to 37 percent.

We are not electing a debater. We are electing a LEADER.

However, Gallup also reported Bush was 'more believable'- 50 to 45 percent. On which candidate did better on the issues, again it was Bush over Kerry, 49 to 46 percent.

Notwithstanding the media spin about the President seeming annoyed, Gallupsays Bush was more likeable 48 to 41 percent.

However, the biggie was on the "tough enough" question. Respondents to Gallup respondents gave that award to Bush...not by a little...but a LOT: 54 to 37 percent.

Woodrow Wilson once noted, "Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise." John Kerry isn't capable of comprehending that truth...the President is.

� 2004 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail:








So Kerry wants to abandon the Bush multinationalism and replace it with bilateral negotiations? Arrogance, myopia, and brain flatulence are the cornerstones (yes there are only three) to the Kerry foreign policy pyramid.