Live Blogging the Debate- Without the Sound

[Some final notes: I scored it 13 Bush, 3 Kerry and 3 ties. Bush won in a walk. He did however come out looking nervous and Kerry came out charged up. It changed quickly.

BTW Karen Hughes agrees with me- The Prez is a people person. He needs the crowd.]

To fully understand this experiment, read this.

Television is, by definition, a visual media. In the last few years, the visuals have been more important than the words spoken. Gore sighing, Bush 41 looking at his watch, you know the list.

Tonight there we be about 50 bloogers live blogging the debate. I’m probably the only one weird enough to do it with the sound turned down. This is an experiment obviously, I have no idea what I’ll learn. I suspect the visuals will be more important than anything said. On to the debate:

(I’ll fix typos at the end)

Kerry is winning and the first question has not been asked. Bush came out looking nervous and apprehensive, Kerry has a grin a mile wide. Not unlike the proverbial cat. Kerry looks ready!

Geeze! The first lady of the United States and she gets one of the cheap seats?

Question 1
Kerry – relaxed, smiling, hand out to engage audience, botox wearing off. Not looking at camera but looking at questioner. Good idea or bad? Camera cut to Bush who looks worse than first debate.

Bush– It pains me to say it but I finally see some of what the Bush bashers must see. If you ignore his words, he does look cocky. Head bobbing. Not nervous but not comfortable. Cut to Kerry in back is not a gift to him but not as bad as Bush’s. Kerry’s (non mic) hand was up, Bush’s down at 45 degree angle. Just doesn’t seem as inviting.

Kerry 1-0

Question 2
Bush– looks impatient for the questioner to finish asking question. Some pundit somewhere will say Bush still did not look like he wanted to be there… I can’t argue. Bush has been speaking at too many audiences where they are all Republican he assumes everyone sees it his way. Kerry is looking for converts. I’m not sure how I can see that with the sound down but that is what I see.

YIKES Cutaway to Kerry looks creepy. I jumped back via TiVo– still creepy.

Bush looking down- playing defense.

Kerry look up, hand up, energetic. Kerry talking with hand much more than Bush

Bush Rebuttal With no sound makes him look like he got beat on last point.

Kerry Rebuttal Turns and talks to Bush- Makes him look like “the elder”

2-0 Kerry

Question 3 From now on all comments will be briefer. The background has been set. (hmm or maybe not yet)

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Kerry Much better hair. The chick he flies around the country does good work. Kerry dressing down the Perz again, Bush tapping foot- He does not appreciate it.

Bush OK Bush looks like he woke up. The audience seems to be smiling more when Kerry speaks but I have not looked that close. I almost detect a smile. (would it be too much to ask?)

Score one for Bush but barely.

2-1 Kerry

Question 4
Bush Bush officially has his game face on. A SMILE!

Kerry This is cool and not near as boring as I expected. But I’m weird. Bush’s hand is getting above the 90 degree mark and Kerry’s is sinking. Now Kerry looks nervous.

Bush in a clean kill. Is Kerry starting to sweat?

2-2 draw

Question 5
Kerry Clearly slowed down, cut away to Bush and he looks charged. Now talking exclusively to questioner, Bush was talking to full crowd. hmmm looked like Bush winked at someone in the crowd during cutaway. Kerry looks like the nuance is talking from here.

Bush The Bush swagger is back. just got laughs from a woman who clearly did not like him earlier. Connecting with crowd. Kerry taking notes (with a black pen)– seems to be shrinking in stature.

3-2 Bush with a tailwind.

Question 6
Bush confident – Kerry still taking notes, nervous… Kerry took his eye off the ball.

Kerry Licking his lips. Trying to talk to Bush but I’m not sure it’s going to sell this time. Kerry can apparently only talk to one person at a time. This whole answer aimed at Bush– Bush addressing full crowd. interesting.

4-2 Bush

Question 7
Kerry OK the nuance must be kicking in.. the audience looks confused. But Kerry is starting to come back. Kerry’s motions more choppy less fluid. (???) cutway- Bush blinking like mad???

Bush doing Ok– Cutaway Kerry nodding in agreement.

TIGHT- Bush by a microscopic hair.

5-2 Bush

Question 8
BushSlowed – hand back down – not connecting like before

Kerry Good answer- I suspect he slammed Bush with a good point.

Bush had great rebuttal

I guess a tie, I dunno.

5-2-1 Bush, Kerry, Tie

Question 9
Kerry Kerry is clearly no lightweight in this format. I was losing it big time for a minute but he got it back together. His answer was not incredible but it was credible.

Bush Bush did Ok as well -woman in audience looked bored.

Another squeaker- Bush lost by the margin of one bored woman in audience.

5-3-1 Bush

Question 10
Bush Did quite well. A Little more energy. Bored woman not so bored.

