DEBATE LIVEBLOGGING ROUND 4….Finally. It’s almost over. Liveblogging the debates is more tiring than I thought it would be, although I don’t really know why. Whatever the reason, though, I’m glad this is the last one.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends….

Wrapup: Bush came out hitting pretty hard at first, but after about 20 minutes he settled down a lot. In the end, nobody landed any serious punches this time.

I think domestic policy is a pretty tough subject for both of them. Both guys were so consumed with laundry lists and buzzwords and facts and figures that I doubt very much that most people really followed a lot of what they were saying.

Both of them did a good job talking about their wives. I think Kerry did a good job talking about abortion. (And why did Bush duck that question, stopping after about 30 seconds?) No clear winner on Social Security or healthcare. Kerry did well hammering on Bush’s lack of fiscal discipline, although he could have done even better. Kerry also won on the minimum wage, I think, especially given Bush’s peculiar response about Mitch McConnell’s minimum wage proposal.

Ending score: Kerry by more than a nose, mainly on substance. He had the advantage of having positions supported by a majority of the country, after all. The Monthly’s hosting company, however, clearly needs a new plan for the future….

A full transcript of the debate is here.

10:30 ? Hey, the debate ended right on time! Good time management, Bob!

10:24 ? For a domestic policy debate, Iraq sure has come up an awful lot.

10:20 ? Twice now Kerry has criticized “faith without works.” Maybe this isn’t a big deal, but I wonder how many Protestants out there take that as a rebuke to their theology?

10:17 ? Oops, it looks like Bush has met with the Black Congressional Caucus twice, although apparently the second meeting was just a quick visit while they were meeting with Condi Rice. Still, point to Bush.

10:14 ? Let me guess, Bush met with the Black Congressional Caucus for a couple of minutes back in 2001….

10:10 ? Bush is finally bringing up Kerry’s opposition to the 1991 Gulf War. I’m surprised it’s taken so long.

10:05 ? I thought Kerry’s Roe v. Wade answer was pretty good. And this about education funding: “You don’t measure it by a percentage increase. Mr. President, you measure it by whether you’re getting the job done.” That was a good line.

9:53 ? Bush: “Actually, Mitch McConnell had a minimum wage proposal that I supported.” Huh? Then why didn’t you get it passed?

9:53 ? Bob Schieffer got more email about immigration than any other issue? Wow.

9:47 ? Jeez, another question that assumes Social Security is in disastrous shape. It’s not. It needs some minor tweaks, but that’s about it.

9:44 ? Kerry: “I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield….”

9:42 ? You know, this site is hosted by one of the biggest hosting companies in the world, but they seem unable to handle a few thousand extra visits in an hour. I’m completely unable to access the site or update posts. Sheesh.

9:37 ? The “buggy and horse” days?

9:36 ? So far, Bush’s main attack line seems to be that Kerry is “outside the mainstream” and that he’s a serial exaggerator. The latter, of course, shows remarkable chutzpah.

9:33 ? So was Kerry’s response to the religion/abortion question good? I really can’t tell.

9:26 ? You know, this domestic policy stuff is pretty eye glazing from both sides. I mean, I actually understand most of this stuff, and I still don’t really care much about most of what they’re saying.

9:22 ? Kerry’s Tony Soprano joke was a little better than Bush’s PAYGO joke, but only slightly.

9:18 ? Bush’s PAYGO joke was pretty lame.

9:17 ? Good ‘ol Bush, still on the “increased taxes 98 times” kick.

9:14 ? Ah, here’s the Osama quote, from March 13, 2002: “You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I…I truly am not that concerned about him.” It took about a minute to come across the wire from the Kerry campaign.

9:13 ? Hmmm, Kerry is being a little too obvious about not even pretending to respond to the flu question.

9:10 ? Bush: “I never said I wasn’t concerned about Osama bin Laden. That’s one of those exaggerations….” Um, yes you did. I have a feeling the exact quote will be arriving in my email in a few seconds.

9:07 ? Bush: “Three quarters of al-Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice.” That’s a little better than last time. Still not quite right, but closer.

9:05 ? Huh? Will we ever be as safe and secure as we used to be? Isn’t this supposed to be a domestic policy debate?

9:03 ? Come on, let’s get a nice close shot of Bush’s back….

9:01 ? That’s quite a patriotic looking tie Bob Schieffer is wearing.

8:59 ? Our moderator tonight will be Tom Schieffer’s brother Bob. Tom, as we all know, worked for George Bush in the early 90s as president of the Texas Rangers and was later appointed by Bush as ambassador to Australia. Bob reports that George Bush is a great guy and he very much enjoyed attending ballgames with him.

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