Take away the Debate Notes

This post was written by marc on September 30, 2004
Posted Under: Bush,Letters to the Editor,Politics

Letter to the Editor

Having watched the debates I have a problem with the fact that the candidates had prepared notes to read answers from. Several times I saw that Mr. Bush was flipping through what was what we called when I was in school, a cheat sheet, with what seemed to be prepared answers on it, and he was reading from those notes. I didn’t see Kerry doing that – but I assume that the rules allow him to do that as well.

I have a problem with that process because it allows other people behind the scenes to participate in a debate that is supposed to be a contest between two men. I would hope that in the upcoming debates that they would change the rules and take away the prepared notes. I want to see these men debate on their own rather than have the ability to read from a script. I want to see how they do on their own without the help of their support staffs.


Clarification for the confused. Kerry had a notepad and was scribbling notes as Bush spoke. That’s OK. Bush had a cheat sheet with answers written on them – I assume that – because he was writing nothing and reading a lot. If he wrote nothing and read a lot – that means that what he brought in already had things written on it. And he had pages of notes because you could see him filipping through them.

Reader Comments

Come on, Marc! Quit being so one sided. Everytime that they showed Kerry, he was taking notes. The guy was wielding his pen like Bob Dole.

I will say one thing, neither one of these guys impressed me. Talk about choosing between two …

We need another party, badly.

Both parties are becoming big disappointments to me. I have been a member of both parties, and want to be a member of neither

Written By tomocius on September 30th, 2004 @ 7:58 pm

Just as devil’s advocate, prepared talking points for a debate are not the same as taking notes while debating. I did not see any cases of bush reading prepared notes though. I might have missed them, because I was too busy watching him say saddam instead of bin laden, and confusing chechnyan rebels and al-Queda.

Written By M. Wills on September 30th, 2004 @ 8:10 pm

It is easier to pick the loser than it is to pick the winner.

We the people … are the losers!

Written By tomocius on September 30th, 2004 @ 8:21 pm

Wills, “C” students rule the world. “A” students stay in school, too afraid to come out and apply that kNOwledge in the real world because they know it does not work. “B” students work for “C” students managing the “D” students. The fact that he stumbled showed that he is a real guy. Of course we are all used to Slick Willie who could sell ice cubes to eskimoes and have them asking him, “Where can we get more of these?”

Even you could probably admit that neither guy was impressive.

Written By tomocius on September 30th, 2004 @ 8:27 pm

Actually being a recent graduate of electrical engineering, I can tell you that whenever privatized industry has a question they come running to to universities for answers. Those same C students need help figuring out what is going on again, because they neglect reason and original thought.

Written By M. Wills on September 30th, 2004 @ 9:07 pm

I saw Bush referring to a set of stapled sheets at 38 minutes into the debate, but I saw Kerry writing several times on what appeared to be a note pad. If Kerry had prepared notes, I never saw him use them.

Kudos to ABC for ignoring the no-reaction-shot rule and more kudos for Jennings for not using campaign spinmeisters in his post-debate show.

Written By Brenda Helveson on September 30th, 2004 @ 11:45 pm

Brenda, I never saw the podium, and I do know if you did. But, could Kerry have been writing on what you thought appeared to be a note pad, but was actually prepared notes. I would bet they both had the same type of note pad. Bush may have raed his more and Kerry may have scribbled on his more. Not that it matters. i just thought that I would point it out.

Wills, I understand that we come running to the Universities for answers. But, that is not because you have the answers. It is because you guys have the funding to figure out the answers. Often, nobody has the answer. When corporate America goes to the university it, sometimes, is because they do not want to spend the resources on the R&D side. I can give far less money to a university for the same result, then I would spend having one of my divisions working on these goals.

Written By tomocius on October 1st, 2004 @ 5:59 am

Marc, that’s such utter bullshit. I saw Bush scribbling notes at least four distinct times that I remember during the debate. For once I can say that you don’t have a fucking clue. You don’t know who had what on what podium and what they were doing with it. Sometimes your assumptions are so beyond any form of rational thought that I can’t believe you’ve written some of the good stuff that you have.

Stop and think before you write next time.

Written By Craig on October 1st, 2004 @ 12:11 pm

Tom Clueless, I watched the debate closely. Sorry that you did not. As the replay shows, Little bush was shuffling through a stapled sheaf of notes, obviously looking for something that was already written there. I saw John Kerry take notes, but he never referred to them while he spoke.

Because you are so very well-informed, I hereby dare you to go over to bartcop and engage him in a debate. Bart could never ever win an argument with guy as smart as you are and you would surely enjoy beating him to a pulp in his own chat room. And please let me knows in advance – I want to watch.

Written By Brenda Helveson on October 1st, 2004 @ 12:55 pm

I just wanted to say since everyone is making such a big deal out of this. I said that bringing notes and taking notes are two different things, but in a debate, you are allowed to have notes. The whole idea is to be prepared with facts to counter your opponent’s assertions. Obviously bush’s fact checkers had a little too much beer the night before and thought Kerry would be a walk-over.

The thing that annoyed me the whole time was bush wiping the formal debate process with his ass. I think one of his aides needs to clue him into it goes, argument then rebuttal. If the moderator feels that not enough time was spent on the subject he then gives the candidates each another conclusionary 30 seconds. If this is going to be a structured debate and not a shouting match- fox news- it has to have ground rules. Like not interrupting, or talking during your opponents alloted time.

Written By M. Wills on October 1st, 2004 @ 3:39 pm

Brenda, what is your point about the notes? When Bush was talking Kerry was taking notes, maybe writing what his response was going to be. Or, maybe he was writing in his diary about the year he lost the Presidential election.

Bush wrote his notes before the debate, and Kerry did during the debates. What is the difference?

Written By tomocius on October 1st, 2004 @ 6:23 pm

I am a moderate, leaning towards Kerry and I was surprised to see most of the pundits and the recent polls reflecting a strong win for Kerry in the debate. I thought Kerry did well, but W didn’t make any gaffs outside of his usual stumbling and bumbling, which by now the electorate is quite used to.

The debate spin is reminiscent of olympic boxing or gymnastic judges, or home plate umpires calling balls and strikes, annoyingly arbitrary.

Kudos to C-span showing past debates such as Bush/Gore 2000 over the weekend. It showed that the reason that Gore “got in W’s face” was because W REFUSED to answer the question (and never did). The Leiberman/Cheney debate was a snoozefest.

Decent recent debates include Jesse Ventura embarassing his Minnesota gubernatorial oppenents and Ross Perot and Clinton doing well while Bush-41 kept looking at his watch and pacing.

Cheney/Edwards has potential to be a lightning rod w/ Haliburton or another yawner which Cheney probably hopes for.

Written By Mike on October 4th, 2004 @ 11:57 am

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