KerrySeemed– I dunno average. Not a bad answer but no home run.

Bush by a slight nose, more energy and bored woman liked him.

6-3-1 Bush

Question 11
Kerry Questioner who was in the same horizontal axis as a camera. As such Kerry was looking into camera as he addressed questioner. That helped him a bunch. Best answer he has had in 30 minutes. Confused guy still looked confused but he might just look that way.

Bush Bush can sit down, he lost this one. Maybe not- he just made a killer point because half of the heads popped in the room. Confused guy smiling. bored woman not so bored.

MAN I wished I had heard that. I’m going to go back and listen to that one.

Both did very very well. I think Bush won if for no other reason than the rebuttal. But this might be the first one that I give to Bush because of my pre-existing bias — dunno he must have made a heck of a point.

7-3-1 Bush

Question 12 This is MUCH harder than I expected it to be.
Bush He “looked” Presidential, firm, knowledgeable, in control. I suspect he was talking about 9/11 even in a tangental way. He just went into that “stand tall” mode he has which, while it means nothing to me apparently scores big with voters.

KerryCookie cutter – In control of himself if not the room. What was that word- credible.

8-3-1 Bush

Question 13
Kerry Licking his lips a lot. (SNL skit fodder if he’s elected) Must not like this question.

Bush Bored woman mostly paying attention, Confused guy finally looks confused for Bush.

Bush was going to fin it anyway but the rebuttal clinched it.

9-3-1 Bush

I’m starting to question my own judgment. I find it hard to believe Bush is doing this well. Perhaps I’m seeing what I want to see. Coke break!

So far it seems like both candidates are aware of the camera at all times. No weird habits except for Kerry licking his lips and touching his face. But they don’t seem that big from here. Ok off to find a Coke.

Question 14
Bush Bush is in his “explain it” mode where he puts things into normal guy talk… a skill he appears born with. I don’t like this mode but again I think this is one of the things that people like about him so I guess it is working. people are paying attention. ANOTHER SMILE. Kerry has not smiled in forever.

Kerry Kerry talking to Bush again. If there is one of “those things” in this debate that people harp on (sighing, clock watching) Kerry talking to Bush may be it. With no sound I don’t know how it is playing. Initially I thought it worked… Now I’m not so sure. — Mostly because Bush looked annoyed earlier when Kerry did it, now he is staring him down. While it might have elevated Kerry earlier now I could be convinced it is making him look small.

Confused guy has a headache.

I might be wrong, maybe it working but I’ll give the point to Bush.

10-3-1 Bush

Question 15
Kerry OK I took a break and I got a drink- I still think Kerry is hurting. His body posture is more closed when it was open before. He is using short choppy motions and the audience is looking at him like he is speaking greek.

Bush Bush has that “optimistic” look he has when he talks about things like the number of people in Afghanistan who are registered to vote. Calm cool collected. Looks like a leader. Bored woman almost as tired as me but she’s sticking with him, she was wilting under Kerry.

Presidential debates should be 1 hour and 15 minutes long.

Kerry tapping foot in a nervous way. He looks like a loser from my chair.

Bush in a walk.

11-3-1 Bush (that’s can’t be right)

Question 16

Here is what I think- I think my score is accurate, I just think it is not measuring what I thought it was. I entered this thinking I could score the debate without hearing it. And Bush may be walking over him but I don’t think it can be as bad for Kerry as it seems. But I DO THINK it is an accurate measure of how the candidates think they did. I truly believe Bush thinks he is winning big and I think kerry is nervous.

BTW score one for Bush

12-3-1 Bush

Question 17
Kerry Kerry is breathing heavier. Not at all relaxed or as confident — not a smile in an hour.

Bush He did not go out and try to win this one.. It might not matter because Kerry might hand it to him.

Kerry talking to Bush in rebuttal

They both lost that one so I guess I’ll call it a tie.

12-3-2 Bush

Question 18, the last one!
Bush He can work a room. I think while everyone said the town halls would hurt Bush I think the opposite is true. He needs some feedback from the audience. The first few times I did a talk radio show I had the same problem. I could not “feel” my listeners like a stand up comedian can feel his crowd. Once I quit trying to “work” a live audience that was not there, I did better. I think he does better with a crowd. that might explain why it looks like he is running away with this one.

Kerry Nuance alert.

13-3-2 Bush in walk. I completely believe both candidates and the people IN THE ROOM think Bush one big. No telling which team of spinners will win.

Closing Arguments

Kerry must have been selling despair. He did not look happy. Bored woman was almost in tears. (ok that was an exaggeration) Point was his message even looked gloomy.

Bush looked marginally better but bored woman did wake up enough to pick her teeth on national television, she is going to be mortified.

Debate Wrapup
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