I thought it might be handy to go through the debates, carefully listen to what each question was, and make note of whether each candidate responded at all to the question and in the event that they responded to the question, what they said. I have just spent over three hours on the first debate alone, so don’t expect the other three to come soon. I’ve got another ….. what, 18 days until the election? Fine. So here you have it. The relevant parts of the questions (ie: the questions themselves) and the most relevant parts of the answers (and in cases where nothing they said was in response to the question being asked, notation thereof).
Pretty straightforward. I basically assumed you’ve seen or heard the debates here. If you haven’t, you should go to audible.com or iTunes and download the debates for FREE. Double-check that I understood and conveyed the intentions of the messages of the candidates if you like (or if you suspect I have distorted) by getting the actual debate recording and comparing their actual words to what I wrote down. If you want to argue with my analysis, I will expect a time notation in the relevant audio file so we can all go see what was actually said.
I have not tried to make any notation as to whether either candidate’s statements are true or false, just to repeat what they said. If they said some lies and I repeated them here, feel free to comment – though I fully expect you to link to trustable sources that agree with you if you do.
In the text below I have used the following conventions: Questions are in bold, though the moderator’s setup statements are not. The most relevant responses are italicized, the less relevant responses that are still somewhat on the topic of the question are not, (and the responses that are only questionably related to the question are parenthetical.) Where the candidate made no relevant response I have put the phrase “NO RELEVANT RESPONSE” in all caps. I’ve made sure that every time either candidate was given the opportunity to respond, their name appears here on a separate line. This means that you’ll see a lot of “NO RELEVANT RESPONSE”, as their extended discussions often were not relevant to the question being asked. I am also posting a much shorter version of this that only includes the most relevant responses. It is more clear, I think, and it’s there if you’re interested. So, here we go:
Presidential Debate #1, 9/30/2004
Question 1: Do you [Senator Kerry] believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another terrorist attack on the United states?
KERRY: Yes I do. (By building international alliances, strengthening our military and intelligence, by going after financing [of terrorists] more authoritatively, by reaching out to the Muslim world, and by isolating radical Muslims.)
BUSH: NO RELEVANT ANSWER
Question 2: Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November 2nd would increase the chances of the US being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?
BUSH: (I do not believe Senator Kerry will be elected.) NO RELEVANT ANSWER