I realize that it is not entirely fair to look at a debater’s performance and pick out one line and complain that they should have said something else. But I'm going to anyway because the opportunity has presented itself in all three debates so far, because we have passed up the opportunity each time, and because it is clearly a response they fear.
Flip-flopping. They have had numerous chances to say mule-headed intransigence is not a virtue. They have had numerous chances to say grown-ups give up on a bad policy when it clear they are wrong. Kerry and Edwards both passed up opportunities on point blank questions about flip-flopping to say "no we don't." This is the point when the American people want to hear some honesty, not more weasel words. It doesn't matter whether Kerry and Edwards are correct; nuance sounds weasely to people. Kerry made point in the first debate when he said of the 87 billion, "I shouldn't have said that."
Tonight he blew his best chance ever. Right at the end of the debate a woman asked Bush to name three mistakes he's made. Bush not only refused to name any, he veered dangerously into the paranoid when he started explaining what "they" mean when "they" ask that question. There was no "they" involved; there was a nice middle-aged woman in a red jacket. She wanted to know if either one was man enough to admit a mistake. When Bush failed to name three Kerry stood up and in effect said " I can name three mistakes Bush made."
We had a chance for a killer moment of honesty and the last word in the debate and we blew it. Arrrgh!
On the other hand, we're winning the turnout game on the insta-polls. Since Kerry is slightly ahead at the moment, a tie is in his favor and he at least tied. I think he came out a little ahead, mostly on the strength of the health care answers. I also think Bush looked like his face was about to explode in his effort to look bright-eyed and enthusiastic.
Oh well, lets see what the paid journalistic corps think.