Here is MSNBC on the coming debates in the U.S. presidential campaign:
President Bush's ability to stick to a scripted defense of his policies on Iraq and terrorism should give him an edge over Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry in Thursday's presidential debate, analysts say.
The war in Iraq, which has plagued the administration with escalating violence and intelligence lapses, is widely expected to produce the most heated rhetoric of the 90-minute face-off over foreign policy and homeland security. It is the first of three Bush-Kerry debates scheduled between now and the Nov. 2 election.
MSNBC.com will air the debate live in a Webcast from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET. The debate also will be broadcast at the same time on NBC and MSNBC Cable.
Kerry will likely showcase his new hard-hitting language about chaos and casualties in Iraq by accusing Bush of mismanaging the war and diverting U.S. attention from the hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
But analysts say Bush has recently neutralized Iraq as a political liability, through campaign ads and stump speeches that have boiled the issue down to a series of scripted messages about strength and optimism.
"It's hard to argue with 'strength is good' and 'are you saying you're not for strength?'," said Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Where are my ashes and sackcloth? Where's the whip for self-flagellation? Why on earth did I ever bother going to school? Anyone want a spare PhD certificate to decorate the bathroom with?
So the debates are over before they have started, and the winner? Ding, ding, ding! George Bush, the great debater!
Well, what did you expect. After all, this is the way the winner is actually decided:
Kerry's sometimes meandering style could weigh down the Democrat in a contest analysts said would likely be decided by post-debate media coverage featuring the pithiest sound-bites.(Bolds mine)
This is because people aren't actually expected to follow the debates, noooh. They are supposed to find out later by listening to what the pundits have to say about the pithiness of the two contestants. And we already know that Bush is extremely pithy. How? Well, the pundits have told us so.
Geez, I'm going to give up.